Silk

Before the modern era began a countries wealth could be measured in rolls of silk, be it purchased or produced.

Silk. One of the, if not the, most beautiful fabric known to man. Originating from a thread that was made to protect the silk worm during its cocoon process; is now found in wardrobes all over the world. Words cannot express the love and adoration I have for this fabric. The feel, the look, the way it can be handled and draped to create such effortless perfection – causing mass aesthetic appreciation… I think you get the point.

Researching and working with this fabric has only deepened and cemented all affection for it.

The main silks are raw silk, Dupioni, Charmeuse, Crepe de Chine, China silk – so on and so forth.

Silk originates from the province of Shantung, China; and is considered to be the most luxurious textile ever made. Such that the right to wear silk was limited to the Chinese emperor, his family and other dignitaries. Not only that, but an imperial decree was issued that vowed to kill anyone found exporting silkworms and their eggs.

‘To reach perfection silk must pass through sixteen hands from those of the reeler to those of the merchant’.

Reasons to why it is loved so:

  • It is very strong in regards to its tensile strength; meaning it can withstand a lot of pulling type pressure without breaking.
  • Silk is a dream to wear in the summer as it can be worn in layers without creating an awkward bulky shape. Nor will it cause you to burn in the heat as it absorbs any perspiration whilst letting your lovely skin breathe.
  • It’s an extremely versatile fabric that can be tailored for formal and non-formal events – to the likes of parachute rugs and prosthetic arteries.

But while this is all lovely information silk does have its downsides:

  • It doesn’t always come at a friendly price.
  • Another thing is that it is definitely a lot harder to look after.
  • As silk is so water absorbent liquid/ perspiration stains can become quite obvious.

Working with silk turned out to be a really enjoyable and interesting process. I learnt a lot more about the fabric and understand more of its history than I did before. I was also extremely pleased with how the fabric toiles on the mannequin turned out. It gave me many ideas of how to use the fabric when next making a garment from it; now that I know most of its strengths and limitations.

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