types of silk
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20 Types of Silk [With Names and Pictures]

The twenty different types of silk fabric and their characteristics will be covered in this article. We will discuss the best uses for each type of silk as well as the best silk you can buy.

People all over the world now consider silk to be one of the most opulent natural fabrics. Silk is a material with a long and interesting history. Although silk has a reputation for being prized by royalty, adored by those seeking luxury, and praised by dermatologists, there is much more to this stunning fabric than first appears, including its variety.

There are about 35 different kinds of silk fabrics that are frequently used to create clothing and home décor. Different types of silkworms can be used to produce silk, and each one has unique qualities and characteristics that make it the ideal fabric for particular garments.

A list of the most popular and sought-after silk fabric types is provided below.

Different Types of Silk Fabric

Even though we’ve already identified two varieties of silk by mentioning mulberry and sea silk, the full list of varieties of silk is actually quite lengthy, especially for those who are only familiar with the most well-known varieties.

Up to thirty different types of silk are used in the fashion and interior design industries by designers to create beautiful and useful works of art. Some of the most well-liked varieties are chiffon, organza, and dupion.

The most popular types of silk clothing are listed below.

Mulberry Silk

Mulberry Silk

The most traditional option is mulberry silk, which is most likely what comes to mind when you think of silk. Mulberry silk, which comprises the majority of natural silk available on the market, is produced by the mulberry silkworm, Bombyx mori.

These fibers are practically endless; a single strand can be up to a mile long! – can be composed into a broad range of fabrics that come in many different weaves and knits. The final product made from this domesticated silk is highly regarded.

It has a wide range of uses and is very adaptable. All products made from the fibers the mulberry silkworm produces are referred to as mulberry silk.

Spider Silk

Spider Silk

Spider silk is a particularly strong material that has drawn the attention of researchers from all over the world. It has almost mythic qualities as a result of its frequent appearance in fantasy books and movies.

Spider species that have the ability to produce and spin silk are what give spider silk its name. While the spiders themselves use their silk to weave webs and catch prey, its impressive qualities, such as its steel-like tensile strength at a fraction of the weight, suggest that it may also be useful to humans.

It is particularly challenging to extract and process significant amounts of spider silk, despite the characteristics that make it so intriguing. Because of this, it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll see spider silk pyjamas or bedding any time soon.

Sea Silk

Sea Silk

Sea silk is one of the most expensive types of silk in the world because it is so fine, rare, and delicate. Sea silk is made by a particular mollusc known as the “noble pen shell,” or Pinna nobilis, as opposed to traditional silks like mulberry and tussar silk, which are produced by silkworms.

The Pinna nobilis, a species from the Mediterranean, produces byssus, a type of natural fiber that serves as its anchor on the ocean floor. Once harvested, these threads are what are used to create the exquisite, naturally, chestnut brown silk that is now so scarce.

One hat made from sea silk was offered for auction in New York in 2019 with a high guide price of between $5,000 and $8,000. This gives you an idea of just how rare and sought-after the fabric has become.

Tussar Silk

Tussar Silk

Tussar silk is a stunning variety of silk that has historically been used to make sarees. It is produced by several species of silkworms that are members of the moth family. These silkworms frequently reside inside trees in untamed forests, and the majority of these nations—China, India, Japan, and Sri Lanka—are where their silk is harvested.

Tussar silk is thought to be less luxurious despite resembling mulberry silk most of the silk varieties we’ve discussed so far. This is because of its more textured appearance and natural gold color, which, while beautiful in its own right, makes it harder to dye and rougher to the touch.

Tussar silk is also less resilient than mulberry silk, making it a less sensible option for silk merchants.

Eri Silk

Eri Silk

Eri silk is best known for its thermal qualities; it is neither as soft nor as fine as mulberry or sea silk. Eri silk can keep wearers warm in the winter and cool in the summer; however, it hasn’t yet overtaken mulberry silk, which also naturally regulates body temperature.

This is mainly a result of the elasticity and heavier weight of this type of silk, which makes it feel almost wool-like to the touch.

Although this has made it somewhat less luxurious than other types of silk, it is especially well-suited for being blended with other materials like wool and cotton and is frequently the first choice for making silk-blend items such as curtains, bed covers, and quilts.

Muga Silk

Muga Silk

While many different types of silk have fascinating histories, it is worth noting that muga silk has a royal reputation. Muga silk, the preferred blend of silk for Indian royalty, is produced in the Indian state of Assam by a particular species of silkmoth that adheres to a strict diet of flavorful som and soalu leaves.

Muga silk is frequently used to create items like sarees and other conventional Indian clothing because of its naturally striking and opulent golden hue.

Art Silk

Art Silk

Art silk is not a naturally occurring fiber; rather, it is artificially created by humans, unlike mulberry, Muga, Eri, and Tussar silk, which is made by silkworms, and spider silk and sea silk, which are made by spiders and mollusks, respectively.

Art silk, also known as bamboo silk, is the term used to describe any synthetic fiber that resembles silk but is not real silk. There are several ways to identify “Art Silk” if there is no label on a product, even though you can usually tell whether a product is a real silk or not by looking at the label.

Charmeuse

Charmeuse

Charmeuse is a soft, lightweight fabric with a nice drape that is woven with a satin weave. Charmeuse, which is frequently mistaken for satin, also has a lustrous shine on one side and a dull matte finish on the other. The distinction between the two fabrics is that Charmeuse has more sheen.

Charmeuse is the ideal silk for making delicate dresses, scarves, lingerie, and blouses because of its characteristics.

Chiffon

Chiffon

a sheer, classy fabric that has a lovely drape and a slightly rough gauze-like texture. Chiffon silk is a very thin fabric with a little stretch that is made of fine twisted fibers.

The ideal material for layering and adding volume. A chiffon overlay gives special occasion and wedding dresses a stunning, flowy appearance. use for shirts, blouses, and scarves is also common.

Crêpe-de-chine

Crêpe-de-chine

A plain-weave fabric with a subtle lustre and a recognizable crimped texture, crêpe-de-chine is floaty and soft. It is also available in Moroccan crepe and crepe georgette varieties.

Summer dresses, blouses, camisole tops, and lingerie all look great in crêpe-de-chine, lightweight fabric with excellent drape.

Dupion Silk

Dupion Silk

Double-thread silk fabric with a crisp, textured appearance that is plain-weaved and tightly woven. A strong, resilient fabric with a lustrous shine can be created by weaving together threads of various weft and warp sizes. Keep an eye out for the occasional black speck that may appear throughout the weave; this was once a silkworm’s original cocoon.

Silk with plenty of charm and character, an iridescent look may be achieved by weaving two different colored threads – known as shot silk. Elegant dresses, jackets, evening wear, and bridal attire all work beautifully with dupion.

Georgette

Georgette

Georgette is a sheer, lightweight, coarse-textured plain-weave fabric made from highly twisted yarns. To avoid confusion with chiffon, georgette is a heavier fabric that shares the same qualities as chiffon in terms of not creasing and holding a lovely drape.

Scarves, dresses, blouses, and evening gowns are common garments made from Georgette silk.

Habotai

Habotai

Habotai is a plain-weave fabric with a smooth, glossy finish that is soft and lightweight. Weights can range from 5mm to 8mm, and this traditional type of silk is used for lining. It can also be used to make scarves, summer blouses, or intimate apparel.

Organza

Organza

Organza is an open-weave fabric with a smooth sheen that is sheer, fine, and lightweight. Its tightly twisted threads combine to produce a strong, long-lasting material despite being a thin one.

Organza is ideal for use on collars, veils, facings, and evening wear because it is stiff and crisp.

Silk Satin

Silk Satin

Pure satin, a highly valuable fabric with a luxurious appearance and feel, exudes opulence. The smooth, shiny surface is glossy and radiates a mesmerizing shine.

Unlike less expensive polyester versions of satin, which attract static electricity, silk satin doesn’t cling. Silk-based satin is superior and is frequently used to make evening gowns and bridal attire to add a touch of glitz and luxury.

Shantung

Shantung

Due to its rough surface texture, silk shantung is very similar to dupion. Shantung was traditionally woven from wild tussar silk fibers, which made it different from other materials. Today, there is less of a difference. Shantung is frequently just a fancy way of saying a well-made dupion.

Despite being quite thick and having good shape retention, silk shantung is still relatively light. It is simple to sew and adapts well to tailoring, especially when sewing structural elements like pleats, darts, and seams.

Many home décor items, including drapes and accent pillows, are made of shantung, which is a popular fabric for wedding dresses, formal attire, and other items.

Silk Brocade

Silk Brocade

Intricate patterns are woven throughout the heavier fabric known as silk brocade. This fabric is opulent, timeless, and classic. Brocade fabrics are more defined than other jacquard-style fabrics because the pattern is raised from the surface, adding a second dimension in the form of their textural character.

Nowadays, most brocades, including those made of silk, are made of fiber blends, primarily rayon and/or polyester. The only difference is that pure silk brocade is more expensive. Another note about brocades is that nearly all on the market today are not true brocades.

In the traditional sense, a true brocade is made entirely by hand, one row at a time, by weaving the threads that make up the patterns. As a result, it ranks among the most expensive fabrics on the market, making it a genuine luxury good of a kind.

Silk Taffeta

Silk Taffeta

Silk taffeta has a soft feel and a stiff drape. It’s a component of blouses, suits, lingerie, wedding gowns, and formal attire. Additionally, it is utilized for cushions, upholstery, lampshades, and drapes.

Taffeta has a crisp texture and can rustle when you move. It has a light sheen and is woven from silk yarn that has been tightly twisted.

Silk Jersey

Silk Jersey

Strong and incredibly soft, silk jersey is a great fabric. Knits come in the form of jerseys. The reverse has loops, while the face side has tiny ribs. The drape of the medium-weight material is lovely.

It appears more feminine when used in clothing. Dresses, blouses, tunics, wraps, skirts, and lingerie all make use of it. Because of its softness and durability, it is also used for sheets.

Silk jersey cuts a fluttering figure and is ideal for form-fitting clothing. Additionally, it resists wrinkles, which makes it a fantastic option for travel.

Silk Cotton

Silk Cotton

A combination of silk and cotton thread is known as silk cotton. A high-performance fabric is produced by blending the advantages of the two materials.

It drapes like silk and feels silky soft and smooth. Contrary to 100% silk fabric, it is typically less expensive. It is extremely permeable and ideal for warm weather.

Compared to other types of silk, it is also simpler to maintain. It is also machine washable, unlike the majority of silk fabrics. Cool water and the delicate cycle are advised.

What is the Best Kind of Silk?

For Gingerlily, mulberry silk is the best type of silk available, despite the fact that every specific use has the best type of silk that corresponds to it due to the impressive variety of silk.

Mulberry silk is the most commonly used type of silk in the textiles industry because it is strong and adaptable enough to be dyed, spun, and woven into a limitless variety of lovely designs while still maintaining the naturally luxurious qualities that silk is praised for.

The quality of mulberry silk can, however, vary, so it’s crucial to pay close attention to the momme count if you’re looking to purchase something made from mulberry silk.

The best way to determine the quality of an item is to use the momme scale, which measures the density of the silk. One momme equals 4.340 grams of silk per square meter of fabric.

With the exception of our flat sheets, which are made from 22 momme silk, all of the silk bed linen we offer at Gingerlily is made from at least 19 momme silk. This means that every square meter of bedding should contain at least 82 grams of silk.

Given that this mulberry silk is among the best available, you can count on any items you purchase from Gingerlily to be as exquisitely soft, smooth, and shimmering as possible.

Which Type of Silk is the Softest?

Mulberry silk, with its flawlessly smooth surface, also takes first place in the category of silk that is the softest. More luxurious than any other material, the highest-grade mulberry silk available will be soft to the touch.

types of silk

Silk fabrics with an incredibly soft hand feel include chiffon, habotai, and silk satin. Each of these fabrics will feel truly divine to the touch, offer a deep luster and remarkably even surface, and flow easily in the wind.

How Much Does Silk Cost?

It should come as no surprise that there will be as many price differences given that we have already covered 17 different types of silk fabric in this article alone. Silk is a natural material that takes time to produce, even in its lower quality forms, and even at its most affordable will still cost more than many other materials.

A yard of silk can cost anywhere from $5 to over $100, but many high-quality options can be found in the $12 to $20 price range. However, if we’re talking about the costly antique pure silk brocades that were only worn by royalty, expect to pay thousands.

How to Identify Artificial Silk?

  • Cost – Items made of synthetic silk will typically be less expensive. In general, the likelihood that an item is not genuine silk increases with its low price.
  • Color – Silk typically has a coating that makes it reflect some light, so the color will shimmer rather than look “flat.” The silk is an indication that it is artificial if the coloring appears to be a flat, block color.
  • Smell – Take a few strands of the fabric and light them on fire as an extreme but effective way to distinguish real silk from art silk. Genuine silk has an overpowering aroma when burned.
  • Invisible flame – Genuine silk also burns with an invisible flame when ignited, and the burning stops as soon as the flame source is removed. Although we do not advise doing so and only suggest doing so in a safe, controlled environment, we have listed it here because it is a well-known method of testing.
  • Touch – Silk can keep heat in because it naturally regulates temperature. You can check this by gently warming up a piece of silk between your fingers. Artificial silk, on the other hand, won’t respond in this way and will maintain the same temperature.
  • It’s labeled as satin – Silk and satin are not the same things, despite the fact that they are frequently confused with one another; because satin is a man-made fabric, it is typically offered as a less-luxurious substitute for real silk. Read our Silk Pillowcase vs Satin Pillowcase blog to learn more about the differences between the two.
  • The ring test – A traditional method of verifying a ring’s authenticity involves pulling silk through it. While fake silk frequently bunches or gets caught on the ring, real silk allows the ring to slide over it without any issues.
types of silk

Silk Alternatives

Despite the fact that no synthetic material can duplicate silk’s truly distinctive qualities, there are still many situations where a replacement may be desirable. If you don’t like how silk is made, you want a vegan option that doesn’t involve any animal testing, or you just don’t like the price.

Here is a list of silk-like fabrics:

  • Cotton Sateen – this material is made from mercerized cotton fibers in a satin weave, giving it a soft feel with a moderately shiny surface. As an added bonus, it is sustainable, biodegradable, and even available in organic options.
  • Polyester – can mimic the look and feel of silk, specifically silk chiffon. Although it can’t quite match silk’s softness and breathability, polyester in this form is a versatile material that can be lightweight and mimic the delicate feel of the fiber. Another thing to keep in mind is that polyester is never the greenest material because it is made of plastic.
  • Rayon – a semi-synthetic, is often the preferred choice for an affordable silk substitute. It is a versatile fabric that can be used in a wide range of settings, including home décor and apparel. It costs a lot less money, is soft, and drapes well. Although it is made from regenerated cellulose fibers, its production process makes it less of an environmentally friendly option.
  • Viscose – another semi-synthetic sub-type of rayon – can have a similar drape and feel to silk. Because of this, it offers a competitive alternative at a much lower price but at the same environmental cost.

Although some of the characteristics of silk can be imitated by other materials with a satin weave, nothing can truly match the original.

Conclusion: Types of Silk

Silk falls under the textile category because of its wide variety of forms. Its adaptability is unmatched by any other material on the market. Its capacity to create so many different kinds of fabric that are all exquisite, breathable, and useful is unmatched.

We list twenty types of silk fabric, and you can try to choose the one you prefer to improve your living standard. If you cannot afford silk, we also give you alternatives of silk fabric which are also soft.

Silk is a fabric that has history, mystery, and a huge variety of fabric variations. The strongest natural fabric in the world is silk. When it comes to durability and variety, silk is unmatched.

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