Fabulous Fabrics: GreenFibres (UK) Organic Cotton Gauze and Nettle / Cotton Blend

organic cotton gauze netting GreenFibres is a UK based online “eco goods and garments” shop which sells a number of hemp, linen, silk, and organic cotton fabrics by the yard.  Their cottons and linens are certified organic, and two of their fabrics are certified fair trade – others “are made under fair and safe working conditions.”  The fabrics they offer are the usual natural, unbleached fabrics with a couple of colorgrown patterns thrown in.

They offer two items that really caught my attention, though, because I hadn’t seen them anywhere else: organic cotton gauze, and organic cotton / nettle blend fabric.

The first is organic cotton gauze, a.k.a. netting.  They say that it’s great for gardening, with an almost throwaway comment that it’s “great as a craft material or dressing up prop!” Indeed, I’ve always associated gauze with doctoring more than with sewing, but since they’re selling it in the fabric section instead of bath and body, I thought I’d figure out what crafters could use it for.

And what do you know, you can make HALLOWEEN GHOSTS with it!  It’s serendipity, I tell ya.  But if anyone  uses it for other crafty projects, I’m all ears.

nettle and organic cotton fabricThe other item that intrigued me was a 10% nettle and 90% organic cotton blend.  Call me ignorant, but when I hear about fabric made from nettles, all I could think was “um, scratchy?” Turns out that nettles have a lot to recommend them as a fabric ingredient, and I’m probably the last to know.  The Guardian reported FIVE YEARS AGO that nettles were the next big thing in eco-friendly fabrics:

Unlike cotton, farming nettles does not require the use of pesticides and nor does it leach vital minerals from the soil. The EU is also said to be interested in the potential of nettle farming, not least because the plant attracts insects and butterflies.

Treehugger asked in 2006 if nettles were the next bamboo, but I have to say that I haven’t seen any nettle sheets in Bed Bath and Beyond lately.  I think there’s probably a PR issue.  I doubt most people would know a nettle if it grew in their front lawn (unless they’ve seen the picture over there), but somehow most people seem to know that nettles don’t have a rep for soft and cuddly.  If anyone figures out how to make fabric out of briars, they’ll probably face similar challenges.

The GreenFibres website, though, says the fabric is slightly silky on one side due to the nettle content, so it apparently has something more going for it than I would expect.

Images from the GreenFibres website.

Written by Skye Kilaen

Skye Kilaen began sewing at an early age and eco-rabble-rousing shortly after that. Many years later, someone finally told her that there are books about how to make quilts. Life was never the same. In fact, she spent more on her sewing machine than her car. Bringing her green and crafty passions back together, Skye is now happily discovering ways to create beautiful and useful objects using thrifted and sustainable materials. No, that's not just an excuse to visit Goodwill more often. Honest.


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  1. Nettles, huh? Intriguing. I’ll definitely be interested to hear if you find out anything else about it! And if any fabric like this pops up stateside.

  2. Being an aged hippy of long standing I have retted nettles in the past. Not being a great spinner at the time the best I could do was oroduce a series of strands which I then platted and used to make button loops, and decorative braiding, I dyed some of it with the green from the leaves, looked reasonable, but i felt a bit of a cannibal, I know I’m daft. It’s good to know that the properties of this most useful of growths are becoming well known and useful. Go for it I say.

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