A beautiful tweedy fabric made from a blend of 55% ramie (nettle) and 45% cotton.
With a distinctive, intricate weave, the textile has a pattern reminiscent of the Linton Tweed (used exclusively by Chanel) and looks almost like a wool. Created with variable yarn-dyed threads in a light baby blue and white, the fabric has a beautiful texture. It has a substantial and thick hand feel, with a tight opaque weave. The tweed effect is created using a combination of thick and thin yarns for both the warp and weft, along with an irregular weave structure.
It is perfect for jackets, skirts, heavier looser trousers and really stunning homewares, soft furnishings and upholstery.
Also available at Fabrications Hackney in a small quantity to buy in person (approximately 10 metres).
Requiring no to little chemicals to grow and process, ramie is a good fibre for the land, for farmers, yarn processors and for weavers.
Harvesting is usually done by hand, with stalks being soaked in water to allow the fibres to come away from the bark. It is a lengthy and generally costly process, with additional difficulty coming from spinning where the brittle fibres cause issues. However, this can actually be a pro, as we end up with highly textured and interesting fabrics.
As this fabric is made of natural fibres, it is 100% naturally biodegradable.
Ramie is one of the oldest harvested fibres - it has been grown in China for many centuries and thought to have been used for wrapping Egyptian mummies! A matured ramie plant has huge roots, and, unlike cotton for example, once planted, harvesters only need to cut the stems above the ground, leaving it to grow back and continue the cycle for more than twenty years - even linen has to be replanted every year. The roots protect the surrounding soil and prevent deforestation. Because of this protective quality for the soil, the Chinese government has made ramie planting mandatory in certain regions.
Ramie provides multiple benefits over other fibres; it doesn’t require irrigation, as it survives on rainwater, and doesn't need draining. It also doesn't require pesticides to grow - one of the most damaging aspects of conventional cotton. It's very easy to maintain, as it can be planted where other crops, such as corn or rice, can suffer, including on hills, near ponds and even in back gardens! Because it's fast-growing, ramie can also be harvested up to six times a year. So it is a much more sustainable raw material compared to those that can only be harvested twice annually. Ramie is also incredibly durable, resistant to mildew and odour resistant - so it has added benefits when made into home furnishing or clothing products.
To care for your product:
Suitable for the washing machine and tumble dryer, but we recommend cooler washing and air drying.
Turn the machine down to 30 degrees for a more environmentally friendly wash. In Europe alone, if every household turned its washing temperature down to 30°C, we could save 12 million tons of CO2 a year. We recommend line drying as this reduces energy usage and looks after your textiles for longer. Use a mild detergent, light botanical refresher or even just steam the item you've made in your bathroom after a shower. Iron on a medium temperature, however, the textured look should hide any creasing.