Hemp is my favorite natural fiber for home textile items. It’s versatile, comfortable and beautiful. I’ve been using hemp fabrics for years to make my own kitchen towels, napkins, roman shades, curtains, pillow covers, bedding and slipcovers.
Good quality hemp canvas, twill and herringbone have a similar look and feel to linen but I’ve found hemp has more character and it’s stronger, which makes it long wearing. It also has less give than linen.
As far as undyed colors go you can’t beat hemp’s natural hues ranging from semi-bleached creamy white to oatmeal and dark taupe.
Recently, I tested four new hemp fabrics that are ideal for washable slipcovers. If you like the look of a casual linen slipcover but want more durability, I think you will love these options. Let’s take a look.
First up is this 11 oz. hemp plain weave (above). It’s tightly woven with finer yarns than the more common rustic hemp canvas.
The strong, tight weave doesn’t mean this fabric is stiff. Like linen, the crisp hand-feel softens beautifully with machine wash and dry giving the fabric a supple drape. It will continue to get softer overtime with wear and wash.
I love the undyed natural taupe color. It’s the perfect shade of oatmeal. FYI – the raw taupe color can vary from one hemp fabric to another depending on what part of the world the fiber is grown and harvested.
This hemp cloth is perfect in every way for washable slipcovers that get frequent use.
Kelly, owner of Covered, made this wonderful hemp canvas slipcover (above). I don’t know which fabric she used but the results give you a good idea of how most hemp fabrics look after washed and dried. So pretty!
I was happy to find this gorgeous 12 oz. hemp twill. Yes, a twill! It’s got the look of bull denim and the softness of linen. Chunky twill lines and slubby yarns give this cloth a ton of character.
Notice the creamy white color? It’s achieved by “bleaching” the natural taupe hemp with hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine.
Speaking of creamy white hemp, this 12 oz. hemp canvas is another excellent slipcover fabric (above). I’ve used it several times with very good results. It’s a supple heavyweight woven with thick and thin yarns, which creates an imperfectly beautiful texture.
It worked great for a pair of vintage chairs (below). The creamy white color covered the dark green velvet just fine. It also has a very nice drape and body, perfect for giving the box pleat skirt soft folds and fullness.
Last but not least is this 15 oz. heavyweight hemp canvas (below). It’s a classic — rustic, grainy, and weighty.
This fabric is ideal for very simple slipcover styles like a casual boxy chair and ottoman, a big floor pillow, seat cushion covers and pillows –styles that have very few seams. It’s also great for upholstery.
I don’t recommend this hemp canvas for entire chair and sofa slipcovers with lots of seam details and a skirt. That’s because it is very thick and it has an unusual amount of give / stretch in both the straight grain and across the width. If you are not experienced in working with this type of fabric I would opt for a lighter weight canvas.
I like the weighty yet supple drape after it’s washed. The hand-feel is similar to furnishing weight linen — it’s coarse but not scratchy.
I’m certain this canvas will wear well for a very long time and get softer and more beautiful. It’s thicker than the other hemp fabrics listed above so buy a yard, preshrink it and do a sew test on your home machine to make sure you can sew easily through multiple layers.
Thanks everyone for following my blog! Until next time. –Karen