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Fabric Advice

 

SILK
 
Silk is one of the world’s most enduring symbols of beauty, fulfilling a human love of luxury that no other fabric seems to satisfy so completely and in so many forms. Traditionally silk was reserved for royalty, but is now available to all lovers of fine quality fabrics.
 
This highly desirable fabric is composed of strands that are triangular in cross-section, which explains the way light dances across the woven fabric giving it that characteristic lustre. Silk has the strength of a strand of steel the same size, and is far stronger than cotton, wool or linen.
 
As with all natural products, variations in silk are an intrinsic characteristic, and some weave and dye lot variations may occur.
 
 
SILK TYPES
 
Dupion Silk is a densely woven fabric which has a lot of body and a crisp finish. This fabric is perfect for structured garments that need to hold their shape (eg. tailored dresses, jackets and corsets). Dupion silk is also suitable for most soft furnishings. We stock four types of Dupion silks:
 
Slubbed Dupion has numerous slubs or “bumps” created when the yarn is spun.  Our deluxe slubbed dupion has fewer slubs than our traditional highly slubbed dupion silk, giving it a more refined finish.
 
Traditional Highly Slubbed Dupion is hand woven and has more slubs, which give it a textured finish.
 
Super Smooth Dupion is a silk taffeta with a smooth finish. It is very structured and has a lot of body.
 
Pearlescent Dupion is a silk and lurex blend with a smooth and lustrous finish.  This silk blend is perfect for structured garments that need to hold their shape.  It is also suitable for most soft furnishings. 
 
Thai Silk has a smooth, crisp finish. This highly sought-after silk is hand-spun, dyed and woven in Thailand as it has been for thousands of years. This fabric is perfect for structured garments that need to hold their shape. It is particularly popular for mother of the bride and bridal parties. It is also suitable for most soft furnishings.
 
Silk Satin is woven from smoothly spun yarn, resulting in a lustrous finish. Our fluid satins which are suitable for flowing, draped styles are a heavy-weight crepe-backed satin, double-sided satin and a lighter-weight satin (which has matching chiffons). Our duchess satin is a very structured fabric that holds its shape.
 
Lightweight Crepe de Chine is a 16 mumee lightweight silk with a matte finish.  Each colour has a matching silk georgette.
 
Irridescent Silk Chiffon is a 6 mumee smooth, sheer silk with a lustrous finish. It is renowned for the way it ‘floats’.
 
Silk Georgette is an 8 mumee sheer silk with a matte finish.  Each colour has a matching lightweight Crepe de Chine.
 
Silk Organza is a stiff sheer silk with a smooth finish (6 mumee). 
 
APPLICATIONS
 
Silk Trader silk has been used in a vast range of projects – from small amounts for millinery and patchwork, to huge quantities for hotels from Budapest to Melbourne, and casinos from Macau to Tasmania. We provided the silk for the original curtains in the Prime minister’s office in the new Parliament House in Canberra.
Our silks have been used in set design (eg. The Hobbit, The Great Gatsby, The Wolverine, Moulin Rouge, Mission Impossible I and II and many more), costume design (Opera, ballet, film and stage) and has been worn by the winner of 'Masters of Fashion' and 'Fashion on the Field' countless times over the years. Brides from all corners of the earth have worn our silk and since 1964 several generations of the same families have been married and christened in our silks.  Our silk was at the marriage of Princess Mary to Prince Frederick of Denmark and one loving husband even used our silk to gift wrap his wife’s new car.
 
Fashion
BRIDAL
We sell all our silks for bridal gowns, as well as for the entire bridal party.
For more structured styles we recommend the various dupions, Thai silk and Duchess satin, which all have a firm weave.
Flowing satins are suitable for slinky draped styles and a large colour range is available in light weight, crepe backed or double sided satin.  Lightweight Crepe de Chine has a matte finish and is also suitable for draped styles.
Chiffon and Georgette are soft sheer fabrics for overlays. The chiffon is smoother and more lustrous while the georgette is more textured with a matte finish.
Organza is a stiffer sheer silk, usually used with a crisp base cloth.
 
OTHER FASHION
Being a natural fibre, silk is suitable for all seasons; it breathes in summer and insulates in winter.
As with bridal gowns, the fabric to use depends on the design you are planning. Dupion silks, Thai silks and Duchess satin are best for structured garments, while our other silk satins, silk crepe de chine, silk chiffons and silk georgettes are best for flowing gowns. 
Our silks are used for evening wear, race wear, debutantes, christening gowns, men’s ties, lingerie, millinery, shoes, bags and many more.
 
Soft Furnishing
SILK
Silk will give the most glamorous finish for most soft furnishing applications – curtains, swags and tails, blinds,  cushions, lampshades, bedheads and bed spreads and wall paneling.  However, silk must be protected from direct sun light, as it is a natural fibre and can suffer sun damage. Sheer silks are not recommended for use as window coverings as they are very sun sensitive, unless used as a very glamorous overlay out of the sun.
 
Silk makes stunning drapes, but if used in north and west facing windows, extra care needs to be taken to protect it from the sun. Tricks of the trade that extend the life of your curtains include putting in extra fullness to cut off any sun damage if it happens and swapping the curtains from left to right so any sun damage is out of sight.
 
As silk has a high water content it may move with changes in humidity.  If possible, allow your curtains to hang for a few months before final hemming in case they move up or down slightly.  If you allow 'puddling' on the floor, any movement will be too minor to notice and they can be hemmed immediately. 
 
POLYESTER
Our silk look polyester ranges are durable and glamorous fabrics that can be used for most soft furnishing applications. They are a great alternative for those wanting the look of silk, without the sun sensitivity.
 
Please contact us if you are not sure if one of our fabrics is suitable for your planned use.
 
 
FABRIC CARE
 
Caring for your silk garments
Dry cleaning is the safest option with silk. You will usually find silk labeled “Dry Clean Only” 30
You should never spot clean silk, as it will water mark.
 
Washing Silk: some unlined silk garments may be gently hand washed in cool water using a product such as Softly. Adding salt or vinegar to the rinse water helps maintain the luster and set the dye.
Drip dry in the shade and iron damp on the silk setting. If your garment dries completely, ironing is easier if you put it in a plastic bag in the freezer overnight.
However
  • Washing will soften the silk and change the drape of the garment
  • Silk may shrink up to 3%
  • Do not spot clean silk as it will water mark
  • Silk dyes may run. Always wash separately, and it is not recommended to wash shot silks (with different colour warp and weft). There is a high risk of one colour bleeding into the other
 
Caring for your silk curtains:
 
Silk is care category 2
Remove hooks, rings and trim before cleaning. Dry clean only 30
Do not wash or spot clean. Possible shrinkage 3%
Do not allow dust to accumulate. Gentle vacuum regularly using an appropriate attachment.
 
Caring for your polyester curtains
 
Polyester is care category 4
Remove hooks, rings and trim before cleaning
Dry cleanable 50. Possible shrinkage 3%
Do not allow dust to accumulate. Gentle vacuum regularly using an appropriate attachment.
Washing polyester – most polyesters can be cold hand washed. Do not bleach. Do not rub or wring. Drip dry in the shade. Use cool iron.
Some polyesters, eg Elegance, should only be dry cleaned. Please check with us if you are not sure.
 
  
 


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