Hemp is a bast fibre, and is also considered as one of the best since ancient times. Over the centuries it has been used for multiple purposes. It has become vital for textiles, sailcloth, ropes, upholstery, and industrial products. Also, it was first produced in the Middle East and Asia. Today, China is considered one of the biggest exporters of hemp. It is also known as industrial hemp.
The hemp fiber is obtained from the plant of the cannabis genus. Cannabis sativa consists of marijuana and industrial hemp. Cultivators have been breeding cannabis sativa for two distinct purposes for thousands of years. Thus, leading to the usage of hemp fiber in textiles.
Often, the male cannabis sativa plant is used to create hemp, while marijuana is made from female cannabis sativa. In addition, marijuana contains more psychoactive ingredients in comparison to industrial hemp. Hemp fabric is popular among upholstery fabrics. It is known for its good quality, low cost, and ease of use. Also, it is known for its adaptability.
How is Hemp Upholstery Made?
The hemp fibre is obtained through various processes. The first step is harvesting when the plant is ready. The next step is retting, which is a process where the fibres are separated from the bark. Retting can be done a few different ways:
• Dew retting: Here, the stems of hemp are kept in the open. Thus, allowing dew, snow, rain, or irrigation to keep the stalks of the hemp moist. The whole process takes around five weeks. It turns into light brown and gives a rough fibre.
• Water retting: With this method, the stems are soaked into the water to break down the pectin bacteria. The process will take around ten to seventy days. It gives a good quality fibre.
• Enzyme retting: Enzyme retting was developed to replace water retting. It was created to produce quality fibre equal to water retting without waste and unpleasant smell.
• Chemical retting: Here, the chemicals are used to get rid of pectin. The entire process takes around forty-eight hours. It produces high-quality fibre.
After retting, the hemp is ready to be spun together to produce a continuous thread. Hemp fabrics are also known to be blended with different types of materials. The inclusion of other materials softens the product and removes the rough texture. In addition, it also helps in cost-cutting.
Since hemp is not cultivated widely, it can get pricey. However, when it is blended with other materials, the cost of the final product tends to be cheaper. Furthermore, hemp fabric can integrate with many materials, so it’s known for its versatility.
Hemp fabrics have been used for various purposes over the centuries. It is used to make different textile products like towels, tents, upholstery, bedspreads, etc. Hemp upholstery is getting more popular among households. Most households use hemp fabric for their seat covers because it is easy to clean.
It blends with cotton fabric to make upholstery or bed linen because its lightweight offers comfort. Another good aspect of hemp fabric is its sustainability. Although the price might be costlier than other fabrics, it can last for an extended period.
Hemp upholstery is easy to use and maintain. The blending of the material also enables the production of a quality product and makes the fabric softer. It's naturally got a rough texture, so a blended hemp fabric will look and feel much better on upholstered furnishings.
In regards to cleaning hemp upholstery, low moisture is recommended as too much could cause cellulosic browning. Do not steam clean hemp furniture as this will use way too much moisture and you will risk browning out the fabric and cause permanent damage.
Hemp fabrics are strong and can be woven into a long-staple textile. Hemp is reliable and robust, which makes it a good choice for medium activity areas.
You would rarely see hemp furniture in commercial settings, so a statement piece at home would be more likely. You can buy hemp furniture online through various retailers and they have some great photos to show you what it would look like.
Don't underestimate this type of fabric for your furnishings as it has a lot of benefits that you could enjoy.