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Fabric Friday: The origin and characteristics of silk

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Workshops - specialty vintage topics' started by denisebrain, Aug 27, 2021.

  1. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

    I went to Uzbekistan some years ago, and bought fantastic hand-woven silk (at something like 7 Dollars a meter!). The Uzbek ikat silk is fantastic in it's colours and patterns (and fascinating to see how these patterns are produced - takes some planning to dye the silk the right way!). Very vibrant! We went to a small family-run place in the Ferghana Valley where they showed us how the whole production.
     
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  2. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  3. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    Oh yes, your dress is silk noil MJ. It can be dyed and/or printed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2021
  4. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  5. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Member

    Oh no! I have not one but three dresses where I use “raw silk”. I should really add the proper fabric description though I think it is still a good keyword in terms of what people search for.
    Here are my three. https://www.etsy.com/shop/Vintagiality?search_query=Raw+silk
    W
    ould love some help to identify the proper fabric name
     
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  6. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    Died = dyed :duh2: (don't type when you just wake up)

    Victoria, your first dress is shantung, but I question that it is silk. It looks more like rayon shantung (made to look like silk). I may be wrong. The second is silk shantung for sure. The third looks like a heavier fabric, correct?
     
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  7. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Member

    You may be right. It definitely looks like silk but could be rayon. Or maybe some blend?
    Yes. Much heavier/ thicker
     
  8. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    Several years ago we went to Cambodia. My reward was to visit a silk farm.
    The silk industry is sponsored by the govt. and trains people to work in the industry so they maintain the heritage of silk production and provides jobs.
    I post the rest of the photos in second post.
    The 4th photo is first-tiny silkworms are placed on paper-lined trays
    0555-close of young silkworms
    0561-silkworms in special trays with dividers
    0561-close up of silkworms making cocoons
    last silkworms on try to make cocoons
     

    Attached Files:

  9. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    0569 silk filament fromdegummed silkworms are being reeled into hanks by hand
    0585 Silk thread is wound from hanks to large bobbins for the warp
    0612 Quills filled with silk for the weft. The quills are placed in shuttles for weaving.
    This traditional “Hôl Lboeuk” design on the loom is a traditional Cambodian ikat design. These were the most expensive scarves and usually framed and used for pictures.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Member

    That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing.
     
  11. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    Claire, that was quite an experience, I'm sure! I'm amazed at the intricate hand weaving.

    Sounds like a job for the good ol' burn test. At least you would have a distinct difference between silk and rayon from that.

    Your heavier green fabric has the luminous look (and weight) of alaskine, but not exactly the texture. This is from an alaskine evening coat I sold:

    greenalaskineoutfit6.jpg
    and from a greater distance
    alaskine5.jpg.jpg

    You can see there is a bit of texture, but not slubbing. The fabric is made with wool as the weft and silk as the warp. I wonder if those slubs were introduced in the wool, or doupioni silk was added to the weft?

    What do others think of Victoria's dress's fabric?

    Screen Shot 2021-08-29 at 12.39.47 PM.png
     
  12. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Member

    I took me forever to take a decent photo but here they are. What my mother had told me is that to recognize what she referred to as raw silk you had to be able to see those grey and brown spots that are part of the fabric and not stains as well as its distinct color which is off white/ yellowish, kind of like linen (a bit more yellowish than the photo).
    2AD6D660-A906-4C35-BA94-5C423910F942.jpeg 42B3D76E-84FF-40D2-BFCD-3C65DA18DE9D.png C366E57D-E3BF-4823-9117-016626AF8C83.png
     
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  13. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    Interesting! I am pretty sure this is wild silk. I just found this page listing and showing many of the wild silks: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/mcguire/collection/wild-silks/ of which Tussah is the most often seen. I am surprised at the variety of weights and textures of these fabrics.

    The silk worm (Bombyx mori) produces a filament that is naturally white.
     
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  14. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  15. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Member

    Very interesting! Thanks Maggie. Yes I do think that what I have is most likely tussah silk so wild silk. Though this sentence caught my attention:
    “Wild silk is not nearly as luxurious as domestic silk found in today’s clothing industry. This is raw, rough, and textured silk which feels almost paper-like to the human touch.”
    1. They do refer to it as raw
    2. The one I have definitely is soft and does not feel like paper at all. It’s extremely lightweight and definitely has some texture but I wouldn’t call it rough

    I managed to take a better photo of the color.
    D9900056-AD2B-4BAB-AA65-281152FC32EF.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2021
  16. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    I think raw, rough and textured is somewhat accurate, but not that it feels like paper—at least I don't think so. The wild silks I've handled were sort of like linen in feel.
     
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  17. Vinclothes

    Vinclothes Alumni +

    I am glad that the subject of touching, feeling the fabric has come up. To me silk has a distinctive dry feeling and sometimes almost catches on my garden hands. Cotton also feels dry to me, but in a different way. That is not the only way to identify fabric and weave, but it is helpful to me to narrow it down. I'd like to hear what others find-feel.
    Marian
     
  18. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth Queen of Tech Staff Member

    I can almost always tell silk and wool by feel, but I can't explain how!
     
  19. Vinclothes

    Vinclothes Alumni +

    I knew there had been several attempts to establish a silk industry in the United States, but I had never heard of Paterson , NJ. This is part of a blurb about an Amazon Kindle book:

    "At the dawn of the 20th century, the social unrest in Paterson, New Jersey was palpable. Thousands of Dutch and Italian immigrants flocked to the city, hoping for a job in Paterson’s famous silk mills."
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VQ8VGLF?ref=em_1p_1_im&ref_=pe_3730140_603087690

    Marian
     
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  20. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

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