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Fabric Guide

Although rayon is a man-made fiber, it is a fiber that is made up of a base of cellulose, or plant fiber, either wood or other vegetable sources. Material used to make rayon, or viscose, generally comes from manufacturing waste; i.e., wood chips and cotton lint. These materials are chemically liquefied and spun into filaments. Rayon and viscose have the same properties, but are differently manufactured (we will say “rayon” to mean both). Rayon has a very soft hand, and drapes well, but is not resilient and does not hold its shape in a garment. This fiber also tends to have a high luster. It is often blended with cotton.

Rayon is very receptive to dyes, but it is not always washable in water.

Most rayon garments and household items should be dry cleaned.

A strong cotton fabric constructed in satin weave and having a lustrous face. Sateen is usually made of cotton, or sometimes rayon.

No dry cleaning is preferred for longevity of this fabric.

Satin has been a staple in wedding gowns for centuries. Satin originated in Zaytoun, China, which is now Canton. It became popular in Europe in the 12th century, in Italy in the 13th century, and in England in the 14th century.

Satin, because of its construction and fiber content, is one of the most luxurious fabrics manufactured. Satin is most often made from low-twist filament yarns. It is usually constructed by floating the warp or lengthwise yarns over four filling or horizontal yarns. The long floats give the fabric luster.

Silk is the premiere choice of fiber content for bridal satin fabrics. However, silk satins are more expensive than satins containing acetate or polyester. Satin is found in apparel, lingerie, draperies, drapery lining fabrics, and upholstery fabrics.

Types of Satin:
Crepe yarns, or highly twisted yarns, are used in the filling (horizontal) direction of the fabric, and the smooth, low-twisted filament yarns are still used in the warp.
This type of satin is created using slub (yarns with thick and thin areas) yarns in the filling direction.
A high yarn count satin that contains fine yarns. This type of satin has a crisp body to it. It is commonly used in bridal gowns. April Oakley, designer at Wild Ginger Software, Inc., designed and made her own wedding gown using a silk duchesse satin. April highly recommends this type of satin for wedding gowns because of the body it gives without a lot of weight. Duchesse satin can be found in couture wedding gowns.
A heavy stiff satin used mainly for footwear.

Most satin garments and household items should be dry cleaned.

Satin garments garments and household items should be dry cleaned. Heirlooming and preservation of wedding gowns is also recommended.

This fiber is not a hair, but a filament spun by the silkworm to form its cocoon. It is said that these strands were discovered in ancient China when an empress was shown a cocoon, which she accidentally dropped into her tea. When it was fished out, the resin that holds the cocoon together had dissolved, and the cocoon unwound into a single, strong continuous strand. Whether this is true or not, silk has been cultivated in China for centuries.

Cultivated silk is very fine and smooth, with a soft hand and a pearly luster. Its drape is exceptional, lending a “watery” movement, especially to finely woven silk fabrics. Wild silk, often called tussah or raw silk, is coarser, with a more linen-like look and texture. Both cultivated and wild silk are used in yarn and fabric production.

Silk is very receptive to dyes, but also fades very easily, especially when hand-washed as opposed to being dry cleaned. Silk does not conduct heat and is a very good insulator and is soft against the skin. It is the strongest of natural fibers, but it lacks elasticity, and garments knitted out of silk tend to stretch. It has been blended with other fibers like wool to improve its elasticity and to make it more affordable.

Most silk garments and household items should be dry cleaned.

Differences between Leather and Suede
Smooth leather or grain leather refers to the top outer layer of the animal’s skin. The only difference between suede and leather is the finish that is applied to the skin. The most common types of hides used in garment manufacturing are lamb, cow, and pig. Nubuck is created by lightly buffing the top grain until it takes on a very fine nap that appears smoother than suede.

Suede is generally the underside of the hide rubbed to make a velvety nap. Suede may also be split from a thick hide. The top surface of the new layer looks like suede but is not as soft.

Professional suede cleaning is recommended when needed for suede garments.

A crisp lustrous plain-weave silk or rayon. Taffeta originated in Iran (Persia) and was called “taftah” (a fine silk fabric). In the 16th century, it became a luxury for women’s wear. Taffeta is made in plain colors, fancy prints, watered designs, and changeable effects. It is smooth with a sheen on its surface.

Most taffeta garments should be dry cleaned.

Taffeta garments should be dry cleaned. Heirlooming and preservation of wedding gowns is also recommended.

Typical toile de jouy motifs often tell a story, including in them vignettes of rural life, historical events, military victories, as well as mythical and (most often) pastoral scenes. In 1779, copper printing plates were introduced and allowed for the very precise, detailed drawings you see today.

Toile fabric is named after The Manufacture Royale de Jouy (Royal Factory of Jouy). Jouy-en-Josas is a little town near Versailles southwest of Paris. “Toile” means canvas or cloth, and “Jouy” represents the abbreviated name of the village, Jouy-en-Josas.

Toile should be dry cleaned. Heirlooming and preservation of antique toile is also recommended.

A fine starched net of silk, usually for veils and dresses. First made by machine in 1768. Has a hexagonal mesh and is stiff. Comes in white and colors, and is very cool, dressy, and delicate.

It is a stately type of fabric when used for formal wear and weddings. It is also used for ballet costumes and wedding veils. The word “tulle” is for Tulle, the town in France where it was first made.

Tulle is difficult to launder. Taffeta should be dry cleaned.

Heirlooming and preservation of wedding gowns is also recommended.

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