[DWJ] Nettle shirts

Juliette Curtis juliette at harvestroad.com
Tue Aug 22 21:33:26 EDT 2006

FYI, it is perfectly possible to make wearable garments from nettles. 
Nettle fabric was still being made in parts of Germany as recently as 
the 1930s. I have never seen any but I have read that it is fine, soft, 
and pleasant to wear.

You process the nettles in the same way you process flax to make linen. 
You wet the nettle and let them rot  until all the soft parts of the 
plant are gone and only the long fibres in the stalks remain. The stings 
are in the soft parts, so rotting (actually the correct term is 
"retting") the plants gets rid of the strings. Then you pound and comb 
("hackle") the remains to separate the individual fibres, and then you 
spin and weave them like any other fibre.

Sorry for the lecture but sewing is one of my passions....

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