Learn About Silk

How to take care of Silk?

Silk is a natural protein, and must be cared for to protect its beautiful sheen and texture. The following is just some recommendations for caring for your silk.

  • Washing your Silk
    • Use a very mild soap, like baby shampoo. The soap should be non-alkaline
    • Soak the silk in luke warm water for 3-5 minutes
  • For dark silks or printed silks, do not let it soak. Do a quick wash in cold water
    • Move the fabric side-to-side during the soaking. Do not wring dry, and do not scrub the fabric.
    • Remove the silk, and rinse the silk with cold water. Add a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the cold water rinse
    • Pat dry the silk with a dry towel to help remove the bulk of the remaining liquid.
    • Lay the silk flat and let the silk air dry (no direct sunlight), or Iron the silk using the recommendations below for Ironing silk
  • Ironing silk
    • The iron should be set to the lowest heat setting. (A hot iron will damage the silk!)
    • Iron the silk from the backside of the silk, never the front.
    • It is best to iron the silk while it is still slightly moist from the wash, which will help prevent the silk from getting too hot

What is Silk Dupioni?

  • Silk Dupioni is one of the most common silk fabric types due to its versatility. It is a plain weave crisp fabric, produced by using fine thread in the warp and uneven thread (raw fiber)  reeled from two or more entangled cocoons in the weft.  As a result, Dupioni fabric has a grainy look with tiny textural horizontal lines.  It feels a bit rough to the touch because of the raw fibers. Dupioni silk holds vibrant colors very well.  It has a strong sheen which can really make colors pop. The fabric tends to look even better and vibrant in photographs. Dupioni is often woven with differing colors of threads in the warp and weft. This technique gives the fabric an iridescent effect, similar to shot silk taffeta. Dupioni can be woven into brilliant plaid and striped patterns. Floral or other intricate designs are better suited for lighter-weight silks and/or those with smoother finishes. Dupioni may be embroidered and beaded in any manner desired.
  • Dupioni has a moderately crisp drape, some reflective luster, and a nubby texture (slubs). It doesn’t wrinkle very much. It is reversible, doesn’t stretch much, and is easy to sew.
  • Uses: Blouses, Dresses, skirts, jackets, hats (millinery), drapes, accessories (shoes, belts, tc.)

What is Silk Shantung?

  • Silk Shantung historically originated from the province of Shandong in China, but is now made in other countries including India. Silk Shantung is kind of a midway between Dupioni and Taffeta.  Silk Shantung is typically machine-woven, and is crisper, tougher due to its tightly woven threads. It is smoother than Dupioni silk and is more uniform with very minimum slubs.  It is well suited on one hand for weddings and formal dresses and on the other hand equally versatile for drapes and upholstery.
  • Uses: Bridal gowns, dresses, jackets, drapes, upholstery.

What is Silk Taffeta?

  • Silk Taffeta is a plain weave silk fabric with fine crosswise rib pattern. The word taffeta is Persian in origin and means “twisted woven”. It is made typically in rapier looms (machine made) with fine taffeta thread. It is crisp, heavy, and a very smooth fabric (little to no slubs). Most taffetas are shiny and have an iridescent quality to them and are reversible.. It is considered to be a “high-end” fabric, suitable for use in ball gowns, wedding dresses, and interiors for curtains or wallcovering. It is also widely used in the manufacture of corsets and corsetry: it yields a more starched-like cloth that holds its shape better than many other fabrics. Taffeta drapes very well, and is slightly heavier than Dupioni silk (approximately 19 momme weight)
  • Wedding dresses, evening gowns, drapery, curtains,

What is Tissue Taffeta Silk?

  • Tissue Taffeta silk, also known as paper taffeta silk, is a very lightweight silk (approximately 8 momme weight). It is much lighter than regular Silk Taffeta. It is also a plain weave fabric, made using very fine silk threads that are yarn-dyed. It’s a slightly crispy silk, usually iridescent, and has a nice sheen to it. There are few natural slubs in the fabric.
  • Uses: Great for lightweight garments, arts/crafts. Can also be used as a lining

What is Silk Chiffon?

  • Chiffon is very lightweight and flowing, meaning that it does not cling to the body and is very good for styles with a lot of draping. Since silk chiffon is a sheer fabric (approx. 6 momme weight), you will often find it draped in multiple layers. Silk Chiffon is a balanced plain-woven sheer fabric woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe (high-twist) yarns, sometimes called Crepe chiffon. It is softer and thinner than Georgette. [Georgette is made like chiffon, but with a two or three ply yarn.] Chiffon can be found in “regular” or in “crinkle” form, meaning that the fabric will have subtle accordion pleats.  Silk chiffon is typically fabric-dyed (fabric is made, then dyed).  It comes in a variety of colors and prints. It is very elegant and luxurious fabric that is highly suited for special occasion dresses, scarves, nightgowns, and linings. Because of its slippery quality, chiffon is generally difficult to cut and sew.

What is Noil Silk (Raw Silk)?

  • Noil Silk, also known as Raw silk, comes from the use of short fibers (called, appropriately, ‘silk noils’) to weave the fabric. The short fibers, left after combing and carding, are separated from the long fibers in the fiber preparatory processes. The short fibers with several knots are used in weaving the fabric. Hence the fabric gets its nubby texture. It also incorporates subtle specs on it which are cocoon remnants. The slubs or nubs and specks add to the fabric’s appeal. Sportier in appearance, noil has the look of hopsack but has softer feel against the skin.

This noil silk fabric looks like cotton, has a good drape and it does not wrinkle easily. It is easy to sew and easy to care for; the cut edges may fray easily.

There are other types of raw silk, like Tussah………

What is Silk Organza?

  • Silk Organza is a sheer, thin open-weave fabric that is heavier and crisper than silk gauze. It has a smooth flat finish, is strong and durable, and gets its stiffness from tightly twisted yarns. This plain weave sheer silk is made with a loose plain weave and tightly twisted yarns that have 10 to 20 turns per inch. It requires special sewing techniques for seams, facings, and hems because they can be seen from the outside of the garment. Organza has a crisp drape and is mostly used for interfacing, veils, and undergowns. Silk organza is often used as the base fabric for embroidery, beading and other embellishments.
  • Uses: veils, base for embellished fabrics, curtains, screens, netting over beds

What is Charmeuse Satin Silk?

  • Silk charmeuse has a shimmery satin weave front and a flat crepe back (also called crepe backed satin). The fabric is woven with a satin weave, where the warp threads cross over three or more of the backing threads. Loved for its lustrous shine, beautiful drape, and sumptuous feel, silk charmeuse is the most widely recognized of the silk fabrics. Wonderfully versatile, this elegant fabric has medium weight and some natural elasticity, making it perfect for skirts, dresses, eveningwear, nightgowns, lingerie, and gently shaped tops. Charmeuse sews well, but is subject to snags and requires extra attention since it is a bit slippery.

What is Duchess Satin Silk?

  • Duchess silk satin is an elegant and lustrous fabric. It is shiny, heavy, luxurious fabric and is used extensively for bridal wear and corresponding accessories, due to its pearly sheen and structural stability. This medium to heavier weight fabric is wrinkle-resistant, drapes well, holds its shape well and also sews well. It is also ideal for evening wear and bridesmaid dresses and other elegant dresses.  It is heavier than silk charmeuse.

What is Silk Brocade?

  • An elaborate and richly figured fabric woven on a Jacquard loom using satin weave. Silk Brocade usually have very intricate jacquard design, and often incorporate embroidery as part of the design. The warp float gives a raised appearance. Silver and gold threads are often included as part of the brocade design giving it a royal and luxurious look. Light weight brocade is used for apparel and heavier weights for furnishings and draperies.  It is also used for special occasion dresses and costume pieces.

What is Damask Silk?

  • Damask Silk is a reversible patterned design formed by weaving. Damasks are woven with one warp yarn and one weft yarn, usually with the pattern in warp-faced satin weave and the ground in weft-faced or sateen weave. The long floats of satin-woven warp and weft threads cause soft highlights on the fabric which reflect light differently according to the position of the observer. There are tone-on-tone damasks, with different weaves within the damask creating elaborate floral or geometric patterns, and multicolored damasks, where the background colors and the pattern colors reverse from front to back.
  • Damask weaves appear most commonly in table linens and furnishing fabrics, but they are also used for clothing. The Damask weave is used extensively throughout the fashion industry due to its versatility and high-quality finish.