Silk

 a touch of luxury

Natural silk fibres make fabrics soft, warm and luxurious. Other natural fibres used for making fabric are wool, cotton and linen.

Silk - The Beginning

How is this wonderful material made? This is done by a worm believe it or not.  This is the caterpillar of a cream coloured moth. The moth lays eggs that turn into black larvae and then into a white/grey caterpillar about 3 inch((7.5cms)in length.

The caterpillar feed on mulberry leaves and then, when the time is right, it spins a cocoon by producing this fibre in liquid form from the two spinning glands in its body. The size of the cocoons are near to the size of an egg from a pigeon. This fibre is then taken off the cocoon. To get fibre worth one pound would need 1600 worms and it is this that makes this material expensive.

Artificial versions of these fibres can be made by forcing cellulose through very fine holes into alcohol. Sir Joseph Swan was the inventor and found that he could make very fine filaments which in turn could be made into thread.

Both versions are usually mixed with other fibres to make the fabric less expensive and to give it extra durability.

Many years ago it was only available from certain regions of China, being valued for the colour and texture. This fabric was very important to the wealth of the country.

India is well known for the production of the yellow tinged version of this fabric.

Types of fabric with this base are Brocade, Crepe de Chine, Taffeta, Moire and Velvet. Many shopping outlets have some types of this material.

These fabrics create a lovely feeling to a room both with a touch of elegance, luxury and warmth.

Lovely cushion covers can be made with this type of material as it comes in a variety of different colours both patterned and plain.These would probably be made for area with little use for decorative purposes such as a bedroom. This would add to the look of the room but keep the cushion from damage.

The covers will probably be more expensive than covers made from other fabrics but one or two can compliment the intended look.

When making items with this material extra care should be taken to ensure that the fabric does not slip while sewing. If it does then extra pinning or basting should be done.

Enjoy creating wonderful cushions.

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