When you buy a Hermès silk scarf, a Max Mara silk dress, a Gucci silk blouse or a Valentino silk gown, You will only be told it is made of 100% silk. But what type of silk? Why are they look so different?
Silk is like a mysterious woman with many faces, it comes in many textures, weight, hand feel and drapes, and thus bear different names, such as silk twill, silk charmeuse, silk crêpe de Chine, silk georgette, silk chiffon, silk dupioni, etc.
Twill, one of red basic textiles weaves, produced with a diagonal rib, ridge, or wale. In regular twill the diagonal line is repeated regularly, usually running upward left to right at 45 degree.
The weave can be varied in many ways, for example, by changing the direction of the twill line or its angle.
Silk twill is lightweight, but strong. The most obvious example of silk twill is a silk scarf of Hermès.
Since Hermès produced its first square shaped silk scarf in 1937 designed by Robert Dumas, it has become the symbol of luxury silk scarf, and silk twill has become the standard material for almost all luxury scarf brands, always finished with hand-rolled edges.
Charmeuse is a lightweight fabric woven with a satin weave, in which the threads cross over four or more of the backing (weft) threads. These float threads give the front of the fabric a smooth, reflective finish, whereas the back has a dull finish.
Charmeuse differs from plain satin in that charmeuse has a different ratio of float (face) threads.
Luster and delicate hand make charmeuse suited for scarves, lingerie, flowing evening gowns, and draped blouses. Bridal gowns sometimes use charmeuse; however, the fabric does not hold shape well, so it is not used for full, flared skirts; the charmeuse tends to cling and hang against the body. It is best suited to more fluid, slinky bias cut, and drapes well.
Its uses in menswear includes the lining of jackets and slacks, handkerchiefs, ties, and underwear such as charmeuse boxer shorts.
Silk crepe de chine
Silk crepe de chine literally means crepe (fabric) of China, it is a lightweight plain-weave fabric, with twisted fibres which give crêpe its distinctive ‘pebbly’ look and feel, it comes in many different varieties – crêpe de Chine, Moroccan crêpe and crêpe georgette and can be used for scarves, dresses, suits and evening wear.
Sometimes known as dupion or douppioni,is a plain weave crisp silk fabric which is created with the threads of two different silk worms. When two worms spin their cocoons together, the fingers get tangled up; these naturally tangled fivers are then used together to make the silk thread. The thread is rougher than regular silk, and contains bumps and irregularities where the divers from the two cocoons are combined. It also creates a tightly-woven yardage with a highly lustrous surface.
It is similar to shantung, but slightly thicker, heavier, and with a greater slub (That runs horizontally across the fabric) count, which is part of Dupioni’s character, not defects.
Dupioni tends to resist wrinkles compared with other types of silk, and it also takes creases very well to give the dress made with Dupioni crisp and formal appearance. Besides, it is usually reversible so it is possible to use it making a coat or dress to be worn on both sides,
Dupioni can be woven into plaid and striped patterns; floral or other intrinsic. Dupioni may be also embroidered in any manner desired.
Along with shantung, dupioni is popular in bridal and other formal wear, it is also perfect for dresses, blouses, jackets, skirts as well as handbags.
Varanasi, India is one of the major manufacturers of Dupion. Weavers of nearby villagers, mainly of the Ansari community, have been producing fabrics for generations. The major demands of the Indian wedding industry are met by this city.
Silk Georgette (from crêpe Georgette) is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crêpe fabricnamed after the early 20th century French dress maker and milliner Georgette de la Plante.
Georgette is made with highly twisted yarns. Its characteristic crinkly surface is created by alternating S- and Z-twist yarns in both warp and weft. It is springier and less lustrous than the closely related chiffon, which is also sheer and flowing.
Georgette is made in solid colors and prints and is used for bridal gowns, blouses, dresses, evening gowns, saris, sacrves, as well as jackets and shirts, usually for women.
Unlike finer silks such as crepe de chine or chiffon, Georgette is unusually strong and holds up well to varied wear. So it is strong enough embroidering and beading.