hemp sheets & hemp oil

Marian ParsonsFavorite Finds, Secret Weapons23 Comments

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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I’ve been really into rolling pins, mashers and wooden spoons lately, so I’ve been picking them up on my shopping trips.

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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.

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The wooden pieces look so pretty around the booth, in ironstone pitchers and old totes.

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It’s been a packed day and I’m toast.

Nighty night.

hemp sheets & hemp oil

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23 Comments on “hemp sheets & hemp oil”

  1. I’ve been meaning to ask you, Marian- Can your hemp oil be applied to a butcher block that is used for food?

    Also, I love to see little ruffles made from the hemp fabric. Your own version of shabby chic.

  2. I have a question too. Do hemp and tung oil produce the same results? Also, if I have painted the top of a chest, and waxed it with clear wax, can it still be oiled? I thought the wax would produce a more satiny feel, but it still just feels like paint.

    1. Tung oil will make a shiny finish with a couple of coats. Not super shiny like gloss, more like semi-gloss. Use very fine steel wool between coats to knock down bumps and a tack cloth to get all the tiny particles up. I used it to finish a bookcase after staining it and had a really good result with lots of compliments.

      I haven’t used hemp oil but it looks like it’s the sort of oil that sinks into wood and does not leave a gloss.

        1. Yep, Laurie is right. And hemp and tung oil are different kinds of products with different advantages and disadvantages. You can read more about each on the MMSMP website.

          No, I would not use an oil over a wax, since the wax will prevent the oil from seeping into the grain of the paint or wood. It would just sit on top of the finish. You can put wax over oil though.

  3. Hi Marian,

    I know you are bringing some of the sheets to your show. Is there any opportunity to buy some from you before the show as I am half a country away from Alabama (ok, well maybe a third..)?

    Jackie

  4. Ditto Jackie, I am half a country away and would also like to purchase a couple. My drop cloths have had their last lives, after four kids and numerous pets, and of course a million washes. Gracias

  5. I just bought some MMS Hemp Oil! Can’t wait to try it out. Tomorrow is what my friend and I are calling “Project Day.” We’re getting together each Friday afternoon to get stuff done. I’ll be sure to send pictures!

  6. I would love to buy one if you have one monogrammed with either a J or B, great if it had both in blue. Any chance?

  7. Marian,

    Thanks for the education on hemp sheets! I too have wondered what their original use was. Also, thanks for the backstory on how you found them, I love it!:)

    Lisa

  8. I’m continually amazed by your finds. Living in Wyoming, the chance of scoring in that department is slim. I continue to scour the area and love the thrill of the rare find, but would love to know your source in Europe. I know this is probably like a “state secret”, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Thank you for your inspiration.

  9. Is there a fabric you would suggest that is somewhere between hemp sheets and drop cloths that is sturdy but less expensive than hemp to use for slipcovers?

    1. Yes, new hemp canvas fabric (you can find it on Hemptraders.com) or cotton twill. Both are great options and I’ve used them for slips and upholstery.

  10. Thank you so much for your explanation of hemp sheets. I love old wood pieces also i have all kinds,i never get tired of the hunt.

  11. I love the hemp sheets, too, and am fascinated by your story of how you found your source. On another note, please give some idea of the uses of the different wood items (I know about the rolling pins!).

  12. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your hemp oil and use it all the time! I don’t even want to think about those gorgeous antique sheets! ? I had. Thought the other day about using hemp oil on leather boots instead of waterproof spray. Have you ever used it on leather? Inquiring minds! Thanks for all your wonderful posts- you are one of my favorite to follow!

  13. love the sheets, where is your source or is this a secret.
    thank you
    Martha

    PS love your blog

  14. Now that you describe hemp sheets I’m sure that’s what I have found! I got mine at a second hand store, paid $7.99 for it. It’s enormous, and has been stitched together in strips like you say. It is monogrammed with Russian letters, which is cool since I do humanitarian aid in Ukraine. It is so large, I use it as a tablecloth rather than a sheet. But I thought it was heavy weight linen. Now I know!

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