Choosing low impact fabrics

Fabrics surround us.

We wrap ourselves each day in clothes and at night we are swaddled in bed linen.

We sit on fabric lounges with fabric cushions.

Harsh light and prying eyes are shielded from our domestic lives by the use of curtains and blinds.

But so many of these fabrics are made of synthetics, like polyester.

Polyester was developed in the war years by British chemists and is made using a chemical reaction involving coal, petroleum, air and water. Polyester is dyed with toxic substances and takes a long time to decompose.

During the week I was in Moruya getting ready for sculpting our house block into gently rolling mounds. Then it rained.

The earth moving operation halted just like an episode of Grand Designs.

Instead of getting muddy we checked out a local store that specialized in custom-made blinds.

We have two narrow west facing windows one in our bedroom, the other in the bathroom which the council insisted we include to allow surveillance of the street.

To be frank, our streetscape is not pretty. We observe unlovely brick veneer and pedestrian gardens and have neighbours who enjoy a good old barney at intense volumes.

As much as possible we want to screen ourselves from the street’s sights and sounds.

So I found some blinds that would provide privacy in the day whilst allowing views to our garden.

We are crafting a front garden inspired by the nearby south coast sand dunes. The idea is that when you arrive at the house and step through the front gate you are transported into a heavily vegetated undulating landscape – the antithesis to the suburban streetscape.

It will be a garden of natives and includes coastal succulents like the rapidly growing Pigface with its magenta flowers, woody uprights of Banksias and Casuarinas and strappy Lomandra and Coastal Rosemary.

Although I liked the store-bought transparent blinds, they were synthetic.

As I walked away from the shop, I contemplated that using fabrics with a big environmental impact for house decoration didn’t fit with my ethos of clothing myself in sustainable fabrics.

Instead I reasoned, a simple linen curtain will provide a screen to the front windows. Massed vegetation will give us visual privacy and shade from the blistering western sun. The earth mounds will assist with the noisy neighbours.

I plan to stitch simple linen curtains for the bedroom that will gently waft in the afternoon sea breeze.

At the end of their window furnishing period they can be turned into repurposed garments or a tablecloth, and later when thread-bare gently break down in the garden.

On a future rainy day, I look forward to firing up my Singer and running up some low-impact curtains.










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