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31 Common Types of Silk Fabric: A Complete Guide

Silk has garnered global acclaim, and even after millennia, it continues to hold an unparalleled status. Whether it’s royalty, the fashion industry, or luxury brands, they all appreciate its exquisite allure.

In our previous article series, we explored the essence of silk and introduced the technical term “momme” that you may encounter while making a purchase. Today, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive overview of various silk fabric types, enabling you to identify the perfect match for your requirements swiftly.

How Many Types of Silk Fabric?

There are approximately 40 types of silk fabrics available in the market today. However, in this guide, we will focus on exploring common types among them. Although they are all made from silk, various factors contribute to the wide range of variations. Influential factors may include the silkworm species used for silk production, weaving techniques, texture, and production methods.

Certain names of silk fabric types have been handed down through historical traditions, while others have emerged due to advancements in technology and craftsmanship. We anticipate the continuous emergence of new variations in silk fabrics in the future.

Types of Silk Fabric By Animals

1. Mulberry Silk

Mulberry silk fabric is one of the most popular types among various silk fabrics. It is crafted from the continuous and uniform silk fibers produced by Bombyx mori that are fed with mulberry leaves. This results in a fabric with an exceptionally smooth texture and a naturally radiant, pure white luster. Its excellent drape qualities enhance the fabric’s overall elegance.

Uses of Mulberry Silk: The characteristics of mulberry silk have established it as a premium quality fabric. It is the top choice for renowned fashion brands when embarking on silk projects. You can find it in a variety of high-end fashion garments and luxurious home textiles.

2. Muga Silk

Muga silk fabric is a unique type of fabric primarily produced in India. It is derived from the cocoon fibers of a caterpillar known as the Assam silkmoth, which feeds on aromatic leaves of the Som and Sualu trees. 

The resulting Muga silk is an extraordinary silk textile renowned for its distinct golden-yellow color and natural appearance. It also exhibits remarkable durability, maintaining its vibrant hue even after regular washing.

The Indian nobility has been the primary user of Muga silk, but due to a significant decline in the population of the Assam silkmoth caused by environmental factors, the demand has exceeded the available supply, resulting in a sharp increase in its price.

Uses of Muga Silk: Muga silk is commonly employed in traditional and ceremonial attire. Nearly every Indian woman’s wardrobe features a saree made of Muga silk. Additionally, it is highly sought after for crafting Mekhela Chadors and other exquisite textiles.

3. Eri Silk

Eri silk fabric, also known as Endi silk, is another type of silk fabric that originates from India. It is produced by the silkworm species called Samia ricini, which commonly feeds on castor leaves.

These silkworms are fortunate as they can successfully emerge from their cocoons in the form of moths, preserving their lives instead of facing death during the boiling process. The fabric made from these silk fibers has a naturally soft texture and appears in shades of off-white or creamy colors.

Uses of Eri Silk: The eco-friendliness and cruelty-free practices associated with Eri silk have garnered popularity among environmentalists. It is used to create various traditional garments, scarves, and sarees, all of which hold unique cultural significance. Additionally, it finds applications in interior decor such as curtains and home furnishings like bedspreads.

4. Tasar silk

Tasar silk, also known as Tussah silk. It is derived from the cocoons spun by the larvae of wild silk moths, primarily Antheraea mylitta and Antheraea proylei. These larvae feed on leaves from trees such as oak and Quercus to create their cocoons.

Tasar silk has a natural color that ranges from golden to beige and lacks the luster of mulberry silk, making it a more affordable option and one-third of the price. Despite its natural color presenting some challenges for dyeing, it possesses stronger resistance to acids and alkalis. It also exhibits excellent moisture-wicking and breathability properties.

Uses of Tasar Silk: India stands as one of the main producers of tasar silk, which is primarily used in the creation of sarees, scarves, shawls, and traditional clothing. However, it also serves as an excellent choice for crafting men’s garments due to its understated elegance. For instance, a tasar silk suit exudes durability and reflects refined taste, providing a stylish alternative to a regular suit.

5. Other Special Types of Silk Fabric

Can you imagine any other animal, besides the silkworm, that produces silk fibers and weaves them into fabrics? Let’s explore two unique types of silk fabrics below.

  • Spider Silk

Spider silk is a type of silk produced by spiders, renowned for its extraordinary strength and elasticity, which makes it an incredibly valuable fabric. It has vast potential for various applications, including bulletproof vests, protective clothing, medical uses, and lightweight structural materials. However, due to ethical concerns surrounding its production and the challenges associated with spider cultivation, large-scale production is currently unfeasible.

  • Sea Silk

Sea silk fabric is exceptionally rare and expensive. It is crafted from the long, fine fibers secreted by specific mollusks, primarily the Mediterranean pen shell. This fabric possesses a delicate and shimmering appearance, adorned with a golden hue that is often revered as a luxury item. 

Presently, strict regulations govern the production of sea silk to safeguard marine ecosystems and promote sustainable practices.

Types of Silk Fabric By Process

We have compiled a list of some of the most common types of silk fabrics for you. You may have encountered or even currently possess some of these fabrics. Undoubtedly, each of them adds vibrant colors to our lives. Let’s delve into the various types available!

6. Silk Satin

Silk satin, also known as Charmeuse, is a highly common silk fabric. It embodies the ideal image of silk in people’s minds—luxurious, lustrous, smooth, and exquisite.

It is crafted using a satin weave, resulting in one side of the fabric having a shiny and smooth surface, while the reverse side appears matte with a subtle texture. Silk satin drapes gracefully, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

Uses of Silk Satin: As a mainstream silk fabric in the market, it finds extensive applications. From low-momme-weight silk scarves, sleep eye masks, and accessories to high-momme-weight premium silk garments and silk bedding, the options are plentiful.

7. Silk Twill

Silk twill is a type of silk fabric woven in a distinctive twill pattern, resulting in a noticeable diagonal texture on the surface. While it may not be as soft as plain satin, it possesses a firmness that allows for easy shaping. So it is suitable for applications that demand a sense of design.

Silk twill boasts a smooth and soft texture, along with a distinctive appearance and a subtle luster. Its structured weave does not compromise its natural draping ability, and it readily accepts dyes, producing stunning color effects. Consequently, it enjoys great popularity. However, it does have a relatively higher shrinkage rate, typically ranging from 4% to 5%.

Uses of Silk Twill: The structured texture of silk twill makes it ideal for crafting silk scarves, ties, and linings, all of which showcase excellent performance. Thicker variations of this fabric are utilized in shirt production to enhance the overall texture and quality.

8. Silk Chiffon

If you’re seeking a lightweight silk fabric, silk chiffon is an excellent choice. It is woven using a plain weave technique, resulting in delicate, tiny holes on the surface. So it is a highly translucent quality. Despite its semi-transparent appearance, silk chiffon maintains a luxurious feel and doesn’t convey a sense of inferiority.

Silk chiffon is exceptionally breathable, making it a cooling fabric even in hot environments. Its lightweight and ethereal characteristics, combined with its smooth and refined texture, enhance its comfort level.

Uses of Silk Chiffon: Its semi-transparent appearance evokes a sense of ethereal beauty, making it perfect for creating lightweight and airy dresses, scarves, and blouses. It is also commonly utilized in the construction of formal dresses, wedding gowns, and other garments that employ layering to achieve a dreamy effect.

9. Silk Georgette

Here’s another lightweight and translucent silk fabric. Silk georgette takes its name from a French tailor and showcases a matte surface with subtle wrinkles and a crepe-like texture. It is woven using a plain weave technique, resulting in a fluid drape.

Silk Georgette is akin to silk chiffon, albeit with a slightly less sheen and texture. Nevertheless, its lightweight feel, ethereal transparency, and excellent breathability distinguish it from a multitude of sheer fabrics.

Uses of Silk Georgette: Silk Georgette is exceptionally versatile and lightweight, making it suitable for various applications. It is commonly utilized in blouses, dresses, shirts, evening gowns, bridal attire, and more. It’s worth noting that when using it for garments, it may have a considerable level of transparency, so adding a lining layer provides peace of mind.

10. Silk Crepe De Chine

Silk CDC is a fabric with creases on both sides. These fine, scale-like wrinkles are evenly distributed, giving it a matte texture. The fabric is lightweight and slightly translucent. Its usage creates a gentle, cloud-like sensation that provides a heightened sense of comfort.

Matte silk crepe de chine possesses a soft, misty pearl-like sheen, offering a subtle and understated glow. Dyed silk crepe de chine showcases vivid and delicate colors, accompanied by a soft and supple texture that is truly distinctive.

Uses of Silk Crepe De Chine: Lightweight silk crepe de chine is ideal for creating designs that are airy or seek a sensual appearance, with the prominent creases adding an extra touch. Thicker variations of the fabric can be used for dresses, tops, shirts, and more. It has a shrinkage rate of approximately 10%, so it is advisable to pre-shrink the fabric before garment construction.

11. Silk Organza

Silk Organza distinguishes itself from other renowned soft silk fabrics by possessing a certain degree of stiffness and a firm texture. At the same time, it boasts a transparent or semi-transparent appearance with a noticeable sheen.

Similarly woven using a plain weave, it exhibits a smooth surface. Its notable characteristics are its stiffness and structural strength, making it easier to shape and highly functional.

Uses of Silk Organza: It is commonly utilized in the structural design and production of formal dresses, fashion garments, and wedding gowns, serving as sleeves, embellishments, ruffles, and more. Additionally, it can be employed as a silk ribbon for gift wrapping, adding a touch of sophistication.

12. Silk Habotai

Silk Habotai, also known as China silk, is a type of silk fabric. It lacks a distinct right or wrong side and displays a soft sheen. Typically woven using a plain weave, it results in a tight, delicate, and smooth texture.

It can be considered the “middle ground” among silk fabrics, as it doesn’t possess a shiny luster nor a matte appearance. Its most notable characteristic is its strong light-blocking property. It has a soft yet crisp hand feel, with a shrinkage rate of around 3% to 5%.

Uses of Silk Habotai: Common applications of Silk Habotai include lining fabrics, as well as the production of shirts, dresses, scarves, and underskirts.

13. Silk Velvet

Silk velvet fabric boasts a dense pile on its surface that reflects light, lending it a luxurious and lustrous appearance. It has a smooth and soft feel, with a delicate texture that exudes opulence while offering a measure of durability.

Silk velvet is an elastic silk fabric with exceptional water absorption, allowing for impressive color expression that caters to a variety of design preferences.

Uses of Silk Velvet: Silk velvet showcases a stunning and elegant aesthetic, commonly found in high-end fashion design projects. It can also be utilized for interior decoration, including sofa covers, curtains, and more.

14. Silk Gauze

Silk Gauze is a highly lightweight silk fabric renowned for its loose structure, offering excellent breathability and ventilation. It boasts a transparent appearance and graceful drape.

Uses of Silk Gauze: It serves as an ideal material for creating scarves, veils, lightweight blouses, and dresses. Moreover, it can be utilized as a canvas for dyeing, painting, or embroidery, allowing it to be transformed into artwork or crafted into exquisite accessories.

15. Silk Gazar

Silk Gazar fabric shares similarities with silk organza, featuring a transparent appearance and crisp texture. However, Silk Gazar has a tighter weave, providing increased durability. 

Uses of Silk Gazar: It is commonly used in creating fashion garments, bridal gowns, veils, jackets, and short skirts.

16. Silk Marocain

Silk Marocain, also known as Moroccan silk, showcases a distinctive pebble-like texture. With its elegance and visual appeal, Silk Marocain finds frequent application in high-end fashion, crafting a variety of dresses, skirts, blouses, and scarves.

17. Taffeta

Taffeta is a fine and smooth silk fabric. It has a stiff yet gentle touch, offering excellent shape retention and producing a rustling sound when in motion. It is a classic choice for formal attire, including evening gowns and wedding dresses, and it can also be used for decorative purposes.

18. Dupioni Silk

Dupioni Silk is humorously referred to as the “rough gem” due to its surface irregularities. These irregularities are created by spinning yarn from two or more silk cocoons, resulting in an uneven texture. 

Uses of Dupioni Silk: Dupioni Silk has a dense weave and a unique grain, making it widely employed in high-end clothing and home decor.

19. Shantung Silk

Shantung Silk has a distinctive appearance resembling bamboo joints, showcasing irregular texture characteristics. This texture reflects light, enhancing the fabric’s luster. Shantung Silk delivers excellent dyeing results and colorfastness. 

Uses of Shantung Silk: Its structured fabric enhances various contour designs, making it suitable for creating a wide range of formal attire.

20. Silk Jacquard

Silk Jacquard fabric is woven using specialized jacquard looms. Patterns are directly integrated into the fabric, visible on both sides. Not only does it possess an aesthetically pleasing appearance and a glossy finish, but it also exudes a luxurious feel when touched.

Uses of Silk Jacquard: It elevates the overall style of high-end fashion garments, interior decor, and household textiles through its intricate designs and elegant appearance.

  • Brocade

Brocade is a type of jacquard fabric. It is equally intricate and opulent, featuring raised surfaces and textured patterns. It is commonly utilized in the creation of bridal gowns, ceremonial attire, and other formal garments.

  • Damask

Damask is yet another type of jacquard fabric. It combines matte and shiny patterns through unique weaving techniques, creating subtle contrasts. This textured fabric with depth is often employed in interior decorations such as curtains and tablecloths. Additionally, it can be used to create accessories like ties and high-end bedding.

21. Fuji Silk

Fuji silk derives its name from Japan’s Mount Fuji. It embodies the essential qualities of silk—softness, lightness, and luster. Typically woven with a tight construction, it yields a smooth surface and excellent quality. 

Uses of Fuji Silk: This fabric is highly favored by Japanese fashion design brands and finds application in various stylish product lines, including shirts and dresses.

22. Silk Pongee

Silk Pongee features a plain weave, resulting in a densely woven fabric with a delicate and soft texture. Similar to silk habotai, it exhibits a subtle sheen and graceful drape. 

Uses of Silk Pongee: Its versatility extends to a wide range of applications, suitable for garments, scarves, curtains, and linings.

23. Xiangyunsha Silk

Xiangyunsha Silk fabric is an ancient Chinese silk fabric. It is also known as Gambiered Guangdong Gauze, Gambiered Canton Silk. This fabric boasts a structured appearance, distinguished by its beauty, intricacy, and excellent drape. 

Unlike other silk fabrics, Xiangyunsha Silk becomes even softer with prolonged use and frequent washing. The creation of authentic Xiangyunsha Silk involves over 30 meticulous crafting processes, contributing to its elevated price.

Uses of Xiangyunsha Silk: This opulent fabric is frequently utilized in crafting high-end clothing such as dresses, shirts, skirts, suits, and wedding gowns. It is also commonly employed in accessory production, including scarves, shawls, and handkerchiefs.

24. Spun Silk

Spun silk, also known as raw silk, is crafted from defective or wasted silk fibers collected during the silk production process, often comprising short fibers. The fabric surface exhibits a matte appearance with a slightly coarse texture. Nonetheless, it retains its softness and breathability, lending itself to versatile applications. 

Uses of Spun Silk: It can be employed in creating lightweight garments such as shirts, and scarves, as well as lingerie, sleepwear, curtains, and more.

25. Silk Noil

Silk Noil, sometimes referred to as raw silk, is a variety of silk fabric made from short fibers or broken silk obtained during the silk reeling process. Its texture bears resemblance to cotton and provides an economical substitute for traditional silk. 

Uses of Silk Noil: This sustainable option finds widespread use in the production of clothing, accessories, and home goods.

Types of Silk Fabric By Origin Country

26. Italian Silk

Italian silk is renowned for its high quality. Italian silk manufacturers adhere to strict quality standards, producing silk fabrics that are excellent in quality and long-lasting. It is synonymous with luxury and elegance, whether used in high-end custom-made dresses, suits, or everyday accessories.

27. Thai Silk

Thai silk fabrics originating from Thailand are known for their vibrant colors and exquisite craftsmanship. They possess a natural luster and are often dyed using natural dyes extracted from plants and fruits. Adorned with a variety of patterns, they are colorful and beautiful.

Thai silk carries cultural and traditional significance and is often used in the production of various traditional Thai garments, such as Phaa sin and Phaa hom. Its presence can also be found in modern fashion designs, infusing a vibrant soul into the creations.

28. Japanese Silk

Japan has a rich history of silk weaving. Silk meticulously crafted by Japanese artisans boasts an exceptionally soft and smooth texture, along with a luxurious sheen that captivates the eye. 

It is renowned for its durability and longevity. Kimonos, Obi sashes, as well as various scarves, handkerchiefs, hair accessories, and crafts, can be made from Japanese silk. They all can serve you for a long time.

29. Indian Silk

Indian silk also boasts a history spanning thousands of years. Common types include Muga silk and Matka silk. It is often presented in a wide range of vibrant colors using traditional dyeing techniques, enhancing the beauty of traditional attire.

It is suitable for various traditional occasions in India, such as weddings, festivals, and more. You can commonly find it in the form of sarees, salwar suits, shawls, tablecloths, and other items.

Silk Knit Fabrics

Silk knit fabric is a type of fabric created using knitting machines. Unlike woven silk fabrics where the yarns weave together, silk knit fabric is formed by interlocking loops of yarn. Consequently, it offers remarkable flexibility and elasticity.

30. Silk Jersey

Silk jersey is a lightweight and smooth silk knit fabric renowned for its exceptional softness and subtle natural sheen. Its impressive elasticity provides the utmost comfort and convenience for various purposes. It is well-suited for a wide range of clothing items, including tops, dresses, lingerie, and activewear.

31. Silk Knit Lace 

Silk knit lace is a type of lace produced using knitting techniques. It boasts a luxurious softness, intricate patterns, and a semi-transparent appearance. The knitting process ensures its adaptability and versatility to cater to diverse design requirements. You can discover its romantic and elegant applications in bridal gowns, lingerie, tops, accessories, and more.

Silk Blends

Silk blends satisfy the desire for fabrics that combine the best qualities of two or more materials. It is common for people to blend silk fibers with natural or synthetic fibers to enhance their resistance to wrinkles, durability,  insulation, etc.

Popular natural blends include silk cotton fabrics, silk wool fabrics, silk bamboo fabrics, and so on. On the other hand, silk blends with synthetic fibers can be found in fabrics such as polyester-silk, rayon-silk, and spandex-silk. These silk blends are extensively utilized for a variety of purposes, offering you numerous conveniences.

Where to Buy Silk Fabric?

Thanks to the convenience of modern technology, you can now easily shop for a diverse selection of silk fabrics from the comfort of your own home. Silk markets, online retailers, silk manufacturers, and fabric stores are all well-equipped to offer you an extensive range of silk fabrics.

Custom Silk Fabrics At Sinosilk

With our state-of-the-art silk production factory, Sinosilk is committed to being your most dependable supplier of silk fabrics. We take pride in our wide variety of silk fabrics, exceptional craftsmanship, and competitive wholesale prices. 

To get a firsthand experience of the luxuriousness of silk, you can also request a free fabric sample. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!

More Resources:

What is Mulberry Silk – Source: Sinosilk

Grades of Silk – Source: Sinosilk

History of Silk – Source: Sinosilk

Does Silk Shrink – Source: Sinosilk

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