Principal Silk Fabrics

=Alma.= Cloth, double twilled from left to right diagonally, first

made in black only as a mourning fabric. The name is from the

Egyptian, as applied to a mourner or a singer at a funeral.

=Barege.= Sheer stuff of silk and wool for veiling, named from the

town of Bareges, in France.

=Bengaline.= An imitation of an old silk fabric made for many

centuries in Bengal, India, whence the name. The
weave is similar to

that of ordinary rep or poplin, being a simple round-corded effect.

The cord is produced by using a heavy soft-spun woolen weft which is

so closely covered by the silk warp threads that it is not exposed

when examined from the wrong side. The same weave is also found in

all-silk goods, under the designation of all-silk bengaline. When

cheapened by the use of a cotton weft in place of wool the fabric is

known as cotton bengaline, although the cotton is in the filling only.

=Berber.= Satin-faced fabric of light-weight cloth. It came into favor

about the time of the defeat of the Berbers by General Gordon in his

campaign against the Mahdi in North Africa.

=Brocade.= Raised figures on a plain ground.

=Brocatel.= A kind of brocade used for draperies and upholstery;

usually raised wool figures on a silk ground.

=Bombazine.= Silk warp, wool weft, fine twilled cloth; originally made

in black only for mourning. It is used largely for mourning hat bands.

The root of the name is bombyx, the Latin for silkworm.

=Chenille.= Cloth of a fuzzy or fluffy face; woven of cotton, silk, or

wool; used sometimes for dress goods; more generally for curtains and

table covers. Chenille is the French word for caterpillar, which the

single thread of the cloth resembles.

=Chiffon.= A thin, transparent silk muslin. Although one of the

thinnest and gauziest of modern silk fabrics, it is relatively strong

considering its lightness. To convey an idea of the fineness of the

thread used in its manufacture, it is stated that one pound of it will

extend a distance of eight miles. In the process of finishing the

fabric receives a dressing of pure "size." There are two styles of

finish, called respectively the demi- or half size and the full size.

Chiffon finished by full sizing is comparatively stiff; while the

demi-finish produces a softer and lighter texture. It is dyed in a

great variety of colors, and sometimes is printed in delicate

patterns. It is especially adapted for home and evening wear, and is

used for neck and sleeve trimming, drapery over silk foundations,

fancy work, and millinery.

=China Silk.= A term applied to plain woven silks manufactured in

China. The term China silk has been adopted in the United States in

recent years for a class of machine-woven silks made in imitation of

the hand-loom product. These imitations are narrow in width and lack

the soft, lustrous quality of Eastern fabrics, and are also free from

the uneven threads. China silks are distinguished by their irregular

threads, caused by some of the threads being heavier than others, and

their extreme softness.

The warp and filling are identical in size and color, and being woven

evenly produce a beautiful natural luster. It is generally plain

color, although the figured goods are printed in much the same manner

as calico. It is used for gowns, waists, underclothing, etc. It

launders as well as white cotton.

=Crepe.= A thin, gauzy fabric, woven in loose even threads of silk,

heavily sized or gummed, crimped or creped in the dyeing. Crepe was

first used in black only as a badge of mourning. It is now an accepted

dress fabric, made in colors and white and of many materials. The name

signifies to crimp or crepe with a hot iron.

=Crepe de Chine.= A soft, lustrous silk crepe, the surface of which is

smoother than that of the ordinary varieties. It is woven as a plain

weave with part of the warp threads right twisted and the rest left

twisted. It is dyed almost any color and figured or printed.

=Eolienne.= Sheer cloth of silk, silk and wool, or silk and cotton,

woven in fine card effect. The name comes from the Greek AEolus, god of

the winds.

=Foulard.= Plain silk cloth, sold as dress goods; originally made for

handkerchiefs only. The name is French for silk handkerchief.

=Glace.= Plain, lustrous silk, yarn dyed, with warp of one color, and

weft of another. The name is applied to all fabrics having two tones.

Glace is French for icy, having an icy appearance.

=India Silk.= A name applied to the plain woven silks manufactured in

India on the primitive hand looms. The warp and weft are woven evenly

and produce a beautiful natural luster. It is similar to China and

Japanese silk. In fact most of these fabrics come from China and

Japan, India silk being almost unknown in this country as so little of

it is exported. The durability of these silks is about the same, and

there is little difference in the prices.

=Japanese Silk.= A term applied to the plain woven silk manufactured

in Japan. The warp and filling of this fabric are identical in size

and color, and being woven evenly produce a beautiful natural luster.

The weave is smooth and soft in quality. It is dyed in plain colors.

The figured goods are printed in much the same way as calico. It is

used for waists, gowns, and fancy underwear.

=Jersey Cloth.= Silk jersey cloth is popular at present. It is a

knitted silk fabric, not woven, and is generally dyed in plain colors.

It is expensive and is used for women's dresses, wraps, and silk


=Meteor.= Crepe de meteor was originally a trade name for crepe de

chine, but now applied to a fabric which is distinguishable from crepe

de chine.

=Moire.= Moire is a waved or watered effect produced upon the surface

of various kinds of textile fabrics, especially on grosgrain silk and

woolen moreen. This watered effect is produced by the use of engraved

rollers and high pressure on carded material. The object of developing

upon woven textiles the effect known as moire is the production of a

peculiar luster resulting from the divergent reflection of the light

rays on the material, a divergence brought about by compressing and

flattening the warp and filling threads in places, and so producing a

surface the different parts of which reflect the light differently.

The moire effect may be obtained on silk, worsted, or cotton fabrics,

though it is impossible to develop it on other than a grained or fine

corded weave. The pressure applied to the material being uneven, the

grained surface is flattened in the parts desired. In the Middle Ages

moire was held in high esteem, and continues to enjoy that distinction

down to the present day. It is used for women's dresses, capes, and

for facings, trimmings, etc.

=Mozambique.= Grenadines, with large colored flower designs in relief.

=Organzine.= Silk fabric, made with warp and filling of the same size.

Organzine is the name given the twisted silk thread in Italy, where it

is made.

=Panne.= This name is applied to a range of satin-faced velvet or silk

fabrics which show a high luster produced by pressure. The word

panne is the French for plush.

=Peau de Soie.= Literally, skin of silk. A variety of heavy,

soft-finished, plain-colored dress silk, woven with a pattern of fine

close ribs extending weftwise of the fabric. An eight-shaft satin with

one point added to the original spots on the right or left, imparting

to the fabric a somewhat grainy appearance. The best grades of peau de

soie present the same appearance on both sides, being reversible. The

lower grades are finished on one side only.

=Plush.= Long piled fabric of the velvet order. Peluche, the origin

of the name, is French for shaggy.

=Pongee.= Said to be a corruption of Chinese punchi, signifying home

made or home woven. Another suggestion is that the word is a

corruption of pun-shih, a native or wild silk. A soft, unbleached,

washable silk, woven from the cocoons of the wild silkworm, which

feeds on the leaves of the scrub oak. Immense quantities in a raw

state are annually shipped from China to this country and Europe,

where they are bleached, dyed, and ornamented with various styles of

designs. The name is also applied to a variety of dress goods woven

with a wild silk warp and a fine worsted weft.

=Popeline.= A French name. The French fabric is said to have been

first introduced during the early part of the sixteenth century at

Avignon, then a papal diocese, and to have been so called in

compliment to the reigning pope. A fabric constructed with a silk warp

and a filling of wool heavier than the silk which gives it a corded

surface. Poplin manufacture was introduced into Ireland in 1693 by a

colony of fugitive French Huguenots. The industry concentrated at

Dublin, where it has since remained. The Irish product has been

celebrated for its uniformly fine quality. It is always woven on hand

looms, which accounts for the high price it commands in English and

American markets. The wool used is a fine grade of Cape or Australian,

which is the most suitable in texture and length of fiber. The silk is

unweighted Chinese organzine. The result is a rich, handsome fabric

resembling whole silk goods in appearance, but inferior to them in

durability and produced at a much less cost. It is used for ladies'

waists, wraps, and gowns.

=Figured Poplin.= A stout variety, ornamented in the loom with

figures. The ground is composed of clear, sharp cords extending across

the web. It is sometimes woven entirely of silk, but oftener of silk

and wool. Used for high-class upholstery purposes, and for curtains

and hangings.

=Terry Poplin.= A silk and wool dress fabric in the construction of

which the alternate warps are thrown upon the surface in the form of

minute loops.

=Sarsenet.= A thin, soft-finished silk fabric of a veiling kind, now

used as millinery lining. The name comes from the Arab Saracens, who

wore it in their head-dress.

=Satin.= When satin first appeared in trade in Southern Europe it was

called aceytuin. The term slipped through early Italian lips into

zetain, and coming westward the i was dropped, and smoothed itself

into satin. There is evidence that the material was known as early as

the fourteenth century in England, and probably in France and Spain

previous to that time, though under other names.

In the weaving of most silk fabrics the warp and filling intersect

each other every alternate time (as in plain weaving), or every third

or fourth time (as in ordinary twill weaving) in regular order; but in

weaving satin the fine silk warp only appears upon the surface, the

filling being effectually covered up and hidden. Instead of making the

warp pass under and over the filling every alternate time, or over two

or three filling threads in regular order, it is made to pass over

eight, ten, twelve or more filling threads; then under one and over

eight more, and so on. In passing over the filling, however, the warps

do not interweave at regular intervals, which would produce a twill,

but at irregular intervals, thus producing an even, close, smooth

surface, and one capable of reflecting the light to the best

advantage. The filling of low grade satin is generally cotton, while

in the better goods it is silk. Common satin is what is technically

known as an eight-leaf twill, the order in which the filling thread

rises being once in eight times. Rich satins may consist of

sixteen-leaf to twenty-leaf twills. The cheap qualities of cotton-back

satin, particularly those that sell at wholesale for fifty cents and

under, are not made to any extent in this country, our manufacturers

being unable to compete with foreign mills in these lines.

Satins are woven with the face downward, because in weaving, say a

sixteen-leaf satin, it would be necessary, were the surface upward, to

keep fifteen heddles raised and one down, whereas with the face of

the cloth under, only one heddle has to be raised at a time. When

first taken from the loom the face of satin is somewhat flossy and

rough, and hence requires to be dressed. This operation consists of

passing the pieces over heated metal cylinders which remove the minute

fibrous ends, and also increase the natural brilliance of the silk.

Cotton-back satins are used by coffin manufacturers, fancy box makers,

fan makers, and by the cutting-up trade. Rich satins are used in

making ladies' gowns and waists.

=Soleil.= Satin-faced cloth, woven with a fine line, a stripe running

lengthwise of the piece. It is usually made in solid colors and piece

dyed. Soleil is French for sun, and applies to the brightness of the

finished cloth.

=Taffeta.= Derived from Persian taftah. Taffeta is one of the oldest

weaves known, silk under this name having been in constant use since

the fourteenth century. During this long period the term has been

applied at different times to different materials. It is a thin,

glossy silk of plain texture or woven in lines so fine as to appear

plain woven. The weave is capable of many effects in the way of shot

and changeable arrangements, which are produced by threads of

different colors rather than by any special disposition of warp and

filling. Taffeta has the same appearance on both sides. It is piece

dyed in numberless plain colors, and also produced in a great variety

of ornamental patterns, such as fancy plaids, cords, and stripes (both

printed and woven). The following considerations contribute chiefly

to the perfection of taffetas, viz.: the silk, the water, and the

fire. The silk must not only be of the finest kind, but it must be

worked a long time before it is used. The watering, which is given

lightly by any acidulous fluid, is intended to produce the fine

luster, and lastly, the fire and pressure which have a particular

manner of application. Its wearing qualities are not of the best. The

cloth cracks or breaks, especially if plaited. It is used for gowns,

shirtwaists, linings, petticoats, etc.

=Tulle.= Openwork silk net; made on the pillow as lace by young women

of Tulle, France.

=Velour.= French for velvet. A trade term of somewhat loose

application, being used indiscriminately to describe a great variety

of textures so constructed or finished as to present a velvet-like

surface. It is usually a velvety fabric made of coarse wool yarn and

silk. Velour is woven with a coarse stiff pile after the manner of

plush; while at present it is made of jute, cotton, and worsted, it

was originally constructed of linen. It is produced in numberless

forms, both plain and in fancy effects.

=Velvet.= From the Italian velluto, feeling woolly to the touch, as

a woolly pelt or hide. Fine velvet is made wholly of silk.

=Velveteen.= An imitation velvet, made of cotton, usually with plain

back, not twilled, as silk velvet.

=Tabby Velvet.= The lowest grade of cotton velvet, used for covering

cheap coffin lining cases, sold by the inch in widths which range from

sixteen to thirty-two inches. Originally made in Bagdad for wall

covering, its name being derived from a section of that city.

=Voile.= From the French voile, meaning a veil, a light fabric

usually more or less transparent, intended to conceal the features in

whole or in part or to serve as a screen against sunlight, dust,

insects, etc., or to emphasize or preserve the beauty. The custom of

wearing veils had its origin in the early ages in the desire of

semi-savage man to hide away the woman of his choice, and is a

survival of the ancient custom of hiding women that is found even down

to the present day in Eastern countries. Voile is a transparent, wiry

material with a square mesh.