fair trade bags from handwoven jute: meet the makers

Our collection of fair trade bags from handwoven jute is growing, as is the group of artisans who make the bags in Bangladesh. They’re becoming more professional over time, and that’s a wonderful thing to see. We’d like to show you who makes our bags and how they are made.

Jute is a beautiful material, often called ‘the golden fibre’. At the same time it’s very strong and environmentally friendly. It grow as a rotation crop in the rice paddies of Bangladesh, and doesn’t require extra water. Pesticides are also not needed. It’s a great alternative for leather bags, suitable for vegans.

For the production of our bags we cooperate with fair trade certified organisations (by the World Fair Trade Organisation, WFTO) from Dhaka. This organisation empowers women in Bangladesh, both in the cities and the countryside. Tulsi Crafts designs its products together with this organisation, using the skills and traditions from Bangladesh. This gives women working for this organisation a chance to build a good life through dignified work.

The jute processing, from growing to weaving, takes place in the region of Tangail, northwest of the capital Dhaka. Raw jute is bought directly from farmers in the surroundings, it is then processed in our partner’s workshop. There the jute is carded and spun. After spinning it is dyed if colour is required. Natural dyes like indigo are used as much as possible. If this is not possible azo-free dyes are used.

raw undyed jute
natural indigo
natural indigo
dyeing indigo jute tangail bangladesh
dyeing jute with natural indigo

drying dyed jute
drying dyed jute

After dyeing and drying the jute is prepared for weaving. Weaving is done in the same workshop, in many traditional and newer patterns and colours.

getting the handloom ready for weaving
getting the handloom ready for weaving
weaving with a handloom
weaving with a handloom

When the jute has been woven and rolled up, the fabric rolls are taken to the sewing atelier in Dhaka. In Dhaka the fabric is sewn into bags. Our recycled cement sack products are made in the same atelier. We visited the atelier and it’s a comfortable, light and safe workplace.

womens organisation recycled cement bags dhaka
sewing atelier Dhaka

This is the end result! Take a look at all our fair trade bags from jute here.

jute bag noor indigo jute tulsi crafts

bags handwoven jute indigo and ochre

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