Antique Hemp Sheets

How and Why to Buy Antique Hemp Sheets

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My first experience with antique hemp sheets was with my recent slipcovered recliner tutorial and I received so many questions about them, that it deserves a post. There was little bit of a learning curve to buying and sewing with them, but in the end I have to say, I am officially hooked!

First off, let’s talk about the history behind these beautiful, vintage textiles and look at their functional attributes.

The Pros


It is said that the farmer’s wives would hand weave these sheets during the long winters in France and yes, they were actually used as bed sheets.

Many of them are embroidered with the original owner’s monogram to help differentiate between all the other sheets in town. They would send their washing out to the washer women and needed a way to mark their belongings so they would be returned to the rightful owner.

The very first sheet I ordered had the most beautiful monogram down in the corner.

How and Why to Buy Antique Hemp Sheets by She Holds Dearly

How and Why to Buy Antique Hemp Sheets by She Holds Dearly

The history behind these antiques is, in itself, very endearing to a girl like me. But, I also need to think about durability and aesthetic appeal in a house full of kids.


The texture is like that of belgian linen with its tiny weave and occassional nubbiness. The natural fibers are cool to the touch and buttery soft after all the years of use.

How and Why to Buy Antique Hemp Sheets by She Holds Dearly


Several readers gasped at my choice of “white” slipcovers for our fireside room.

But, truth be told, the color is more of an oatmeal than a white. We are finding it to be very forgiving of the daily dinginess that inevitably occurs.

How and Why to Buy Antique Hemp Sheets by She Holds Dearly


I chose “medium weight” sheets for my slipcovers and they are just right.

They are thick enough to use for slipcovers and upholstery and sufficiently cover the darker pattern underneath.


The weave on them has a nice stretch, so you can get your slipcover to be nice and snug and easily adjust it at the same time.

How and Why to Buy Antique Hemp Sheets by She Holds Dearly

And now, some precautions. . .

The Cons


I found them a little difficult to get right when ordering them. But, I don’t want you to be afraid of them, just read the descriptions carefully and understand the seller’s return policy.

The three places I have seen them are Etsy, Ebay and Miss Mustard Seed.

I needed five different sheets for my two slipcovers and each sheet is a different size, weight, color and texture. I bought mine off Ebay and ordered from different dealers, so even reading the descriptions and asking questions wasn’t always enough to get me a good set of matching sheets. I had to exchange some once I saw them all together.

One thing I like about Miss Mustard Seed is that if you are ordering more than one, they will hand select your sheets for you and send you a coordinating set.


Hemp sheets can be a little pricey, $55-$110 per sheet.

The drape and texture of fabric is extremely important to me. I am what you would call a “fabric snob” and so if I am going to splurge on something, its going to be the fabric.  I love just walking down the aisles in fabric stores with my hand held out to feel all the textures. I’m sure the clerks love that! Ha!

But, if you are not a fabric snob and/or money is really tight right now, some other good alternatives are cotton twill ($7-16/yard), cotton duck ($3-11/yard) or hemp canvas/linen ($15-17/yard).

The Seams

Each hemp sheet is pieced together with two hand sewn seams down the center. Not everyone cares about having to work the seams into their project, but I found I couldn’t get them straight on my slipcovers. So, I  tiptoed around them and cut them out whenever I could.

How and Why to Buy Antique Hemp Sheets


In Conclusion . . 

I’m addicted now, I already have three chairs waiting in line for new hemp sheet upholstery.

Also, I would love to actually use them as sheets! I hear they regulate your body heat, so you end up sleeping better.

For more information on use and care I recommend this beautiful blog post by Dreamy Whites.

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  1. Amy Newell
    April 23, 2016 / 5:50 PM

    Thank you for remembering my question and answering them all! ????????✌????️❤️

  2. April 24, 2016 / 12:12 PM

    Love learning something when I read a beautiful blog. Thank you for this informative article Sarah. I am seriously thinking about using this material for dining chair seats. So many projects!!

    • April 24, 2016 / 12:53 PM

      Oh yay! I hope you get some for your chairs, if you do I want to hear what your opinion is. Xoxo

  3. pamela lepage
    April 24, 2016 / 4:19 PM

    What a great info. about the fabric. l love old sheets. I have one set that was my Grandma’s wedding set which I love to use every so often the sheets are nice and thick and I love the feel. For now I will be storing the info for a later use.Thank You so much for sharing.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      April 25, 2016 / 8:24 AM

      How amazing that you actually have sheets that we in the family! That makes them even better.:)

  4. Tanya Hulbert
    April 24, 2016 / 8:21 PM

    Sarah, I loved reading about these gorgeous sheets and learning some history about them. Who knew sheets could be so fascinating! I keep thinking about the pieces of furniture I’ve sold in the past that I should have kept just to cover with these beautiful sheets!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      April 25, 2016 / 8:25 AM

      I’m so glad you liked the post. Vintage items have such a way of drawing us in, don’t they?

  5. May 17, 2016 / 2:28 PM

    Wow, when I saw the weave up close I felt myself getting hooked on it! It’s reminding me of my favorite pair of blue jeans…. Soft, and fit perfectly. I like that you also shared the con of ordering it. You gave me some great tips to look for, thanks so much!

    Thanks for joining us at the Dishing It & Digging It Link Party

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      May 31, 2016 / 10:07 AM

      Haha! I felt the same way, I am such a sucker for fabulous textures on fabrics. Thank you for reading, commenting and hosting your fabulous party!

  6. Teresa Sole
    May 31, 2016 / 10:44 AM

    I ordered some new linen sheets for our bed and, boy, do they feel sleek and smooth! They are silky and cool to sleep in. You have to wash them a bunch of times before they are like the antique ones but for the price, they are terrific!!! What a luxurious splurge they are, but, cheap compared to the old ones!!!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      May 31, 2016 / 10:46 AM

      Oh my gosh, you lucky girl! I really want some for our beds, too. How fun, I should check out the modern day ones, great tip, Teresa.

  7. Kaye
    August 4, 2020 / 7:07 PM

    May I have contact information for how to purchase the sheets?
    Thank you

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 9, 2020 / 11:16 PM

      Hi Kaye,
      Because of how the sheets are sold, you have to do a search on Etsy and/or Ebay to see what you find! I’m sorry I can’t post a more direct/easy link!

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