All other sheets had been ruined for me: I was a linen convert after sleeping on an especially luxurious set from Snowe. Sateen felt too slippery, percale too stiff, microfiber simply unforgivable. Quite literally overnight, I had become a sheets snob. West Elm’s new hemp bedding, however, intrigued me.
I was sold first on the sustainable angle. The material requires a third of the resources (water, fertilizer, and land) that cotton does to produce, and it’s a fast-growing crop that can yield 600 percent the amount of flax (what linen is made of). Why aren’t hemp sheets more common? For a long time, industrial hemp had the same legal characterization as marijuana—so it hasn’t yet been used to its full potential.
Then there’s the feel: It has a coarser texture (however, by all means, not not soft) than traditional cotton and a purposeful wrinkle that gives off the casual (though not messy) vibe of linen. Naturally dyed, West Elm’s set is ever-so-slightly off-white, with two tan stripes running along the edge of both pillowcases and the top sheet.
I noticed a difference as soon as I pulled them out of the dryer. The hemp sheets were a bit stiffer than my go-to set, but this wasn’t altogether unexpected. The material softens over time—and given hemp is the most durable natural fiber, it should last for years. When I slipped into the sheets that night, I was surprised to find myself in a Goldilocks situation: They weren’t too crisp; they weren’t too soft. They were just right.
Hemp might just be the perfect in-between for those who love a bed with structure (think: a crisp hotel setup) but don’t enjoy slipping around on overly smooth sheets. Plus, the thicker natural fiber is comforting without being overwhelming.
Sorry, linen: Not only does the material meet my high standards for bedding, its eco-friendliness means I can sleep soundly, too.
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