The Different Types of Silk

The term silk is commonly used generically but it is the overarching description for 50 or more different fabrics, characterised by geographical origins, thread source and habitat and the treatment of the material. Differing features include appearance, weave, weight, texture and suitability to certain uses.

 

At Fox & Chave, we regularly use six types of silk, in differing weights, all belonging to the sub-category Mulberry Silk, from the bombyx mori silk worm, which feeds of the leaves of the mulberry tree. These are:

TWILL

A thick, tight weave with diagonal ‘twill’ lines. It is the silk that is most usually used for gentlemen’s ties and for the classic square scarf, beloved by royalty and 1950s film stars. Fox & Chave printed ties are made of twill silk as are our best-selling squares, including the fabulous Hockey Nichols Canyon, which we developed with Tate Britain, for their record-breaking exhibition in 2017 and our classic Van Gogh Sunflowers, which has delighted visitors to the National Gallery in London for over a decade.

The term silk is commonly used generically but it is the overarching description for 50 or more different fabrics, characterised by geographical origins, thread source and habitat and the treatment of the material. Differing features include appearance, weave, weight, texture and suitability to certain uses.

 

At Fox & Chave, we regularly use six types of silk, in differing weights, all belonging to the sub-category Mulberry Silk, from the bombyx mori silk worm, which feeds of the leaves of the mulberry tree.

 

These are:

TWILL

A thick, tight weave with diagonal ‘twill’ lines. It is the silk that is most usually used for gentlemen’s ties and for the classic square scarf, beloved by royalty and 1950s film stars.

 

Fox & Chave printed ties are made of twill silk as are our best-selling squares, including the fabulous Hockey Nichols Canyon, which we developed with Tate Britain, for their record-breaking exhibition in 2017 and our classic Van Gogh Sunflowers, which has delighted visitors to the National Gallery in London for over a decade.

WOVEN SILK

Woven Silk is used for our motif and club ties. The weaving process makes for a thicker finish and a smart neck knot. It is a perfect vehicle for repeat icons, club insignia, stripes and other geometric shapes. We love it for our Country Collection , featuring pheasant, stags and Labradors and have used woven silk for the Equestrian range that sells at Ascot and Newmarket Racecourses.

WOVEN SILK

Woven Silk is used for our motif and club ties. The weaving process makes for a thicker finish and a smart neck knot. It is a perfect vehicle for repeat icons, club insignia, stripes and other geometric shapes.

 

We love it for our Country Collection , featuring pheasant, stags and Labradors and have used woven silk for the Equestrian range that sells at Ascot and Newmarket Racecourses.

CRÊPE DE CHINE

Crêpe de Chine, the French for ‘fabric of China’, is a luxurious, smooth, silk, with a slightly matt finish and a cool, slippery feel, delightful around the neck. It drapes beautifully and can be used for elegant blouses and dresses.

CRÊPE DE CHINE

Crêpe de Chine, the French for ‘fabric of China’, is a luxurious, smooth, silk, with a slightly matt finish and a cool, slippery feel, delightful around the neck. It drapes beautifully and can be used for elegant blouses and dresses.

CREPE DE CHINE SILK

EXAMPLE: MACKINTOSH ROSE & TEARDROP SCARF

CREPE DE CHINE SILK

EXAMPLE: MACKINTOSH ROSE & TEARDROP SCARF

CHIFFON SILK

Chiffon, light, sheer with a matt finish, this silk is difficult to sew and suits scarves better than more intricate clothing. It is a delight as a scarf, worn loose in the summer or tight around the neck for a droopy, stylish bow.

CHIFFON SILK

Chiffon, light, sheer with a matt finish, this silk is difficult to sew and suits scarves better than more intricate clothing. It is a delight as a scarf, worn loose in the summer or tight around the neck for a droopy, stylish bow.

CHIFFON SILK

EXAMPLE: MONET CHRYSANTHEMUMS SCARF

CHIFFON SILK

EXAMPLE: MONET CHRYSANTHEMUMS SCARF

HABOTAI SILK

Habotai is fine, soft and translucent. It makes colours ping and sings ‘silk’. We use two weights, a feather-light version for large scarves and a very slightly heavier, but still bright and beautiful, version for our smaller format scarf.

HABOTAI SILK

Habotai is fine, soft and translucent. It makes colours ping and sings ‘silk’. We use two weights, a feather-light version for large scarves and a very slightly heavier, but still bright and beautiful, version for our smaller format scarf.

HABOTAI SILK

EXAMPLE: RAINBOW SCARF

HABOTAI SILK

EXAMPLE: RAINBOW SCARF

SILK SATIN & BRUSHED SILK

Satin is a heavy, glossy silk, best used lined, as the reverse side is dull and slightly rough. We use satin for our stoles, see below.

 

Brushed silk, which we use to line our luxurious Satin ‘ Poshminas ’ is a soft, cashmere-like fabric which complements the glossy satin perfectly and creates an elegant stole or a thick cosy winter scarf.

SILK SATIN & BRUSHED SILK

Satin is a heavy, glossy silk, best used lined, as the reverse side is dull and slightly rough. We use satin for our stoles, see below.

 

Brushed silk, which we use to line our luxurious Satin ‘Poshminas’ is a soft, cashmere-like fabric which complements the glossy satin perfectly and creates an elegant stole or a thick cosy winter scarf.

SATIN SILK & BRUSHED SILK

EXAMPLE: KLIMT GOLD POSHMINA TM

SATIN SILK & BRUSHED SILK

EXAMPLE: KLIMT GOLD POSHMINA TM

That is our very short list of silks but a brief foray on the internet will tell you of many, many others, some with romantic names (charmeuse, shantung, organza) some indicating their origin or nature (wild silk, sea silk, spider silk – really! – watered silk). They come from China, Japan, Thailand and India. They are light, heavy, matt, shiny, woven, shot. They are variously suitable for wedding dresses, bridal veils, linings and luxury clothing. Some are cleaned of the gum that exists in its natural form (pure silk) and some are left gummy (raw silk).

 

It is a world of interesting and varied materials, all under that evocative name of ‘Silk’, the commodity so protected when originally created in China 5000 years ago and which eventually led to the establishment of the most famous trans-continental trading route, which bears its name. Do read our other blogs on this fascinating history.

That is our very short list of silks but a brief foray on the internet will tell you of many, many others, some with romantic names (charmeuse, shantung, organza) some indicating their origin or nature (wild silk, sea silk, spider silk – really! – watered silk). They come from China, Japan, Thailand and India. They are light, heavy, matt, shiny, woven, shot. They are variously suitable for wedding dresses, bridal veils, linings and luxury clothing. Some are cleaned of the gum that exists in its natural form (pure silk) and some are left gummy (raw silk).

 

It is a world of interesting and varied materials, all under that evocative name of ‘Silk’, the commodity so protected when originally created in China 5000 years ago and which eventually led to the establishment of the most famous trans-continental trading route, which bears its name. Do read our other blogs on this fascinating history.


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