These are some of the most important terms related to silk.
Bale (silk quantity)
A set amount of raw silk. A Japanese or Shanghai bale is 60 kg, European – 100 kg, Canton – 48 kg, and in India a bale might amount to 20 kg.
Latin name for a moth that deposits eggs from which silkworms hatch. Bombyx mori is native to China. This moth was transported to Europe and Western Asia in the 6th century, to Northern America only in the 18th century. Bombyx mori is no longer to be found in the wild.
A satin-weave silk with a crepe type wrong side. The good side of this fabric is shiny, reflecting light, the wrong side is matt. It is well known for its sheen, smoothness and beautiful drape. It is used not only in the production of clothes, but also bedding. It is produced at different thickness.
A protective case for pupa and eggs spun by many insects. The cocoon of the silkworm is made out of silk filaments, from which silk is woven. Colours vary from white to yellow or brown. Colour depends on the protein sericin, which is removed when making silk. The system of silk cocoon classification was created in France, it spread in Europe and India and became a standard. According to this system cocoons are divided into 9 quality classes: good (suitable for reeling), acute (not suitable for reeling), cocalons (bigger that usual), dupioni (a cocoon spun by two silkworms), soufflons (transparent), perforated (pierced), good choquette (containing a dead pupa), bad choquette (rotten), calcined (containing a petrified pupa).
A unit of linear density of thread. It is measured in grams, equal to the weight of 9000 metres of fabric.
Heavyweight, soft to the touch fabric, with a longer, partially shaped, horizontal pile. The name is taken from the German “Flausch” – tuft of hair, which characterizes the surface of the fabric. The term is often used in error to describe velours, a fabric with a short-cut pile.
Habutai silk (also known as Habotai)
Means “soft as down” in Japanese. It is normally a lining or bedding silk. Habutai is smooth, soft and much less shiny or slippery than charmeuse silk fabric. It looks the same on both sides. Sand-washed habutai is very soft, easy-care fabric that can be machine washed and dried and needs no ironing.
A Japanese unit of weight, used to describe the weight of silk fabric. “Momme” is pronounced as “mummy” and is abbreviated as “mm”. Traditionally momme is measured in pounds. If using the metric system, 0,8652 m of silk fabric that weighs 3,75 g equals 1 momme. The bigger the mm value, the more silk was used to produce fabric. Below are presented some of the well known silk fabric mm values:
Charmeuse – from 12 to 20 mm;
Chiffon – from 6 to 8 mm (might be double thickness);
Chinese crepe – from 12 to 18 mm;
Georgette – from 8 to 12 mm;
Raw silk – from 35 to 40 mm.
Mulberry silk (silk tree silk)
Top quality silk produced by Bombyx mori silkworms that are fed only with leaves of the silk tree (Morus alba).
General term for the silk tree (Morus alba). Its leaves are the main food of Bombyx mori silkworms.
Silk filaments reeled from the cocoon, though not yet processed, containing a lot of sericin.
The tog is a measure of thermal resistance of a unit area, also known as thermal insulance, commonly used in the textile industry, and often seen quoted on, for example, duvets and carpet underlay.
A tog is 0.1 m2K/W. In other words, the thermal resistance in togs is equal to ten times the temperature difference (in °C) between the two surfaces of a material, when the flow of heat is equal to one watt per square metre.
Bellow are tog guidelines for duvets:
Lightweight summer duvet: 3.0 – 5.0 tog
Spring/Autumn weight duvet: 7.0 – 10.0 tog
Winter weight duvet: 12.0 – 13.5 tog
Tussah silk (also known as Tussar, Tasar, Tussore)
A kind of silk woven by silkworms living in the wild (Antheraea mylitta ar Antheraca proylei species). Tussah silk is uneven, it is shaggy and does not shimmer like mulberry silk. Often, due to its filaments being thicker, this kind of silk is stronger than the mulberry silk. A large amount of tannin gives it a natural, brown colour. The inhabitants of China, Korea and India collect tussah silkworms in the jungle and forests, and make silk.
Soft to the touch, velvet-like fabric with thick, short pile. The name is given by the French (“velours” = velvet).