What is Hemp Fabric?
Hemp is an environmental “super fiber”. It produces fabric made from the fibers from the stalks of a botanical crop that belongs to the cannabis sativa plant family. In simple words, the hemp fabric is made from industrial hemp or cannabis sativa fiber. Hemp is a high-yielding crop producing a significantly higher rate of fiber per acre than either flax or cotton.
Human history tells us that the use of hemp fiber as a clothing material is not something that is new for us. The plant has been used and known as a source of surprisingly tensile and durable textile fibers for a thousand years. Asia and the Middle East were among the first countries to produce hemp fabric. The substance was employed in an array of applications in early civilizations in China, Asia, and the Middle East. For example, the fabric was used for making paper in China, while rope, socks, canvas, ships rigged, sailcloth and for many other uses in Asia and the Middle East. Materials made from hemp have been discovered in tombs that date back to 8,000 BC. As of this moment, China is the leading producer with approximately 70% of the world’s output of hemp fabric. You can read more about hemp here.
How is it Made?
The hemp plant is an incredibly fast-growing crop and produces a high fiber yield per acre. According to research, the crop can produce 250% more fiber than cotton with the same amount of land and 600% more fiber than flax. The plant grows well in moderate climates with high humidity levels. The Cannabis sativa crop is usually ready for harvest in mid-August in North America. Mostly plants used for producing hemp fabric are harvested with a piece of special machinery. Afterward, the plants go through the retting process in the field for about 4-6 weeks. The process naturally supports pectin removal through exposure to the elements.
After the retting process, the hemp stalks are turned into bales like hay. Afterward, breakers or a hammermill separates the fibrous outer section of the plant from the woody core. Next step is to card the separated bast fibers into strands, and then clean to remove impurities. After this point, the manufacturer can use the matting to produce matt and fleeces or pulp to make different paper products. The producer can also opt for a steam explosion to deliver raw hemp into a weave-able fiber. With the completion of the steam explosion process, hemp is all set to be spun into yarn and woven into different textiles uses.
Fabric Making Process
Hemp fabric goes through the same procedures that the other fabrics go through for fabric making. Yarn made from hemp fiber is woven into tight fabrics. Finally, the producers can use fabrics for a wide range of consumer purposes.
The fact must be known that there is only one principal variety of hemp fabric and the same basic process is employed to produce hemp fabric all around the world. However, the quality, feel, and texture of hemp fabric can vary from producer to producer. The result is a fabric, that is softer than canvas, stronger than cotton, and highly durable to last for decades.
Manufactures use the substance for both apparels and for home textiles. The fabric has low heat retention capacity and is not prone to pilling. Thus, making it ideal for many types of uses.
The fabric use is most common in T-shirts, dresses, hoodies, underwear, socks and other forms of apparel. On the other hand, tablecloths, upholstery, and dish towels made from hemp fabrics are also becoming more common and popular home textile options due to the Eco-friendly and sustainable nature of the fabric.
Why Hemp Fabric is Best?
Once hemp fiber turns into the fabric, it has a texture similar to cotton. However, it feels somewhat like canvas as well. Hemp fabric is highly resistant to piling and is also not vulnerable to shrinkage. It is impressively soft and highly durable as the hemp fibers are long and sturdy. Therefore, while a regular cotton T-shirt lasts about 10 years at most, a hemp T-shirt may withstand double or triple that time as many evaluations indicate hemp fabric to be three times stronger than cotton fabric.
Hemp is a natural fiber and has similar properties to cotton. The fabric may not be as soft as cotton from the start of use but it softens incredibly with time and becomes more comfortable with each wash and wear. It is a highly breathable fabric like cotton. Hemp clothing is especially good for children as this type of fabric is increasingly popular for T-shirts production since it is incredibly resistant to wear and tear. While most cotton T-shirts begin to shrink, warp, or fall apart comparably after a few washes, hemp T-shirts maintain their shape and strength for years and years. So, hemp fabric has many advantages and we enlist some of the most prominent ones below:
Hemp is an eco-friendly crop, so, it produces one of the most environment-friendly fabrics in the world due to many reasons. Hemp requires minimum land, no pesticides, and grows surprisingly fast. It crowds out weeds without herbicides and controls erosion of the topsoil while producing oxygen. It is the world’s most versatile fiber and is a renewable resource that is eligible for cultivation in as little as 100 days.
Strong and Durable Fabric
Hemps’ stretchability strength is eight times higher than cotton fiber which explains its historical use in sails and rope for the American and British Navies. So, the eco-friendly fabric is also exceptionally durable and strong.
Good Color Retention
Hemp fabric is water absorbent due to its porous nature. Therefore, it good for dye and retain its color better than any fabric.
Hemp fabrics are hypo-allergenic and propose non-irritating properties for the skin. Latest lab tests reveal that hemp is able to kill bacteria including staph that come in contact with its exterior. The fabric is also naturally resistant to mold.
Feel of Fabric
Hemp fabric possesses the look of classic linen and depending on the fabric blend, it can also have the feel like flannel. Fabrics made from hemp will always soften with age and with every wash.
The production of hemp fabric is instinctually environmentally sustainable as the historical evidence of mankind producing the particular fabric for thousands of year without suffering any significant ecological calamities suggests. Hemp is a carbon negative raw material, therefore, it absorbs more carbon than it produces.
A landmark study conducted in 1998 revealed that the production of hemp crop releases less toxic chemicals into the soil and the wider ecosystem. The study also concluded that it needs way less land than cotton.
Excellent for Hot Weather
Hemp fabric is a cool choice for summer because it breathes well like cotton. It is highly recommendable for warm and humid climates because it resists mildew and absorbs moisture.
This Eco-friendly fabric will also shield you from the sun with its surprising UV resistant qualities. A fabric with UV protection, interesting, isn’t it!