100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
When I was considering the idea of creating an organic cotton fabric line, the first place I contacted was Organic Cotton Plus. That was back in 2004! I can vividly remember speaking with Barbara Bush (not the first lady) about the concept and asking her if I created a line, would they sell the fabric for me. Her response was so enthusiastic that it played a critical part in building the confidence I needed to take the leap of faith. Now, well over a decade later, Organic Cotton Plus continues to sell and support the Harmony Art line of organic cotton fabrics. Both of our companies have changed and morphed over time but I am happy to say the relationship is still one of admiration and gratitude.
This month in honor of our longevity with each other, Organic Cotton Plus is having a sale on Harmony Art organic fabrics. Sew Happy!
Additionally, Organic Cotton Plus also has an interview with me posted on their blog.
It is my pleasure to bring to you the next installment of our Meet the Team Series. HoneyBeGood is a very unique company with a remarkable and poetic location. It's a family business. Karen, her daughter Melissa, and husband Edward run the company.
Believe it or not this organic cotton fabric company is operated out of the old Cotton Warehouse at the renovated Porterdale Mill in Georgia! Here's a brief history of the Mill and the fairly recent undertaking by Walter Davis to restore this vast set of structures:
Opening in 1899, the Porterdale Mill prospered into the 1960s becoming the world’s largest producer of cotton twine. Low priced global competition forced its closing in the early 1970s causing the small town of Porterdale to decline. In 2006 the Porterdale Mill has been transformed into the Porterdale Mill Lofts, with residential, retail, and live/work spaces in a community designed for young families and singles, professionals and artists, small and independent retailers and business owners and anyone seeking a genuinely unique contemporary lifestyle.
Karen was involved in the Mill restoration during 2005-2007. When she got the inspiration to start her own organic cotton fabric store in the spring of 2012, the location just seemed like the perfect fit.
Although primarily an online store, according to Karen, "If folks are in the area, they're welcome to stop by (calling first is appreciated: 888.419.1563). If they're game and weather permits, we'll be happy to take them kayaking on the river!" Beam me there. That sounds amazing. I love the idea of the history and future colliding at HoneyBeGood. What fun to have Harmony Art fabrics play a growing roll.
Besides the unique location, what sets this Team apart from our others is their laser like focus on quilting. Karen has been quilting for over 20 years! The only cotton they carry is organic and this is intentional. They have designed their selection to be presented in a way that speaks to the quilter. To this end, they offer fabrics in full widths but also in coordinated fat quarter bundles. According to Karen, these fat quarter bundles are quite popular!
Karen and I share some similar feelings about the quilting fabric treadmill.
To quote Karen, "I've become acutely aware of the pressure for designers and quilt makers to quickly churn out new patterns and product samples. The quality of the designs suffers, along with the idea that these creations are inspired and unique. That's not to say there aren't many fabulous designs in the market place - there are! by many talented designers. Often times I find myself in envy that the designer isn't working in organic cotton. But when I embarked on this retail venture I knew for certain that I could not be one to peddle conventional cotton. To me, organic cotton is more than environmentally- and socially-responsible; it's one solution for a textile industry that needs to slow down to be sustainable. In a slower, higher-quality mode, we can all take a breather and stop to truly appreciate the fabulous medium we're so blessed to work with.
"I think part of the reason I feel this way is that I quilt by hand - often bed quilts. This takes a lot of time during which I become intimately familiar with the fabric I've chosen for my quilt. I spend a lot of time under it. Not just any fabric will do and I think there are others out there who feel the same way (I sure hope so!). My goal is to provide a rich variety of organic and responsibly-sourced fabric for quilters and sewists who don't want conventional cotton. We've added hemp blends to our collection in beautiful solid colors in linen and muslin weaves and plan to add other alternatives to cotton as we become familiar with them.
"Some of my inspiration comes from The Slow-Fashioned Movement and all the wonderful and talented designers (like you!) who are dedicated to healthier fabric."
HoneyBeGood proves once again that the journey is indeed the prize. Meeting, supporting, learning from, and having the honor of working with like-minded, thoughtful people really makes my heart sing and all of the work feel like a gift. I am truly blessed. Thank you Karen, Melissa and Edward. Keep up the good and important work!
I am happy to share with you our latest limited release organic cotton jersey prints that were printed right here in the USA in New Jersey! Please NOTE: The USA printer is not GOTS certified. We are hoping that we can send them enough business to prove to them that GOTS certification is worth their time and money but until then please keep this in mind. All of the fabrics we source from India are GOTS certified.
Both Monk and Ohio Purple coordinate with our solid white jersey and also work with our Lime Green Interlock or Sateen. Do you remember the original Ohio Interlock? What do you think of the new purple colorway?
These fabrics were available to our wholesale customers at a discounted rate by pre-ordering in advance. In fact, Ohio Purple is completely sold out of full rolls. Fret not, you can still get individual yardage from Stitch Simple (USA) and Pure Fabricz (EU). We do have one roll of Monk available. . . contact me if you are interested.
Also, you may be happy to hear when we printed these designs on white jersey we also teamed up with NearSea Naturals to print a limited amount of the designs on their substrates (flannel, white interlock and natural jersey). If you love the designs but were hoping for flannel or interlock visit NearSea Naturals.
Pure Fabricz and NearSea Naturals just received the yardage this week so if you don't yet see the fabrics be patient or contact them directly to inquire.
Also, we recently did another small run of Sweet Jane Sateen on our 60" natural sateen with the printer in New Jersey. This was done at the request of one of our wholesale customers who missed this fabric desperately. . . so we did a special print run for them. We have one 50 yard roll left. If you are interested, contact me. We are here to help YOU get the organic fabric you need so feel free to keep the feedback and requests coming.
Meet Monique - the force behind our European distributor Pure Fabricz! Pure Fabricz is based in The Netherlands and has been handling our EU distribution since 2009. As luck (synchronicity) would have it, Monique was looking for colorful, appealing organic cotton bedding. She was frustrated when all she could find was beautiful shades of oatmeal and granola. Undaunted she decided she could make her own bedding. Her search for wide-width organic cotton fabric lead her to Harmony Art.
It was at this exact same time our European distributor was relocating to the Ukraine and was closing her shop. Instead of simply making a set of bed sheets Monique jumped into the fabric business! (She is someone who is not afraid of a good challenge from time to time.) Monique studied at fashion school, so she knew her way around a sewing machine. Prior to this career move she had several jobs, from shop manager to executive secretary. In addition, she is a volunteer at a local animal shelter where she is the editor of their quarterly magazine and the cat photographer!
Since their start in 2009 they have grown into a webshop (Pure Coverz) and wholesaler. They recently moved their business to a new premises with enough space to grow further. Pure Coverz sells all different organic cotton items for the home; bedding, home, bath and kitchen textiles.
The fabrics are now to be found throughout Europe in shops and webshops. Pure Fabricz has helped numerous small designers create the most beautiful garments with it.
It is a pleasure and joy to work with Monique. She is thoughtful, compassionate, detail oriented and a total sweetheart. I truly am the luckiest girl in the world. We wish Pure Fabricz a wonderful new chapter in their expanded (and organized!) location. If you have any friends in Europe looking for organic fabric, please refer them to Monique.
[NOTE: Pure Fabricz has THE largest selection of Harmony Art organic fabrics!]
Back in late 2004 the idea of Harmony Art organic design was just beginning to percolate. Kate Scott of Birdland Ranch told me she bought her organic fabric from a company called Organic Cotton Plus based in Texas. She also told me there was very little in the way of colorful and printed organic fabrics available for small businesses or home sewers. All that was available at that time was left overs from Patagonia production runs. I called Organic Cotton Plus (OCP) a few days after speaking with Kate and asked them this hypothetical question, "If I were to create a line of colorful, printed organic fabrics, would they sell them for me?" Their answer was a resounding, "Yes!". It was this very conversation and their enthusiasm for my vision that gave me the courage I needed to press on. Having a distribution system willing to take on my fabrics made the idea seem doable. They agreed without knowing me and without even seeing my designs. Talk about trust! As our first distributor, Harmony Art's history and OCP's are definitely woven together.
OCP use to be connected to the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative. OCP is now under new ownership but I am happy to report that the care and commitment to organic fabrics has not wavered. Linda Hayes is the new "woman in charge". She has had several careers in various government, historic, and event planning arenas. Linda is a crafter and sewer so she came to OCP with an understanding of fabrics. Working behind the scenes she has gained even more knowledge about textiles. One of Linda's personal passions is reenactments. She has been involved in many and for the past 2 years she's participated as a Pirate Reenactor at the Norwalk Seaport Oyster Festival Pirate Encampment and hopes to be expanding the pirate reenacting to the Norwalk Seaport Pirate Island event in July 2012.
When you place an order with OCP you are interfacing directly with Linda. She enjoys getting to know individual customers and helping them fulfill their fabric needs. She prides herself in her customer care and service.
The main things that sets OCP apart from our other fabulous conscientious retailers is the fact that they are GOTS certified! Don't know what GOTS is? Click the logo and find out.
So, how many of you have heard of Stitch Simple? Jen Madsen, the founder of this small but powerful company, liked to quilt but didn't like to prep the fabric. She found the washing, cutting and pressing tedious. She figured she couldn't be alone in this opinion. Upon further research she found no one offering ready-to-sew kits. Oh, there were kits to be purchased but none of them had prepared the fabric for you. Stitch Simple was born to fill this need.
What I personally love about Stitch Simple is that Jen is not afraid to try new things and she definitely listens to her customers. She believes (and I agree) that what sets companies like Stitch Simple apart from large fabric stores is the care and attention each customer receives. When you purchase a quilt kit from Stitch Simple, it not only includes all the pre-washed, pre-cut, pressed fabric you will need but it also includes a practice pack of pre-washed, pre-cut fabric pieces to get you warmed up. In addition the assembly instructions for some kits are for six different sized quilts and you get UNLIMITED assistance from the Stitch Simple Quilt Kit Support Line with every kit. I'd call that amazing!
In addition to their pre-washed, pre-cut and pressed quilt kits, Stitch Simple also offers a variety of prepared fabrics like fat quarters, full yards and even by the inch(!) fabric pieces all ready to sew with. They even offer custom hand rotary-cut orders - pinked edges, triangles, anything, really! If you don't see what you are looking for, ask. The flexibility and options they offer are truly mind blowing.
When it comes to being a retailer of the Harmony Art organic line, Stitch Simple offers the most comprehensive swatch sets of both our woven and knit fabrics. Stitch Simple also offers (to businesses only) our fabrics re-bolted onto those cute cardboard cores you are used to seeing in fabric stores. If you are a small business and want to carry our line but can't commit to a full 50-yard roll, Stitch Simple's reseller program might just be the answer for you.
Like what you just read? How about going to their facebook page and "liking" Stitch Simple?
This is a first in our Meet the Team series showcasing the fabulous retailers who stock and sell our fabrics.
Last month I took a trip to the Carolinas. One of the highlights was getting to meet the people at NearSea Naturals. NearSea Naturals was founded by Winnie Culp and her daughter Tara Bloyd in 2002! NearSea Naturals is one of the original organic fabric suppliers in the USA.
To quote NearSea: "With our focus on the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit, we endeavor to make those choices easier and more enjoyable by carefully selecting sustainable fabrics, yarns, notions, and goods as delightful to work with as they are beneficial to people and the planet."
In 2010, they launched their sister site: American Grown•Spun•Milled which focuses entirely on USA produced fabrics, from seed to shelf. When it come to living and breathing your convictions, NearSea Naturals tops the charts.
Why a picture of these dapper shoes? Well, these are Tim's work shoes. What? Huh? See, when Laura, Debbie and Tim get to work they take their outside shoes off and put on their work shoes. Yes, it's a bit like Mr. Roger's Neighboorhood (but in a good way!). These guys take contamination seriously! The area that houses the fabric is kept as sterile and sanitary as possible. Yes, I removed my shoes before entering the "fabric zone".
Laura does the cleaning each week and when she mops, the mop water in the "fabric zone" is perfectly clear unlike the front room where "outside shoes" are worn. She says the difference between the water is staggering. Hummmm....maybe my house needs to be a shoe free zone too?
What sets NearSea Naturals apart in my mind is their thorough thoughtfulness. They stringently assess not just the fabrics they purchase but the manner in which they are handled and treated in their care. The warehouse team (above) were so kind and lovely. I am sincerely grateful to have them on the Harmony Art team. The world is a better (and cleaner!) place with NearSea in it!
Now, how about hoping over to their Facebook page and "liking" them (American Grown•Spun•Milled has one too: https://www.facebook.com/OrganicCotton). If you have ordered from NearSea Naturals feel free to leave a comment about your experience. If you haven't yet, go check 'em out!
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.