Silk fabrics are made from silk fibers. Silk is not a fabric, it is the fiber, which is the ingredient that goes into a fabric. There are two components to every fabric, which are fiber and construction. In order to make a fabric, you need the fiber, for silk fabric, the fiber is silk. Besides, you need to know whether the construction is woven or knit, or others. You also need to know how the silk is made, for example, is it a smooth yarn, is it a crinkly yarn, is it a satin weave, etc. All these different constructions create all different fabrics. Just saying silk doesn’t actually mean anything, because for silk fabrics, there are so many types, from thick four ply crepe to really thin sheer organza, they are all make from silk.
The following will tell some common silk fabric types, and their applications.
Four Common Types of Silk Fabrics
- Silk crepe back satin
As the name implies, the silk crepe back satin has two side faces, the front side is shiny satin, and the back side is matte crepe. This kind of fabric is luxurious silk, which is always expensive. It is fabulous for bias cut, as this fabric stretches while pulling in the bias direction. Silk crepe back satin fabric has an exquisite drape, which can be used to make sumptuous dresses, blouses, and special occasion garments, etc.
Bridesmaids dress in silk crepe back satin (Designed by Madeline Gardner)
- Silk charmeuse
Charmeuse is a kind of lightweight fabric woven with a satin weave, in which the warp threads cross over four or more of the backing threads. This weaving way gives the front of the fabric a smooth and shiny finish, whereas the back of the fabric has a dull finish. Silk charmeuse is more expensive than polyester charmeuse, and it is more delicate, machine washing is not available. A lot of people get confused with Silk charmeuse and crepe back satin, they have the similar smooth and shiny front, but silk charmeuse does not have the crepe back. As silk charmeuse is much lighter, lots of people would rather use this for making blouses, you can also do bias cut gowns in this because it has got the same effect of the satin back crepe. Silk charmeuse also can be used to make dresses, lingerie, and lining. Besides, charmeuse fabric with smooth and soft front is perfect to make bedding products, such as duvet covers, pillow cases, etc.
Wedding dress in silk charmeuse
Bedding products in silk charmeuse
- Silk organza
Silk organza is a thin, plain weave, sheer fabric, which made from silk. Organza is crisp and see-through fabric, which is thin and lightweight. Unlike the shiny and smooth surface of satin fabric, the appearance of organza is matte. In comparison with other silk fabric, organza is stiffer, it is usually used to make structured dresses which are not intended to flow, such as ball gowns and cocktail dresses. With the stiff texture, it is perfect for using silk organza to make different shapes of wedding veil, wedding hair flower, etc.
Silk organza fabric with 3D flowers (By etsy)
Wedding dress in silk organza (By JLM Couture)
- Silk chiffon
Silk chiffon is a sheer and lightweight plain-woven fabric, it offers elegant drape and creates floaty effect by gathering it. Both chiffon and organza are sheer fabrics, chiffon is much softer, while organza is crisper. Silk chiffon are widely used as garment fabric, such as making women’s blouses, evening dresses, dance costumes, scarves, and even making magical dresses for kids.
Blouse in silk chiffon (By DOLCE & GABBANA)