When you hear the word “silk” you may think of it as one type of fabric. In reality though, silk is a blanket term that has a wide range of variations. Some popular types are chiffon, organza, brocade and taffeta. Each one has its own characteristics that make it valuable to the market.
With silk, there are three factors to consider: type, weight and weave. You can have fabric made from the same source but due to a different weave, it creates a completely different cloth.
TYPES OF SILK
As stated there are a wide varieties of silk and each one has its own advantages. Brocade is known, as an example, to be a heavy silk. It is jacquard designed and sometimes has small metal pieces woven in. It is particularly good for jackets and outerwear due to its durability. Because it is woven though, it can be fashionable and stylish. Another heavier silk is Peau de Soie which has a high-satin finish. It also is considered to be heavy and durable.
When it comes to scarves, lighter types of silk are used. Of course there can be a variation here also. Some scarves are light and used solely for fashion. Others are used in cold weather to not only look good, but to keep you warm and toasty in the cold. You are going to find a wide range of types of fabric used in the market.
There also is a term “spun silk” you may hear. This means silk that has short silk threading spun together to create a long filament. It is a slightly lower quality of silk and usually is in the “washable silk” category. On the other hand “raw silk” refers to silk that is spun and has been brushed to give it a cotton-like effect.
The weight of silk also contributes to the outcome. Momme is a term used to describe it. Silk with 6 momme, or mm, will be very fine and suitable for fine scarves. Silk with 22 momme will be much heavier and more suitable for suits.
You should do your own research with weights. You may find that you prefer one type of weight over another for different applications.
Weave is another important quality of fabric. Silk is woven fabric. Depending on that weave though, your silk will vary in durability and strength. Here are some key weaves used:
- Herringbone- this is a popular weave due to how durable it makes fabric. It is achieved via diagonal ribbing switched back and forth to create lines that are parallel but slope in opposing directions.
- Rib—this is a variation of the plain type of weave where yarns in opposing directions are different weights, to achieve a fine diagonal line in the fabric.
- Plain- yarn runs in a normal over-under manner throughout the entire piece.
- Dobby- a special loom creates this weave producing small geometric figures.
- Satin- uses floating yarn to create that shimmery and smooth finish.
- Jacquard—this is an intricate method of weaving that creates intricate designs within the fabric.
- Twill—this is a high-durability fabric using double-thread that appears to have diagonal lines running throughout.