In yesterday’s post, I shared that I just got in a new shipment of antique hemp sheets from Europe and many of you asked what they are. I’ve talked about them before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever really explained what they are.
They are actually sheets, but not like the modern bedsheets we have today. They are made of three long, narrow pieces of fabric stitched together to make a larger sheet of fabric. The seams are one of my favorite parts about them. Some are hand-stitched in the most charming ways.
Another thing I love is many of them are marked or monogrammed, so they wouldn’t get mixed when they were laundered.
They come in all different weights, from heavy and scratchy to thinner with a tight, flat weave, more like a heavy linen. My favorite are the latter.
They are very hard-wearing, but still feel soft. Their tight weave keeps them durable and they hold a nice structure, but they aren’t too thick for sewing ruffles and multiple layers. For those reasons, I love them for upholstery and slipcovers.
I often mix them with grain sacks and other fabrics, but they are definitely my default textile of choice.
One downside is they are expensive. I sell mine for $110/each, which is a lot less than they go for other places, but it’s still a splurge. I’m a bit of a fabric junky, so it’s worth it to me.
The other downside is that you really do need to sew them with a machine that can handle heavy-weight fabrics. If you have a standard, light-duty machine, you can sew two, maybe three layers together, but if you’re getting into ruffles and piping, your machine isn’t going to be able to handle it and you’ll be breaking needles left and right.
A word of warning, though… once you start working with antique hemp sheets, there is no going back! Most of my “hemp sheet customers” are repeat customers.
You’ve been warned.
And, as an FYI, some people actually use them as sheets. I found this great post on the French General blog about the perks of sleeping under antique hemp sheets.
I am bringing some to The Market on Chapel Hill to sell and I will list whatever I have left online when I get back.
One more thing on the hemp sheets. I thought I’d share a little back story on where I buy mine. Well, one day, a few years ago, I received an e-mail from a gentleman. He said he saw on my blog that I liked old grain sacks and he had some grain sacks and antique hemp sheets he thought I would be interested in buying. I don’t know why I didn’t just delete it, thinking it was SPAM or a scam, but I didn’t. I actually responded and took a huge risk and placed an order with someone halfway around the world who may or may not be legit.
I waited for weeks and, just when I thought I might’ve been had, I received a large package from Europe…filled with beautiful hemp sheets that were exactly as described.
I’ve been ordering ever since.
So, you never know!
I’ve been really into rolling pins, mashers and wooden spoons lately, so I’ve been picking them up on my shopping trips.
I rubbed all of the pieces I found with some Hemp Oil and, it doesn’t matter how many times I watch dull, dried-out wood come to life, if never gets old.
The wooden pieces look so pretty around the booth, in ironstone pitchers and old totes.
It’s been a packed day and I’m toast.