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The Best Way to Take Proper Care Of Silk Fabrics

Aug 17, 2007
Silk is a luxury fabric, but it needs special care to keep its beauty. Find some information regarding the care of silk fabrics in this article.

KINDS OF WOOL. The label should also tell you whether you are buying worsted or wool (worsted has long fibers and is superior). "Virgin" on a label means the material was made with fleece right from the sheep. "Reprocessed" tells you that it is made of fibers left when wool is felted or woven, and "reused" that it has been reclaimed from wool products that have been worn or used. Camel's hair, mohair, angora, alpaca, and vicuna are made from the hair of camels, goats, and llamas; they are classified as wool and are washed or dry cleaned in the same way. Wools blended with another fiber should be labeled to tell what the other fiber is and its percentage, also whether it has been given a special finish.

SILK TODAY, once fairly inexpensive, is now in the luxury class. There is no other fabric quite like it. It is easy to sew, drapes beautifully, is absorbent and comfortable to wear, naturally resilient, and can be dyed in the full range of spectrum colors. Silk fibers, spun by a lowly worm to build the cocoon from which it emerges with wings, have a strength and natural luster adapted to fabrics and weaves of distinction. Most of the silk we have today comes from Japan, China, and parts of Europe. It is used largely for fine dress silks ;taffetas, satins, crepes, and sheers. Do you know what to look for on a silk label?

KINDS OF SILK. "Cultivated" silk, with fine even filaments, is produced by domesticated silkworms. "Wild" silk, also called tussah, comes from wild silkworms and the filaments are thicker and coarser, suitable for heavier fabrics. Douppioni silk comes from cocoons that have grown together. The filaments have thick uneven nubs for weaves such as shantung and pongee. Waste silk is composed of short filaments from damaged cocoons or the less desirable outer parts of cocoons. It is used for rough-textured silks, crashes, and pile fabrics. These are sometimes labeled "silk noils." If the label says "pure dye silk," "pure dye," or "all silk" you can know that no other fibers have been included, and no weighting or other substances except dyeing and finishing materials.

CARE OF SILKS. Most silks are better dry cleaned, but some are washable. Shantungs, silk organdies, and paper taffetas lose some of their body in cleaning but this can usually be restored by the dry cleaner. Washable silks should always be hand laundered, very gently. The directions for this and the best type of detergent to use are given in the chapter on curtains, draperies, etc. Printed silks which are not entirely colorfast are often rolled in a towel, to remove excess moisture, and dried by gentle shaking until they have reached the proper dampness for ironing. Silks should always be ironed before they are completely dry because they may appear spotty if they are sprinkled. Improper laundering, as well as normal aging, tends to yellow white silk. Too hot an iron easily scorches and damages it.

THE NEWER FIBERS, which are not grown but are produced by chemical processes from various raw materials will be discussed briefly.

Most silks are better dry cleaned, but some are washable. Shantungs, silk organdies, and paper taffetas lose some of their body in cleaning but this can usually be restored by the dry cleaner. Washable silks should always be hand laundered.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.curtains-n-drapes.com/ , http://wwwwww.bedroomtips.info/ , http://www.goodbedroom.info/
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