I have very little sewing energy after the major coat project, and am only able to sew straight seams. This seemed the perfect opportunity to make a sheet set, something I would normally not consider sewing at all, due to the mind numbing boredom of such a task. It just goes to show that I should not display my loathing of soft furnishing sewing too often or I might find myself having to recant. This week I am recanting. Sometimes sewing sheets is the right thing to do. Cost approximately $140 in materials. Purchased sheet set from same fabric $318.50 including postage.
I was reading the blog 3 hours past the end of the world the other day. I was pleased to find a link to the Margaret River Hemp Co, which sells hemp blend fabrics including hemp/cotton sheeting. Thanks Steph! Industrial hemp is grown in Australia, but I had not come across any Australian sources of hemp fabric previously - there is a hemp products shop in Eumundi, with everything imported in a RTW state, and a few years ago I bought a made-in-Australia knit hemp/cotton jacket in Noosa (on super discount) which I cut up for an unsuccessful t shirt, but the only hemp yardage I have used came from Michael's Fabric in Baltimore, USA. I strongly suspect that the Margaret River Hemp fabrics are also imported, but at least they are available in flat fabric state. I wanted to try hemp fabric again, as whilst the t shirt fabric was horrible, the Michael's Fabric made very nice trousers, both to sew and wear.
I was intruiged by the idea of hemp sheets. The website compares them to linen, and claims that hemp sheets used to be heirlooms.
I ordered some sheeting, some silk/hemp woven, and some cotton/hemp knit. Postage was cheap, response was timely, but at first, I was underwhelmed by the fabric.
The cotton/hemp sheeting was very stiff and rough. The cotton/hemp knit seemed to be exactly the same fabric that I had trouble with in my RTW jacket refashion.
I washed the knit and sheeting at 60 degrees C. Some stiffness was removed, but after measuring the fabric, I found that I had 460cm of the sheeting. As I had paid for 5m, and the reported shrinkage is 5% I am either annoyed at being shorted, or annoyed at the shrinkage being well over 5% - take your pick!
This meant that I could only squeeze one pillow case out of the remnants from my queen size fitted bottom sheet, and top sheet with newly skimpy turn over.
I have very mixed views about the sheets -mine and my husband's. My view, is that the fabric is scratchy, rough, and has nasty pill-like patches, suggesting to me that the fibres are short, and inferior to the long staple hemp used in high quality fabrics.
My husband thinks slightly scratchy sheets are just his cup of tea, and he really likes the buttoned on pillowcase and extra hold corners I have added to the sheets, as usually he wakes up with no pillowcase on his pillow, and the bottom sheet pulled off the corner.
I am really hoping these sheets soften dramatically in the next few washes. Otherwise I will be making a neck to ankle nightie with long sleeves, and wearing gloves and socks to bed.