About Silk

Posted by Ginette Thibault on

silk scarfWhen 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 beautiful variations. Some popular types of silk are habotai, chiffon, georgette, organza, brocade, and taffeta. Each one has its own characteristics that make it unique. When you look for a silk scarf, there are three factors to consider about the fabric: type, weight and weave. You can have fabric made from the same source and weave it into a totally different cloth.

Types of silk

As stated, there are a wide varieties of silk and each one has its advantages. For example, brocade is known as a heavy silk. It is jacquard and sometimes designed with small metal pieces woven in. It is particularly good for jackets and outerwear due to its durability. Another heavier silk is Peau de Soie which has a high-satin finish. It also is considered to be heavy and durable and very soft to touch.

When it comes to scarves, lighter types of silk are used. Of course there is variation here also. Some scarves are light and used solely for fashion. Others are used in cold weather to not only look good, but also to keep you warm and toasty in the cold. You are going to find a wide range of types of silk fabric used in making silk scarves.

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 texture.

Weight

The weight of silk also contributes to the outcome. Momme is a term used to describe it. Silk with 6 momme or mm, is very fine and suitable for fine scarves. Silk with 22 momme is 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.

Weave

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 a few weaves used to make silk cloth:

  • Herringbone. 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.  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. The 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. An intricate method of weaving that creates intricate designs within the fabric.
  • Twill. A high-durability fabric using double-thread that appears to have diagonal lines running throughout.
Silk is a natural fabric and you will see small variations in some silk weaves. This is normal and you will know that it is not made from synthetic fiber.

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