The Scoop on Silk
Did you know that a silk worm increases its size by 10,000 times during its lifetime and produces one continuous filament of silk almost a mile long?
Because of the beautiful colors available in silk dupioni, it becomes an attractive option to traditional home decor fabrics. Use for window coverings, pillows and duvet covers.
Exposure to direct sun fades the color, so window coverings must be fully lined. Make sure that your silk dupionni duvet covers and pillows are also out of direct sunlight.
While dupioni and shantung are similar in appearance, dupioni is stronger, comes in a wider variety of colors and is more readily available. Because of this fabric’s crispness and inability to drape, use it for structured garment styles with multiple seams that do not rely on gathers or tucks for shaping. I prefer dry cleaning both dupionni and shantung, since hand washing eliminates the sheen and often changes the color.
China silk makes a wonderful jacket lining but in my opinion, its usefulness ends there. This fabric does not drape, it wrinkles badly and is too weak for lining pants and skirts. A stressed seam on china silk will actually tear the fabric along the seamlines since the thread which sewed the seam together is stronger than the fabric itself.
Silk noil, while attractively priced and very seductive on the bolt with its wonderful color saturation, is my least favorite silk product. The colors are exciting and it drapes nicely, but the fabric does not have a long life. Although this fabric is definitely machine-washable and dryable, it tends to look limp and worn out all too soon. You need to ask yourself if it is worth it to spend time and money on a garment which will have a short life.
My favorite interfacing for all lightweight silks used in garment sewing is silk organza, which I might add does not have to be preshrunk. Silk organza provides quiet, ‘behind the scenes’ support without affecting the hand of the fabric.
If finding the silks mention above is difficult in your area, try Thai Silks by mail order. Browse their website www.thaisilks.com