The use of hemp for fabric can offer some amazing benefits. The hemp crop is eco-friendly, sustainable and does not require pesticides, fungicides or herbicides to grow. Also, for each growth cycle, it replenishes the soil. Its long roots help retain the topsoil thus preventing erosion.
The hemp fabric is durable, soft, comfy, long-lasting and efficient. Compared to cotton and other fabrics, hemp fabric is more water-absorbent, thus it can retain dye better than them all. This helps keep colours from fading. The hemp fabric has a porous personality allowing it to breathe, keeping you cool during summer and is warmer in the cooler weather.
Keep reading to find out more about the hemp fabric and its benefits in making clothing and other surprising qualities of the hemp plant.
The Hemp Plant: What Is It?
Hemp is a versatile plant and a renewable resource. While it’s a variety of Cannabis sativa, it is grown for use in foods, textiles, oils, medicine, construction materials, and more. This plant grows tall, with tough fibrous stalks and contains very low, non-intoxicating THC levels. Hemp is impressive and may be used for all sorts of items, which includes making hemp fabric!
The hemp plant grows fast and is ready to be harvested after 120 days after planting, whereas trees will take many years to mature. Often trees require over ten years before they can be ready for harvesting. Like bamboo, hemp will grow in nearly all climates from the Scandinavian to the extreme weather of the Saharan desert. However, hemp plants prefer to grow in moderately cool climates or tropical zones.
This miracle plant provides four times the quantity of fibre. However, the striking thing is its fibre yield which is higher than all fastest-growing trees, with 600 per cent more fibre than flax.
Is Hemp The Same As Marijuana?
Both marijuana and hemp are varieties of cannabis Sativa, however, hemp has less THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component in marijuana. Hemp only contains THC levels of 0.05%, while marijuana has between 3 to 20%. And this makes hemp unusable as a recreational drug. In many countries that grow industrial hemp, the governments have enacted a THC limit for the hemp products. While hemp has had a bad reputation, this plant has many benefits.
Also, there is a big difference between hemp and marijuana. While marijuana is grown in highly spaced places to enhance leaf growth, hemp is grown close together to maximise the stalk. This is where all its great fibres come from.
In realising this difference and the opportunities that hemp cultivation present today, more countries are increasingly embracing legalisation of industrial hemp. Today, hemp plants are grown around the globe, in countries like China, Europe, Ukraine, Russia, North America and Australia. The benefits of this easy to grow and eco-friendly crop is today becoming more evident. Also, hemp gives more amounts of fibre per acre than cotton, trees, or flax (linen).
Another positive of the hemp plant is that it may be used in its entirety, from root to stalk, the flower, the leaf, seeds and the resin. Additionally, hemp may be used as tars, charcoal, methane and even other flammable gasses which help in cooking, heating homes, and for generating electricity.
How is Hemp Processed?
Hemp’s cellulose fibre is used in making many products, such as shirts, jeans, dresses, bags, hats, canvas and ropes, many food products and paper, skincare products, medicine, and building materials. China, the leading hemp fabric producer in the world, uses chemical methods in processing hemp. Producers in Europe have now adopted cleaner biologically-based enzyme methods. Though none of these methods produces a fabric that is just as soft and white as cotton. Because of this, hemp clothing is frequently blended with cotton. This, when considering the environment, use way more resources than pure hemp.
To cater to this concern, an innovative enzyme process which changes industrial hemp to Craliar ( white ‘Canadian cotton’) has been developed. Thanks to a patent by the collaboration between NRC( the Canadian federal science organisation) and Hemptown Clothing.
Hemp Clothes Are Easy To Care For
The pre-shrunk hemp fabric can handle hot water washes and clothes dryers with no issue. However, washing using cold water then air drying is best. Though it responds well to both, which makes hemp clothes great travel clothes choice. When your hemp clothing gets a stain, directly put some washing detergent on the spot, allowing it to sit for several minutes before washing it off. This often does the trick.
Depending on your preference and its fabrication, your hemp clothes might need some touch-up using a hot iron. Since hemp gets softer with washing and wear, ironing will become less essential, even for those individuals who are more particular. Wrinkles in the hemp’s Tencel fabric may be dealt with by spritzing it with water. Adding to why hemp clothing is convenient for your next adventure
Other ways for using hemp are in varnishes and paints, non-toxic biodegradable inks, plant-based plastics like cellulose-based plastics and cellophane. In the construction industry, hemp may be used to produce press-board fibre, that usually comes from immature trees. When compared to trees, Hemp has superior quality and strength for this purpose. Additionally, beams, panels, posts and stud can be using hemp.
Why Choose Hemp Clothing?
When looking at its advantages, hemp can be considered to be a miracle fibre. So, why choose hemp for fabric?
Growing Hemp Replenishes The Soil
Hemp plants help purify the soil while its deep roots retain topsoil thus preventing erosion. Hemp crops do not require to be rotated and may be grown for years on the same soil without depleting it. Since they anchor well into the soil they will preserve both the topsoil and the subsoil. This helps keep them healthy for long without having to rotate your crop. This differs from cotton that can deplete the soil of its nutrients. Hemp may be grown continuously for over 20-years without affecting the soil.
Easy On The Environment
The hemp crop can grow in just about any climate in the world, from the equator to the Arctic. It requires half the acreage used for cotton and gives about 3 times more fibre than cotton for the same acreage of land. Hemp production is also easy on the environment.
Different from cotton, hemp uses a fraction of the water to grow, needing little to no irrigation and even process. In some areas, the water needed by hemp crops comes entirely from rainfall. And with the growing concerns for our natural resource, water, typically hemp uses 1/20th of the water needed to grow and process regular cotton.
Hemp Fibres are Sturdy and Strong
Clothing made using hemp fibre is absorbent and lightweight. Hemp has some of the strongest fibres which are 10 times stronger compared to cotton. For a long time, people have valued this long-lasting and strong plant: the first fibre from hemp plants were spun over 10,000 years ago.
Wears Well And Is Weather Resistant
Hemp fabric wears and holds up well. Also, hemp fabric can easily absorb dye and resist fading. The hemp clothing can resist abrasion and retains their shape while getting softer with each wash. It’s naturally resistant to mildew, mold, and UV rays.
It’s Naturally Chemical-Free
Hemp grows fast—quicker than weeds!— and since it naturally crowds out weeds and is less vulnerable to insects, fertilisers and pesticides become obsolete when growing hemp.
Consider this, if we can grow a crop that does not have to be covered in pesticides and many other chemicals that harm the environment. Then there would be much less water contamination and the environment. Hemp is such a crop.
To provide different qualities of garments, hemp can also be blended with other fibres. For instance, you can now get hemp/cotton and hemp/silk garments for added comfort.