I was recently asked to consider making some ‘eco’ softies for a local store, and its been something I have been thinking a lot about lately. To be honest I know very little about fabric production methods, and bugger all about how hobbyfill is made. So far almost my softies have been mostly made of all new materials (that are pre-washed in phosphate free detergent) and are all stuffed with polyfil.
On the internet I have found it hard to find simple and clear information. From some reading it seems clear that world wide there is little clear definition around what constitutes a ‘organic fabric’, and the dyes used on it, and even less information on stuffing.
To clarify when I say ‘eco’ to me this means made with the environment in mind; either produced from environmentally sustainable material, using recycled materials, but also produced using locally obtained materials. There seems little point in using organic materials if they are all shipped over from the other side of the world. Is this what everyone else thinks?
So I have done some research on production of ‘eco’ softies from a cost and convenience perspective and would love if any of you wanted to share your ideas and opinions.
As far as I can tell there are three options for fabric.
Organic printed fabric – can be expensive starting at around $16 US a yard (compared to around $8)
Locally screenprinted fabric- again can be expensive but most seem to be screenprinted on environmentally friendly fabric with gentle inks.
Recycled fabric from clothes, sheets etc. Requires a bit of luck and a lot of fossicking in Op shops… the fun bit.
So far stuffing seems to be a sticking point. The closest I could find was pure wool stuffing which is again expensive at $35 p kg (including the $10 for postage as it’s from Victoria). I have noticed some overseas softie makers using polyfil made from recycled plastic bottles but I can’t seem to source this locally. Does anyone know of any other filling types available in Australia?
Is there a market for ‘eco’ softies outside of specific stores that specialise in this sort of thing. Has anyone who sells handmade goods ever been asked about ‘environmentally friendly’ options? As a purchaser is this something that would change your buying decision in handmade goods such a soft toys?
Here are some interesting links on these issues
I’d love to hear what y’all think