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Fabric & Care

Our Fabrics are Earth-Friendly

In selecting our fabrics, we look for beauty, comfort and environmental sustainability. Our blend of 55% hemp and 45% Tencel™ merges hemp's strength, durability and colorfastness with the drape and sheen of Tencel™. Our 4-oz Light Weight hemp/Tencel blend is a shirting that we use for tops. Our 6.2-oz Mid Weight hemp/Tencel blend has a heavier yarn that's great for tops, skirts and pants.

Hemp grows rapidly and requires little water and no pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides. Its deep roots actually improve the soil in which it's grown. Hemp has natural anti-microbial properties and is resistant to mold and mildew. It absorbs and releases perspiration quickly and breathes well. Its long fibers result in durable fabric that actually softens with wear.

Tencel™ is the trade name for lyocell, a fabric developed to emulate the positive characteristics of rayon, such as good drape, breathability and sheen while counteracting its negative environmental impacts. Earth-friendly Tencel™ uses only wood from tree farms and recycles the solvents used to transform the wood pulp into fibers in a "closed loop" system.

Combining these two fibers results in a fabric that can be machine washed and tumble dried. We preshrink all of our garments.

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Light Weight, Mid Weight - What's the Difference?

Sympatico tops are made in two fabric weights: Light Weight and Mid Weight. Both are a sustainable blend of woven 55% hemp and 45% Tencel™ (lyocell) that's preshrunk and easily machine washed and tumble- or line-dried. The difference is the Light Weight is woven with a smaller gauge (thinner) yarn. Both weights are soft and comfy and let your skin breathe.

Light Weight is a breezy 4-oz. square weave to help keep your summer cool. Used only on Sympatico tops, it dries quickly and is slightly more prone to wrinkles than Mid Weight. It's great in the tropics and on those steamy summer days!

Mid Weight is a 6.2-oz. square weave with a little more body. If you want your top to match the color of pants or a skirt exactly, it's better to select the Mid Weight since all the pants and skirts are cut in that fabric.

Our fabrics have a soft hand

Hemp can be tough, but Sympatico’s hemp and Tencel blend, together with our dyeing process, result in a soft fabric that’s easy to wear against the skin. Tencel is known for its smooth fiber surface that gives it softness and drape without clinginess. It has breathability and moisture absorption for a dry, cool touch on the skin. People with sensitive skin tell me they love this blend.

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Each Sympatico garment is first sewn in natural, undyed fabric and then dyed. Garment dyeing machines use beaters to ensure the dye penetrates the fabric completely and evenly. The machines look like top-loading washers without lids and with much bigger paddles.

Happily, this process not only produces even colors, it also distresses and softens the hemp fibers. The usual break-in period for hemp is thus shortened, though you may still notice gradual softening with further washing and wearing. (You can hasten this process with dryer balls or tennis balls—especially useful for items in our undyed Natural.)

How to care for your hemp/Tencel garments

Our sustainable hemp/Tencel fabric blend is easy to care for. To enhance its wonderfully supple hand and keep your clothes looking their best, follow these eco-friendly tips:

  1. Launder in cold water with like colors using an eco-friendly detergent. To preserve original color, launder garment inside out.
  2. We recommend you air-dry your Sympatico clothes to reduce energy consumption.
  3. Because the hemp content may produce wrinkles and develop a somewhat firm hand during laundering and air-drying, tumble your dry clothes in a warm dryer for a few minutes to relax wrinkles and soften the fabric's hand. (Because hemp softens with wear, this step becomes unnecessary as your garment ages.)
  4. Promptly remove clothes from the dryer and let them cool down on hangers.
  5. If needed, touch up collars and hems with a hot iron.
  6. When traveling, roll up your Sympatico clothes then hang them up on arrival. A quick spritz with water will help eliminate wrinkles. (I find spritzing my craft fair inventory on hangers works like a charm for releasing wrinkles that develop during travel.) Hanging wrinkled items in a steamy bathroom is a great alternative to ironing also.

Thanks to hemp's anti-microbial properties you'll probably find that you launder your Sympatico wear less often, reducing the energy your clothes consume.

For more information and eco-friendly laundering tips, see How to Save the Planet - One Washer Load at a Time.