How hemp fabric is made and why Australian hemp products are a better choice all-round
Hemp fabric is having a moment in Australia. We’re increasingly motivated to make eco-conscious choices, while at the same time wanting to invest in quality clothing and lifestyle products. Hemp blended fabric is a versatile, comfortable, and environmentally gentle product – is the best of both worlds.
What is hemp fabric?
Hemp fabric is a breathable and versatile material made from the fibres around the stalks of the Cannabis sativa plant. You might have heard the myths, but Cannabis sativa used in textile production has practically no psychoactive THC content. Australian-made hemp products aren’t controversial in any way – except maybe how good they are. The very hemp fabric was woven in Parramatta, NSW in 1803. So it is a part of Australian early history.
How is hemp fabric made?
Between 90-110 days after planting, we can harvest the mature hemp plants using a specially designed harvester.
Only the plant’s strong outer fibres become hemp fabric, while the core of the stem can be used in building materials. So, we let nature work by retting the fibres for 4-6 weeks in the fields while other parts of the plant become food, hemp oil and sustainable lifestyle products.
After retting, the individual fibres are detangled, cleaned and combed in a process known as carding.
Steaming, matting and pulping
Depending on the end product, the fibres are then steamed, matted or pulped:
- Steaming creates hemp for fabric
- Matting is the first step in fleeces and thicker mats
- Pulping turns hemp into paper
The hemp is ready to be spun then woven or knitted into hemp fabric, clothing and textiles.
How is hemp fabric used?
Hemp is incredibly versatile; it’s used in 35,000 products ranging from paper and fabric to food, rope, and plastics to raw construction materials. But we’re focusing on hemp fabric here because it’s products like clothing and bed linen where hemp has the highest potential to surprise you.
Hemp fabric is incredibly absorbent, moisture-wicking and breathable. It’s also anti-allergenic and recyclable, and that’s all without blending hemp fibres with anything. Combining with silk, for example in our sheer fabrics range, creates a delightfully smooth fabric with all the environmental benefits of hemp. We also mix in a minor amount of Fairtrade organic cotton with hemp to craft heavier fabrics for knits and upholstery.
How does hemp fabric help the environment?
For drought-stricken farmers looking for a resilient, low-impact crop, and for consumers wanting to reduce their environmental footprint, Australian hemp products are win-win.
Hemp doesn’t need harmful chemicals to grow. It uses around less than 50% of the water required to produce cotton and grows to full height in 3-4 months. All our hemp fabric are processed in China, where we source from farms producing high-quality, certified organic fibres in Fairtrade conditions. Unfortunately Australia doesn’t have the infrastructure to process hemp as yet! But we’re working on it.
Every Australian hemp product is a small positive change for the environment. By shopping consciously, you are helping to reduce the impact of agriculture in places where farming directly supports local families and communities.
Browse Hemp Gallery for eco-friendly inspiration
Hemp Gallery is driven by an environmentalists’ spirit and run by a mother-daughter duo committed to creating Australian hemp products with a purpose. Our entire hemp fabric range is sustainably sourced, environmentally friendly and incredibly comfortable.