Coping with Hemp

So, hemp is kind of a bitch to sew. Just a little tip from me to you, in case you want to try it. Have good scissors and a lot of sharp needles on hand. Remember, hemp is essential to the whole Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult look, so we soldier on.

I had just cut out the first piece of the Straight-cut Sarouel pants from Happy Homemade Sew Chic with my good dressmaker’s scissors when I felt strangely weary. It’s not as if I’d spent the day toiling on the cult’s self-sufficiency farm or anything. I was just tired.

I started cutting another piece when it dawned on me. This hemp is really really tough. Like cutting through metal. Whew! I switched to my big rotary cutter to finish the job.

Then, sewing the pockets (big ones, since the cult’s farm has lots of free-range chickens), it happened again. I had used a size 14 needle, since the weight of the hemp is like linen. When the needle encountered a big slub the hemp, the machine stopped in safety mode.


When I restarted the machine, the needle made that “pop pop pop” sound that always means, “another needle bites the dust.” So I changed to a size 16 upholstery needle and finished the job.

By the time I’d sewed both pockets on, the new bigger needle also had started popping. I’ll need a third and probably a fourth needle to finish the project.


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