Glossary for Silk Textiles
Want to learn more about silk? Check out our extensive glossary for definitions of common terms used in silk.
We’ve covered everything from the different types of silk and weaving types, to the methods of digital silk printing and screen printing. Switch the tabs below to browse your chosen category.
Common terms used to describe the methods involved in silk production, the different types of silk and the different weaves used to create a number of finishes on silk.
Latin name for the domestic silkworm moth, used in sericulture (silk production).
A heavy silk fabric characterised by its raised figured or floral designs, introduced during the weaving process. Often made with metallic threads.
A fabric which is embellished with a raised pattern, made by wefts to create an elaborate design.
A lightweight, soft and delicate silk with a satin side and a matte back.
An elegant and sheer lightweight plain-woven silk with a crepe-like texture.
A small protection layer woven by silkworms. This is the hardened pupa case of moths and butterflies.
Describes any range of colour combinations available in a designed fabric.
Structurally integral parts of the weave of silk, usually consisting of contrasting colours woven into the silk to create a design.
Threads of silk which extend to the full length or width of the piece of fabric.
The number of warp and weft threads woven together in a square inch on a piece of fabric, counted lengthwise and widthwise. A higher thread count indicates fine, thin threads and vica versa.
A thin, lightweight fabric with a textured or puckered surface.
Crêpe de Chine Silk
A lightweight, plain-woven fabric made with highly twisted yarns to give its irregular surface.
A reversible silk fabric with a crepe side and a satin side. Also known as crepe-backed satin.
Refers to silk that is harvested from silkworms raised in captivity.
A heavy weight silk fabric with a woven pattern, such as a jacquard print.
The process in which natural gum or sericin from silk yarn is removed.
The opposite of a continuous weft, where the thread does not extend to the full width of the fabric but instead are only used in smaller areas for design purposes.
A heavy silk fabric made with yarn-dyed naturial silk. The fabric has a semi-lustrous satin-like sheen and is also known as duchess satin.
Means double. Dupioni silk is a double thread silk thread with a tightly woven surface, resulting in an uneven texture with a lustrous sheen.
A continuous fibre created by natural or man-made processes, i.e. the results produced by silk cocoons.
A lightweight and sheer silk fabric, made with tightly woven fibres which are crossed and uncrossed to create a transparent appearance.
A type of silk crepe fabric, similar to chiffon but stronger and slightly less sheer. Georgette is woven using tightly twisted yarns weft in opposite directions, giving a slightly crinkled texture.
A plain-weave, soft and lightweight silk fabric with a smooth and glossy finish. Habotai is a Japanese word for ‘soft as down’.
The feel of the material in terms of its stiffness, hardness or softness, roughness or smoothness.
Unit of measurement traditionally used to describe the weight of silk fabric. Mommes express the weight in pounds. The word momme is pronounced ‘mummy’ and is indicated by the symbol ‘mm’.
The name of the Morus alba tree which is the food of the silkworm moth, Bombyx Mori.
A type of silk which contributes around as much as 90% of silk production in the world.
A sheer, fine and lightweight open-weave silk fabric with a smooth sheen and a crisp texture.
A type of weave in which the weft threads cross at right angles – one-over, one-under.
Silk which has not yet had the sericin removed from the filaments (see Degumming).
A type of weave that produces a fabric with a glossy, smooth surface and a dull back.
The sticky protein substance which coats the silk fiber filaments and bonds them together. This is removed via degumming in the silk making process.
A plain-weave silk fabric, thin and lightweight with a slightly irregular surface and a subtle sheen.
The strong natural fibre produced by silkworms in cocoons.
The caterpillar of Bombyx Mori, the domesticated silk moth. Silkworms spin a silk cocoon to produce silk fibres.
The process in which fibres are alligned and drawn out before being twisted to form the silk thread.
A plain-weave silk fabric with closely woven fibres which create a smooth and crisp fabric with a lustrous sheen.
A light or mid-weight silk fabric, with a smooth and shiny surface, made with a classic Twill weave.
A medium-to-heavy-weight silk fabric with multiple warps and wefts to create a dense pile with a soft surface and a lustrous sheen.
The set of threads which are held lengtheise on the fabric loom, providing support for the weft.
A weave in which the warp threads are prominant on the face of the fabric, and the weft threads are hidden.
Horizontal threads which run at right angles to the warp, interlocked to create a structured weave.
A weave in which the weft threads are prominant on the face of the fabric, and the warp threads are hidden.
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