Hemp-Fashion is not an oxymoron anymore
What is Hemp Fabric?
Hemp is often considered an environmental “super fibre”. Hemp fabric is made from the fibres in the herbaceous plant of the species cannabis sativa. It’s a high-yield crop that produces significantly more fibre per acre than either cotton or flax.
Hemp creates one of the most eco friendly fabrics in the world. Hemp requires no pesticides, crowds out weeds without herbicides, controls erosion of the topsoil, and produces oxygen. It is a renewable resource that can be cultivated in as little as 100 days and is the world’s most versatile fiber.
Hemps’ tensile strength is eight times that of cotton fibre which accounts for its historical use in sails and rope for the British and American Navies. It is an exceptionally durable and strong eco friendly fabric.
Fabrics made from hemp are considered by many to be hypoallergenic and non-irritating to the skin. Current tests indicate that hemp is able to kill staph and other bacteria that come in contact with its surface.
Feel of Fabric
Hemp has the look of classic linen and can have the feel (depending upon fabric blend) of your favourite flannel. Hemp materials will also soften with age and with each washing.
Great for hot weather
Like linen and cotton, hemp is a cool choice for summer. It breathes well. It is recommended for warm, humid climates as the fabric resists mildew and absorbs moisture.
This eco fabric will also protect you from the sun with its UV resistant qualities.
- Like linen, hemp wrinkles easily and can be somewhat scratchy (depending upon the blend) so look for hemp blended with other fabrics to give it a softer hand.
- Hemp is not colorfast so the colour is often not rich.
Caring for hemp fabric
- Use cold water when laundering hemp fabrics. Chlorine bleaches aren’t recommended.
- Typically, hemp fabric isn’t always colorfast. For that reason, wash dark colors separately. Or use a dye catcher sheet.
- Allow hemp to air dry. Using a dryer can cause wrinkles and make it shrink.
- Pure hemp can sometimes develop wrinkles. Just hang the garment up overnight so these can fall out. If you can’t wait, a touch-up ironing will be needed.
- Assuming you can afford the cost, hemp can also be dry cleaned.
FAQ on Hemp Fabric
What is Hemp?
Hemp is an annual herbaceous plant of the species cannabis sativa, meaning ‘useful hemp’. It is a high yield commercial fibre crop which flourishes in areas with temperate climates, such as Canada. It can be grown on a range of soils, but tends to grow best on land that would produce a high yield of corn. The soil must be well drained, rich in nitrogen, and non-acidic. Hemp requires limited pesticides as it grows quickly, attracting few pests. Hemp grows successfully at a density of up to 150 plants per square meter, and reaches a height of two to five meters in a three month growing season.
Hemp also produces an oil seed that contains between 25 – 35 % oil by weight. It is high in essential fatty acids and hemp seed offers outstanding nutritional value.
Is Hemp the same as Marijuana?
No! The plant that produces this eco friendly fabric is a distinct variety of the cannabis plant. Due to the similar leaf shape, hemp is frequently confused with marijuana. Although both plants are “Cannabis”, hemp contains virtually no THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. All products manufactured from hemp are environmentally friendly, sustainable and psychoactive free.
Are Hemp Products legal in Canada?
Yes. In April, 1998, Health Canada amended federal regulations to make it legal to grow hemp in Canada under licence. Only certified low-THC seed can be cultivated.
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