About Silk

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Silk is an amazing fabric! It is stronger than steel, yet can be spun and woven into the most delicate and luxurious of fabrics. The silk fiber is also triangular in shape, which gives it unique light reflecting properties resulting in its beautiful sheen. Even though it is both compact and lightweight, it is able to keep you incredibly warm in the cold as well as nice and cool in warm temperatures.

All MaryGreen/Mansilk products have a "care label." The care instructions should be followed if you wish to maintain the garment's characteristics.  

 TO DRY CLEAN: Inform the Dry Cleaner that your garment is made from silk so that it will not be cleaned with heavier garments that could harm your silk garment. Some Dry Cleaners use solutions that are not best for silks. Be sure to let your dry cleaner know you prefer to have your silk garments cleaned with the appropriate solution.

 TO HAND WASH:Wash in cool water. Use a mild detergent.  Only a small amount of soap is needed as silk resists soiling. Rinse very well in cold water. Hang or lay flat to dry in shade. If pressing is required, press on wrong side of fabric. A low to moderate steam setting may be used or the fabric may be pressed while still damp (dry setting: low to medium). We suggest that you use an all cotton ironing board cover. DO NOT USE BLEACH OR PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN BLEACH.

 PLEASE NOTE:Some silks may shrink slightly when washed. Garments made with delicate fabrics such as georgette, gauze, and chiffon, garments made with a combination of fabrics or garments that are highly detailed probably should not be machine washed. 

 To clean your more delicate fabrics such as georgette, gauze, and chiffon, first wash the garments in tepid water with a mild detergent. Do not wring, but lay on a towel and roll up, squeezing moisture into the towel. Hang or lay flat to dry in the shade. When nearly dry press with a warm iron, stretching the fabric slightly. Repeat as needed, taking care to be gentle with this delicate fabric. Some of these items may be more delicate and may benefit from dry cleaning as opposed to washing. Should you wash these lighter fabrics, they may appear to be smaller after washing, but will return to their original size and shape when they are lightly and gently ironed.

 Irregularities and variations in weave of silk fabrics are characteristic and are not to be considered defective.

Did you know that silk is one of the oldest known textile fibers? According to Chinese historians, the first loose end of a silk fiber from a silkworm cocoon was discovered accidentally by the Chinese Empress Si Ling-chi in 2698 B.C. The word silk is actually derived from her name. Only the Empress and her ladies knew how silk was produced and divulging the secret meant torture and death. For about 30 centuries the gathering and weaving of silk was a secret process, known only to the Chinese. 

During the Christian era, silk was one of the most costly items in trade between the Roman Empire and the Orient. It was truly a mark of the wealthy. In 550 AD, the Emperor Justinian sent two Persian monks to China to bring back the means for producing silk to Constantinople. The monks had learned the secret of silk-making while residing in China. Using hollow bamboo canes, they smuggled some silkworm eggs into Greece. This was a very dangerous assignment. If the eggs had been discovered in the staffs, the monks would surely have been put to death by the Chinese. The secret was out and eventually silk began to be produced in various parts of Europe. In the late 17th century French weavers brought the art to England, and the first silk mill in the United States was erected in 1810. The silkworm, however, has never flourished in either climate.

Did you know that a silkworm isn't really a worm, but is actually a caterpillar? Many caterpillars produce silk, but none like the caterpillar of the Asian silkworm moth known as "Bombyx Mori." It can spin a single strand of silk fiber into a cocoon that is several thousand feet in length. It has been reported that the Chinese or Mulberry silkworm has spun cocoons that contained more than two miles of silk! Tapping this supply of silk involves finding a loose end and a lot of unwinding! 

Sericulture, or the raising of silkworms, begins with the incubation of the eggs of the silkworm moth. After they hatch and become worms, they are fed chopped mulberry leaves. For six weeks, the worms eat almost continuously. The worms then climb branches and make their cocoons in one continuous thread, taking about eight days. The cocoons are heated in boiling water to dissolve the gummy substance that holds the cocoon filament in place. The filaments from four to eight cocoons are joined and twisted and are then combined with a number of other similarly twisted filaments to make a thread that is wound on a reel. When each cocoon is unwound, it is replaced with another cocoon. The resulting continuous thread, called raw silk, consists usually of 48 individual silk fibers. One or more threads of the raw silk are then twisted into a strand sufficiently strong for weaving or knitting.

The silk fabric is then ready to be made into the world's greatest underwear by Mary Green!

FAMILY: Bombycidae
GENUS: Bombyx


Last Updated: 10/09/2013

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