Bamboo, Silk and a Wedding

I have been neglecting my blog a lot over the last couple of months.

The first reason for this is that I’ve been working on quite a few things, but none of them have taken form enough for me to share them with everyone so I am laying low.

The second reason is that particularly the last month has been so logistically messy.

I made a very quick trip back to Australia that resulted in a few weeks of jetlag and becoming sick. A month later I’m still coughing like a child with croup and have become convinced that it must be consumption and that the only thing to do is write huge amounts of poetry and leave immediately for the south of Italy for recuperation.

I’ve also been playing in a real tennis tournament over the last week or so and it might be fitting to be running around Hatfield house, playing real tennis and dying of consumption.

But, apart from trying to pack up and move house, this week I’ve been making a dress as a wedding present for the bride’s reception.

The reception dress will be worn with red flip flops or, if the English summer continues in its current fashion, wellingtons.

It was to be short, black, fun, I wanted to add a bit of lace to keep it “weddingish” and I looked at silk as it needed to be a special fabric for a special day.

But I have problems with silk.

Silk is made by boiling the poor little silk worms. It also means the farming of mulberry leaves and I can’t find any information about the exact environmental and social impact of it all.

“Peace” silk (non silk worm killing silk) or wild silk is thicker, stiffer and bobbly and not suited to what I want. I also heard they sometimes shoot birds to keep them away from the silk worms?? Myth?

Mercerised cotton kind of looks the same, but the chemicals and the water… Polyester is all chemicals and…

…there are just problems everywhere. I therefore made a decision that I wasn’t really expecting to.

I bought GOTS certified black bamboo silk from India.

I’ve been debating bamboo for ages and had previously decided that the chemicals involved in the processing meant that I didn’t like it.

I’m still unsure whether I will use it on a commercial level, but it is a beautiful fabric and, as the bride is moving to Vietnam post wedding, it feels a bit fitting to dress her in 100% bamboo.

The problem is that everything has problems and there are no perfect solutions. On the positive side bamboo grows quickly, does not need pesticides or fertilisers and requires very little water.  On the negative it uses harsh chemicals in the breaking down process in order to be turned into a thread, but GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) seem very good in their certification process and I don’t believe they would certify something that is pouring vast amounts of chemicals into rivers (I will check this before I consider using more than 5m of the fabric)

I’m still researching silk, the research never ends really, but I think this feels like a good current solution.

The only organic cotton lace I know of was unsuitable, but the thread is all organic cotton and the the lace will be hand beaded by moi.

The pictures here are the lining version (which is why it looks inside out) just tacked together today ready for a second fitting and in need of a good iron. The skirt with have two shorter gathered peplum layers over it.

It may not be 100% perfect, but it’s being made with 100% consideration and love.

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One thought on “Bamboo, Silk and a Wedding

  1. Hi, glad to see your blogs! Really enjoyed your previous one, The Great Debate. I’m in agreement with you as I can’t really see the wood for the trees so think that it’s about getting on with it to make our world more sustainable. Beautiful back on that dress, by the way! Take care. Di

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