Silk: An Elegant Fabric with Humble Beginnings

Silk fabric has been coveted around the world and through the ages, with its earliest use being dated to ancient China where it was used exclusively for the royal family. In time, demand for the fabric across the world led to a 4,000-mile trade route, known as the Silk Road, which stretched from China to the Mediterranean. All the great empires of the pre-modern era sought silk clothing and other items for their ruling elite.

Although cheaper fabrics, such as nylon, are more popular today, there is still a high demand for quality silk fabric. Japan, India, and Thailand are among the major producers of silk, but China, as in the earliest days of the silk trade, is the dominant producer of the material today.

Popular in clothing and linens, here are some of the qualities of silk that have made it a high-demand fabric throughout the ages.

  • Silk’s shiny and smooth texture makes it both comfortable and elegant.
  • Silk is a versatile fabric that can cool and warm simultaneously, making it a popular fabric in all seasons.
  • Of all fabrics, silk is the least likely to be an allergen.
  • Silk fabric is easy to wash and is resistant to dirt and odors; it also dries quickly.

Silk is derived from protein fibers produced by certain insects. Silk makers harvest this fiber and twist it into strands of four different types of thread which differ in the number of strands of silk used and how they are wound together. The type of thread used will depend on the type of product it will be used for.

As far as care for silk items goes, first consult the product’s care tag and follow any instructions accordingly. Most silk products are recommended to be dry cleaned, but can also be hand washed in lukewarm water with a mild soap. There are soaps available specifically for silk as well. Silk should be hung to dry and always ironed from the back side.

Find the perfect silk at Barras Fabrics’ online fabric store. Browse our inventory today!

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