What is Dupion Silk And How Is It Made? Everything You Need To Know

Have you ever wondered why some rough little nodes appear on upscale suits? This kind of suit made from Dupion Silk looks a little rough and feels cheap as if the suit is worn to pilling. However, suits made of this fabric were expensive and became a symbol of status and position for gentlemen from the end of the 20th century.

In this article, let’s get to know about this special fabric from different perspectives.

What is Dupion Silk?

Dupion Silk (Douppioni or Doupioni) is a natural silk fabric with medium weight. Unlike most silks, Dupion Silk is richly textured and brightly colored due to its special raw material and manufacturing process. Mainly produced in China, Japan, and India, this exquisite fabric favored by designers worldwide is making a big splash in the innovation of traditional clothing.

How Is Dupion Silk Made?

There are two types of Dupion Silk fabric, yarn-dyed Dupion Silk fabric and greige Dupion Silk fabric. The manufacturing processes of yarn-dyed Dupion Silk fabric are as follows.

  1. Select high-quality raw material, double cocoon. (What is a double cocoon? Unlike a normal cocoon where one silkworm forms one cocoon, a double cocoon is formed when two silkworms secrete raw silk and wrap themselves around each other to form a single cocoon, just like a double-yolked egg.)
  2. Reel double cocoons.
  3. Form a complete warp and weft after a series of processes.
  4. Dye the yarns.
  5. Weave fabrics with dyed mulberry silk as warp and double palace silk as weft, resulting in yarn-dyed Dupion Silk fabric. 

However, the manufacturing processes of greige Dupion Silk fabric are a little different in their yarns and dyeing. Greige Dupion Silk is weaved with undyed yarns, and piece dyeing is required afterward.

History of Dupion Silk

Dupion Silk is one of the famous traditional Chinese silks with a long history. It is believed that the Chinese were the first to discover this strong and durable fiber in 2570 BC. However, due to its scarcity, Dupion Silk has been rarely found in historical records and unearthed artifacts.

Initially, Dupion Silk was exclusive to emperors due to its complicated production process and expensive price. And later gradually used by the nobles and wealthy families for making gorgeous court clothing.

Until the late Qing Dynasty, Dupion Silk gained popularity among merchants from Southeast Asian countries, becoming an important commodity in trade.

Contemporarily, the production of Dupion Silk has flourished in the silk-producing regions of China, such as Jiangsu Province.

Features of Dupion silk

  • Luxurious and Shimmering Appearance 

Dupion Silk is an expensive, high-end silk fabric. It has a slight drape and unique gloss. Its two-tone effect reflects different colors in different lights, creating an understated yet luxurious look for you. 

  • Versatility

Dupion Silk is a beloved fabric in the fashion world for its colorful effect and rich texture. It can be embroidered and combined with different fabrics such as leather, linen, and chiffon to create a modern look for you.

  • Strength and Durability 

Reeled from double cocoons,  double cocoon silk has a crisscrossed web-like structure, makes its yarn thicker than normal silk, and has many irregular small “slubs”. In addition, Dupion Silk’s tight weaving process makes this fabric thick, and strong.

  • Stiff and Highly Wrinkle-resistant

The strong and thick nature of Dupion Silk and its unique manufacturing process make this fabric look stiff, yet drapey. It is an easy-care fabric in silk that resists wrinkles and creases.

  • Environmentally Friendly

The mulberry silk used in producing Dupion Silk is a natural, protein-based filament fiber. It is both biodegradable and renewable, making it a more environmentally friendly fabric than synthetic fabric.

Uses of Dupion Silk

  • Clothing

Dupion Silk can be used to make casual wear, such as summer shirts and dresses, as well as children’s clothing and infant drool bibs. When used for formal wear, Dupion Silk creates wedding dresses and suits with a distinctive luster. In addition, it can also be used to make complex traditional clothing, such as gorgeous Sarees for Indian women.

  • Home Decoration

Unlike the silk of single cocoons, the silk of double cocoons is more fluffy. It is both anti-bacterial and anti-allergic, making it a good material for quilts, bedding, carpets, and curtains.

Caring for Dupion Silk

How to clean your Dupioni Silk?

As a natural silk fabric, Dupion Silk can be easily damaged by improper cleaning. The safest way to clean it is through dry cleaning. When dry cleaning is not available, hand washing is also acceptable. The following are the basic steps to hand-wash this fabric.

  1. Make soapy water with a bowl of clean water and silk-friendly detergent below 30 degrees Celcius.
  2. Soak the fabric for no more than 5 minutes.
  3. Agitate the fabric gently, do not scrub and rub it.
  4. Rinse the soap out of the fabric with clean water.
  5. Absorb the water by pressing a clean towel over the fabric.
  6. Hang the fabric flat in a shady and airy place with no direct sunlight.

How to soften your Dupion Silk with Iron?

Here are some helpful tips for softening your Dupion Silk with an iron. 

  • Hang your wet Dupion Silk to dry until slightly damp. Do not directly spray water onto it as it can leave a watermark.
  • Use an iron with a temperature between 100-150 degrees Celsius. If available, use the silk mode to avoid overheating the fabric.
  • A clean press cloth is essential to function as a barrier between the iron and your Dupion Silk.

FAQs about Dupion silk

What is Dupion Silk made of?

Dupion Silk is a natural fabric made from silk reeled from double cocoons of mulberry silkworms.

Is Dupion Silk stretchy?

No, Dupion Silk, with its tightly woven structure, is not as stretchy as regular silk.  

How can you determine the right side of Dupion Silk?

Dupion Silk looks similar on both sides. However, the right side is more smooth and shiny while the wrong side has a slightly rough texture with flaws.

What is the difference between Dupion Silk and Silk Shantung?

Shantung Silk is very similar to Dupion Silk for they are both wrinkled and shiny silk fabrics. However, Shantung Silk usually has a lighter weight and smoother touch.


From the production steps to versatile uses of Dupion Silk, this article introduces them thoroughly to you. With the help of this article, you must learn a lot about this unique fabric and be attracted by its shimmering and colorful effect. By offering you a variety of Dupion Silk collections, Sinosilk invites you to experience the luxury of Dupion Silk yourself. Contact us to customize your own Dupion Silk products.

More Resources:

Why is silk so expensive – Source: Sinosilk

Grades of Silk – Source: Sinosilk

The Endless Uses of Silk – Source: Sinosilk

What is Taffeta Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

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