The Skin Knows: Handloom Versus Milled Cloth.

When people try on natural handwoven clothing for the first time, they report an experience that can only be described as their skin ‘thanking’ them.

This is not imagined. It’s not just the natural fiber that feels good, it’s what’s missing— chemicals.

Manufacturers of milled cloth can use up to 2000 different chemicals in fabric making. According to a report from the textile magazine, EcoTextiles, it takes from 10% to 100% of the weight of the fabric in chemicals to actually produce the fabric!

These chemicals are used to give the fabric the unnatural characteristics we’ve come to expect in our clothes like, non-iron or wrinkle-free, flame-retardant, shrinkage-free, water-repellant, stain-repellant, anti-cling, perspiration-proof, and more.

These qualities are obtained by saturating the fabric in chemicals like formaldehyde, brominated flame retardants, and perfluorinated chemicals (Teflon) or PFC’s.

We pay, with our exposure to these chemicals, for the convenience of not ironing and resistance to stains.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that PFCs are causing cancer. Formaldehyde is linked to leukemia, cancer and skin irritations. Dyes can cause contact dermatitis. A simple online search will lead to many studies on the effects of these specific chemicals on your long-term health. The picture is not pretty. It highlights ailments like cancer, respiratory illness, autoimmune diseases, and infertility, to name a few.

Your skin is your largest organ, responsible for filtering toxins from your body. The more traditionally milled clothing you wear, the greater your risk of absorbing toxic chemicals through your skin that harm your health.

When you finally slip on that 100% cotton shirt made in a traditional mill, about 27% of the weight of the fabric is in chemicals. Higher end fabrics may go through this chemical bathing process two or three times to make them softer.

By comparison, eco-friendly fabrics are processed and woven in a non-toxic way.

At Indigo Handloom we are committed to sustainable fashion. Our blouses, scarves, and other natural clothing items go through a relatively simple, earth and body-friendly process.

Unless we are making a pure white fabric, we do not bleach the yarn before dyeing. (Unbleached cotton and silk have a slight yellow color.)

We wash the yarn and remove the natural gum that coats the fiber, then we dye it using a low-toxic dye and use a toner to ‘fix’ the color so it will not run when washed. Then, when required, we use a starch made with rice and water to stiffen the yarn while weaving.

Once off the loom, we wash it with a mild fabric softener.

That’s it. A small process that’s easy to understand. No toxic chemicals to irritate your skin or impact your health.

Handwoven fabrics are made to feel soft and luxurious by the physical process of the weaving and handling of the fabric itself, not by chemicals. A natural cotton or silk blouse is like an extension of nature. No chemical irritants against your skin.

So often, we fall in love with fabric because of it’s softness. We assume it’s higher quality and often are willing to spend more money because of it. But depending on the way it gets to that softness could mean a world of difference to your skin.

Handwoven fabric is a blessing to your skin, your children, your health, and the environment. We are so excited to bring you more of our natural clothing made with low-toxic, less yucky-stuff, handwoven fabric!




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