A truly stunning, handmade nettle and cotton textile made without dangerous chemicals by the hands of skilled artisans in India, paid a fair living wage for their work.
Price per metre. Multiple quantities will be cut in a continuous length.
This fabric has a distinctive traditional "fishbone" pattern that is clear and bold, with a slightly tufty texture. The fabric is an artisanal masterpiece - the raw material is hand-harvested, and the fibres are finely handspun and then woven by hand. The handspun yarns are black and ecru, creating a warm appearance, and the finished cloth has a thick, spongy feel similar to wool. The fabric is comforting and warming on the skin.
The nettle yarn has been spun double-ply, adding strength and is then further blended with non-certified organic cotton. The nettle yarn is natural and undyed with flecks of beige, and there is even some "chaff" - straw - from the nettle stalks. It is best not to pull these out to avoid pulling yarn with them, but they will break down and remove themselves within a few washes. The organic cotton contains the colour (azo-free dye).
Both sides of the material can be used. The weight and hand feel are suitable for chunkier garments, accessories, homewares and interiors. The material would make a beautiful blanket with bound edges. In terms of attire, we suggest coats and jackets, skirts and autumnal dresses. Unless you have particular skin sensitivities, as the fabric is so soft and thick, you should not need to line garments. This cloth has integrity and durability, indeed woven by skilled craftspeople.
Pair the fabric withblackornatural organic cotton thread and some beautiful, ethical buttons. Not sure if the material is suitable for you? Pick up a swatch, or get in touch with our expert team, who will respond within one working day: firstname.lastname@example.org.
55% nettle 45% organic cotton
Country of Origin:
Animal Cruelty-Free, Azo-Free, Fair Wage, Low Energy, Low Water, No Finishes, No Genetically Modified Crops, Organic (Uncertified), Supports Local Communities, Sustainable, VOC-Free
Ethical and Sustainability Considerations
This fabric is made of natural fibres and is 100% naturally biodegradable in the right conditions.
Nettle is one of the oldest harvested fibres. As you may know from your own garden, nettle plants grow quickly and widely, but rather than being a weed, it has a long root structure that prevents soil erosion, fixes nitrogen and is a pollinator for butterflies. Himalayan nettle grows well in the high altitude of the Himalayan region, requiring no irrigation or watering, with all parts of the plant (up to 5 metres tall!) being able to be used for food, fibre and fuel.
Nettle as a fibre has been long used for its strength and durability, including in India as bandages for its known properties in healing wounds quicker than other fibres. It is a mildew-resistant and odour-resistant fibre. As nettle is a hollow fibre, it will keep the wearer cool in summer and warm in winter, and again with the cotton blend, it has a softness against the skin.
With little to zero chemicals to grow and process, nettle is a good fibre for the land, farmers, yarn processors and weavers.
The cotton is also grown locally using traditional organic processes, which means no chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or herbicides have been used in the cultivation. It also means that the farmers use their own seeds rather than GMOs. This is beneficial for farmers and the land.
The fabric is woven within a community of 75 female artisans in Uttarakhand, India. For nine years, they have been working to promote the craft and natural fibres of the area by using locally-grown and foraged crops.
Green plants are harvested by men of the community from November to December, with the outer bark peeled off to reveal the inner bark - or what is used as fibre. This is left to dry, bundled up and stored in a well-ventilated room to dry further.
Once dry, the bundled fibre is softened by boiling it with wood ash or caustic soda and rinsed in running water while being beaten with a wooden hammer to help soften it and remove any excess outer bark. This is a task for the women of the community.
The retting process - on the ground or in running water - will allow the gums that hold the fibres together to break down.
After retting and beating, the fibres are bleached using a solution of white clay, maise flour and rice chaff (broken stalk pieces) to make the fibres white and bring out the natural lustre. They are left in the sun to dry again.
Crushed limestone is added to the fibres to make them a little greasy, allowing for easier handling in separating the longer and shorter fibres, which is helpful for spinning.
The fibres will then go for hand-spinning using either a spinning top or charkha (spinning wheel)
The dyes used for the organic cotton are azo-free and are not coloured with harmful substances. The nettle fibre is undyed - this is its natural colour.
Sewing experience: This fabric is thicker and, therefore, may need a more experienced sewer to handle.
To care for your product:
Suitable for the washing machine and tumble dryer, we recommend cooler washing or handwashing and air drying to prolong the fabric's lifespan.
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 annually.
We also recommend line drying, which reduces energy usage and looks after your textiles for longer. Use a mild detergent, light botanical refresher, or steam the item you've made in your bathroom after a shower.
You should not need to iron this fabric, but if so, use a medium temperature.
Wholesale And Restocking
Stepped pricing is available for 25 metres and over, so please inquire if you are looking for large amounts. We love working with smaller brands: purchase one metre and upwards directly from the website and email us for wholesale quantities for bulk production when you're ready. We welcome large and small orders from brands of all sizes. See our full wholesale guidelines here.
Please note that refunds are not possible once fabrics have been cut, unless in the unfortunate event that your material arrives damaged. Please order a swatch before purchasing your metre lengths. Please see our Refunds and Cancellation Policy page for full details.
Due to the nature of handwoven fabrics, there can be irregularities in the weave and print, along with variations in batch dye colour. We have quality controlled this fabric. However, there could be minor irregularities that we love and see as normal and charming. If you are unhappy with the material you purchase, please let us know, and we'll do our best to rectify it immediately: email@example.com.