Cotton Towel Process

Cotton has long-standing traditions in Ethiopia. Cotton production has been a central component of rural and urban life for centuries. The traditional clothing has always been made from locally cultivated cotton, spun on drop spindles, and woven on handlooms. Most people living in the rural areas where cotton grows have the skills to process the fiber themselves. In addition to home production, farmers bring their crops to centralized cotton ginning plants where the cotton is processed.

Shop our towels
SERA HELSINKI Towel Making Process Chart
Sera Helsinki Weaving Towels Process Chart

Spinning the unspun

Many women in Ethiopia spin raw cotton into a thread in their homes to earn additional income. They buy the natural cotton from the market, separate the seed from fiber, and then spin it on a drop spindle into texturized thread. The skill of hand spinning is passed down from mother to daughter. Honoring this tradition, our handspun cotton thread is purchased from a network of women throughout Addis Ababa.

read more about our mission

Natural dyeing

Artisans pot-dye the thread in small patches with environmentally friendly dyes. The dyes are all AZO-free and REACH-certified. Our towels can be washed in a washing machine using conventional detergents.

Weaving sophisticated patterns

The hand-weaving of fabrics is a tradition dating back centuries in Ethiopia. Even today, traditional Ethiopian clothing is made on hand looms. Weavers pass their skills on to their children, and the traditions remain. The techniques have remained mostly unchanged over the centuries, but the patterns and designs have become increasingly sophisticated. Each towel of Sera Helsinki is a piece of art patiently created by a talented Ethiopian artisan.

read more about product care

Finishing meticulously

Making fringes is a time-intensive process of twisting and knotting the end threads to create beautiful results. Each towel is meticulously checked and finished by a dedicated team of women. Finishing involves: making the fringes, cutting the ends, attaching labels, and finally ironing and quality-checking each piece.

shop towels