How to choose the right type of silk

Types of silk fabric

There are many types of silk fabric produced. These are the most well-known:

 pongeHabotai – also known as China silk, Pongee, the ”classic” silk fabric and was used to line kimonos. This type silk has differen thickness. A sheer basic plain weave fabric that is soft and drapes well – usually used as garment lining. The basics silks are typically used for lining, painting and printing, handkerchiefs, lightweight loose fitting garments and garment dyeing, banners, art & craft, film and theatre.

chiffonChiffon – An elegant, sheer and more loosely woven fiber with a soft beautiful drape and a crepe like texture. 100% silk chiffon, they float like a feather on a summer breeze! These are probably the next most popular fabric to Habotai to make scarves from as well as beautiful! Sometimes called Crepe Chiffon, this fabric is highly suited for special occasion dresses, scarves, nightgowns, and linings, bridal, lingerie, smart day, evening and cocktail wear, veils, shawls, scarves, nuno felting, painting, printing etc. Also frequently used in film and theatre work. Chiffon is softer and thinner than Georgette. [Georgette is made like chiffon, but with a two or three ply yarn. The silk is strong and yet light in weight with a matte crinkly surface producing a wonderful drape. Designs made with this silk have a delightful light and bouncy sense. Whilst developed primarily for bridal wear it is a stunning fabric for contemporary wear. Typically used for bridal, scarves, shawls, evening wear, contemporary garments, trimmings, film and theatre.] Because of its slippery quality, chiffon is difficult to cut and sew. NOTE: Chiffon shrinks a lot because of loose weave, much more in length- drying scarves while stretched helps reduce shrinkage.

crepe-de-chineCrepe de Chine – The “Mercedes” of the silks, Crepe de Chine is heavier and more substantial than the Habotai, with a soft, more luxurious texture. The crepe finish adds a bit of interest and has a more subtle sheen, a smooth surface and an elegant shimmer. Additionally, Crêpe de Chine is also extremely wrinkle resistant due to its especially elastic yarns. This silk is very suitable for light blouses and tunics.

silk-satin

Silk Satin – These are a medium weight silk with a great drape and flow. Silky with an extremely smooth shiny top surface, a luxurious very draping silk, with a shiny satin face and matt crepe back. This is what many people think of when they think “silk”. Nice when you want something more luxurious and less sheer. It can be used to create elegant and chic designs with a classic bias cut which are often considered slinky and sexy. Ladies’ blouses, seductive yet sophisticated lingerie, lounge wear, evening and cocktail wear, dressage stocks, millinery, film and theatre work.

organzaOrganza – This sheer, lightweight fabric is like a stiffer, crisper, and sturdier cousin of chiffon. Organza is a versatile silk which can be used to add layers of volume and also makes a great structured silk for use as backing for sheer designs. Organza makes us think of all things bridal, romance and big occasions, couture, structured outfits, millinery, veils, nuno felting, art & craft, film and theatre.

Diana designs the most stunning silk painted scarfs. This shoot shows her designing the medium range silks and the start of a top of the range silk scarf. The first scarf is full of peone roses, the third scarf is designed with dragon flies, a sun and landscape.

Hope it will help to choose right type of silk.

 

Introduction about silk and guidance how to look after it

Silk

Background


Silk has set the standard in luxury fabrics for several millennia. The origins of silk date back to Ancient China. Legend has it that a Chinese princess was sipping tea in her garden when a cocoon fell into her cup, and the hot tea loosened the long strand of silk. Ancient literature, however, attributes the popularization of silk to the Chinese Empress Si-Ling, to around 2600 b.c. Called the Goddess of the Silkworm, Si-Ling apparently raised silkworms and designed a loom for making silk fabrics.

The Chinese used silk fabrics for arts and decorations as well as for clothing. Silk became an integral part of the Chinese economy and an important means of exchange for trading with neighbouring countries. Caravans traded the prized silk fabrics along the famed Silk Road into the Near East. By the fourth century b.c., Alexander the Great is said to have introduced silk to Europe. The popularity of silk was influenced by Christian prelates who donned the rich fabrics and adorned their altars with them. Gradually the nobility began to have their own clothing fashioned from silk fabrics as well.

ssr_map_smallExhibit Introduction. Silk Road Map

 

 

Initially, the Chinese were highly protective of their secret to making silk. Indeed, the reigning powers decreed death by torture to anyone who divulged the secret of the silk-worm. Eventually, the mystery of the silk-making process was smuggled into neighbouring regions, reaching Japan about a.d. 300 and India around a.d. 400. By the eighth century, Spain began producing silk, and 400 years later Italy became quite successful at making silk, with several towns giving their names to particular types of silk.

silk-and-the-silkwormSilk obtained from silkworm: Silkworm lifecycle.

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Raw silk of domesticated silk worms, showing its natural shine

The first country to apply scientific techniques to raising silkworms was Japan, which produces some of the world’s finest silk fabrics. Other countries that also produce quality silks are China, Italy, India, Spain, and France. China was the largest exporter of raw silk in the early 1990s, accounting for about 85% of the world’s raw silk, worth about $800 million. Exports of China’s finished silk products were about half of the world’s total at about $3 billion.

33_3_silk_satin_0Introduction The silk satin is a tightly-woven high quality fabric. The sheen looks quite noble, and the touch is smooth and elastic.

 

 

Silk is highly valued because it possesses many excellent properties. Not only does it look lustrous and feel luxurious, but it is also lightweight, resilient, and extremely strongone filament of silk is stronger then a comparable filament of steel! Although fabric manufacturers have created less costly alternatives to silk, such as nylon and polyester, silk is still in a class by itself.

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Care of Silk Fabric: General Precautions

  • Silk is a natural protein fiber. Do not use chlorine bleach to clean silk; chlorine will damage the silk fabric
  • Avoid drying silk in direct sunlight as sunlight for a prolonged period will damage the silk fabric
  • Substances containing alcohol will damage silk fabric. So let your perfume and hairspray dry before dressing

Hand Washing Silk

  • Hand washing silk is our recommended mode of cleaning silk. Almost all silk can be hand washed (and would not shrink if the silk fabric were pre-shrunk before sewing)
  • If you have hard water, you may wish to first add a spoonful of borax to the washing water
  • Use lukewarm water and mild, non-alkaline soap (such as Ivory Liquid) or baby shampoo
  • While rinsing, you can add a few tablespoonfuls of distilled white vinegar to the rinse water to neutralize alkali traces and to dissolve soap residue
    Or, add a few drops of hair conditioner to the final rinse water for extra silky feel
  • Soaking silk for any more than a few minutes should be avoided
  • Do not use harsh detergents that contain bleaches or brighteners
  • Do not wring or twist; roll in towel to extract water

Silk Care: Drying Tips

  • Hang silk garments to dry. The silk garment will hold its shape
  • As with any fine fabric, never use direct sunlight to dry silk clothing. Doing so can damage the silk fiber and fade the color. Wet silk may yellow in direct sunlight or on a radiator
  • Don’t use a wooden drying rack, as the dyes & finishes can leave stains
  • We do not recommend drying silk in a clothes dryer since it can damage silk in two ways: (1) excessive temperature and heat dulls the silk fabric and may also shrink it (2) friction with the dryer drum might cause yarn breaks or white streaks
  • If you do wish to use a dryer, use the heatless AIR FLUFF setting

Silk Care: Ironing Silk

  • If necessary, press the silk garment inside out while damp using cool iron setting (“Silk” setting on the iron)
  • Do not wet locally as this may cause rings
  • Too much heat can dull, pucker, or burn silk fabric
  • Most wrinkles in silk can be removed by hanging the garment in the bathroom during a shower. Let humidity do the ironing for you!

Cleaning Silk: Wrinkle Removal Tips

  • Minor silk wrinkles should disappear if the garment is hung overnight
  • Stubborn wrinkles can be removed with a cool iron set on “silk”
  • Better yet, hang your silk garment in the bathroom during a shower. Humidity will remove the wrinkles for you

Cleaning Silk: Silk Stain Removal

  • Please consult with your dry cleaner
  • As with all fine fabrics, NEVER use chlorine bleach on silk, as it will erode the fiber (not to mention the fabric discoloration)

Silk Care: Travel Tips

  • Pack your silk garments as you would any other clothing. Simply hang the garment after unpacking. Minor wrinkles should disappear overnight
  • Better yet, hang your garment in the bathroom during a shower. The humidity will remove the wrinkles for you.Diana designs the most stunning silk painted scarfs. The final shoot, showing the peony scarf and the dragonfly scarf as finished pieces.