This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
To-day we shall study again about silks. Let us look at those in Miss James' piece bag; and, also, see how many different kinds we have for our gifts. Perhaps your teacher has some too.
Such a variety of kinds and colors! Some are soft and light, and others are heavy and stiff. Do they have names just as the cotton materials?
Can any one tell the names of any of these silks?
Yes, the plain one is a taffeta. It is plain in color ; and the weave is plain, the same on both sides. Sometimes it comes with printed and woven figures. What is the difference between a woven and a printed design?
Here is a piece with a printed design. It is a foulard silk. How does this design differ from the taffeta with the design? Foulard silk is used for dresses.
Taffeta is also; as well as for linings and for petticoats. A cheap quality of taffeta does not wear well. It costs from 75 cents to $2.00 a yard, and is woven 21 inches and wider. Foulards are about 24 inches wide and can be bought for the same price as the taffetas. Mollie's mother had a foulard silk dress last summer; so did Grandmother Allen.
Here is a soft crinkling white piece and a dark blue just like it; and also a black piece. These are called crepe de chine and are used for dresses, also; and sometimes for underwear. It is soft and lustrous, and comes in plain colors and sometimes printed. It costs from 75 cents up and is woven 22 inches and sometimes wider.
Shall we start another book of materials, and see how many silks we can learn about?
The piece Barbara Oakes brought is smooth and shiny on the right side. Does anyone know the name?
It is woven in such a way that the filling thread goes over several threads and under one. Try it on your school loom. This weave brings most of the filling thread on the surface of the cloth. The material is called satin, and the weave is the satin weave. Some cottons are woven with the satin weave, and often in table linen or damask we see the smooth satin weave. Here is a bit of damask table linen. Let us compare this smooth part with the satin.
Satins are used for dresses, linings, trimmings, boxes, and for many other purposes. They cost $1 to $20 per yard, if very beautiful, and are woven from 21 to 54 inches wide. Satin is sometimes made of a combination of linen or cotton, with the silk. It is then less expensive. The woof, or filling thread, which gives the smooth finish is silk; and it is that which shows in the fin-ished cloth. This piece of silk, which looks figured like table linen, only it is made of silk, is called a brocaded satin. This satin is used for dresses and trimmings, and often for furniture covering and for hangings in beautiful rooms. It is made on a loom called a Jacquard. Table damask is made on the same kind of loom. This wonderful loom (Fig. 73) is able to produce very beautiful patterns, because of the management of the perforated cards above the loom which affect the pattern.
Courtesy of Crompton and Knowles.
Fig. 73. - The Jacquard loom. Notice the cards with punched holes above it. They affect the pattern. Can you find the cloth which is being woven ?
The soft white piece is china silk. Little Alice Allen had a dress made of it last summer. It is a plain weave, and many of such silks are still woven by hand in China. It is very durable and is used for dresses, waists, and underwear. It costs $1 for a fairly good quality, and is woven 24 inches wide.
This piece of silk, also, originated in China. It is called pongee. Mary Jones had a coat of this last year. It is ecru in color and is soft. The real Chinese pongee is hand-woven and is made from the silk of wild silkworms. It is woven 27 inches wide and costs $1 per yard up. This piece was $1.50 per yard.
This is a queer-looking piece. It is marked in a watery pattern. The silk has been pressed between hot rollers which are stamped with a pattern to give that effect. It is called moire silk, and is used for trimmings and dresses. It is quite expensive. A good piece will cost at least $2 per yard and is 22 inches in width.
We shall learn about two more of the most common silk materials. One is thick, and the other is thin. The thin piece is called chiffon. Who has ever seen it used?
Yes, for veils. It is used for dresses, too, and for hats and trimmings. Isn't it light and thin and gauzy? It is made in plain colors generally; sometimes figured. It is 46 inches wide and costs from $.75 to $2 per yard.
Yes, every one knows this one ! It is called velvet. This piece is all silk, and was a part of Marjorie's great-grandmother's dress. Some velvets are made of linen and silk, or of cotton and silk. All silk velvet is very expensive. It often costs $10 a yard and more. Some silk velvet can be bought for $4 or $5 a yard. It is woven from 18 to 42 inches wide. Isn't it thick?
Do you notice the tiny ends standing up? It is woven just like some carpet, and the thickness is called the pile. In weaving, little loops of the filling thread are made, and after weaving, these are cut to form the pile. Such weaving looks very difficult. The warp is sometimes linen or cotton. This other thick piece with a pile is called plush. It has a longer pile than velvet. There are also cotton plushes. Did your mother ever have a winter coat of plush? Mrs. Alden had one which lasted for years.
Let us mount our silk samples. Another day we shall study how they are woven from the raw silk. Isn't it interesting to feel acquainted with this new family of materials? Notice before next lesson how many things you see which are made of silk. Have you any in your schoolroom ?
I.. Bring to school all the samples of different kinds of silks which you can collect. Can you tell their names ?
2. Name an expensive silk suitable for a dress, and give its approximate cost. Name an inexpensive silk suitable for a summer dress; give its approximate cost.
3. What is plush used for? What is chiffon made of?
4. Start a book of silk samples.