Silk is prized all around the world. From fashion to home decor projects, silk can be extremely soft and sensuous, conveying luxure, or it can be beautifully textured and slubby giving a raw natural feel. Either way it is very precious and seductive.
Silk is a natural protein fibre of animal origin, secreted by the Bombyx Mori moth larva to build its cocoon.
The silkworms are caterpillars that feed exclusively on Mulberry tree leaves.
Full of appetite, the silkworms will feed from the tree. In four weeks, they reach 3 to 4 inches and begin spinning their cocoon producing a semi-liquid silk that solidifies with the air and forms a continuous filament which is collected by destroying the moth before it breaks it way out of the cocoon. The filament which at that point is raw silk can measure up to 1 mile ! After that, during a process called maceration, the cocoons are cooked to soften the sericin (protein produce by the silkworm to harden and protect the cocoon) and unwind the filament.
Reeling is the process by which the silk filaments are extracted from multiples cooked cocoons and reeled together to form a single thread. To ensure that the filaments bind together, a twist is applied. This process is called throwing and has different variations around the world including Tram, Organzine and Crêpe.
A wide variety of silk fabrics exist on the market. From extremely lightweight with sheer appearance like silk chiffon, mousseline or organza to very textured kind like natural silk, silk noil and shantung.