Hemp has been grown for hundreds of years. Its first cultivators used it to make fibre, pottery, clothing, an early form of paper, and an array of other products. Despite its multiple uses, hemp has now gained a global name for simply making you high. However, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive element within the plant), therefore, making it virtually impossible to get high.
So, what is hemp fabric? How is it made? Is it expensive? In this blog we will answer a handful of questions regarding hemp fabric.
How is hemp fabric made?
The hemp plant is usually ready for harvest in 80 to 120 days. The plant is harvested during the early to mid-flowering stage. Once the stalk is cut and baled, the hemp fibres are separated by a process called “retting”. This involves separating the long bast fibres from the non-fibre parts of the stalk, leaving the fibres to be spun to produce yarn. The fibres can either be sold organically, or can be blended with other types of fibre including cotton to create a hybrid fabric.
How is it used?
Hemp material is commonly used for apparel and textiles. Garments include dresses, skirts, pants, jackets, t-shirts and much more. Hemp fabric is strong and durable, with a good level of insulation. Hemp clothing also maintains their shape, so there is no risk in the fabric shrinking or falling apart after years of use.
For textiles, this fabric is particularly popular for use in towels due to its high absorbency and durability. Despite it’s slightly less soft texture compared to cotton, the fabric is used as bed sheets, blankets, and duvets.
Although some hemp fabric purists may only ever want to use textile products that are 100% pure, it’s increasingly more common to see a blend of textiles. For instance, cotton and hemp mixes are becoming more popular due to the synergistic blend of soft and durable.
Is it expensive?
With the current level of demand, hemp material is a reasonably expensive item due to its limited availability. Despite being ethical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, the cost to produce these garments remains high. However, the green movement is leading to an increase in consumer demand for hemp fabric. We will likely see a decrease in price over the coming years as it gains popularity.
What’s the environmental impact of hemp material?
Hemp has an array of environmental benefits. The plant helps detoxify and regenerate the soil where it’s grown. In fact, hemp was planted around Chernobyl after the nuclear disaster to help clean up the radioactive isotopes that had leaked into the soil and ground waters. In addition, hemp can grow in any climate and requires no herbicides, pesticides, or insecticides to grow well.
Where can I buy hemp fabric?
Hemp fabric is increasing in availability all across the globe. It’s possible to buy this sustainable fabric on a wholesale basis from companies like Alibaba, or from individual shops like The Hemp Shop Fabrics. If you’re looking for items of clothing, more and more companies are offering hemp ranges including Patagonia, The Hemp Shop, and Toad&Co