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Featured Shop: SewnNatural

May 15, 2013

by Sewn Natural

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

We’re Jen and Jane, a mother and daughter (now grandmother and mother) based in Ottawa, Canada, who share a shop, SewnNatural. We make modern, eco-friendly handcrafted products for children and their parents.

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I work out of a studio in my 100-year-old home, and tend to corral my kiddos into helping me with the shop. My mother Jane has her own home studio across the city from us. I fit my work in around homeschooling and chasing my toddler, while Jane works full time for the shop. We recently started collaborating with Stephanie, a local fiber artist who helps with photography and makes some awesome wool toys and custom sculpted pet portraits.

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SewnNatural started in 2008 because I was having trouble finding modern organic gear for my (then) baby daughter. Our collection grew slowly as my mother and I began making things for our family and put them in the shop.  Every day, we draw on our collective experiences in quilting, fashion design, sewing and embroidery, environmental activism, teaching, and parenthood to make one-of-a-kind handmade goods. We design everything ourselves and often use all four of our hands in making things. We sew, quilt, needle felt, and embroider using only natural fibers, and certified organic or upcycled vintage fabrics.

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For our buyers, conscious consumerism means spending money on one well-designed dress – or picnic blanket or baby mobile – instead of five. It means buying less but buying better, choosing something that you absolutely love and you know will last. It means choosing sweatshop-free goods that are infused with the love and positivity of the person who made them. For us as makers, conscious consumerism means focusing on sustainable design so there is little waste and our goods are durable and not too trendy. It means consciously choosing materials that leave the smallest footprint on the Earth, like water-based dyes, organic fabrics, and long-forgotten vintage pieces that need a new life. These commitments are very important to us as both buyers and as artisans, and we know they are meaningful to our customers.

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For us, Etsy is an amazing and supportive creative hub. The best part is the artisans and the collaborative ideas that come about when people help each other out. We just launched a collaborative mini collection of organic pillows that features the photography of local Ottawa artist (and friend) Raceytay. Thanks to Etsy, local and global can happily coexist.

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We sell handmade to people all over the world, and it all starts in our little “village” of family and friends right here in Ottawa. Our incredible customers make it all worthwhile – they not only feed us new ideas and help us tweak products, but also offer support and gratitude. Our baby bedding clients asked us to make non-toxic toddler nap mats and now they are one of our biggest sellers. It’s a delightful thing to be able to earn income from working with your hands and your family while doing things you love.

All photographs by SewnNatural.

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