All About Silk

 
by Jennifer Cram (03/02/2017) | Categories: | Wedding Dresses |
Wedding gowns on rackThere is nothing more luxurious than a silk fabric. It was the leading luxury fabric for thousands and years and, while man-made fibres have, to a large extent, replaced silk for everyday wear, is still the go-to choice for beautiful wedding gowns, upmarket men's ties, and luxury special event wear.

What is silk?

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Silk is the product of the silk worm. As such it is the only natural filament fibre. What can be confusing is that it is a very versatile fibre which lends itself to being spun and woven into a wide range of fabrics of different weights.
  • Chiffon. Usually made of man-made fibres, but also available in silk. It is a sheer, lightweight, plain weaveTestimonial about
                      Jennifer Cram, Brisbane Marriage Celebrant fabric.
  • China silk. A lightweight and inexpensive silk fabric used primarily for linings. Might also be referred to as Jap silk.
  • Crepe de Chine. Traditionally a very sheer silk fabric, but today usually made of man-made fibres. It has aa nubby, crinkly surface achieved by weaving with yarns that are given an especially tight twist, creating a less even surface texture.
  • Dupion/Douppion/Douppioni. Silk fabric woven from yarns made from fibres of silk worm cocoons in which two worms have nested together, thereby creating a double fibre. The resulting yarns and the fabrics into which they re made are thicker, more uneven and irregular in size and texture than other silks.
  • Faille. Has a very narrow crosswise rib. Usually used for evening clothes, handbags, and shoes.
  • Foulard. A lightweight fabric generally printed with small patterns on solid colour backgrounds. Used for men's ties, and for scarves, dresses, and dressing gowns.
  • Georgette. While usually made of amn-made fibres, it is available in silk. A sheer fabric made of a crepe yarn, giving it a crepe appearance, it is very similar to chiffon.
  • Macclesfield silk. As the name implies, tis type of silk was originally woven in Macclesfield. Nowadays this type of silk (small, yarn-dyed dobby designs) is used in men's ties.
  • Ottoman silk. Similar to Faille, but has a wider rib.
  • Peau de soie. This French term means "skin of silk". It refers to satin-weave silk dress fabrics with a closely woven face, soft handle, and a mellow lustre. It can be double-faced and therefore reversible.
  • Pongee. A fairly lightweight plain weave silk with a slight slub to the yarns. The term Hunan silk is used interchangeably with Pongee when referring to fabrics with this texture made from man-made yarns. At one time Pongee was only produced in its natural colours of light through dark tan, but today may be made in a variety of colours.
  • Shantung. Similar to Pongee in that it is also made with slubbed yarns, but in Shantung the uneveness of the yarns is even greater. Shantung is extensively imitated in man-made fibres.
  • Surah. A fine twill weave with a sheen, Surah is popular for both more structured dresses and men's ties.
  • Taffeta. While most commonly made of man-made fibres, silk taffeta is still available (it was used for Princess Diana's wedding dress). Taffeta is a plain weave fabric with a crisp, somewhat shiny surface. It rustles!
  • Thai silk. Silk made in Thailand. It is fairly heavyweight, often slubbed, and made in vivid colours which are usually iridescent or changeable.
  • Tie silk. Any silk used for men's ties. Small colourful patterns are often featured in this type of silk.
  • Tussah/Tussore. Silk fabric woven from silk made by wild, uncultivated silkworms. Tussah is naturally tan in colour, cannot be bleached, and has a rougher texture than cultivated silk. Wild silkworms eat leaves other than the mulberry leaves on which cultivated silkworms are fed. This difference in diet accounts for the different fibre and fabric characteristics.
  • Wild silk. Also (incorrectly) called Raw silk. Wild silk is the silk from uncultivated silkworms. It is less smooth and more uneven than cultivated silk. The resulting fabric is usually duller in finish and rougher in texture than other types of silk. Strictly speaking Raw silk is the silk fibre before it has been processed in any way