Well, here it is! Barefoot Fashion is once again up and running. Its been a crazy year full of ups and downs, but now my bare feet are solidly on the ground again and I am ready to run.
Those of you who followed this blog before will notice that it has a new look. It also has a new purpose, or rather an expanded purpose. Now instead of simply educating the about slow, sustainable fashion it will also feature my new line of handmade, recycled, one-of-a-kind garments. I still intend to blog about pertinent news in the fashion industry and even share easy dyi projects, but I will also show off what is happening in my sewing room.
Currently I am working on putting together an assortment of dresses and tops to present to a two local businesses: one that specializes in green products and another that carries anything hippie. I am also planning a booth at a local folk festival in October. All while holding a full time job and juggling a few other miscellaneous balls! Wish me luck and follow my progress. I’ll keep you all posted!
A pixie hat I created with bamboo yarn.
One of my first experiences with bamboo fiber came in the form of yarn. As an avid fiber artist, my yarn addiction compels me to peruse the shelves and bins of every yarn shop in a three county radius. These shopping expeditions consist of me poking, prodding, and petting countless skeins of yarn until I find one specimen that I simply cannot put down. The day I fell in love with a nubby, sage green bamboo yarn is a day I will never forget. Having knitted with wool and cotton for years, bamboo seemed like an exotic treat. I was completely fascinated that the same material that was durable enough to create human dwellings could create a fiber that rivaled silk in luster and texture. Three skins of that yarn came home with me and were soon transformed into a charming pixie cap.
Since that time, I have created a wide variety of projects with bamboo and bamboo blend yarns. Due to its amazing beauty bamboo is always a treat to work with, but like all fibers it is not ideal for every project. For starters, 100% bamboo and bamboo silk and/or cotton blends tend to split easily making them less than ideal for beginning artists. They can even be a challenging stitch for intermediate artist and are best worked using wood or bamboo needles/hooks. Additionally, most bamboo yarns are hand wash only and do not lend themselves well to the creation of children’s clothing.
Great Adirondack Lolita Yarn: superwash merino/bamboo
photo property of yarn.com
Unlike bamboo fabric, bamboo yarn is readily available on the retail market. Chain craft stores and yarn shops usually have at least a small selection, while there are online stores that carry vast selections. Two of the best online selections I have found are Yarn and Bamboo Fabric Store. Buying on line will never replace to joy of wandering through a yarn shop, but it is a viable option when looking for specialty items. Whenever possible, choose to have your purchases delivered by the USPS. They have an impressive green initiative and their carriers will be stopping by your house six days a week anyway, so your delivery does not require the use of additional resources.
To read more about the properties of bamboo as a fiber read my archived post ’bout Bamboo.
As an eco-fashionista, I know that buying local is usually the most environmentally sound decision, but let’s be real. Often times, what I want or need is not available on the local market. Since mail order companies usually have the most diverse selection of eco-friendly, sustainable clothing, I often find myself shopping on-line (not to mention that I am helplessly addicted to both etsy and ebay). This makes the issue of greener shipping very real to me.
Today while I was in line at the post office, I noticed a flier of the USPS new green movement. Not only have they recently issued a set of eco-advice stamps, but apparently have been working on their ecological footprint for a while now. There is an entire website dedicated to this initiative and I must admit that it is quite impressive. Everything from the day-to-day function of the postal service to the creation of shipping cartons is being ecologically improved. When considering the greenest shipping option the site makes this very valid point about fuel conservation, “When you order a product on online, choose the Postal Service to deliver it. We are already coming to your house 6 days a week so it’s not an extra trip for us.”
Now, shipping USPS is more than just a convenience issue. It may just be the most eco-friendly choice as well.
*Image is property of the USPS.
May starts the rainy season here in South Florida. By “rain” I don’t mean drizzle, I mean torrential down pour. Determined that I will not spend another rainy season slogging through dirty water with out the protection of rain boots, I did a bit of research. Like I said in an earlier post, rubber takes at least 1,000 years to decompose so I was naturally skeptical about buying a new pair of boots and I haven’t had much luck in that department at the thrift stores. The good news is, there are ways to recycle rubber. Although it isn’t picked up at curb side like glass, paper, and plastic most city recycling centers do accept rubber for recycling. Recycled rubber can be made into new consumer goods such as shoes and rubber matting or chipped to make playground mulch.
Any way you look at it, bamboo is an amazing plant. Although it can grow to the size of a tree, bamboo is a grass. Giant bamboo is the largest member of the grass family and can grow up to 50ft in height. There are varieties of this grass that grow well in nearly every climate and growing “well” can be an understatement for bamboo. This plant is known to grow up to 60 cm (nearly 2 feet) a day in an ideal environment!
In addition to it’s amazing feats of growth, bamboo also some other fascinating attributes. Bamboo is a hardy plant that thrives with out the use of pesticides and fertilizers. It also has the ability to reach its full size in one growing season and is ready for harvest in as little as 3 years. In the hands of a responsable farmer, bamboo has the potential to be a 100% sustainable crop.
Some of you are starting to wonder. Bamboo on a fashion blog…what’s up with that? There is a method to my madness. Readers who follow fiber content labels on clothing will affirm that bamboo is becoming more and more popular in the clothing we wear everyday. From infant to adult, work to leisure, bamboo fabrics are showing up everywhere. And why shouldn’t they? Bamboo fabric feels amazing against the skin, has natural moisture wicking and antibacterial properties, and is temperature regulating.
The most commonly used bamboo fabric is rayon. Bamboo rayon is produced by chemically breaking down bamboo fibers to create a lightweight, breathable fabric with an incredibly soft hand. While the chemicals generally used aren’t the most eco-friendly, the over all production of bamboo rayon is less caustic than the production of conventional cotton.
As with anything relatively new, there are skeptics and nay-sayers. I won’t say that bamboo is going to save the earth or that it is the new wonder fiber. What I will say is that it is a smart and viable option in a world full of uncertainty.