Sewing with Hemp – A self drafted Skirt
I created my own pattern for self-drafted shorts many years ago. But have recently adjusted it to add a bit more volume with pleats and extra length. However, as I’m sure you can see from the photos, it didn’t exactly go to plan.
The Hemp Shop
After my previous post, Sustainable fabric spotlight hemp, I wanted to elaborate. I decided to create a whole separate post on my experience sewing with Hemp. I wanted to find a hemp supplier that had reputable sources, the same values as me and ideally were in the UK to save on shipping emissions. After much research I found The Hemp Shop.
The Hemp shop are one of the UK oldest Hemp specific shops, having been in business since 1995. Their website stocks everything hemp, foods, essential oils, clothing and natural beauty – but I was just interested in the fabric.
Hemp is such a versatile fibre that is the most environmentally friendly and sustainable of all-natural fabrics. It also grows very easily and organically, which means there’s no need for harmful chemicals. When many people think of hemp they think of a uncomfortable scratchy fabric, but over the years this has changed. Hemp can now be made into a soft linen like fabric.
The Hemp Shop stock hemp silk, hemp linen, hemp denim and mixed Hemp fabrics like Jersey. For my first hemp project used natural linen like hemp and The Hemp Shop kindly gifted me some fabric and eco reactive dye.
Sewing with Hemp
I started by pre washing and then dying my fabric this beautiful dark khaki colour. It is just perfect for Autumn. With my newly adjusted shorts pattern I cut out the front and back panels and pocket pieces. I sewed the back darts and stay stitched the pleats so they held in place while I added the other pieces. As I was unsure of the finished length I added a few extra inches as I wanted these to be a bit more relaxed.
I then constructed the pockets so I had two complete front panels. When constructing pockets, I like to be generous with the pocket bags and at least have them big enough to fit my phone in. So many women’s ready to wear garments have very small pockets so this is one of the bonuses of making your own clothing.
I then sewed the centre front and centre back seams, leaving room for a zip. As I didn’t have any concealed zips I decided to just go for a regular zip and button fastening. I then had a complete back and front and sewed them together before checking the fit. At this point the shorts ideas started to change. When I put it on, I noticed how good it looked as a loose mini skirt. I also realised that going into Autumn I might not have as much use for shorts. And I didn’t want to make something that I couldn’t immediately wear.
I decided to carry on with the idea of a relaxed mini, hemp seemed to really lend itself to this idea with the weight and drape of the fabric. Sewing with hemp is a dream as its weave makes it strong and solid to work with, and it doesn’t swish about like some fabrics. After adding the waistband and belt loops I tried it on again to check the fit.
To change the design from shorts to a skirt was fairly easy, I just had to pin and chop off the extra triangle of fabric that forms the rise seam. After doing this it was just a case of hemming and ta dah!… I had finished my self drafted shorts, now skirt. Sewing the hemp linen from The Hemp Shop was a dream to work with, I loved it. I would definitely choose it over regular linen and can’t wait to try some of the other forms of hemp fabric that The Hemp shop has on offer.
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