Sustainable Fashion: How to Make Hemp Clothing That Lasts Forever
Do you have a passion for sustainable fashion? If so, you may have heard of hemp. This eco-friendly plant fiber is in high demand in the fashion world.
With its versatility and durability, hemp is changing our future for the better in many ways. But how exactly is it used to create high-fashion clothing? To learn about how to make hemp and all its interesting effects on clothing production, keep on reading.
Background on Hemp
Derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, the hemp plant has a wide variety of industrial uses. Since 1606, the US has grown hemp for paper, building materials, rope, and fuel. The first US president, George Washington, even had his very own hemp farm.
This incredible plant’s fibers create a durable, unique material. These fibers are long-lasting, sustainable, and more easily grown than cotton. By not requiring as much water or pesticides, hemp can also replenish its own soil.
Historians have found remnants of hemp clothing in Iran and Iraq dating back to 8,000 BC. And while hemp played a major role in the early development of the US, cotton became the main clothing material. With the invention of the mechanical cotton gin, hemp was more difficult to cultivate.
After banning hemp production in 1937, the US only lifted the ban for certain farmers in 1942 to meet the needs of war production. Since then, 2018 saw the full legalization of hemp with the singing of a new farm bill.
This bill allows farmers across the US to grow and sell hemp under the discretion of their state and local governments. Inspiring clothing makers and designers all over, hemp is paving the way for a more sustainable future in fashion.
How to Make Hemp Clothing
Clothing production makes up 10 percent of human carbon emissions. Much of this clothing also ends up in landfills and garbage dumps.
Whether made for a brand or for personal use, hemp clothing can last for many lifetimes. Hemp production also uses less water, zero chemicals, and is waste-free. If you’re inspired by hemp’s sustainability and versatility, you may consider making your own hemp clothing.
To make your own hemp clothing, follow these steps for the best result.
When learning how to make hemp into clothing, the first step is to carry out the retting process. During this process, the outer layer of the hemp plant, as well as the wood-like core, break down to reveal the usable material.
While it may seem simple to strip the hemp plant’s layers, the slow retting process is sustainable and most effective. To begin the retting process, soak a dry hemp plant in water immediately after harvesting. The bacteria and fungi in the water can break down the plant’s hard exterior.
To use less water, let natural dew from the outdoors break down the layers. While soaking in water may take a few days, allowing dew to break down the layer may take a few weeks. However, the dew retting process saves on water and is the most sustainable.
After the retting is complete, you’ll want to roll out the plant’s stems to separate hemp fibers. This is a process called breaking or scutching. When scutching the plant, roll or beat the stems to separate the fibers from the core.
When scutching, be sure not to split the plant in half. To create flexibility without breaking, the hemp plant should have slight moisture. Be sure that the plant is not too moist, as this will not allow the proper separation.
Once the hemp plant is softer and more flexible, you must then comb the fibers in a process called hackling. This process removes unwanted materials from the fibers and prepares them for spinning.
For the hackling process, consider using several different combs with varying teeth size. Comb through the hemp fibers to remove wooden residue and create a flowing pattern.
Once these steps are complete, we recommend a process called roving. During the roving process, twist and stretch the hemp fibers to create more strength and flexibility for spinning.
In the final step for learning how to make hemp into cloth, you’ll need a spindle. A spindle can aide in the spinning process of not only hemp fibers but also flax and cotton.
With this weighted stick, spin the hemp fibers by first attaching near the weight. Next, pinch the hemp and spin around the center of the spindle. This will allow for easy access when creating your clothing.
Hemp Clothing Costs
Now that you know the basics of how hemp can make clothing, you may be wondering, “How much does it cost to make hemp clothing?”
While hemp clothing costs more than typical cotton clothing, it’s worth it. While hemp clothing comes at a higher cost, it also lasts longer. Remember when historians found hemp clothing from 8,000 BC still intact?
Most clothing in stores today would never last as long as hemp clothing does.
With a four percent market share, the fashion industry has a high value of 406 billion dollars. But at what cost? While cotton and polyester are cheaper to produce the fast fashion industry has a significant impact on the environment.
Fast fashion is the second-largest consumer of water supply. The industry will continue to harm the environment if nothing changes.
To contribute to a healthier planet and reduce your own carbon footprint, investing in hemp clothing is worth it. Also, with more environmentally-aware shoppers, spending more on sustainable clothing is common. Hemp clothing items are unique, sustainable, and will last in your closet forever.
Invest in Hemp Clothing Today
If you love fashion but want to reduce your impact on the planet, investing in sustainable clothing is a simple solution. When learning how to make hemp, remember how the result will not only look beautiful, but it will also help the environment. Invest in hemp clothing today and take comfort in knowing that you can make a difference with your fashion choices.
For more fashion tips and helpful information, be sure to check out our other blog posts.