Robert Allen’s Eco-Lines of Fabrics

June 21st, 2011 by Cathy Rust Leave a reply »

I was in “g” Green Design last week looking at products I haven’t yet featured. How surprised was I when I spied some fabric books by Robert Allen. I admit I’m a bit of a fabric junkie. I make regular trips to Designer Fabric Outlet just to peruse through their yards and yards of fabric, thinking up ways I can use it in my home. Now that I have a huge Rubbermaid bin full of fabric “ends,” I’ve stopped making as frequent trips to the store. However, Robert Allen fabrics have always been my fabrics of choice. Compared to the “designer-only” fabrics they are in the affordable range and I love the wide selection of styles, materials and textures.

What I didn’t know was that they carry a wide variety of “eco-fabrics” in addition to their traditional lines. “Eco-fabrics” is a loosely defined term here meaning a fabric that has a recycled material content, or organic natural threads including cotton, linen, and hemp.

From Robert Allen’s website:

The fabric that we designate as “eco-friendly” has met criteria we’ve established based on strict environmental standards for fabric content, dye/pigment composition and finishing processes/treatments.

FABRIC CONTENT: At least fifty percent of the fibers in our eco-friendly fabrics are sustainable, organic and/or recycled.

  • Sustainable fibers come from rapidly renewable resources with growth and harvest cycles of five years or less. Fibers that fall into this category include alpaca, bamboo, mohair, hemp, wool, and cork.
  • Organic fibers are grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Fibers that fall into this category include organic cotton, organic hemp and organic linen. All of our organic fabrics are made from certified organic fibers.
  • Recycled fibers come from post-consumer waste such as soda bottles. They also come from post-industrial waste: byproducts from the manufacturing process. Our post-industrial recycled fibers come from petroleum byproducts, recycled cotton, corn derivatives (PLA), recycled silk, and soybean husks.

COLOR: Our eco-friendly fabrics may simply reflect the color of their fiber content (i.e. in their un-dyed states, many fibers such as alpaca and recycled cotton come in ranges of rich hues from deep chocolates to luminous shades of gold.) Alternatively, these eco-friendly fabrics may derive color from metal-free or reduced metal dyestuffs and pigments. If the fabrics contain dyes or pigments, they meet the metal content standards set by the Ecological and Toxicological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments Manufacturers (ETAD).

FINISHING: Our eco-friendly fabrics may be loom state, meaning that they come straight from the loom with no additional performance preparations. Eco-friendly fabrics with finishing treatments may include washing (with water alone or with a mild soap), aero-ing (tumbling), steaming and/or pressing with hot rollers. In general, it is our preference not to use a stain repellant or a water repellent except in cases where they are a practical necessity, such as for certain Contract fabrics. In these cases we will offer the most environmentally-friendly option available to suit the needs of our customers, and we will continually seek advancements towards reducing the environmental impact of those finishes. Backings applied for Contract applications are polyester so that, in combination with a 100% recycled polyester fabric, the end product is completely recyclable.

On the website there are two searchable pattern books available: Pure Style and Evolution, however, in-store at “g” GreenDesign there are a few other books with more eco-friendly patterns: Eco-Poly I and II (Contract), and Sensuade II (a faux suede fabric made from 100% recycled polyester).

Adestan from the Pure Style line. 100% Organic Cotton

Pure Style’s fabric characteristics are that fabrics contain “recycled, organic or sustainable fibers,”  they use lower impact dyes, if they are dyed at all, and they are treated with the lowest impact stain-treatment in only certain cases, particularly in contract (commercial/institutional) uses.

Eco Passage from the Evolution line. 90% post consumer recycled polyester, 10% post industrial PE

Evolution is a collection of fabric for contract (commercial/institutional) purposes. “Composed primarily of recycled fibers, all fabrics meet the most stringent emissions requirements while offering excellent resistance to abrasion, odor, liquid and stains.”

Pricing is dependent on fabric choice, so please check with Michele Vig “g” GreenDesign or other Robert Allen dealers.

“g” Green Design is located at:

113 Miranda, Toronto, ON.

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