Glossary of Silk Fabric and Weaves

Different types of Silk Fabric

Brocade is a jacquard weave with an embossed effect and contrasting surfaces. Can also be woven with synthetic or man-made fibers.

Canton Crepe is a soft crepe woven fabric with small crosswise ribs. Similar to crepe de chine but heavier.

Charmeuse is a satin weave silk fabric with a crepe back.

Chiffon is transparent soft and light silk. Can also be woven of cotton or man-made fibers.

China silk is a plain weave silk of various weights. This silk is the “hand” or touch that many people identify as silk. There are various weights of China silk from light, used for linings and many “washable silks” with the wrinkled look, to heavy for shirts and dresses.

Doupioni is reeled from double cocoons nested together. The threads are uneven and irregular. Italian Doupioni is the finest, followed by Chinese Doupioni and Indian Doupioni. Doupioni is also seen in man-made fibers such as polyester, acetate and referred to as Doupionini. Silk Doupioni is most often found in men’s and women’s fine suits and also dresses in lighter weight silk Doupioni.

Faille is a soft ribbed silk with wider ribs than seen in grosgrain ribbon. Slightly glossy.

Georgette is a sheer crepe silk, heavier than chiffon and with a crinkle surface.

Matelasse has raised woven designs, usually jacquard, with the appearance of puckered or quilted.

Noil is sportier in appearance and created by short fibers, often from the innermost part of the cocoon. Has the look of hopsack but much softer.

Organza is similar to cotton organdy except it is made with silk and is transparent.

Peau de Soie is a stout, soft silk with fine cross ribs. Looks slightly corded. Also called paduasoy.

Pongee is a plain woven, thin, naturally tan fabric that has a rough weave effect.

Poult de soie is sometimes called faille taffeta. It has heavy cross ribs.

Silk Shantung is a dupionni type of silk that comes from the Shantung Prov. of China.

Silk Broadcloth is a plain weave silk fabric in various weights; crisper than china silk. Often used in shirting.

Silk linen has a nubby yarn in a plain weave. Weights range from light to heavy. It is different from Dupion in that the nubby runs both lengthwise and crosswise. The look of linen with the characteristics of linen.

Silk satin is a satin weave with a plain back.

Tussah silk (tussah means wild) is a plain weave silk fabric from “wild” silk worms. It has irregular thick and thin yarns creating uneven surface and color. Wild silkworms feed on leaves other than mulberry leaves.Tussah silk is similar to shantung, with silk from the wild. Color is often uneven; usually referred to as “raw” silk. Silk Fabric is also available in other weaves such as velvet and corduroy.