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The Art of Weaving: Mungo Textiles

Mungo Textiles (@mungodesign) have easily become one of our most beloved brands in-house here at Simple Beautiful Things. Their heirloom-quality woven goods have blended seamlessly into our considered living curation and we are proud to share their ethos with our community. 

From intricately woven flax linen beach towels, to organic cotton picnic blankets Mungo has something for everyone, to suit every lifestyle with items thoughtfully designed to wear and grow with you for a lifetime. 

The Mungo team currently house three distinct types of looms alongside a single weaving machine at their Mills in Plettenberg Bay. The original Lancashire looms, foundational to the business, continue to operate robustly, supplemented by looms over two centuries old. 

While the prospect of integrating modern computerised machinery remains a possibility for the future, the existing looms, all employing shuttles to carry the weft thread, offer a unique advantage: the creation of a true selvedge/selvage. This authentic selvage results from looping the weft threads into the woven fabric, forming an edge resistant to fraying and sewing. Although modern weaving machines can attempt to replicate this, achieving the same level of authenticity has yet to be proven.

The uniqueness of Mungo Mills lies in their ability to house their own collection of looms within their mill premises, enabling them to craft their distinctive textile works from start to finish under one roof.

The meticulous craftsmanship behind Mungo’s weave draws inspiration from antique weaving books collected over four decades. The chosen weave design is translated onto graph paper by hand, maintaining the traditional approach to design. After selecting a suitable yarn matching the product's requirements for durability, aesthetics, and tactile quality, the design is woven into a sample on their 100-year-old power looms.

Once the fabric sample is woven, it undergoes rigorous testing by their team through day-to-day use. If deemed suitable for the Mungo range, the design is transferred to a modern computer program for refinement and documentation. This process ensures that each fabric is not just a number but is given a name, marking the beginning of its journey as a Mungo product.

The warping process involves arranging yarn threads in long parallel lengths of equal tension onto a beam, preparing them for weaving. Cones of yarn are individually placed onto a rack called a creel, passing through tension and spacing devices before being wound onto a warping beam. This meticulous process, sometimes done by hand, ensures the warp is ready for transfer to the loom.

The Mungo Mill utilises three different types of looms: Lancashire shuttle looms, Ruti Looms, and Dornier Looms. Each loom, carefully restored and acquired from mills around the world, contributes to the intricate weaving process. The basic principle of weaving involves interlacing the warp and weft threads to create fabric, showcasing the quality and intricacy of Mungo's textiles.

After weaving, the fabric undergoes inspection for faults, which are meticulously mended by hand. The fabric then proceeds to the finishing stage, where it undergoes washing and drying processes. Depending on the fabric type, additional finishing techniques such as dyeing may be applied by external companies to enhance its appearance and properties.

In the final stage, each Mungo product is individually measured, cut, and sewn by skilled artisans. Seamstresses meticulously hem, join, and add finishing touches to ensure the highest quality standards are met. The products undergo final inspection by pressers, who iron and snip any loose threads, marking the culmination of the meticulous craftsmanship behind every Mungo item.

Celebrating the Beauty and Durability of Natural Fibres: Flax Linen, Cotton & Organic Cotton

In the art of weaving, flax linen, organic cotton and cotton towels reveal distinct narratives of craftsmanship and composition. Flax linen, derived from the resilient fibres of the flax plant, boasts centuries-old tradition and artisanal expertise in its intricate weave. Each thread is meticulously spun and woven, resulting in a fabric that exudes durability and refinement. Meanwhile, organic cotton towels showcase a commitment to sustainability and purity, with fibres cultivated without harmful chemicals. 

Guided by principles of ecological stewardship, organic cotton is woven with precision, preserving its innate softness and plushness. In the tapestry of textile craftsmanship, these towels stand as testaments to the enduring legacy of human ingenuity and creativity, weaving together tradition, sustainability, and sensory delight in every thread.

Flax Linen Towels: Nature's Solution to the Quick-Dry Towel

Flax linen, derived from the fibrous stalks of the flax plant, exudes an air of timeless elegance and natural allure. Renowned for its exceptional durability and breathability, and quick drying linen has been prized for centuries as a fabric of choice for luxurious textiles.

The unique properties of flax linen lend themselves perfectly to the demands of summer, offering a cool and lightweight alternative to traditional materials. With its distinctively textured surface and subtle sheen, flax linen towels evoke a sense of understated sophistication, making them an ideal companion for sun-drenched days by the beach or poolside retreats. 

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, flax linen embodies a commitment to sustainability, as the flax plant requires minimal water and pesticides to thrive, resulting in a fabric that is not only luxurious but also eco-friendly.

Here are five points for caring for flax linen towels:

  1. Gentle Washing: Machine wash your linen towels in cold water with a mild detergent to preserve their delicate fibres.
  2. Avoid Bleach: Steer clear of harsh chemicals like bleach, which can weaken the fabric and cause discolouration.
  3. Air Dry: Hang your linen towels to dry in the fresh air whenever possible, avoiding high heat which can damage the fibres.
  4. Ironing Optional: Linen naturally wrinkles, adding to its charm. However, if you prefer a smoother finish, iron on low heat while the fabric is still slightly damp.
  5. Storage: Store your linen towels in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and mildew.

Additionally, Mungo utilises OEKO-TEX-certified linen, a fibre known for its low environmental impact and sustainability. Through ongoing annual audits, Mungo proudly maintains its GOTS certification for its weaving mill in Plettenberg Bay, making it the first of its kind in South Africa. 

This certification underscores Mungo's ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and ethical production practices, further solidifying its position as leaders in sustainable textile manufacturing.


Organic Cotton Towels: Low-Pile & Sand Free!

Organic cotton, cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilisers, embodies a commitment to sustainability and purity. Sourced from cotton plants grown in harmony with nature, organic cotton towels offer unparalleled softness and comfort, making them a luxurious choice for summer essentials. 

Beyond their plush texture and gentle embrace, organic cotton towels provide peace of mind, knowing that they are free from harmful chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin. With each touch, organic cotton towels offer a sensory experience that speaks to a deeper connection to the environment and a conscientious approach to consumerism. As a symbol of mindful living, organic cotton towels not only elevate the everyday but also reflect a commitment to ethical and eco-friendly practices that benefit both people and the planet.

Here are five points for caring for organic cotton towels:

  1. Eco-Friendly Washing: Wash your organic cotton towels in eco-friendly detergent to minimise environmental impact.
  2. Line Dry: Opt for air drying or line drying your towels whenever possible to conserve energy and preserve the fabric.
  3. Fluff Cycle: Tumble dry your towels on a low heat setting with dryer balls to maintain their plushness and absorbency.
  4. Avoid Fabric Softeners: Skip the fabric softeners, as they can leave a residue that reduces absorbency and irritates sensitive skin.
  5. Fold with Care: Fold your organic cotton towels neatly to prevent creases and prolong their lifespan.

Unlike a terry towel that is always woven with the same looped pile fabric, using a flat weave allows for many different weave designs and structures, crafted to be ultra-absorbent and gentle on the skin to ensure even the most sensitive skin remains undamaged. Flat weave is also the perfect choice for those towels used everyday, they’re quick drying and lightweight meaning that even when being used over and over they won’t have that soppy towel feeling of a towel used one-too-many times. 

Using 100% natural fibres means peace of mind throughout the changing seasons. Mungo textiles are hypoallergenic and temperature regulating making them antimicrobial, antibacterial so naturally resistant mildew. 

Mungo textiles can be used throughout the year, as picnic blankets, skirts, scarves and tablecloths to name just a few ways to utilise your towels or blankets. One of the best features of Mungo’s flat weave towels is their durability, made to last, the quality yarn and natural fibres can sustain long-wear, your Mungo towel won’t last you a season – it’ll last a lifetime. This distinct weave also makes them perfect for travelling, rolled into a backpack, or folded for storage. 

By obtaining GOTS certification, Mungo provides its customers with the assurance that its practices are environmentally and socially credible, promoting sustainability and fair labour practices within the textile industry.

This certification guarantees that the entire production process, from growing the raw materials to manufacturing the final product, adheres to strict environmental and social criteria. Ensuring that the cotton used in organic towels is grown without the use of harmful pesticides or synthetic fertilisers, promoting soil health and biodiversity.

While not all of Mungo Textiles are organic or certified, the company is transparent about its sourcing and production methods. Within its textile range, Mungo offers a selection of certified organic beach towels, bath towels, beach blankets, picnic blankets and other home-goods textiles alongside those woven with regular cotton. 

Discover our newly extended range of Mungo Textiles online or at our Chippendale store, open Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 5:30pm. 

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