Silk is an animal fibre. It is produced by silk worm. Silk is produced chiefly in France, Italy, China and Japan.
Manufacturing process of silk:
A silk worm spins filaments (the fibres) for its cocoon. It then turns into pupa. The fibres are then held together by silk gum. Before the pupa changes info a moth, the cocoon is put into boiling water. This softens the gum. The silk fibre is then drawn from the cocoon. The raw silk is reeled up into skeins and packed into small bundles called books. Silk fibre is very fine or tiny to handle. Thereafter, silk is processed by the following steps:
- Throwing: This is the process of twisting silk fibres to form a strong yarn.
- De-gumming: This is the process of removing the silk-gum from the yarn by boiling in soapy water.
- Weaving: This is the process of constructing the yarn into silk fabric.
The silk yarn or fabric can be treated with metallic salts in a process known as weighting. This makes the fabric heavier.
Characteristics or properties of silk:
1. It is a very strong fibre and it is smooth and fine.
2. It is beautiful and had natural lustre.
3. It is springy or elastic.
4. It is crease-resistant which simply means it will withstand creasing.
5. It is warm to touch.
6. It absorbs moisture easily and it is an expensive fibre.
7. It is weak when wet and it hangs or draped well.
8. It gives a smell of burning feather when burnt.
Uses of silk:
Sul fabrics are processed for making scarves, ties, dresses, shirts etc.
These include: chiffon, satin, crepe, georgette, organza, faille, velvet. Today most of these fabrics are commonly made of man-made or synthetic fibres.