Sewing “sustainable” lingerie: fabrics for Éternité

Sewing “sustainable” lingerie: fabrics for Éternité

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When designing the period-proof underwear pattern, I wanted to go a bit further than just a panties’ pattern.

What I really wanted was to guide step-by-step because technical fabrics may be a little scary at first glance. Yet you’ll see that there’s nothing too bad about them.

In this article, you’ll find all the infos to be able to choose the best fabrics for the design of Eternité.

The main fabric

The main part of the panty must absolutely be sewn in a stretch fabric.

There’s a lot of choices: jersey of course, but also stretch lace, lycra…

However, as the Eternity panties are intended to be worn during a week when we are particularly sensitive, I advise you to opt for materials that are pleasant to the skin.

I have sewn all my versions in organic cotton jersey for the fabric that is in contact with the skin.

The lace version I presented to you when the pattern was released is the 2nd Éternité’s variant.

That’s why this one is entirely lined with jersey, which makes it both feminine with the lace and comfy with the jersey.

To be as close as possible of the nature and my environmental convictions, I chose to sew only organic cotton jersey.

According to Mercerie Etoile:

Organic fabric is a fabric woven from natural fibres that complies to the standards of organic farming. This means that no chemical fertilisers or pesticides have been used. No chemical hormones or use of GMO seeds have been used either. This even goes as far as respecting the animals that might come into contact with these crops. But this also applies to the dyes that you will find in these textiles.

Fabrics for the gusset

The absorbent part

Did you watched the video on the Youtbe Étoffe Malicieuse chain on absorbent fabrics?

To choose the absorbent fabrics, I wanted to compare them in terms of absorption (see the video on the Youtube channel for this), but I also wanted to use a fabric made as close as possible to my home, and in the most respectable human conditions possible. Add to this the fact that, of course, I did not want a fabric full of harmful substances… tough!

The first fabric I thought of was of course the cotton sponge. It’s easily found in shops, and organic is widespread. But, the thickness of it is quite important. As I didn’t want to have the feeling of wearing a nappy, I looked for something else.

That’s how I came across that interesting article from Amandine Cha (which I invite you to read if the subject interests you).

Thanks to this post, I did some research on bamboo because it is often sold as an “ecological” product. Actually, bamboo comes most of the time from Asia (so bad point because far = transport = CO2 emission), then to treat it they use Sodium Hydroxide (solvent classified as corrosive). In short, I thought it would be better to find something else for the absorbent part.

I then asked about Tencel. It is in fact eucalyptus transformed into fabric.

  • First good news: eucalyptus can be found in Europe.
  • Second good news: it comes from managed forests and grows very fast. And I have read that it needs much less water than cotton.

Tencel is also hypoallergenic because it can filter out bacteria and pollutants.

Tencel is actually a brand name, just like “lycra”.

Here is the transformation process of eucalyptus in pictures :

I’m not going to linger on the subject here, but if you do some research on the net, you’ll see that Tencel really has everything just to be sewn with the best respect for our planet 😉

The waterproof part

This part HAS to be waterproof to prevent leaks on your clothes, but it must also be breathable.

The PUL exists for this specific purpose.

On the ArBrinic website, we can read :

The “PUL” is a 100% waterproof, soft and supple fabric, which is easy to sew and can be used to make all kinds of waterproof items that are resistant to repeated washing.

Pul consists of a polyurethane membrane laminated to a knitted fabric. It can be washed up to 40° but DO NOT tumble dried it.

There are organic PUL, oekotex PUL and “standard” PUL. Of course, the prices are accordingly.

Please note: the “organic” PUL can’t be entirely organic as the coated part cannot be. However the cotton is organic, so it’s one step in the right direction 😉

If for some reason you don’t want to use PUL, I’ve read on baby nappy forums that you can replace it with an old K-Way, or a mattress pad (I personally haven’t tested it).

However, be careful: even if this fabric won’t be in direct contact with your skin, it’s still preferable to use fabrics that are free of harmful materials. By recycling an old mackintosh, we don’t have any possibilities to verify that.

When sewing PUL and keep it waterproof, you must avoid piercing as much as possible to avoid future leaks. So use clips instead of pins to sew your panties.

Fortunately, the assembly seams are located on the periphery of the PUL piece, so risks of leakage is minimal!

Where to find the fabrics?

Please note that this article is not affiliated:
I don’t get any money if you click on the links or if you buy in these shops.

I wrote this post only to save you from wasting time looking for the right supplies to sew Eternity.

I have listed below some French shops for the gusset’s technical fabrics.

I didn’t list any shops for the main fabric for several reasons:

  • because a panty can be sewn in remnants and therefore there’s not always a need to buy any fabric,
  • because you certainly already know a lot of very nice shops for jersey,
  • and finally because there are a huge amount of shops that now sell organic jersey, so easy to find! (A little search Ecosia will do the trick perfectly!)

These links may not be accessible for a while as the shops change their products: don’t hesitate to leave me a small comment at the bottom of the page so that I can modify them accordingly 😉

And if you know of other shops, please to leave me a note so that everyone can benefit from it.

To sew the displayed versions of Eternité, I bought my technicals fabrics from Ar Brinic.

I must specify that I bought it as you will: I did not ask for or receive any discount or any other compensation. This allows me to be frank with you: I am very satisfied with my order! On the other hand, I would have liked to be able to order by the tenth of a cm and not by the 50 cm. That would have meant less unusable scraps.

Ar Brinic

I bought PUL organic cotton, tencel micro-sponge, organic flanelle, and also some organic cotton sponge to do my tests (see the video on Youtube).

I only have one drawback about this shop: don’t be in a hurry!

My order took a quite some time to arrive, which let me some time to read in the terms and conditions that we can receive our shipment up to 30 days after payment.
Moreover, I had needed to contact them and nobody answered the phone despite several attempts.

But otherwise, I am completely satisfied with their products.

Mamzelle fourmi

At Mamzelle Fourmi, you can find non-organic PUL , non-organic cotton sponge, and non-organic bamboo sponge. But you’ll very nice organic jersey which will be perfect for the panties’ main fabric. So the advantage of this shop is that you can buy everything in one place.

Tiloudou

In this shop where you can buy everything you need to sew sustainable nappies, you’ll find non-organic Oekotex PUL, bamboo sponge, Tencel microsponge and GOTS certified organic cotton microsponge.

La Mercerie de L'Etoile

At the Mercerie de l’Etoile, you can find organic sponge, PUL (organic and not organic), but they do not have flannel or tencel. You can also find pretty organic cotton jersey for the outside of your panties.

Bio Tissus

At Biotissus, you will find organic sponge, flannel, organic PUL.

It is unfortunate that, at the time of writing this article, Biotissus does not offer tencel fabric.

Have a look the Éternité pattern:

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If you liked it, please share it to whomever might be interested:

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I wish you all a very nice day.

I’ll get back to you soon with a little tutorial to add a touch of lace to Eternity!

See you soon,

Viviane

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