Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

Working with a new fabric can be intimidating - discuss everything from washing to needle choice here.

Re: Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

New postby LeapFrog Libby on Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:02 pm

I forgot to say I do have 1 silk garment. It is a kimono from Japan. Way back when I was a newlywed, most of our friends were in the guard. They were always flying to Japan and back in those great big lumbering planes that carry military stuff everywhere. We always told them to go into town and bring us some pretty silk garment. So, I got a silk kimono for $ 2.99 back in the 60's .. It still lives in my closet. Every once in a while , I wash and dry it. It still looks great and the colors are as bright as ever. It is a medium weight fabric with a random nubby finish.
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Re: Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

New postby neefer on Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:32 pm

There are a couple of things to consider when washing a purchased silk garment.

1. Water permanently spots silk, so if you immerse a garment in water you will water spot the whole thing. Is this bad? That depends on whether or not you were in love with the color of the silk before it was water spotted or not and hate the color after water spotting or not.

2. The garment says "dry clean only" or some such what. Is the entire garment silk? That is, are there shoulder pads? what sort of interfacing? maybe the buttons will melt or discolor in water, etc.

I read an article by a clothing designer/manufacturer who said that all of his garments were marked dry clean only because he thought his garments looked so much better after a professional pressing. Bastard clearly was not working full time with children and a husband and a house and a dog or two and elderly parents and so many fricking things to do that adding a trip to the dry cleaners would have sent her over the edge to where she wanted to hunt this guy down and pump him full of bird shot. I'm just saying.

I'm surprised to hear that a silk garment shrank. While not beyond the realm of possibility, silk usually doesn't shrink (or am I just very sheltered?). I wonder if there was an underlining or interfacing or lining that shrank.

Finally, I wash all my silk yardage.
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Re: Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

New postby LeapFrog Libby on Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:13 pm

I have heard numerous sewing pros say over a lot of years, that the main reason garments are marked Dry Clean is because of trims, linings, buttons, etc, with unknown origins. They taught us that if you construct a garment and wash the fabric first, then it will be washable.Like I said before, my Mom always washed all our silk garments.My GrM made crazy quilts from silks and velvets and washed them also.
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Re: Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

New postby bridesmom on Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:41 pm

Jennifer THANK YOU for the best laugh of my whole weekend!!!!
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Re: Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

New postby DorothyL on Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:25 am

I'm surprised to hear that a silk garment shrank

So was I. it didn't shrink a lot. It was lined with polyester that didn't shrink. It is still wearable but the lining is looser now.

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Re: Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

New postby lendube on Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:13 am

Dh has a few raw silk shirts. They are washable but shrink like crazy in the dryer. They come out of the washer rock hard and stay that way while drying on the hanger or outside but melt into softness when I iron them. Difference between raw and regular? I don't know, but they have a "rougher, heavier" texture although still soft.
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Re: Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

New postby neefer on Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:27 am

Raw silk is "raw" because it still has gum in it. Gum is part of the silk product as it is spun by the moths. I've never handled raw silk, so I'm guessing that the gum softens when ironed.
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Re: Is there a fabric "Washable Silk"?

New postby LeapFrog Libby on Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:41 pm

Raw silk is used a lot in making mens shirts. I love it. It has a nubby texture, and several years ago I went to Tuesday AM (store) and found raw silk shirts in plaid designs to fit both my sons. They were very surprised that year at Christmastime. My kimona is raw silk. I believe it is going to last forever.
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