Silk is a beautiful fabric with a soft ethereal sheen and unmatched soft feel, after all what better describes a soft item than silky? This stunning fabric has been made in almost the same way for thousands of years, with the original origin of the highly sought after fabric being shrouded in myth and mystery. The earliest examples of woven silk were found in China and dated from 3630 BC so when we say it's a timeless fabric, we mean it.
The Mythology of Silk and Sericulture
Legend has it that the Empress Leizu, wife of the Yellow Emperor, was drinking a cup of tea under a mulberry tree when a cocoon fell into her teacup, when she pulled the cocoon out it unravelled into a thread. She became curious about the beautiful thread and began to observe the life cycle of the silkworm and develop the method of raising silkworms and weaving the delicate fabric. She is referred to as the goddess of silk in Chinese mythology and credited as being the mother of Sericulture, the process of raising silk worms for the production of silk fabric. Each silkworm moth cocoon produces around 1000 yards of silk filament and each thread of silk contains up to 48 individual filaments which is why silk fabric is so fine, delicate and highly prized.
General care for silk items
Consider your accessories
Silk threads are extremely fine, allowing it to be woven into beautifully lightweight luxurious fabrics, however this fine texture of the fabric also makes it delicate and it can be snagged on jewellery or rough surfaces. Choose jewellery carefully to avoid catching the threads of your beautiful silk pieces.
Layer carefully and clean quickly to avoid deodorant stains
Chemicals in deodorant and oils in sweat can discolour and damage silk fabrics over time so be mindful of this when wearing your silk garments, dry clean your silk items as soon as possible after wearing to keep them in top condition. If wearing silk as a layering item try to have a layer between your deodorant and the silk to avoid contact in the first place. All our beautiful Shibumi jackets are lined so you don’t need to worry about layering your jacket over a summer dress or sleeveless blouse.
Store your silk items correctly
To keep your silk in perfect condition for as long as possible store it in a cool, dark and dry spot where the fabric can breathe, so it’s best not to pack your silk items into vacuum bags or plastic storage boxes. Ideally keep your silk items in a cotton garment bag on a hanger with protection from moths and away from direct sunlight. Stored correctly silk will last a lifetime, a true investment piece.
How to Clean Silk Clothing
Find a good dry cleaner
If your silk item says “Dry Clean Only”, as most of your Shibumi items will, it is best to take them to a trusted dry-cleaner. Dry cleaning cares for silk garments and prevents misshaping, shrinkage or colour running.
Hand washing and drying silk
If you are in a pinch and can’t dry clean your silk or have a small silk item suitable for hand washing, some silk items can be gently hand washed. Before hand washing be sure that your silk is not likely to run, if your silk is patterned it may not be colour fast meaning it is best to wait until you can get to a dry cleaner.
Single colour items which you are confident will not run can be gently hand washed with the following method. To hand wash silk fill a clean bowl, bucket or sink with cold water and a small amount of delicate wash or special silk detergent. Gently swish the fabric in the water for a minute or so then gently squeeze out the water, do not wring it as this can damage the fibres. Lie the garment flat on a towel and roll the towel up to absorb the excess water. Lay it flat and let it dry out, make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight as this can damage the fabric.
Silk responds well to ironing but only needs a low temperature. It is best to gently iron silk on the reverse side of the fabric. You can also use a steamer on a silk setting to gently remove creases.
Each of our beautiful Shibumi silk items are supplied with a care card to help you take care of your items in the best way. If you would like to try some of these stunning items on book an appointment in our Gloucestershire showroom where we will help you find your perfect Shibumi.