Silk is a protein fiber made by silk worms and is the only natural fiber that is a filament fiber. Originally, it was believed that an ancient Chinese princess was the first to discover the process for manufacturing silk fabric from the filament fiber produced by silk worms. Even though this was considered to be a legend, the first country to manufacture silk fabric was China. According to Kadolph, Langford, Hollen, and Saddler (1993), China was the only country producing silk for approximately 3,000 years before spreading to other Asian countries. Japan is currently manufacturing more silk than any other country in the world.

Silk has set the standard in luxury fabrics for several millennia. The origins of silk date back to Ancient China. Legend has it that a Chinese princess was sipping tea in her garden when a cocoon fell into her cup, and the hot tea loosened the long strand of silk. Ancient literature, however, attributes the popularization of silk to the Chinese Empress Si-Ling, to around 2600 B.C. Called the Goddess of the Silkworm; Si-Ling apparently raised silkworms and designed a loom for making silk fabrics.


Silk is a filament spun by the caterpillars of various butter flies. Silk is a natural protein filament. Its filament density is 1.34 g/cm which make it a medium weight fiber. Very light weight silk textile materials may be manufacturing from silk filaments.

Different Types of Silk:


Wild or tussah silk: Wild or Tussah silk is a tan-colored fiber from the cultivated silk worm which feeds on so rub oak. As the cocoons are always pierced the fibers are shorter than reeled silk. It is different both physically and chemically from ordinary silk. It is brown in colure, considerably stiffer and coarser .It is less reactive towards chemical. It is used in the shantung pongee.


Thrown or Greg silk: Thrown silk consists of two or more threads of raw silk reeled tighter and given a slight twist.


Organize silk: Organize silk is produced from best cocoons. It contains two or more stands each composed of number of greges twist together slightly. These threads are then doubled and re-twisted in the opposite direction to the original twist in the strands (Strand mean a number of flexible strings twisted together into a rope. Organize silk is used for warp threads when high tensile strength is required.


Tram silk: Tram silk is usually made from cocoons of lower grade, like organize. It is composed of two or more strands of thrown silk lightly twisted together and then doubled.


Chappell silk: When silk is still in the green is spun the yarn is known as chappell.

The Manufacturing Steps of Silk:


Sericulture the care & nurture of the silk caterpillar is a tedious pain streaking business. The worm cultivation is called sericulture. The process starts with silk mouth, which less eggs on specially prepared paper.

Softening Cocoons:

The cocoons are shorted according to color, shape & texture.

Softening The sericine:

When the silk warm is grown it spins a double strand of silk fibers surrounded by water soluble substance is called sericine.



The process by which filament is taken up from the cocoons is called reeling . The diameter of the filament is so little that if it is reeled , its commercial value will be decrease . Moreover double filament is too delicate to handle alone .

Throwing :

The production of yarn from reeled silk know as throwing consists adding twist or of doubling further twisting these strands into the desired size . When tow or three of silk multifilament are twisted together to from heavier threads , this process is called throwing .

Advantages of silk fabric:

1.      Luxurious hand (the feel of a fiber, yarn, or fabric to the wearer)

2.      Excellent drape (a fabrics ability to fold while worn)

3.      Wonderful luster (reflection of light on fabric)

4.      Hydrophilic

5.      Stain resistant

6.      Strong but lightweight

Disadvantages of silk fabric:

1.      Fair abrasion and resiliency

2.      Turns yellow if bleached

3.      Poor resistance to exposed sunlight

4.      Expensive

5.     Degrades over time with exposure to oxygen, making it difficult to preserve

End users of silk fabric:

Apparel: luxury items, wedding dresses, evening gowns, blouses, scarves, neckties

Interiors: pillows, wall hangings, draperies, upholstery


      A fine lustrous fiber composed mainly of fibroin and produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons, especially the strong, elastic, fibrous secretion of silkworms used to make thread and fabric.

      Thread or fabric made from this fiber.

      A garment made from this fabric.

      Silks The brightly colored identifying garments of a jockey or harness driver.

      A silky filamentous material, such as the webbing spun by certain spiders or the styles forming a tuft on an ear of corn.


1.      Textile and Clothing Web

2.      Abrar Ahmed Apu, Asst. prof. Daffodil International University

3.      Samiha Sultana, Senior Lecturer, Daffodil International University


5.      Wikipedia

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This article was originally published in Textile learner blog run by Mazharul Islam Kiron.