Seam-Stressing about Stewardship

“Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. The concepts of stewardship can be applied to the environment and nature, economics, health, property, information, theology, etc.”

The Buy American Act passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Hoover on his last full day in office, required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.

I’ve been sewing off and on since I was about eight years old.  My path to garment sewing has been informed by two basic principles:

1) I wanted clothing that better represented my personality, body image, and aesthetic ideals

2) I wanted clothing that better reflected my sense of ethics and values

These are not foreign concepts; I imagine most sewists have similar principles in place.   I don’t believe that globalization is inherently an evil thing, nor do I take a protectionism philosophy regarding imports.  I do think that buying goods from countries and companies with transparency regarding working conditions and wages is inherently good.  

Books like Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline and documentaries like True Cost illustrate the impact of largely disposable, fast fashion trends on the environment and the people who manufacture the garments.  The tragic factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 highlighted a need for awareness on the part of the consumer.  It’s so vitally important to know where the things one puts on one’s body originate.  It’s a matter of being a responsible consumer and voting in favor of one’s values with one’s dollar.

To that end I’ve been seeking more transparency regarding the materials I purchase for my projects.  A good way for me to do that is to pick fabrics that are produced in a country with strict wage and safety regulations.  I have decided that purchasing fabric from my home country of the United States is a step in the right direction.  It means doing my part to keep American Industry in America.

I’ve successfully sourced several American based textile companies.  There will be several “American Made” garments featured during Self-Stitched-September. 

American Made Brand– A company based out of Seattle Washington that makes some of the softest medium weight cotton in beautiful solid colors, grown and woven here in the USA.  I purchased some of this when I was disappointed with Joann’s Kona cotton line.

Eagle Fabrics-Based out of Carson, California, Eagle Fabrics is a fabric wholesaler.  HOWEVER I was extremely delighted to discover that they sell their products to individual consumers on Etsy!  I have not gotten to use any of their fabric yet, but I am ordering some of their products to try out for Self-Stitched-September.

Fabric Traditions-This New York company has a line of American made fabrics that they sell through Joanns.  I’ve used it several times and I have been pleased with my results.  It is probably better suited to projects that need a fabric with body.  It’s rather stiff.  Good for a 2.5 yard sundress.