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Silk is widely regarded as the most luxurious fabric on the planet, the epitome of high fashion.

Silk Fabric and Draperies

Silk was not introduced to America until the 17th century because the early settlers could not afford the expensive shimmering cloth.

We love silk- the look, the feel – but do you know how it’s made? Let’s explore:

Silk is a natural protein fibre. Several insects produce silk – beetles, flies, midges, bees, wasps and spiders. The best fibers and the easiest to obtain, are those from the moth caterpillars that completely transfigure.

the beginnings of the moth

The silkworm, Bombyx mori, starts off as an egg about the size of a pinhead. They soon grow enough to start the job of eating.

These vegetarians eat and eat and eat mulberry leaves to grow ten thousand times their original size. For us that would mean we would be about 70 thousand pounds by the time we were a month old!

These little guys eat for 40 days and nights until it is time to start forming their cocoon. This is done with one long stream of saliva about half a mile long. It takes the worm about 3-4 days to weave their protective covering. The covering is made to protect the worm as it transforms into a moth.

Silk worm life cycle

 cocoons

However, these cultivated silkworms’ cycle stops here – the cocoons are harvested and then soaked in boiling water. The worm is taken out and the silk is collected.

Wild silkworm fibers are harder to collect and less uniform. The cultivated silkworm cocoon can be unraveled in one continuous thread and made into a much stronger fabric.

The fabric is dyed, often embroidered and made into luxurious clothing, bedding and drapery items. It takes about 5 thousand silkworms to make one kimono.

(We salute you little worms for your fabulous contribution to the fashion and decor world!)

 Fiber

fiber to fabric

Most silks production takes place in China, Thailand and India while some are made in the Middle East and Malaysia as well. This labor intensive fabric has a very smooth, soft texture that unlike faux silk, is not slippery.

It is generally a strong natural fiber that can loose up to 20% of its strength when wet, and once stretched, it remains elongated. Silk is susceptible to static cling and is best cleaned with chemical methods.

Its low conductivity keeps one warm in cooler months, while its great absorbency wicks moisture away during warmer months.

The luxurious feel of silk fabric, the way in which it ripples like the surface of water, makes it a fabric for special occasions, special places and special ambiance.

Silk fabrics

If you want to add special ambiance to your home and would love to see some gorgeous silk samples

call 513-398-5798 or email Kim – kim@EWbyKimLyon.com today!