Everything you need to know about silk organza.
How well do you know your silks? To the untrained eye, silk is often depicted as the more ‘traditional’ silky, satin-like fabric but there are in fact so many different types of silk, all yielding unique properties.
In the first of our silks explained series, we’re going to delve deep into silk organza to get you clued up on what it is, what it’s used for, and how it compares to other silks on the market.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect wedding dress fabric, are a budding fashion designer, or are simply venturing into a self-educating journey of getting to know your silk fabrics, you’ve come to the right place.
What is silk organza fabric?
Silk organza is a beautiful, sheer and lightweight open-weave fabric. Lustrous and versatile, silk organza is often used in everything from ballgowns and bridal veils, to home decor.
The material is similar to chiffon (more on that later in the blog), with a crisp, distinctive texture characterised by small holes which run throughout the fabric. Woven in a very low density, organza has the most stunning transparency and is a popular choice for using as a top layer to enhance garments.
Whilst super thin and lightweight, silk organza is a strong and durable fabric which can hold incredible structure and withstand embroidered applique and other embellishments.
Key characteristics of silk organza
Unique in its own way, silk organza is a popular choice of silk for a range of different reasons:
Transparency – The weave of silk organza creates small, continuous holes in the fabric, making the most stunning transparent material which is perfect for use as an overlay.
Lightweight – An incredibly thin and lightweight fabric, silk organza is ideal for adding layers without adding too much bulk.
Sheerness – The sheerness of silk organza emits the most beautiful sheen as it reflects light rays and catches the light magnificently.
Stiffness – Due to its crisp handle, organza typically has a slightly stiff wire-like feel, meaning that it offers more of a structured drape as opposed to a soft, flowing drape.
Breathability – The structure of the weave creates a very breathable and airy fabric, allowing air to pass through the small holes.
What is organza used for?
Fashion & bridal wear
Silk organza has a firm place in the fashion industry, and has been used in the design of bridal wear and ball gowns for many years.
When it comes to bridal wear, the choice of fabric used can make or break the look and feel of the dress. Silk organza is a premium fabric which is a popular choice for brides-to-be, due to its lustrous sheen and soft, smooth texture.
The naturally crisp handle allows wedding dress designers to layer the fabric and create sculpted silhouettes. It can be used to create full, dramatic skirts or more subtle soft flowing skirts, along with traditional veils.
Not just for layering, silk organza offers the perfect transparent base for adding interest to a dress or gown in the form of embellishments and detailing.
Much loved by costume designers, silk organza is a popular choice for creating elegant stage costumes, with its sheer texture offering a stunning sheen under stage lighting.
You’ll find silk organza used a lot to create full skirts and tutus for ballerinas to help create that dainty, light-as-a-feather appearance.
Home decor & decorations
Organza is one of the more decorative silk fabrics and is often used to add a touch of style, colour and flair to a home.
It’s a great way to add different textures to a room without overwhelming the space with patterns, by adding subtle, sheer full length curtains, table runners and occasionally even cushions.
Organza decorations also remain prevalent at events such as weddings and special receptions, often used to dress a room with elaborate bows, aisle runners, favours and wedding arches.
How to wash silk organza
Silk organza is a delicate fabric which is prone to tears and fraying if not cared for correctly.
Due to this, handwashing is always recommended and the washing machine should be avoided at all costs, if you want your silk to remain pristine.
1. To wash organza, simply submerge the fabric into a bowl of cold water which has been mixed with a small amount of gentle washing powder.
2. Allow the fabric to soak for up to 30 minutes.
3. Gently rinse the fabric with cold water until all of the soap residue has been removed.
4. Avoid scrunching or wringing the fabric, instead gently press the water out of it.
5. Hang on a drying rack or lay flat to allow the fabric to dry completely.
Can you iron silk organza?
As such a delicate fabric, silk organza is susceptible to wrinkling. Improper storage or tightly vacuumed packed garments can cause deep set creases and wrinkles, but can you iron them out?
Yes, you can iron silk organza – with caution. Whilst it’s typically better to steam silk, if proper care and consideration is taken then you can go ahead and iron out the creases on your fabric.
1. Use the silk setting on your iron if you have one. Alternatively, set it to a relatively low, cool to warm temperature.
2. Lay the fabric flat on an ironing board and cover with a damp press cloth.
3. Gently run the iron back and forth, and side to side over the press cloth before checking to see if the wrinkles have been ironed out.
4. The process can be repeated throughout the length of the fabric, carefully moving the press cloth over the wrinkled sections each time.
What is the difference between chiffon and organza?
At first glance, silk chiffon and silk organza appear to be very similar fabrics; they are both very lightweight, sheer fabrics with similar textures.
However, where silk chiffon is more of a free-flowing fabric which is used to create soft, drapey shapes – silk organza has more stiffness. This means that organza doesn’t flow as well, but it holds a better shape and structure.
Both fabrics are commonly used in bridal wear, but to serve two very different purposes. Organza is your go-to for structured, full body skirts and gowns, whereas chiffon makes a great overlay to a soft, floaty dress.
Where can I buy silk organza?
Biddle Sawyer Silks are one of the UK’s leading silk suppliers. Whether you’re looking for wholesale silk organza, or silk by the metre, we can help you out.
Our silk organza is a beautiful classic Chinese silk, available in an extensive range of shades. From neutral tones to bold & vibrant shades and everything in between, we hold a large stock of each colour ready to be shipped to you the next day.