If you like to sew, then you probably spend some time shopping for various fabrics and materials. One that you might come across is silk charmeuse—such as Decorative Silk. This plush, silky fabric is lovely for making high-end apparel and even luxury curtains. But before you buy a yard and start sewing, there are probably a few questions you'd like answered.
What is silk charmeuse made from?
Silk charmeuse is made from real silk. It's thicker and fuller than the silk you may be used to seeing, but that's because of the way the silk fibers are woven together. It is every bit as real as the thinner, finer silk seen more often. Silk is a natural protein that is produced by certain caterpillar-like larvae. It has a long, rich history of use in fabrics, and charmeuse silk is a part of that history.
Does all charmeuse silk have a luster?
It's common for charmeuse silk to have a luster. It's what brings out its best qualities and makes it look really opulent. Usually, one side of the silk has a luster and the other is matte. However, you can find charmeuse silks that are just matte on both sides. These can be nice to use for ties, bows, and other small accessories that you may not want to be as flashy.
How do you care for charmeuse silk?
Like all other silk, this fabric needs to be handled with care. It should be hand washed in cold water or dry cleaned. Washing it in a machine or with hot water could cause the fabric to shrink and distort. Silk is a natural protein, and that protein is sensitive to heat. It is not typical to wash charmeuse silk before you sew with it. However, your final products will eventually need to be washed. So, if you give them away or sell them, be sure to tell your recipients to have them dry cleaned or hand washed.
Can people will allergies wear charmeuse silk?
In most cases, yes. Charmeuse silk is considered to be a hypo-allergenic fiber. It can be a good choice for people with eczema and sensitive skin because it feels so soft and smooth against the skin.
Hopefully these questions and answers have taught you a little something about charmeuse silk. The next time you come across this fabric, consider buying a yard or two. It's a fun one to experiment with, even if you only make something small.