The Etsy Blog

Grow Your Own Clothes: The Fibershed Project

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

blainedesign

Take a look at what you are wearing and ask yourself, “Can I put a name or face to these clothes?” For textile artisan Rebecca Burgess, matching a face with a garment doesn’t stop at knowing the garment’s maker. For her, it also means knowing the farmer or rancher who grew the fiber and even petting the sheep who provided the wool.

In September of 2010, Rebecca pledged for one year to wear only garments made from fiber grown within a 150-mile radius of her front door, just north of San Francisco. Rebecca spins, weaves, knits, felts, and sews her own clothes — from organic cotton, wool, alpaca, and angora — and dyes them with plant material she grows herself or harvests in the wild. The goal of this endeavor – called the Fibershed Project — is to show that beauty and fashion can support sustainability, local economies, and regional agriculture.

Rebecca began the Fibershed Project with a single locally-grown outfit. She admits it was a little daunting at first to commit to dressing herself literally from the ground up. But as the year unfolded, so did her wardrobe as she worked with resources, talents, equipment, and skills distributed throughout her local area. She collaborates with an extensive community of fiber artisans, designers, farmers, and ranchers, like Capay Valley’s Sally Fox, who breeds her own varieties of naturally colored cotton and is building a solar-powered cotton mill. Rebecca has seen the glimmerings of a reemerging industrial base in the Yolo Wool Mill with its six employees. And she joined with others to stage a benefit fashion show featuring all locally-produced garments and accessories.

Collaboration helped to transform Rebecca’s perspective on the challenge of dressing locally. “The ‘limitation’ of sourcing materials within 150 miles,” she says, “became a ‘creative focus.’”

It is an environmental focus for her as well. A fifth generation resident of the fragile bioregion where her materials are cultivated, Rebecca stresses that utilizing local fibers and plant-based dyes for textile color are vital parts of the solution to improving the health of air, water, and soils.

“The textile industry is the number one polluter of fresh water resources on the planet, as well as having an immense carbon footprint,” Rebecca says. “The average CO2 emitted for the production of one T-shirt is up to 40 times the weight of that shirt.”

She notes that coal tar, a petroleum-derived product that is a common ingredient in synthetic dyes, is a Group 1 carcinogen.

To replace synthetic dyes, Rebecca grows many natural dye plants, like Japanese indigo for blue and coreopsis for orange. She also gathers plants in the wild. Rebecca has two degrees in education and teaches that careful and respectful tending and gathering of native plants – in cooperation with landowners – contributes to environmental restoration and opens a deeper understanding of our connection to wild places. And because “local” refers to the place you live, Rebecca has developed bio-regional maps showing where dye-making plants grow seasonally across North America for her book, Harvesting Color.

What’s next for Rebecca as she completes her one-year commitment to the Fibershed Project? “I’m keeping going!” she says.

Her emphasis may shift, however, from the making of garments to the bolstering of foundations and infrastructure that fiber artisans need. Rebecca says, “It can strip the validity of becoming an artist to be forced to work with materials that compromise your integrity. Artists need a resource base that is not commoditized and owned by large corporations. They need resources that lift their independence. I would like to see all artists have the materials they want.”

“We are surrounded by beauty as well as solutions to our ecological crisis”, she says “We just need to slow down and smell the alpaca.”

Watch a group of Fibershed friends make wool felt hats:

Karen Brown is an award-winning designer and creative director of the Center for Ecoliteracy. Her work has been included in the Smithsonian Institution and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and on Today on NBC. She believes that the handmade movement is a fundamental force for transforming society and the economy.

  • FranceGallery

    FranceGallery says:

    Great article and the natural colors are lovely!

    3 years ago

  • shannondzikas

    shannondzikas says:

    This concept is great! My spinning wheel is my best friend! It's tough to describe the satisfaction of making a garment from start to finish and it helps that these pieces are beautiful and wearable.

    3 years ago

  • RareDesign

    RareDesign says:

    Wow! Awesome!!

    3 years ago

  • SweetandDandyVintage

    SweetandDandyVintage says:

    This is such an awesome article! I too, love working with natural dye...turmeric is my favorite. I love the brilliant mustard result! Wishing all a blissful day! <3

    3 years ago

  • RedorGrayArt

    RedorGrayArt says:

    such a perfect way to think about what we wear ..it becoming simple and artistic as well.. thanks for this post~

    3 years ago

  • SweetiePieCollars

    SweetiePieCollars says:

    I never knew the textile industry was so detrimental to the environment! Thank you for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • SkyBox

    SkyBox says:

    Yes! What a wonderful and poignant article. It's great to know that this kind of endeavor can be successful. Thank you.

    3 years ago

  • SquidWhaleDesigns

    SquidWhaleDesigns says:

    This is so timely and interesting to read about. We just started fermenting our own natural indigo dye bath and gathering eco-friendly fabrics for projects for our shop. I've dyed fabrics for years with acid dyes, but am moving away from them because of the toxicity. Harvesting Color might be a resource I need for future reference! Another project that might be of interest is the Uniform Project (http://www.theuniformproject.com/) which I heard about on this great podcast from the Netherlands called EarthBeat (http://www.rnw.nl/english/radioprogramme/earth-beat).

    3 years ago

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage says:

    i had no idea that the textile industry was such a large factor in water pollution. i already shop consciously, but now i can be more careful. amazing article!

    3 years ago

  • MissHildebrandt

    MissHildebrandt says:

    WHAT I WOULD DO to paint onto your handmade items with all of your wonderful dyes! Sounds absolutely amazing - I bet your life is so good. Cheers to you and yours. X.C.L Hildebrandt

    3 years ago

  • scarletbegonia11

    scarletbegonia11 says:

    awesome idea! I am totally buying her book!

    3 years ago

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy says:

    Wow....so....completely....RAD. I work in a Museum setting, teaching children about Textile & Fibre Arts, and this is very inspiring for me. I'm always getting sucked further and further into the textile world, and am continually inspired by folks who spin, weave, card, dye & otherwise produce magic with their fibre-centric endeavors. Dyeing will prove to be my next obsession, no doubt. But I just wanted to say that there is something so elemental about growing plants & wildcrafting in order to produce these marvelous hues. It's something all people did before the industrial revolution, but it's so hard for us to imagine. These ladies are part of a Fibre Renaissance, it seems! It's just so exciting...... Thanks for a wonderful spotlight on this~ Heidi

    3 years ago

  • good4you

    good4you says:

    awesome!!!

    3 years ago

  • NecessiTees

    NecessiTees says:

    Bravo to Rebecca and her project!!!!

    3 years ago

  • siennaorlando

    siennaorlando says:

    Ingenious!

    3 years ago

  • tarikyousef

    tarikyousef says:

    So clever, so informative!

    3 years ago

  • InnerWild

    InnerWild says:

    O! Rebecca you are an absolute goddess! WOW!

    3 years ago

  • steinschmuckdesign

    steinschmuckdesign says:

    WOW, Awesome!

    3 years ago

  • flammefatale

    flammefatale says:

    It just makes me want to start working with fibers again. Very inspiring!

    3 years ago

  • wiosnachamow

    wiosnachamow says:

    My dream life would be about eating only the food produced by me or someone close (like this 150 miles here); now it can be expanded to wearing only the clothes produced this way. It made my day

    3 years ago

  • thrivingviolet

    thrivingviolet says:

    Love it!

    3 years ago

  • KKSimpleRegalJewelry

    KKSimpleRegalJewelry says:

    Ya... I could do that... but do I need a longer to-do-list?? ~KK~

    3 years ago

  • SeamsVictorian

    SeamsVictorian says:

    Fabulous article! I think this is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    3 years ago

  • OffTheHooks

    OffTheHooks says:

    I am curious what types of mordants Rebecca uses with her natural dyes. I was really excited about natural dyes until I learned that you had to use some pretty scary sounding chemical mordants (such as alum) with them to fix the color.

    3 years ago

  • wahlrus

    wahlrus says:

    This is lovely! I so glad there are people out there who are passionate about this! Thanks for sharing! EtsyLove from, Jamie & John

    3 years ago

  • MiniCyn

    MiniCyn says:

    Great article!

    3 years ago

  • sparrowgrey

    sparrowgrey says:

    Such an inspiring idea; if the free time ever presented itself, I would love to try growing my own clothes. Very cool concept.

    3 years ago

  • SmiLeaGainCreations

    SmiLeaGainCreations says:

    wonderful idea and beautifully shared!! Thanks!

    3 years ago

  • SuzisCornerBoutique

    SuzisCornerBoutique says:

    Congratulations on a fabulous article!! Much enjoyed!

    3 years ago

  • whiteoakroom

    whiteoakroom says:

    What a wonderful articular. No I don't think I can grow my own clothes. But this is wonderful what she is doing. Beautiful clothing too! Love her style! Thank-you for sharing with us about her! Love the photo of all the different colors of wool... Wish I knew how to knit or do anything with wool! It's gorgeous! Again- Thank-you for sharing her story! Jayne

    3 years ago

  • Kaytoe

    Kaytoe says:

    Very interesting - I often think about sustainable fashion in terms of mending, re-purposing and vintage, but this article gives another dimension. What she's doing seems like the ultimate extension of the 'eat local' movement. Now that I know, I'm also excited to see what dyes grow in my area!

    3 years ago

  • lindaketelhut

    lindaketelhut says:

    Incredible work + enlightening to read. Thank you.

    3 years ago

  • SweetSapling

    SweetSapling says:

    Wonderful article! I love dying my own wool and spinning!

    3 years ago

  • Earthroot

    Earthroot says:

    I literally just bought his book about 2 weeks ago and i see this article! Great job rebecca your a huge inspiration for my spinning and indoor gardening!

    3 years ago

  • mktengineer

    mktengineer says:

    The amount of CO2 produced for just one shirt is crazy!!! I would have never even began to think about the impact my clothes are having on the environment. Great info! Megan

    3 years ago

  • UniqueNecks

    UniqueNecks says:

    WOW! This is so enriching-love that harvesting color; this homespun front is gaining more and more steam- love it!- Thank you Angi==UniqueNecks

    3 years ago

  • KnittyTurks

    KnittyTurks says:

    adorable photographs, I love your work!

    3 years ago

  • NopalitoVintageMore

    NopalitoVintageMore says:

    Great work! Reminds me so much of the 60's and the "hippy" ideas that gained many young people's attention.

    3 years ago

  • mountaingirlsoap

    mountaingirlsoap says:

    I've just been inspired. Thank you for a motivating and well written article. It helps me keep going to know that others share the same worthwhile goals.

    3 years ago

  • dgordon

    dgordon says:

    What an awesome article and concept!!

    3 years ago

  • digitalexpressions

    digitalexpressions says:

    What a wonderful project. I love the sustainability of their goal. I would love to learn more about natural dyes for the wool I use in felting. Thanks for a great read.

    3 years ago

  • MelanieMiljan

    MelanieMiljan says:

    Wow. Absolutely Stunning work and great article!

    3 years ago

  • Loustudio

    Loustudio says:

    wonderful!

    3 years ago

  • vKnit

    vKnit says:

    OMG! incredible! I love how you committed to this and the results are beautiful.

    3 years ago

  • FireGrog

    FireGrog says:

    Very inspiring, especially in this post-industrial age of economic decay. We may all need to reshape our thinking and energies this way.

    3 years ago

  • airyobsessions

    airyobsessions says:

    Incredible story and project! It makes one believe that where there's a will there is a way! Thanks so much for sharing with the Etsy community!

    3 years ago

  • DreamyIsabel

    DreamyIsabel says:

    This is such an important and wonderful project. As a consumer, I only purchase second hand clothes and make my own (I weave, dye, felt , etc...) It's so important to be aware of where things come from and how they're made because it's often made on the backs of the poor (and often women and children). Slow clothes is where it's at.

    3 years ago

  • TheSecondFiddle

    TheSecondFiddle says:

    I just recently received my first spinning wheel. At first I just used the processed wool that came with my wheel, but my father's cousin owns a farm in Washington featuring llamas and alpacas. Since they never used the wool, she sent it to me. Now I've gotten all the tools I need to get from llama to yarn, but I've been looking for recipes for plant-based dyes. I'll definitely have to check out this book. This is exactly where I would like to take my etsy store. Thanks so much for the information and wonderful inspiration!

    3 years ago

  • fbstudiovt

    fbstudiovt says:

    “The ‘limitation’ of sourcing materials within 150 miles,” she says, “became a ‘creative focus.’” Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I make most of my own clothes, but have been thinking a lot lately about where the cloth comes from, where the fiber for the cloth comes from, and what standard of living the makers of these fundamental materials enjoy or suffer from. I'm afraid, given the environmental impact of the dyes alone that commercial operations use, that I've been "blissfully" ignorant for far too long. It's time for me to take a good honest look at where my materials actually come from.

    3 years ago

  • BeedazzledDesigns

    BeedazzledDesigns says:

    Great article!

    3 years ago

  • 1wood

    1wood says:

    Love it love it love it!

    3 years ago

  • pebblekonsept

    pebblekonsept says:

    Great article ! And thank you for motivation....

    3 years ago

  • bedesisters

    bedesisters says:

    We are planning to get goats soon and I eventually want to add sheep to our little farm. In the meantime, I'm learning to use a drop spindle to spin my own yarn. Love this story!

    3 years ago

  • noavider

    noavider says:

    Very nice!

    3 years ago

  • BeHarmless

    BeHarmless says:

    YAY!

    3 years ago

  • GardenDaisies

    GardenDaisies says:

    This is absolutely wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing :)

    3 years ago

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez says:

    Great story & so inspirational!

    3 years ago

  • justaspire

    justaspire says:

    This is an incredible viewpoint and I am sure it will be well-received. Thank you for showing we can stop and think a little before we make choices.

    3 years ago

  • ArlenesBoutique

    ArlenesBoutique says:

    What a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing. Bravo to Rebecca and her project. Think it is a wonderful idea. I knit and love to use natural fibers, however, I am not as gifted as she is. My next project is to learn how to felt.

    3 years ago

  • perizade

    perizade says:

    Amazing! Making my own clothes from scratch is impossible for me, so I will stick to thrift, but I do love the wool process from sheep to clothing!

    3 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie says:

    So inspiring! Love her work... It's just amazing :)

    3 years ago

  • boobahblue

    boobahblue says:

    Great Article....Thank you! Double Bravo to Rebecca!!!

    3 years ago

  • boxofsparkles

    boxofsparkles says:

    This was so very inspring and enlightening, thank you for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • paisleyaura

    paisleyaura says:

    wow. this is exactly what i want to do! wish there were something like this happening around here on the east coast........or perhaps i'll move out there!

    3 years ago

  • paisleyaura

    paisleyaura says:

    wow. this is exactly what i want to be doing! i think i'll move to san fran...

    3 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush says:

    Totally agree with Rebecca! ..let's change the world sellers!!

    3 years ago

  • soranagallery

    soranagallery says:

    Great informative article. Thank you.

    3 years ago

  • asileoriginals

    asileoriginals says:

    How beautiful and inspiring!

    3 years ago

  • Briole

    Briole says:

    Fantastic article, thank you for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • CreoleSha

    CreoleSha says:

    love the concept... a great article.

    3 years ago

  • meoneil

    meoneil says:

    So interesting and inspiring. Textile arts predate all other forms if I am not mistaken, and you have put them on the map here. Informative, and well written. Thank you.

    3 years ago

  • MapleShadeKids

    MapleShadeKids says:

    You dreamed it, believed it and achieved it....very inspiring. kuddos to you!!! A job well done.

    3 years ago

  • solocosmo

    solocosmo says:

    I really enjoyed this article!

    3 years ago

  • FruitOfMyHands

    FruitOfMyHands says:

    I loved this article.

    3 years ago

  • Mirael

    Mirael says:

    Wonderful!

    3 years ago

  • BreatheCouture

    BreatheCouture says:

    VERY inspiring! What great information! I'm loving using natural dyes and learning new ways to keep it 'green' :)

    3 years ago

  • Bedelias

    Bedelias says:

    Love this article! How inspirational!

    3 years ago

  • EdenPottery

    EdenPottery says:

    Very interesting, but I've got to ask...what do you do about underwear? :)

    3 years ago

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree says:

    So beautiful - thanks for this great article!

    3 years ago

  • piecesofelises

    piecesofelises says:

    Great article. I was just thinking the other day that I would like to have access to more natural materials, or to be able to find some in my own area, growing in my backyard :)

    3 years ago

  • MarshaNealStudio

    MarshaNealStudio says:

    This is a GREAT article! Can't wait to look into it more… Thanks!

    3 years ago

  • ToletallyPainted

    ToletallyPainted says:

    Very informative and inspiring article. Thanks for sharing your knowledge & convictions.

    3 years ago

  • somsstudiosupplies

    somsstudiosupplies says:

    What a great article!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • iheartchelsyanne

    iheartchelsyanne says:

    I never knew that clothes made such an impact. thanks for sharing. I will be buying your book!

    3 years ago

  • iheartchelsyanne

    iheartchelsyanne says:

    Rebecca'sbook :)

    3 years ago

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana says:

    Great article!

    3 years ago

  • kellbellestudio

    kellbellestudio says:

    Very informative article. I absolutely love the idea of getting back to the same entrepreneurial spirit we had before the industrial age. It seems like a much more peaceful and inspired way to live. Hats off to Rebecca for setting the example.

    3 years ago

  • ZinniaSnipSnap

    ZinniaSnipSnap says:

    I love the leg warmers and the colorful necklace! Great article!

    3 years ago

  • IceCreamCandy

    IceCreamCandy says:

    love this!!

    3 years ago

  • ElizabethWyatt

    ElizabethWyatt says:

    This is a great article and the clothes shown are lovely.

    3 years ago

  • PeterPaulAndLarry

    PeterPaulAndLarry says:

    Sending a big THANKS from our peaceful pasture!

    3 years ago

  • StephanieRasulo

    StephanieRasulo says:

    Love this!!!

    3 years ago

  • ClippieDepot

    ClippieDepot says:

    Wow! I am so inspired! Good job Rebecca♥ Karen, you have made an impression on my mind that will stick for a very long time! Great article. Thank you!

    3 years ago

  • gloriafreshley

    gloriafreshley says:

    Wonderful article. Thank you! Kudos to Rebecca, and thanks for all the links!

    3 years ago

  • wishfulthinkinstudio

    wishfulthinkinstudio says:

    what an amazing project. Very cool

    3 years ago

  • minxdenpartdeux

    minxdenpartdeux says:

    love this!!! very inspiring!

    3 years ago

  • LoveOfAllVintage

    LoveOfAllVintage says:

    Love your determination and commitment, we need more people like you!

    3 years ago

  • onyxtofrost

    onyxtofrost says:

    Wonderful!

    3 years ago

  • fadetag

    fadetag says:

    I worked at the Yolo Wool Mill, and it is surprising how possible it is to get fiber from a nearby source. There are designers out there (especially in California) who are trying to keep their production local. The Fibershed project does a pretty good job of highlighting people in California. I'd met a good number of these people as they came through the mill to have their fiber processed, and they are all dedicated and amazing!

    3 years ago

  • NatalieDrest

    NatalieDrest says:

    Awesome article, I especially liked the bicycle carder in the video!

    3 years ago

  • MadisonStreetBeauty

    MadisonStreetBeauty says:

    great article

    3 years ago

  • MammaEarthCreations

    MammaEarthCreations says:

    Wonderful story!

    3 years ago

  • ScrapunzelPixie

    ScrapunzelPixie says:

    A truly inspirational woman! Utilizing local materials, right from the source....and beautiful creations too. I like to use charity and thrift shops for my creations, keeping materials from being wasted and sent to landfill :)

    3 years ago

  • ALittleMermaid

    ALittleMermaid says:

    Not realistic for most people though. She spent a lot of time on this, which is a luxury for many families busting their butts to make ends meet. Organic and locally-grown fabrics and yarns aren't cheap. I priced yarn for a sweater I wanted to make, and the yarn would have been about $80 plus a good 10 hours of time. I just don't have that to spare on one sweater for myself when I have to work and also clothe a child. There's too much else that money needs to be spent on than a single sweater. I prioritize a roof and food over petting the sheep that will be sheered for the wool that I could spin and knit into a sweater for myself. As it is, I still wear clothing I bought used a decade ago. No way I, or most of the people I know, could afford to replace what we have with enough local, organic, personally-knit or locally-knit clothing to last a year. This is a privilege of those who are wealthy, even those who don't see themselves as wealthy. It wouldn't happen on my household income.

    3 years ago

  • Fibrillaria

    Fibrillaria says:

    This is a wonderful project! I think it is very realistic for people to begin adopting this approach to clothing and very necessary given the global situation we are in. Start small, make scarfs, mittens and socks...then onto the weaving. It could provide so many jobs for small time artisans. Also one needs to think not just about how much they want, but how much do you Need?? Look in your closets and see if you can't get rid of ten t-shirts and replace it with another article of clothing that can stand the test of time, both in style and material.

    3 years ago

  • TUKON

    TUKON says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article and beautiful photographs ! Vered

    3 years ago

  • goodwool

    goodwool says:

    Thank you, etsy, for this uplifting article and thank you to the fibershed project for the inspiration and hope!

    3 years ago

  • fromsoul

    fromsoul says:

    Great story!

    3 years ago

  • toocutecustomcrafts

    toocutecustomcrafts says:

    Incredible article. What a fascinating adventure. Enjoyed reading it so much!! Thank you!!

    3 years ago

  • PourBoyCeramics

    PourBoyCeramics says:

    This article was great! I would love to be able to be so self reliant. Thanks for shairing.

    3 years ago

  • amysfunkyfibers

    amysfunkyfibers says:

    Just love the idea, it's amazing that she could find so much that close to home!

    3 years ago

  • acadianhomestead

    acadianhomestead says:

    Love this article!! I've always wanted to dress in my own handmade and grown clothes.

    3 years ago

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy says:

    that would be amazing if it were possible to have some textiles that i actually made on my own and used rather than machine made. great article.

    3 years ago

  • asundrynotion

    asundrynotion says:

    I've followed Fibershed for some time now. Great to see it featured here. And if you aren't in a situation to grow/spin/weave/dye your own fibers, supporting artisans who create wearable and utilitarian goods from recycling deadstock natural fiber materials is also a great way to go.

    3 years ago

  • whistlingsparrow

    whistlingsparrow says:

    This is so inspiring! Thanks for the great article!

    3 years ago

  • jypsyecult

    jypsyecult says:

    Fabulous project. Have worked with plant based dyes myself and they work. Will continue to follow Fibershed.

    3 years ago

  • TimberGreenWoods

    TimberGreenWoods says:

    Very very cool!!

    3 years ago

  • KristyLynnJewelry

    KristyLynnJewelry says:

    Great article! Love all the natural colors!

    3 years ago

  • jacquierae

    jacquierae says:

    Love this Karen! Thank you. I learned a lot and just love your photo examples. It is beautifully done!

    3 years ago

  • ByPearlElizabeth

    ByPearlElizabeth says:

    Great article!

    3 years ago

  • BirdsNestCompany

    BirdsNestCompany says:

    What an awesome idea! The clothes are amazing too! Great job!

    3 years ago

  • ecochic

    ecochic says:

    very inspiring! thank you for this amazing story..

    3 years ago

  • wichey

    wichey says:

    I love your clothes!!!! : )

    3 years ago

  • sizzlestrapz

    sizzlestrapz says:

    Wow! Now that I think of it, I never really think of what or whom I am wearing. I just throw clothes on. This is such an insight. You have done such anamazing work and I hope for all the great blessings and luck to you int he future. Love your line of fabric and clothes:) Keep it up!

    3 years ago

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink says:

    What a great article, I could don"t agree more. To boost own economy one has to boost local resource. We grew up surounded by all those natural products and as we age, we tend to think that we are getting civilised by resorting to man made products that are totally harmful to us and our earth. Back to basics is the solution to it all. :)

    3 years ago

  • fiberartoriginals

    fiberartoriginals says:

    Fabulous! I so enjoyed this piece. I've been doing all the fiber arts for over 30 years in my small city here in PA, meanwhile, searching for like minded individuals. I was lucky to find others to do sheep to shawl demos and share our knowledge, but nothing on such a grand scale as this. Congratulations on all your accomplishments and continued success with all your endeavors!!

    3 years ago

  • THREEerincadigan

    THREEerincadigan says:

    Amazing and inspiring! I try to keep my items organic and environmental but know that there is always harm when they are being produced so far away. Fashion is so hard to find a balance in as there are just so many factors to assess. I really appreciate the effort and thought that went into this year in Karen's life. KUDOS!

    3 years ago

  • ThreeStrandsFibrewrk

    ThreeStrandsFibrewrk says:

    This book is now on my wishlist!

    3 years ago

  • jewelsbymoon

    jewelsbymoon says:

    Superb article. Thanks for bringing alot of things to light. 30 years ago it was so hard to find and afford organic clothing, and I am so pleasantly suprised to see this movement still growning in so many different ways. I knew as it progressed like everything else, prices would come down and availability would be better. So hurrah to that. the informative part for me was the percent of pollutants attached to the textile industry. I didnt like seeing those numbers. The book is great! Contragts, and keep up the wonderful work. Moon

    3 years ago

  • reflectionsjewelry

    reflectionsjewelry says:

    Happy you were a blessing to your local farms, businesses, artists.....

    3 years ago

  • whimsydaisydesigns

    whimsydaisydesigns says:

    Wonderful informative article, thank you, great job!

    3 years ago

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 says:

    Wonderful article! Loved the video, I've always wanted to try making felt hats, very inspiring!

    3 years ago

  • YarnUiPhoneApp

    YarnUiPhoneApp says:

    Interesting..but I've got a stash of fabrics that are no native to my state. I'm using this stuff up before I go local. Even going 'local' would be expensive...come on feeding all those exotic sheep is expensive, the farmers got to pass on the cost to make a living.

    3 years ago

  • TeegsAndHenry

    TeegsAndHenry says:

    This is by far one of the best stories I've read on Etsy to date! So inspiring!

    3 years ago

  • marcomagro

    marcomagro says:

    LOVE AND AMMIRATION FOR NATURAL COLOURS!

    3 years ago

  • bsasik

    bsasik says:

    I hope she is right about the handmade movement being a force that will help transforming our economy. I would love to see it transforming into a thriving one but without turning us into a third world country. I hope we can give a start to all things made in USA.

    3 years ago

  • FarFlungCards

    FarFlungCards says:

    I love this thought, though as many have said it would be very hard for many people to do this. The consciousness-raising is so important, and getting the word out is something Etsy is very well positioned to do. Similarly, I'm trying to get people to realize the importace of high-touch, low-tech communication through my greeting cards, which not only are beautiful, recycled and upcycled small gifts but also are little packages of love and happiness. The world is so in need of thoughtfulness and mindfulness! Thanks for this article.

    3 years ago

  • Iammie

    Iammie says:

    Love this story.

    3 years ago

  • Littlehillwoolworks

    Littlehillwoolworks says:

    So inspired by this story. We call our hats and accessories made "from the grass up" also, as we raise our own sheep and birds for feathers. But this story has inspired us to contact other Vermont fiber artists and crafters to see how we might work together to embark on a similar effort. Thanks for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • woolies

    woolies says:

    Utterly fabulous.

    3 years ago

  • divinalocura

    divinalocura says:

    Aweso project!!

    3 years ago

  • divinalocura

    divinalocura says:

    i mean .... awesome project!! woohooo =)

    3 years ago

  • cooljewelrydesign

    cooljewelrydesign says:

    Rebecca, it would seem, is the Pied Piper of post-industrial clothing et al...think about the T-shirt example and also factor in all the chemicals used (which are carcinogens) when clothing is taken to the dry cleaners...live with wrinkles is my motto! Thank you for taking us on this amazing journey and insight into what is possible.

    3 years ago

  • sockmonster

    sockmonster says:

    This is incredibly inspiring! I have a lot of fun spinning and knitting with local wool. I also think if you don't want to be a part of the ecological problem thrifting is wonderful option ( : ~Rose

    3 years ago

  • RummageVintage

    RummageVintage says:

    How neat! I actually did a project over this in one of my college fashion classes! xo

    3 years ago

  • HidowFiberFarm

    HidowFiberFarm says:

    As someone that has our own farm I find this article very interesting. I take for granted the fact that I can (make that HAVE) to go out to the barn every day and take care of my animals. I know that my animals are raised organically and exactly what is in their fiber and their bodies. I am blessed that I have a farm and my livestock and can make things from their fibers.

    3 years ago

  • bohemiannomad

    bohemiannomad says:

    This is so awesome. Thank you. In December I will be moving to a small Casita/studio that is off the gird in the mountains of NM. I am really excited to truly align my principles with my lifestyle and really become more self sufficient. One of my plans is to grow plants for natural dyes and to seek out the local fiber producers!!! Ultimately changing the face of my shop! Cheers~ Meekah

    3 years ago

  • TrulyJulie

    TrulyJulie says:

    Amazing and a very inspiring, go green fashion team~!

    3 years ago

  • vinskord

    vinskord says:

    Fantastic article! You are amazing!!

    3 years ago

  • ShabbyRabbitStudio

    ShabbyRabbitStudio says:

    I have just begun dying naturally and want to get this book right away after reading this article. Thank you so much-very exciting! And thanks to Etsy for getting this info out as well.

    3 years ago

  • TNShopthailand

    TNShopthailand says:

    i had no idea that the textile industry was such a large factor in water pollution. i already shop consciously, but now i can be more careful. amazing article!

    3 years ago

  • RonaCraftworks

    RonaCraftworks says:

    I would love to make felt clothing in the future! ...for now it's jewelry! Thanks for the informative article!

    3 years ago

  • HoboeJane

    HoboeJane says:

    so absolutely lovely :) I've been wanting to try creating my own plant made dyes for a month now and this article really inspires me to get going and do it. Also, her blog is great and I can't wait to read her book Harvesting Color. Again, thank you for sharing! -HJ

    3 years ago

  • odiddlydee

    odiddlydee says:

    wow! what an inspiration, that rebecca. thank you for sharing the resources & sustainable love!

    3 years ago

  • MyWisteriaCottage

    MyWisteriaCottage says:

    I wish classes on doing these wonderful things were availabe in smaller local areas. If one was here I would take the class.

    3 years ago

  • FeltNatural

    FeltNatural says:

    incredible, just what i needed, thanks for sharing, i have already gone and bought the book!!!!! thanks for sharing this info,,,K

    3 years ago

  • pukkacrew

    pukkacrew says:

    SUSTAINABILITY FTW!

    3 years ago

  • HennyPennysJumble

    HennyPennysJumble says:

    Beautiful colors! Nature is so amazing!

    3 years ago

  • sampeare

    sampeare says:

    Very inspiring.

    3 years ago

  • PoodlePoddles

    PoodlePoddles says:

    Wow! That's awesome! Very inspiring :)

    3 years ago

  • jungledread

    jungledread says:

    Yup - you've got to know where - really where - all your craft media comes from. Big difference between "handmade", created from low quality, unethical materials at the $2 shop...... and handmade from ethically sourced, high quality materials that the artist has worked themselves.

    3 years ago

  • JennasRedRhino

    JennasRedRhino says:

    I grew up in rural Alaska, where the traditional method of tanning leathers involved urine. Lots and lots of urine. Now, stuff like walrus gut makes a fantastic raincoat, but who wants to smell like pee when wearing this locally-produced outerwear?

    3 years ago

  • marysworkshop

    marysworkshop says:

    This is a wonderful article that enlightens many of us. It challenges us to think about how we might incorporate small changes into our purchasing decisions and move towards a more sustainable and environmentally sound way of clothing ourselves.

    3 years ago

  • kariton

    kariton says:

    Very inspiring! Keep it up.

    3 years ago

  • mbueb

    mbueb says:

    Wow, Karen, what a fantastic article! Not only is looking at our fashion in a holistic way important environmentally, Fibershed can bring a really deep, meaningful dimension on an industry we value so much. I hope we can integrate it back into our culture.

    3 years ago

  • wwbc

    wwbc says:

    Thanks for this informative and wonderful article!

    3 years ago

  • CherieMay

    CherieMay says:

    Brilliant idea. I love that her clothing is truly 100% made in the USA. Way to support local artists and the local economy! We need more people like this. Beautiful work!

    3 years ago

  • MariesCorner

    MariesCorner says:

    awesome!!!

    3 years ago

  • laKattun

    laKattun says:

    Very inspiring idea! Thanks for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • leslieholz

    leslieholz says:

    As a person who raises fiber animals (among other things!) I can totally appreciate raising awareness of the importance of "local" whether that includes eating, supporting local aritsans or wearing local. I have raised my 4 daughters to be pretty self sufficient and it has been very rewarding to see the way they work with our animals, harvest their wool, process it and knit or needle felt items from it. Thrilled to see this article and I will look for your book. Great job!

    3 years ago

  • FirebirdsTreasures

    FirebirdsTreasures says:

    I love this concept. Thank you for sharing it. I often daydream of living in a place that would allow me to barter my skills as a seamstress and jewelry maker and wonder how well I would thrive in such a world. I can spin and weave, but tend to fair better working with cloth and thread made by others so far. I will have to expand on those skills as well...

    3 years ago

  • bobcochran

    bobcochran says:

    We love the Hats for Children and adults made by Sebastianseven, but do not know what the material is. Is it wool? Please let us know. We are giving this gift to a vegan lawyer in NYC who fights for animal rights. Thank you.

    3 years ago