How to Process Hemp Into Fabric

by Matthew Huntington; Updated September 26, 2017
Hemp fabric is a better insulator and better UV-blocker than cotton fabric.

Hemp has been used as a clothing fiber for at least 10,000 years. Traditional methods for turning hemp fiber into fabric are eco-friendly, and many companies are still using those methods today. Hemp is one of the strongest and most durable of all fibers, it holds its shape well and it does not require herbicides or pesticides to produce.

Items you will need

  • Cutting equipment
  • Spinning machine
  • Textile loom
Step 1

Chop hemp stalks into 12- to 18-inch lengths. Allow to dry in field.

Step 2

Turn stalks every several days for 14 to 21 days. This process is called "retting," and causes the fibers to separate from the woody stems.

Step 3

Form stalks into bales and transport to spinning location.

Step 4

Use a specialized spinning machine to spin long hemp fibers together into a continuous strand of yarn.

Step 5

The hemp yarn is now ready to be woven into fabric by various textile production methods.

About the Author

Matthew Huntington has been writing travel articles since 2002. His pieces have appeared in "National Geographic Traveler," "American Way" and "The Miami Herald." Huntington speaks fluent Spanish and has lived in many parts of Latin America, including Ecuador, Guatemala and Puerto Rico. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in European studies from Brigham Young University.

Photo Credits

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