Ethical textiles: Cork leather

Have you ever sewn with cork leather? Read on to find out more about this amazing eco-friendly textile!

Cork leather is an amazing sustainable vegan textile


I have thought a lot recently about sewing with eco-friendly fabrics and I will now only buy fabrics that are ethically manufactured. The materials I use to create my wardrobe will not have a negative impact on the environment or humans. Why?

What is cork leather?

Cork leather is a thin textile made of cork shavings.

At Blogtacular, Moira from Craftiosity gave me a lovely kit that had a small sheet inside. I haven’t sewn with it before and I wanted to know more. This is what I discovered:

  • 100% natural
  • Vegan
  • Water-resistant
  • Stain repellant
  • Chemical-free
  • Low maintenance
  • Wear and tear resistant
  • Sustainable
  • Eco-friendly

Sounds good right? Products made from cork leather include handbags, belts, wallets and even jackets!

Where does cork leather come from?

This textile comes from the cork oak tree in the Mediterranean region and, amazingly, these trees live for up to 300 years. Cork is harvested from the bark of the trees once they reach around 25 years old. It doesn’t harm the tree at all, in fact, harvest actually encourages growth, meaning they are an extremely sustainable textile source. Workers harvest each tree every 7 to 10 years.

If you’re interested in the process of creating this ethical textile go and take a look at this informative blog post over at Offset Warehouse.

The production of this eco-friendly textile does not cause harm to humans, animals or plants which is a win for me!


I would absolutely use this as an alternative to animal leather and I’m keen to get my hands on some to create a purse or handbag. A jacket would be absolutely amazing, but I’m going to sew something small first to see what is it like to use.

It isn’t that easy to get hold of unless you’re a wholesaler, however it is possible to buy in smaller quantities from various Etsy sellers.

Will you be giving cork leather a try?


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  1. Sherri West
    6th July 2017 / 7:57 pm

    I would consider sewing with it for something small like a wallet or journal cover. I browsed etsy and it seems to come in different colors but I think it could be painted or stained just like leather. I hadn’t heard of this before your post. Here’s an interesting article I found about banana, coconut and pineapple textiles.

    • Toria
      6th July 2017 / 8:27 pm

      I’m glad you found my post useful ๐Ÿ™‚ It is possible to get cork leather that is naturally dyed, so I’m definitely on the look out for some of that.

      Thanks for the link ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s amazing the things that textiles can be made from isn’t it? Piรฑatex is actually another textile I’m going to write about, I came across it being used by Po-Zu Shoes. I love all of these alternatives to leather ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Sherri West
        6th July 2017 / 11:28 pm

        I forgot to mention one of my main attractions to leather is because I’m a vegetarian.

        • Sherri West
          7th July 2017 / 3:35 am

          I meant leather alternatives.

          • Toria
            7th July 2017 / 6:57 am

            I’m not vegetarian so it’s not something I’d ever really thought about until recently. I was pretty horrified about what leather production is doing to people/environment once I’d seen The True Cost though. I just had no idea.

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