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Home > Tips for Working with Hemp Textiles

Important Tips
What Every Customer Should Know about Natural Hemp Fabrics

Q: What is half bleached fabric?
A: Half bleached fabric is fabric that has been bleached for only a short period of time. The fabric is not white, but ranges from off-white to ivory. Half bleached fabric does not have all of the shrinkage removed and may also be of varying color shades.

Q: Why are some of Hemp Traders' fabrics half bleached?
A: Half beaching the fabric is useful to clean up the fabric by removing excess fibers and to lighten the fabrics color to make them easier to dye and more presentable.

Q: What are Greige goods Fabric?
A: Greige fabric is fabric that is unfinished.

Q: What does this mean?
A: The fabric has just come off of the looms and has not yet been dyed, bleached, shrunk, softened, printed, etc.

Hemp fabrics are sold in their natural state. NATURAL IS NOT A COLOR! IT IS THE ABSENCE OF COLOR! The natural appearance is determined by the raw color of the hemp fibers and the length of time the fabric was half bleached. NOTE: DIFFERENT LOTS OF NATURAL HEMP FABRIC MAY NOT BE THE EXACT SAME COLOR.

The shrinkage has not yet been taken out of natural fabrics. Natural fabrics will shrink when washed anywhere from 5%-15% depending upon the weave, the composition, and the lot number. Natural hemp fabric will shrink in unpredictable ways. Even two identical rolls from the same lot have been known to shrink differently.

Tightness/Openness of Weave
When the hemp fabric is washed and shrunk, the weave will naturally close up. This is in direct proportion to the degree of shrinkage obtained. In practical terms, this means that identically woven fabrics may appear different if one of them has been washed, dyed, bleached, or shrunk.

Q: How do I work with natural hemp fabric or half bleached fabric?
A: Sample fabric bought in the natural state needs to be washed to remove shrinkage. The best way to do this is to cut the fabric into 2-3 yd. pieces. Surge the edges to avoid unraveling and put the pieces in the washing machine. NOTE: HEMP FABRIC THAT HAS NOT BEEN SURGED MAY UNRAVEL WHEN WASHED. Wash with hot water and mild soap. After the wash, place fabric in the dryer and dry until damp. While the hemp is still slightly damp, remove it from the dryer and iron it. This should remove most of the shrinkage and leave you with crisp clean fabric.

Q: What if I don't want to do all this work?
A: Hemp Traders is fully equipped to finish the hemp fabric to fit our customer's needs. We have the capability to provide dyeing, softening, shrinkage, brushing, washing, printing, water resistance treatment and more. We only require a minimum of 200 yards. Hemp Traders can also refer our customers to dye houses that perform these functions.