Have you ever wondered that you simply can purchase a T-Shirt which will last longer, is cheaper and harms the environment less than your average cotton T-shirt? You’d apparently tell us that it is unimaginable, but you’d be wrong. So wrong!
As a fabric, hemp provides us all the hotness and softness of a natural fiber but with great durability rarely found in other materials. Hemp is extremely versatile and can be used for the number of products like apparel, accessories, shoes, furniture, and home furnishings. Clothes made from hemp include all the beneficial qualities and will likely last longer and withstand tough conditions. The soft elasticity of cotton or the smooth texture of silk combined with the natural strength of hemp creates a whole new generation of fashion design.
Hemp is also a very eco-friendly crop. No need for pesticides and needs very little water, yet it renews the soil with each growth cycle. Its long roots prevent erosions and help to retain top soil. Hemp also grows readily in most temperate regions.
Industries of hemp fabric are growing fast - in China, its already a $200M industry. It is true that the size of the hemp fabric industry is still quite limited, especially in the US, and this is because hemp has been banned for most of the 1900s.
Hemp fabric is made from the upper part of the plant Cannabis Sativa. After processing like harvesting, the fiber goes through the process of retting, where the stem is separated from the woody core followed by fiber separation, a labor-intensive process where the fibers are broken down. It is then cleaned, carded, and then further spun into a yarn. At Hemp Fabrics Lab, different techniques like knitting, power loom, and handloom are used to make these yarns into usable and beautiful fabrics.
Hemp textiles produced with hemp fiber
It has always been possible to make a variety of high-quality, durable fabrics from hemp, either alone or in combination with other natural fibers such as flax or silk. The variety of delicate textiles that can be produced from it is remarkable.
· Linen: Linen is an excellent example of a lightweight textile that can be made from pure hemp. When linen is manufactured from hemp, the resulting product is lightweight, durable, and breathable – excellent in hot and humid conditions!
· Terrycloth: Hemp is also widely used to make terrycloth, the tufted material that may be either woven or knitted and is primarily used for toweling. Due to hemp’s remarkable absorptive properties, it is considered very suitable for this application.
· Twill: Hemp fibers are also very suitable for various types of twill, including denim, herringbone, and flannel, and several types of knitted textile including jersey and velour.
· Hemp silk charmeuse: A Combination of silk with hemp can be used to make taffeta, a stiff, shiny fabric used in ball-gowns and wedding dresses. It can also be used to create charmeuse, a lustrous satin used to make figure-draping lingerie and flowing evening dresses. Even complex Jacquard-woven fabrics, in which a raised pattern is woven into the cloth, can be made with blended hemp and silk.
· Hemp cotton diapers: Hemp is often blended with cotton to make cloth diapers (nappies). It is
thought to have superior absorption and durability than cotton, which is usually added to increase the softness of the fabric.
· Hemp cotton muslin: Hemp can also be mixed with cotton to make fine muslin or cheesecloth, some of which can be exceptionally light and strong with excellent
absorptive properties. As well as this, most knitted fabrics made with hemp are blended with cotton to improve softness.
· Woven: These are characterized for their weight, thickness, fabric density or fabric count while their yarn was characterized for its yarn size (linear density) and crimp (for warp and weft).
· Non-woven fabric: This material is made from two types of fiber (staple fiber, long fibers), which are mixed by chemical, mechanical, heat, or solvent treatment. The term is used in the textile manufacturing industry to denote fabrics, like felt, that is not woven I or knitted. Some non-woven materials lack enough strength unless densified or reinforced by a backing. In modern times, non-woven is becoming an alternative to polyurethane foam.
· Lyocell: a 100% biodegradable fabric made from the wood pulp of sustainable tree farms. This fabric possesses natural breathability and provides 50% greater moisture absorption than cotton. It drapes beautifully and promises a flattering garment for all body types. When Lyocell is paired with Hemp or Organic Cotton it can be further manipulated into very light to very heavyweight fabrics.
· Knitted: Knitting is the construction of the elastic, porous fabric, created by interlocking yarns using needles. As compared to woven fabrics knitted fabrics can be made much easily and quickly and that too at much less cost.
Watch this video to know more about hemp fabric history and some benefits.
If we are aware of the environmental and personal benefits that hemp provides, this crop and industry will continue to grow. Consumers will be becoming more conscious of what they buy and wear as the change in climate and sustainability becomes a stronger focus.
There is only one important variety of hemp fabric. While the quality, feel, and texture of fabrics may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the same basic process is used to make hemp fabric around the world. The resulting fabric is better and stronger than cotton, softer than canvas, and is durable enough to last for many decades.
Benefits of Hemp Fabric:
· Hemp has built-in UV protection–so it can be worn in sunny days. This means that the colour of your clothes won’t fade due to UV protection quality.
· It is wrinkle-resistant, as a result, it gives the advantage of getting rolled up in your backpack or worn on the plane and won’t look like a rag when you reach your destination!
· It’s easy to care for. Hemp is one of the few fibers that can be washed by hand or in a machine, at any temperature. Because it’s a natural product, use a gentle soap and but don’t use bleach. Air dry or dry in a tumble drier while it is still damp, and will look like new. If there are fine finishes or embroidery on the garment, it should be washed more gently and iron on the wrong side.
· It is strong and durable thus providing three times the tensile strength of cotton. Even with repeated washing, the quality of the fibers doesn’t breakdown and the garment just gets softer!
· It breathes.This means that it “wicks” or moves moisture away from your body to be evaporated on the surface, so you stay cool, even if you are hot.
· It is an insulator, so it keeps you warm when the weather is cold.
· Its anti-bacterial and anti-microbial propertiesprevent odors even if you are sweaty, and you can wear a garment several times without having to wash it. This is the best thing you need while traveling.
· It is rash-resistant making it suitable for avoiding skin dermatitis.
· It won’t grow mold or mildew if it gets wet. You can pack a damp garment in a plastic bag if necessary, and you won’t need to throw it away when you get home!
Hemp textile is durable, versatile, and fast-growing, making it a great competitor for other natural fiber plants. Most of all, it is a sustainable material to use. This is a time when the world is seeking sustainable alternatives desperately and hemp textiles can serve a valid and exciting opportunity.
The world may have unfairly banned Hemp for looking like Marijuana, but the standardplant remains selfless as ever. The possibilities for hemp fabrics are boundless. It is likely that they will eventually replace cotton, linen, and polyester in large areas. It uses far less water than cotton to grow and yet itgives you an identical warmth and familiarity on getting used as a garment. With so numerous uses and therefore the potential to be produced cheaply, hemp textiles are the wave of the longer term.
We’ve return to a conclusion that we’ve come to several times before: hemp is a super-plant. We’ve compared hemp and cotton before, and while not everyone agrees, we think hemp is a winner. From its practical uses to environmental sustainability, the hemp plant comes out on top, out-performing all competitors.
If you’re curious about learning more about the miracle hemp plant, you can join our Himalayan hemp organisation and be a neighborhood of the change!