Ethical Merino wool is back for 2020 winter

Written by Sarah Garrett-Hodoniczky


Posted on May 08 2020

Earlier in the year we ordered a new batch of our beautiful lightweight merino wool jersey from ABMT, a mill in Melbourne. We ordered the same 140gsm featherweight merino that we had in the Remedy collection last winter which is certified ethical by the RSPCA. The Spirulina colour sold out so quickly last year, so we decided to dye a couple of rolls in the same colour this year along with two new colours, Ruby and Terracotta. The Ruby is the same tone as our bamboo colour taking into account that the colour will always differ between fabrics and batches. The Terracotta is rich and beautiful and looks great colour blocked with the Ruby. 

I wanted to show this process so you get to see how we are able to make our own fabrics locally as well as sewing all our garments locally. 

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We have to put a good deal of thought into which fabric we want because you have to meet minimums, which is 500m total and this can be divided into different colours. 

The first part of the process is the 'pot dye' samples(in the pic above). This is where they work out the colour formula, doing a small swatch with a couple of variations for us to choose from. While these are being decided the fabric is being knitted. 

After the fabric is knitted and dyed we are sent a swatch to check for colour prior to the final fabric finishing and putting onto rolls.

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Finally the completed rolls arrive to us ready to sample, make the stock and do a new photo shoot. Below is a roll of each colour on the workroom table, so we can see what the final thing looks like. It's a 4 month project to get the fabric from an order to finished and ready to make, not counting the numerous hours/days/weeks of thinking about the collection and deciding on the actual fabric weight, texture etc and the all important colour choices.

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We are doing the classic Spinner Top again as this top is always popular, a one size throw over top with a nice cowl neck to keep your neck cosy and warm. The Elixir Cardi is making a return this season in all these colours but also we have graded a size XL. Last year we only made the Elixir in S/M/L as it's a loose easy fit shape but we did have a few requests for a larger size and some people like to add a couple of layers underneath. The Oracle Vest will be also available again, a cosy fitted double layer vest top with interesting trims around the neckline and armholes. I like to play around with different options when I am sampling. I find that sometimes a good idea isn't the easiest to sew and could be a problem in production, so an alternative has to be found. I wanted the Oracle to be a garment with a little more detail so I coverstitched a beautiful merino Ponti strip around the edges then concealed the ends with a French made herringbone cotton ribbon detail. I also used a ribbon trim to conceal the end of the seam down the back. 

The first lot of merino stock has just been picked up and here's what it looks like, yes it's on our recycled cardboard hangers in the back of our van. Jay goes to our makers who live 30kms from our home studio. No plastic packaging is needed, no container ship traveling from afar! It's all local.

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Doesn't it look colourful? Although the daylight has muted the colours in this picture, I can assure you that they are certainly deep rich colours. All those Spinner tops lined up there.....such warm colours for the cooler weather ahead.

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So fingers crossed that the weather will be kind over the next week and allow the washing to be done. We prewash all this lightweight merino because it's constructed with raw edges and they need washing in so they curl up.

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I will be spending this weekend thinking about the styling and getting the whole feel for the shoot on Saturday 16th. As we are still under restrictions it's going to be a very small group and we have worked out a way for it to work. I'll post pics on Instagram stories if you would like a sneak peek?

Thanks for reading my story and learning more about our local production.






  • Comment author

    Hi Sarah. As you know I adore your clothing & to read your newsletter was inspiring. It’s wonderful how environmentally aware your Company is and to read that the wool is approved by the RSPCA is such a credit to you.
    I look forward to seeing your Winter collection. 🙏

    Posted by Libby Jones | May 27, 2020
  • Comment author

    Thanks for reading Anna, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    I am so proud of our local production and that we have never been tempted by the cheaper off shore option. Supporting our local economy and keeping the talented locals employed is so important.
    You know how long our garments last, especially the merino ones! To have a RANT garment after 10+ years is a common thing.

    Posted by Anonymous | May 11, 2020
  • Comment author

    What a great read! So satisfying to know that even if we feel disempowered by what is currently going on in the world, we can all choose to make a difference and support our local business and workers by our choice of garments.

    Posted by Anna Sauvage | May 11, 2020
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