Sewing with Sustainable Fabrics: Wiksten Kimono

Sustainable fabrics are a hot topic in the sewing community right now, and I am proud of the way sewist are approaching and adapting in the community.

There is not one solid definition of what makes a fabric ‘sustainable.’ For my sewing practice and own personal beliefs, I categorize sustainable into two categories: vintage, thrifted, resale fabric and modern textile produced in a sustainable way.

The Wiksten Kimono Jacket (aka my new fall wardrobe fav) provides the perfect opportunity to utilize these 2 types of sustainable fabrics.

The outer material is a vintage plaid mid-weight wool that I found at Scrap PDX, a creative reuse non-profit in Portland, Oregon. It tends to have a mix of fabrics that make great fabrics for muslin sewing, but sometimes there’s a real gem of yardage. Being in Portland, I hope that the wool is from Pendleton, although I am not sure how to authenticate that (any tips out there?!) Creative re-use spaces have been popping up across the US – a google search might point you in the direction of one in your area.

A39749F7-42CE-47A7-8EC7-F23E71BC248CPardon the wrinkles; I’ve been living in this since finishing it a few weeks ago.

The lining is sewn with a Tencel Twill from Blackbird Fabrics in ‘Winter Sage’. It is a very soft minty green that pop against the greys of the plaid. The fabric is buttery, drapery, and silky. It was by first time working with Tencel and I made a few mistakes. I’d def recommend cutting only one layer at time! The fluid drape helps balance the stiffness of the plaid so the garment is not too bulky.

Tencel is the trademark of Lenzing. Tencel falls under the ‘Lyocell’ form of rayon. What makes lyocell unique is that an organic solvent is used to extract cellulose from wood. The solvent is easier to re-filer and re-use, assisting in the making the production a closed-loop system. Lenziung-branded Tencel pushes the closed-loop forth by only using fast-growing Eucalyptus trees from sustainably managed forests. This website is really great resource for learning more about sustainable fabrics and their applications: https://goodonyou.eco/how-ethical-is-tencel/

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I am just going to put it out there that I love the Wiksten Kimono. It isn’t my normal style, but I loved the cozy-chic look (and who doesn’t want to be cozy-chic in autumn?). I am so glad I went for it because it was an excellent pattern for a first coat sewing attempt. It has simple, well-explained construction, minimal pieces to keep track of, and is a lined jacket without having to try bagging! I guess the only downside is that it does require a fair amount of yardage; this is where scouring your local re-sale shops can come in handy to keep costs down.  I don’t consider myself a quick sewist, but I was able to to cut + sew in one weekend with minimal mistakes to re-do.

Sewing with a sustainable fabric might require you to make a few adjustments in the way you shop for fabrics. It might require more research to double check fiber content, the supple chain of modern fabrics, and/or more time spent thrifting for yardage. If you are visiting your local fabric shop or shopping online, just ask questions! There is chance that the info is available, and if it isn’t, it will encourage companies to gain access to the info. Small changes over time will make a big impact!

Thank you for spending a moment with me!

Emma Nolley

Find me on IG @goodgollynolley

Photo by Tony LeSeure @coffeeandwater