3 Ways to Sew Sustainably for the Environment

Published/Updated on:
November 8, 2021
Did you know that the fashion industry alone accounts for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions? 

This huge amount of carbon emissions can be attributed to the energy used during the production, manufacturing, and transportation of the garments purchased by consumers annually. Furthermore, the majority of our garments are made using synthetic fibres such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon, making the production process more energy-intensive as compared to using natural fibres. 

As a consumer, there are many things that you can do to reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry. Whilst choosing garments that are made sustainably and buying fewer fast-fashion products are a good start, you can take it a step further by picking up sewing lessons in Singapore to mend your clothes, thus reducing the need to replace your clothes frequently!

The Role of Sewing in Environmental Sustainability 

Sewing is a great and effective way to maintain sustainability. Fret not, learning how to sew does not necessarily mean that you need to start making all your outfits from scratch. Sometimes, it can also mean mending a hole in your top or even sewing a button back onto your favourite pair of jeans. 

The main idea behind “sustainability” and sustainable sewing is that you want to leave  minimal impact on the environment. Here are four ways you can utilise sewing to reduce your impact on the environment and lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

1. Choosing sustainable fabric

The sustainable fabrics
Types of Sustainable Fabrics

Fabric is one of the most basic components in determining the sustainability of a piece of clothing. Don’t be fooled by its higher upfront cost, because sustainable fabric has elements allowing it to last longer, whilst being lighter on the environment. Most sustainable fabrics should be made using organic materials such as cotton, silk, and wool. 

It is also important to identify the product that you would like to make so that you can choose the right fabric. For instance, wool may be a sustainable material, but that does not necessarily mean that it would be suitable for Singapore’s tropical climate. You should also choose naturally dyed fabrics using colourants such as fruits and greens. Not only are they safe for the skin, they are also biodegradable.

Check out our course on creating a Sustainable Fashion Value Chain.

2. Refashioning existing clothing

You can always use old clothing, or clothes that you have gotten from thrift stores as your fabric. Upcycling clothing into new apparel keeps the fabric out of landfills while allowing you to save more on the costs of purchasing new raw materials. 

In addition to saving costs, did you know that refashioning existing fabrics is also a great way to pick up new sewing skills that you may not know? When tearing apart the original garment, you can see how it was made initially, and even incorporate some of these ideas into your refashioned piece. This can be especially helpful if you dabble in making your own garments since the seams on old garments can be a guideline for your own pattern drafting. If you are unsure how you can give your clothes new life, check out these popular upcycling Youtube channels!

3. Repurposing existing fabric

Repurposing Existing Fabric
Repurposing Existing Fabric

Also known as textile recycling, the materials are generated from two primary sources. These sources include post-consumer products such as vehicle upholstery, curtains, tablecloths, and other household items. The other is pre-consumer products, and this includes scrap created as a by-product from yarn and fabric manufacture. You do not necessarily need to turn a tablecloth into a fancy dress, you can always turn it into a tote bag, or even a wreath! Making a tote bag from scratch may seem daunting for some, but you can always enrol in a sewing class for beginners and learn to create something you love or can use daily. 


To sum it up 

In today’s fashion industry, besides artisan-made clothes, sewing is another environmentally sustainable option. Apart from allowing you to reduce your carbon footprint, sewing also allows you to express your creativity and come up with designs that are unique to you! Enrol in a sewing lesson or skills upgrading course in Singapore and learn the basics of drafting and pattern development, so that you can create your unique garments and products. 

The Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre is a school in Singapore that offers a range of sewing courses from beginner to advanced levels, ultimately equipping you with the necessary skills to create your own finished, fashionable products - the sustainable way. 


Au Wai Ling

Wai Ling is known by many as an unconventional thinker, a creative problem solver with a hunger to experiment, ideate and explore. Major clients whom she has worked with include Maybank Singapore, Vantage Automotive Limited, Resorts World Sentosa, Kele, and Swee Seng Motors Pte Ltd.

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