Silk Fabric

Silk Fabric


a textile made of natural silk; in the Soviet industry the Russian term shelkovaia tkan’ is also used to refer to silklike fabrics made from chemical fibers.

The production of silk fabric from natural silk arose in China approximately 5,000 years ago. The Mediterranean countries began producing silk fabrics only after A.D. 555, when Constantinopie first imported silkworm eggs from China. In the Middle Ages the silk trade was one of the principal branches of industry in Venice (13th century), Genoa and Florence (14th century), and Milan (15th century). By the 18th century there was a well-developed silk industry in Western Europe, especially in Italy and France.

In Russia the production of silk began during the reign of Peter I the Great. By 1762 the country had 44 silk-weaving mills. However, the production of silk developed in isolation from the raw material base—80 percent of the raw silk used in 1913 and 1914 was imported.

In the USSR the volume of silk and silklike fabrics produced from natural, artificial, and synthetic fibers totaled 1.6 billion sq m in 1977, comprising approximately 600 different items.

The structure of silk fabric varies greatly because of differences in the yarns used (monofilaments, combination yarns, twisted yarns, textured yarns, fancy yarns, cut yarns, and yarns from various textile fibers) and the variety of weaves. Silk fabrics may be bleached, dyed, printed, yarn-dyed, or mélange; they can be given an embossed or glazed finish. In the finishing process the fabric surface can also be given a relief effect, and it can be impregnated with crease-resistant, shrink-resistant, and water-repellent substances. Silk fabrics are conventionally divided into the following groups according to use: dress, shirt, lining, raincoat, suit and coat, and tie fabrics, fabrics for foundation garments, and haberdashery fabrics. Individual items manufactured include scarves, tablecloths, and bedspreads, as well as industrial fabrics.

Silk dress fabrics (armures) (30–200 g/sq m in weight) vary widely in composition, structure, manufacture, and properties. Natural silk dress fabrics include crepe de chine, crepon, and Georgette crepe. Dress fabrics of acetate and triacetate combination and textured yarns are made in plain, twill, satin, small-figured, and large-figured (Jacquard) weaves. They include printed, yarn-dyed, bleached, and piece-dyed fabrics. Dress fabrics of polyamide combination and textured yarns are made with a plain weave; they may be piece-dyed or printed. Dress fabrics of polyester textured yarns include printed and yarn-dyed fabrics. Dress fabrics of viscose yarns are made in a plain weave with printed designs; those of blended yarns (viscose and synthetic fibers) include yarn-dyed and printed fabrics. Some dress fabrics have a nap.

Silk shirting (70–200 g/sq m in weight) may be made from viscose yarn, blended yarn (67 percent polyester and 33 percent viscose fiber), or a combination of such yarns with viscose and polyamide yarns in a plain small-figured, or combination weave. They include bleached, piecedyed, printed, yarn-dyed, and mélange fabrics and fabrics with crease-resistant and low-shrinkage finishes. All exhibit moderate hygroscopicity and air permeability; special finishes diminish these properties to some extent.

Silk lining fabrics (60–150 g/sq m in weight) are made from viscose and polyamide yarns and from viscose, acetate, or polyamide warp yarns and cotton or viscose filling yarns. Plain, twill, satin, combination, and large-figured weaves are used, and the fabrics may be bleached, piece-dyed, yarn-dyed, or printed and may have a low-shrinkage finish. The face side of the fabric is smooth. The fabrics have a low coefficient of tangential resistance and high friction resistance and hygroscopicity.

Raincoat fabrics (50–200 g/sq m in weight) are used for raincoats, jackets, and umbrellas. They are of two types: fabrics made from polyamide yarn (in a plain weave; piece-dyed, yarn-dyed, or printed; and impregnated for water repellency or with a film coating) and fabrics made from viscose-polyester or viscose-polyamide yarn (in a plain or twill weave; piece-dyed; and impregnated for water repellency).

Suit and coat fabrics (200–300 g/sq m in weight) are usually made from blended yarns (such as polyester-viscose) in a plain or twill weave. They exhibit good hygroscopicity and moderate water repellency. They are sometimes impregnated to reduce shrinkage and creasing. Women’s summer dress coats are made with double-layer fabrics of viscose or polyamide yarn in a large-figured weave with a relief effect on the surface. The fabrics may be piece-dyed or yarn-dyed.

Tie fabrics are made from viscose, triacetate, and polyester yarns in small-figured and large-figured weaves. They may be yarn-dyed or printed.

Fabrics for foundation garments are made in a satin weave from viscose and polyester threads in combination with viscose and blended yarns; they may be bleached, piece-dyed, or printed.

Fabrics for scarves and kerchiefs are made from natural silk, acetate, triacetate, and polyamide yarns in various weaves. They may be piece-dyed, yarn-dyed, or printed.


Pozhidaev, N. N., D. F. Simonenko, and N. G. Savchuk. Materialy dlia odezhdy. Moscow, 1975.


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