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Clothing Fabrics - Silk Terms

( Originally Published 1924 )



Artificial Silk: Cellulose, wood waste, pulp, and gelatine, chemically treated, make a material which has the appearance of silk and often wears fairly well—but lacks elasticity or strength when wet. To call it "fiber silk" is a misnomer, for it is not silk at all. Manufacturers are now using names which take away the idea of imitation but give the more desirable one of substitute.

Raw Silk : A sticky gum covers the thread as it comes from the cocoon. The silk fiber as reeled from the cocoon, held together by the gum, is called raw silk. The thread looks solid; it can not be dyed in the skein, but opens up into its fine filaments after dyeing.

Reeled silk or thread silk consists of filaments drawn from the cocoon. When untwisted the fibers can not be separated without breaking.

Spun silk is made from waste materials. The necessary short fibers can be drawn apart when they are untwisted.

Thrown Silk : Any twisted raw silk, except spun silk, is called thrown silk.

Tussah : This is the fiber produced by the wild silkworm which in its original state is brown, harsh to the touch, and twice as coarse as cultivated silk. It has luster; it is firm and strong. A microscopic examination shows the fibers to be flat rather than round and glossy like the cultivated silk.

Some of the silks used in costuming are:

Armure (French, meaning "armor") which, tho heavy, is soft and has an interesting pebbled surface which is not very shiny—plain or with colored figures. It is used for hats and frocks.

Bengaline (after "Bengal") is a fabric similar to poplin, in that weight is added by using a cotton cord covered with silk threads. This material is used, not only for suits and dresses, but also for summer coats.

Brocade is a patterned material, often mixed with cotton and, in the richer fabrics, with gold and silver threads. It is used in making hats and entire evening gowns and wraps, as well as for trimmings.

Canton crêpe (after the Chinese city) is similar to crêpe de Chine, but it is heavier. Often a cotton warp is substituted for silk. Practical as well as dressy outfits are made from this enduring material.

Charmeuse (French, meaning "charming wo-

man") is a satin with a dull surface. Because of

its soft pliable quality it is adapted to draped gowns.

Chiffon (French, meaning "flimsy") because of its filmy quality is used for dainty negligées and for evening gowns, in plain intense and delicate colors, or in dainty floral or set patterns in bold colors; also for foundations for transparent materials, such as net and lace. It is more durable than its softness would indicate, and can be washed if care is used.

China silk is used for linings and slips, but its wiriness and intense luster make it less desirable for dresses than crêpe de Chine and other soft fabrics.

Ciré (French, meaning "waxed") is the name of a satiny fabric with a great sheen. It is used usually in ribbon for trimming hats and frocks.

Crape: This crinkled fabric, which has long regular ridges in somber black or in white, is used only for mourning wear.

Crêpe de Chine (French, meaning "crêpe from China") is lustrous and crinkly; because of its medium weight, softness, and washable quality, it is a favorite material for summer frocks and for all underclothing. Printed in small and large pat-terns, in a wide range of colors, this silk makes summery frocks.

Crêpe meteor is a twilled material with a crêpe finish. It is especially lovely for afternoon or dinner dresses.

Faille is a corded silk, with a crosswise grain. It is soft and yet has weight, which makes it suit-able for hats, suits, coats, and dresses.

Foulard : This twill silk, which may be plain or figured with a dull or satiny finish, is especially adapted to summer frocks.

Gauze: Overdrapings and veils are made from this material whose name indicates its character.

Georgette crêpe varies in quality, but when good it is very durable, tho crêpe-like and sheer. Its coolness and washable quality makes it an ideal fabric for summer frocks, negligées, and blouses, as well as for evening gowns.

Gloria is a material of silk mixed with cotton or wool. Because it is closely woven and serviceable it is used for umbrellas.

Gold cloth has a silk weft and a metal warp. It is used for foundations for evening gowns and trimmings.

Gold tissue, tho similar, is more soft and trans-parent than gold cloth and is used for draping and trimming.

Gros de Londres is a ribbed fabric, soft and fine, and suitable for hats and dresses.

Grosgrain silk is well named, for "large grain" describes this stout serviceable silk with cords running crosswise. It is very well adapted to summer coats.

Habutaye, as its name indicates, is a Japanese silk; it is smoother and more even than others of the Oriental silks, and is wisely selected for motor-coats. Other "Jap silks," such as Khaiki, are used for kimonas, dresses, and scarfs.

Liberty satin is soft and pliable and is used for linings and trimmings.

Louisine is a shiny serviceable silk which is used for coat linings.

Madras, because of its interesting stripes and washable quality, is often selected for sports and morning frocks.

Marquisette resembles voile in weave more than it does crêpe, and is a rival to Georgette for evening gowns.

Moire (French, meaning "watered") is a ribbed silk with a wave effect. Coats and suits, as well as dresses and trimmings, are made from it. Moire Antique has large waves.

Mousseline de soie (French, meaning "muslin of silk") is similar to gauze and has the same uses.

Mull is soft and thin and is used for inexpensive evening gowns, both for the complete costume and as a foundation for other materials.

Ottoman is adapted to wraps, because it is made heavy by cording.

Peau de cygne (French, meaning "skin of swan") is a pebbled, soft, shiny material which is used for dresses and coats.

Peau de soie (French, meaning "skin of silk") is cross-ribbed; has a glossy finish; is durable, and is used for coat dresses.

Paisley, or Persian, is so named because the Oriental designs of Persia dominate in this figured silk. The soft and lovely colorings often used make flattering schemes for dresses, or brighten somber frocks. Hats are also made from it.

Plush is a nap fabric deeper than velvet, and is used for entire coats or for trimmings.

Pompadour, known also as Dresden silk, is a taffeta decorated with flowers. It is used for linings or for picturesque dance frocks.

Pongee is a washable fabric woven of wild silk. It can be had in the natural or dyed colors. Its light weight makes it desirable for children's clothes, women's dresses, and pajamas.

Poplin is a corded fabric and is suitable for children's coats as well as for suits and dresses for women.

Satin has a shiny surface and a dull back. It may be soft and dainty, or stiff and dignified. Its varieties give it many uses in clothing. Duchess is used for dresses and evening wraps; Messaline for linings and dresses; Skinner's satin is a durable lining for coats; Washable satin is used for lingerie, collars, and sports clothes.

Shantung is a heavy pongee and has the same uses.

Silver cloth is made with a silk weft and a silver warp. Its uses are like those of gold cloth.

Silver tissue may be real metal or an imitation. The more expensive are transparent. It is used for evening gowns and for hats.

Surah is a twill silk, soft and pliable and adaptable to dresses. It may be dull or shiny, as satin surah.

Taffeta is smooth but not satiny, alike on both sides. It may be figured, striped, plaid, or plain, and is used for afternoon dresses. The soft chiffon taffeta, which may be had in delicate coloring, plain and changeable, is used for party frocks, especially for girls.

Tulle is a fine fluffy material sometimes erroneously called maline. It is used for party frocks for girls and for flattering scarfs for older women.

Velvet may be all silk or cotton back. Its pile gives a rich effect which is congenial to formal costumes and hats. Soft chiffon velvet is especially suited to evening gowns and wraps. Panne, or pressed velvet is used for gowns, wraps, and hats. There are many varieties of velvet, each having a name peculiarly suited to its specific purpose. Mirror velvet has a pile pressed in different directions and is decorative as trimmings. Velvet Nacré (French, meaning "mother-of-pearl") has an irridescent quality effected by combining the one color of the back with another of the pile; it is used for evening gowns, wraps, and especially hats.

Voile is an open-meshed, all silk or mixed material which is used for evening dresses.



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