a touch of luxury
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.
These fabrics create a lovely feeling to a room both with a touch of elegance, luxury and warmth.
Being a natural fabric it has a smooth soft feel and unlike synthetic fibres it doesn't feel slippery.
It is one of the strongest natural fibres but can lose up to 20% of its strength if it gets wet.
Lovely clothes and cushions have been made with this type of material as it comes in a variety of different colours both patterned and plain.
Silk soft furnishings would probably be made for an area with little use or for decorative purposes such as a bedroom. This would add to the look of the room but keep the soft furnishing from damage.
Fabric coverings made from silk will probably be more expensive than covers made from other fabrics but having one or two can compliment the intended look.
Enjoy using silk fabrics to create lovely clothes, cushions and decorations.