I was talking with a friend last week, and she was trying to remember which of Damask Raven’s products she didn’t quite know what that was. Habotai! It’s doesn’t help that, while I list the product as Habotai, in product description I use Habotai and China Silk as interchangeable terms.
So lets talk about Habotai. What is it? Well, in the most basic terms, we will turn to Wikipedia: and note that while the term itself is Japanese, Habotai is most commonly found and manufactured in China, which is why it is interchangeably referred to by most vendors as Habotai or China Silk in the same postings. So what is it? Quite simply, it is a plain woven fabric on 100% silk filaments, plain woven simply meaning that one warp thread loops over one warp thread then under the next thread, and so on. For easy reference, typically quilters cotton, broadcloth, and muslin are found in a plain weave.
While it’s not a fancy weave like Damask or brocade, Habotai is wonderfully reflective, showcasing the best iridescent qualities of silk. Regardless of what color the Habotai weave has been dyed, the color will catch and shimmer the light lustrously. This iridescent quality is a specific property of silk, but with Habotai, there are no distracting patterns to draw the eye away from this quality, which is why historically, Habutai was used for Kimono’s in Japan. As an added bonus, Habotai, given that it is a plain weave, is a very stable weave, meaning it is less likely to snag than Satin or Damask would. All that luster and beauty, AND it’s less likely to snag? Why oh why is this beautiful fabric most commonly found in linings?
Oh yes, today, Habotai is usually found in the lightest weights, 5.5 or 6 MM, and used for linings on jackets and undergarments. However, Damask Raven sells Habotai in 8MM white, and 12MM in a variety of colors, because it is such a wonderful fabric, lightweight enough to be used for shirts, blouses, or dresses, but at 12MM it’s not sheer so that it CAN be comfortably made in to shirts, blouses, and dresses for daily wear.