Saturday, August 8, 2009

Baaa Baaaa Black Sheep

Jeremy and I are starting to toy with the idea of moving to Traverse City and easing into farming. The plan would involve us both getting full time regular jobs to start and then buying some sheep, maybe 3-4 ewes. The first year I would take fiber spinning, knitting and weaving lessons and hone in my natural dyeing skills. My goal would be to take the sheeps fleece to the fabric stage and dye it naturally. From there I could sell my clothes on etsy, online or farmers markets. I could also sell my fibers, yarn, cloth etc. We could use the sheeps milk to experiment with learning to make cheese. Jeremy is also interested in growing hops. On our vacation to traverse city next week we plan on exploring the area more, going to the northwest michigan fair to look at the animals for fun and to meet with a rep from farmstone credit union to discuss what time of things we need to get in order financially if this is ever going to happen. Jeremy dreams of donkeys, llamas and chickens as well.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

An update

I have been pretty good. There have been two purchases made in the last 5 months that strayed from my sustainability goals. A Detroit Tigers shirt to wear to the game and a swimsuit for Puerto Rico. The suit I bought was a Patagonia, so at least it was still from a company that has sustainability in mind.

The fiber recycling conference was a success! I met Todd Copeland from Patagonia and Jana Hawley from Kansas State, she is also currently the president of the International Apparel and Textile Association. She liked my poster and enticed me apply to attend KSU for my PhD. I also met quite a few folks from the carpet industry. My poster was very well received. The concept of a slow clothing movement was discussed. This idea interests me.

Issues I have come across in my attempt to purchase sustainable clothing:
Bras- I need a padded bra with support, so far I have only found one expensive french company (this may be a business idea for me to pursue)
Shoes- Mine are getting pretty tattered, I have been buying secondhand and asked for some Simple brand shoes for my birthday
Bike Jersey- I might have to make my own, a wool one sounds too warm

A major problem I have is lycra mixed in with garments. There are all these beautiful organic cotton garments made by companies that are 98% cotton etc. and then 2% lycra. What happens to the lycra when it decomposes. If I am to strictly follow cradle to cradle sustainability rules, I would not purchase these products. I think I am going to have to investigate this further.

For my birthday Jeremy let me buy organic jeans, an organic red skirt and an organic white tee.

I have checked out a stack of books on vegetable and natural dyeing from the CMU library all of which are ancient which I am perusing as bedtime reading.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I submitted an abstract to present my thesis.

Conference Link:
Fabric Recycling 2009

Title: Design for Disassembly for Apparel: Investigation of joining techniques of technical and biological fabrics

Author: Dana Harder, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan, USA

Background: In order to design more sustainable apparel, ways to separate components of different nutrient cycles, both technological (man-made/recyclable) and biological (natural/compostable), have to be achieved (McDonough 2002). This study focuses on methods to attach polyester lining to a wool outer shell of a jacket. To date, very little research has been done in the area of design for disassembly for apparel. As of 2007, student groups from two universities, Oklahoma State and Illinois State were developing the “first apparel product(s) embracing the idea of design for disassembly” (Cao 2008). My research builds upon this research by evaluating additional joining techniques.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the disassembly time, seam strength and impact on comfort and aesthetics of construction methods for design for disassembly of a wool jacket shell to a polyester lining.

Seam Assemblies tested:

· Traditional construction method stitch type 301 12 stitch per inch +/- 1/2 inch

· Construction replication of Oklahoma State's “untraditional use of buttons”

· Construction replication of Illinois State's stitch type 301 1/4" in length

· Polyester hook and natural fiber loop

· Washable glue

· Lace up assembly

· Tie assembly

Research Design: Two quantitative experiments and survey.

The first experiment tests the fabric strength of the polyester and wool fabrics used and the seam efficiency of each seam assembly; following the ASTM 1683-07 Standard test method for failure in sewn seams in woven apparel. “Seam efficiency in sewn fabrics is the ratio expressed as a percentage, of the breaking force required to rupture a seam to that required to rupture the fabric” (ASTM D 1683-07).

The second experiment tests the disassembly times of the construction methods. A stop watch is used to test seven joining technique samples for disassembly time to separate all polyester from cotton components including any thread from dissimilar nutrient cycles. The sample disassembly time is then used to estimate the disassembly time of the jacket by measuring the total attachment area. A ratio (t/10” = x/total length of seam) will be used to calculate the time needed to disassemble the lining from the shell. This method is based off of correspondence with Dr. Hae Jin Gam about her testing method for the Illinois State jacket. This will establish 1) whether the design alternatives require less time than the traditional method to disassemble, 2) the construction method with the quickest disassembly time, and 3) determine if any of the methods could be disassembled in 30 seconds or less.

Finally, seven size 12 women’s jackets (Butterick pattern B6410) of the various construction methods will be constructed for the evaluation. A survey will evaluate the effect on aesthetics and comfort of the various construction methods for connecting the lining and shell in comparison to the traditional jacket and whether any of the alternatives would be considered un-wearable. The survey consists of closed questions to produce nominal (yes, no or not applicable) responses. Descriptive statistics will be calculated for each response. The percentage of positive or negative respondents will be reported.

Conclusions: This research is part of a thesis project currently under way and scheduled to be completed mid-april.


ASTM D 1683-07

Cao, Huantian and Gam, Hae Jin. Embracing Design for Disassembly providing a Proof-of-Concept for

the Apparel Industry’s Role in leading Product Design and Production into a New Eco-Concious Era. (unpublished abstract) Oklahoma State University. ITAA Conference 2008. Supported by EPA Grant SU833517.

McDonough, William and Braungart, Micheal. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things.

(2002) New York: Nothpoint Press

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am making a vow

I am going to try my best to make sustainable clothing choices for one year.

What does this mean?

I am only going to purchase clothing:
-That is second hand
-I made myself
-Is made is a sustainable manner

Why am I doing this?

I had a student worker interview me on sustainability for a class project because I was writing my thesis on issues related to sustainable apparel. She asked "Do you own any organic or sustainable clothes?" I paused, I did not.

It is easy for me to think about sustainability and what industry should be doing. It is easy and therapeutic for me to go to the store and buy something mass produced off the rack. I want to know how it feels to be conscious of what I am buying. I want to know if really takes that much effort.

I also feel that pre-thinking my apparel choices and most likely being involved in modifying the design, will give me a sense of connection with my apparel. I also think I will own less.

I also am trying to force myself to sew more.