Hemp – Hoist the mainsail!

Well Me Hearties, who would have thought that the fibres commonly used in 90% of ships’ canvas sails, rigging, and nets is now transformed into a luxurious soft fabric. The tough old hemp fibre once used to make scratchy ropes is now getting a new lease of life in the surge to explore sustainable fabric alternatives in our more environmentally aware textile industry.

Hemp comes from the Cannabis Stavia plant which commonly grows up to 5 meters high. Most definitely not to be confused with its sister plant, this fast growing healthy hemp crop won’t have the law knocking at your door with sniffer dogs any time soon.

Let’s take a look at Hemp and the Environment

It grows so fast and so tall, that the yield from this crop can be up to 600% greater than a flax grown in the same area of land. With dense planting it also makes it quite resilient to insects, so there’s no need for extra pesticides and fungicides.

The farmers are very happy with the resulting soil quality too! As the long taproots can reach down 3 feet or more, it leaves the soil aerated and weed free. The growing process produces a build-up of rich organic matter in the topsoil that helps to keep moisture in the soil; meaning less irrigation. This is a great treat for the soil condition and makes it ready for any rotation crop.

No pesticides – Less watering – High yield – Fast growing – Sustainable crop

Happy farmers. Happy environment. Happy us!

How it’s made

Long strands are taken from the stalk of the plant creating bundles of exceptionally strong fibres. By using a combined steam and pressure process the tough fibres are broken down into smaller soft pliable fibres that are spun together to make a continuous thread, ideal for weaving and great for making a strong and durable fabric from.

What’s so good about Hemp as a fabric

There’s a great list of very positive features associated with weaving hemp into a fabric:

  • The more you wash and wear it, the softer it becomes. The resulting feel offers a superb fluid drape and luxurious finish.
  • It’s breathable. Ideal on hot days or wearing in a stuffy office, but warm enough to keep you cosy in the winter.
  • It has anti-bacterial properties and is quite resistant to moths and insects.
  • As it’s highly resistant to UV light it isn’t going to fade in the sunlight.
  • As a natural fibre, it’s biodegradable.
Printing on Hemp with The Silk Bureau Ltd

We have added 2 new fabrics into our ECO range that use hemp fibres.

GOTS ECO Cotton & Hemp Fine Slub, which is excellent for fashion – GOTS ECO Cotton & Hemp Natural, which is ideal as an interior / upholstery fabric.

Mixing the hemp with a GOTS certificated cotton promotes stability with less shrinkage and gives a softer feel from the outset. As today’s discerning shopper is buying fashion that lasts, any garment made from this fabric will continue to soften through wearing and washing, making it a really comfortable and stylish must-have in the wardrobe – one that you’ll reach for time and again!

COMING SOON!

Get ready to test your next design ideas on these great new additions to our range.