Any leftover fabric produced (but not used) by a fashion house or production company. We carefully search through these bolts of fabric to find beauty and potential in the unused. When we take our time and choose consciously, we can give this perfectly usable fabric a new life.
A majority of Christy Dawn dresses and other garments are made with deadstock we find in Los Angeles. When searching for deadstock, we source only fabrics made from renewable resources. Here are our go tos:
Cotton, which comes from the seed encasing of numerous varieties of the cotton plant, is the most versatile and popular natural fiber. Our favorite kinds of cotton fabrics are made from long-staple cotton, which makes voiles and gauzes. They are lightweight, comfortable and flowy, and perfect for a dress.
We also love sturdy cotton denim, twill, and corduroy for pants and jackets - this is made from shorter staple cotton.
Cotton is by far the most readily available natural fiber and the Christy Dawn dressmakers love working with it. We consider it a special moment whenever we’re able to find a hidden treasure trove of deadstock cotton!
Linen comes from the fiber in the stems of flax plants. The coarse fibers turn into soft yarn through processes called retting, scutching and combing. The result is a strong, breathable and luxurious fabric.
Linen is our go-to for more structured garments like jumpsuits, pants, and coats because of its durability. The stiffness of the fabric makes it easy for our dressmakers to sew beautifully detailed silhouettes.
Rayon is wood pulp or other cellulose fibers that are treated and transformed into fabric. Rayon is one of the most common types of deadstock we find. It is perfect for our dresses because it drapes well, and is soft and versatile. Our favorite type of rayon is rayon crepes for its texture and rayon bemberg because it is so silky. We also love cotton-rayon blends.
The types of rayon we are most drawn to can be hard to sew because they are slippery and can have some stretch. We are lucky that our dressmakers excel at this type of tricky sewing!
Silk comes from the silkworm’s cocoon of fibrous material. While creating their cocoon, silkworms secrete two different types of protein that they then spin together to make long strings of strong fiber.
Creating silk is an intensive process and quality silk requires mulberry silkworms, which are relatively uncommon. Silk has a soft and supple feel and a lustrous sheen, making it an especially luxurious fabric. Silk is also relatively hard to sew because it is slippery and lightweight. We love using silk for our dresses, but we make sure to choose beloved silhouettes and have only our most talented dressmakers sew them.
Wool is made from the fleeces of sheep and other mammals. Wool is soft, warm and cozy. We source leftover wool yarn and fabrics for our sweaters and coats.
Merino wool is from one of the world’s oldest and most resilient breeds of sheep, the merino sheep. They can adapt to a huge range of temperatures because of their fleece. That quality is transferred to merino wool yarn, making it the perfect yarn for our sweaters and coats.
Mohair comes from the shaggy fleece of angora goats. Mohair yarn is incredibly soft and silky. It blends well with merino to make a perfect combination of soft and durable sweaters and cardigans.
Cashmere is a luxurious and special fabric. It comes from goats in the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan, which have extremely soft and fine fleeces. Cashmere is warm and soft, making it perfect for cozy cardigans.
Leather comes from cowhides. Due to the irregular shapes and sizes of cowhides, there is a lot of waste in the production of leather goods. These leather remnants would end up in the landfill, but we hand-select the very best pieces, rescuing and repurposing them into boots and sandals.
Fabrics from Oshadi
We source new, organic materials from a community in India, which will eventually produce fabric with our regenerative farm cotton. Oshadi, the textile company we work with, has worked extensively to revitalize traditional handweaving and natural dye techniques in its local community.
Upcycled Cotton Voile
While the farm cotton is growing, we sourced leftover cotton voile from local fabric mills and started working with printers to make our custom designs. The mill discards entire batches of high-quality cotton voile because of small flaws or discolorations. A vast majority of the fabric is usable, it just takes the careful eye of our printers to cut out any flaws.
Oshadi sources long-staple organic cotton from farms around Southern India. The organic cotton is non-GMO, grown without synthetic inputs, and processed in certified facilities. The high-quality cotton is perfect for cozy knits and lightweight, beautiful dresses.
Organic Cotton Silk
Oshadi also makes a beautiful and luxurious organic cotton-silk blend. The fabric is incredibly soft and flowy, easily our favorite fabric for summer dresses.
Weavers transform yarn into swaths of fabric using a handloom that intertwines two sets of organic yarn. Handwoven fabrics are some of the highest quality available because human handling makes the fabric much less stressed and damaged than the mechanized alternatives. The end result is a beautiful, delicate yet durable fabric that has the unique influence of the artisan who created it.
A jacquard loom is a handloom that uses punch cards to weave designs into fabrics and is typically used for more intricate designs or designs with curves.
Flatweaves are stripes, plaids, ginghams and any other fabric designs with straight lines and right angles.
A traditional Indian textile, khadi is handspun and handwoven cotton. The art of creating khadi has been passed down from elders to the younger generations and takes immense knowledge and patience.
Dyes and Printing
Oshadi partners with numerous dye houses that make our custom prints and colorways into a reality. We have drawn a hard line of only sourcing fabrics dyed and printed with organic dyes or natural dyes for two reasons. One, our skin is our biggest organ and we need to be mindful to not introduce it to toxic or harmful chemicals. Two, dyeing is the most water-intensive process along the fabric supply chain, meaning toxic dyes often end up harming waterways and ecosystems.
Organic dyes are man-made dyes that have stringent environmental and toxicology standards that both protect our skin and waterways from synthetic dyes that cause harm and do not breakdown in nature.
Natural dyes are plant-based dyes that color fabric using no man-made chemical inputs.
Natural dyes are not as consistent and colorfast - the color will fade at a faster rate - as the synthetic alternative. But we like to think of it like this: the longer color sticks on fabrics, the longer the runoff from their respective dye house sticks in the waterways.
Block printing is a traditional way of transferring designs onto fabric. After a year of living with block printer communities in India, Oshadi found a block-printing studio in northern India. It is one of the last studios in India that still solely uses natural dyes to print fabric. Each of our designs starts as a print file that they transform into a couple of teak blocks. Using those blocks and concentrated natural dye solutions, the dyers print the fabric.
Artisans create numerous large screens based on the Christy Dawn patterns and print them onto the fabric by moving dyes along the length of the screen. We use a small screen printing studio that uses organic dyes to transform plain fabric into beautiful prints.
A printing press transfers organic dyes to fabric to create intricate and detailed designs.