Joseph Marie Jacquard

Joseph Marie Jacquard

Ah the Internet.  What’s not to love about all the world’s knowledge being readily available at your fingertips?  And all this availability started just 200 years ago, with the silk weavers in Lyons.  Don’t believe me?  Allow me to elaborate. Joseph Marie Jacquard was born on July 7, 1752 in Lyon, France.  Jacquard’s mother died when he was 10 and his father died just 10 years later, leaving Jacquard with property, a house, vineyard, looms and workshops. While his work history is largely unknown, Jacquard, having decided that weaving was not for him, was trained as a book binder and

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Busy busy busy

busy busy busy

No, not another cloth weave.  While I will continue with my descriptions and details of different silk weaves, that is just one of my projects.  And to give my brain a break from this is that, I thought I would outline some of my plans and upcoming events.  Busy, Busy, Busy.   So far this year, Damask Raven is confirmed vending at Hot Raqs, Miss Fisher Con, and Cairo Shimmy Quake.  Also plan to be vending at West-AnTir War and Great Western War.  Additionally, am teaching three classes at Costume College.  So this is shaping up to be a very

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China Silk

Processing China Silk, painted on silk

Ahhh China Silk.  How it all began.  5500 years ago, the secrets of silk were discovered in China and once the cocoon unraveled, China began weaving it.  The result was the original, plain weave, one over one under, China Silk.  Soft and lightweight, easy to work with, pleats like a dream, with a fine hand, this alluringly flowing fabric is usually found in 5mm to 10mm, but can be woven in any weight. The ever fabulous Fairchild (p. 119) provides the following definitions for China Silk: 1. A plain weave, lustrous, lightweight, very soft silk fabric produced in China and Japan

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Softly Chiffon

Pink chiffon top layers this dress worn by Audrey Hepburn

Nothing is as softly elegant as chiffon.  Typically sheer, and very filmy and lightweight, Julie Parker in All About Silk says that Chiffon is French for rag. Which is hard to believe given that this is easily one of the most elegant fabrics available.  When I hear the word rag, I think of the dictionary definition, and chiffon is not worthless.  Typically used as a top layer in prom or wedding dresses, chiffon adds fabulous sway and drape to any gown. Now, on a technical level, chiffon is “A very lightweight sheer silk…made in a plain weave with fine, hard spun

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Let’s talk Broadcloth

Broadcloth...not satin

According to Fairchild’s Dictionary of Textiles, Broadcloth was “a fabric made on a wide loom, specifically one wider than 27 inches.”  Since the narrowest weave found commercially is typically 45 inches wide, it seems odd that 27 was once considered broad!  But, width was not the only consideration.  Specific to weaving on the broader loom, the fill or weft threads are heavier and have less twist, creating a heavier hand than the lighter habotai or china silks. In addition to the dictionary definition of broadcloth, Julie Parker provides that silk broadcloth is typically woven of spun silk, versus filament silk.  So

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Batiste de Soie

Going alphabetically, batiste de soie is the way to start with silk weaves.  The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Textiles lists Batiste de Soie as “a sheer silk fabric, plain or figured, resembling silk mull (p. 48).” Batiste is itself a weaving technique, named after the 13th century linen weaver Jean Baptiste.  Batiste pulls directly from his name, with this particular fabric translating as “batiste of silk.”  Batiste was originally a very fine, diaphanous fabric, most commonly these days woven in cotton or poly/cotton blends. But it can be found in silk!  In All About Silk, author Julie Parker says “it

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Cleaning and Maintaining Our Silks

The Care and Feeding of Silk, Dry Clean Only

I’ve been trying to post on Tuesdays a stain removal.  Unfortunately, the stain I’m currently working on is exceptionally stubborn, so I have no video to post.  But in keeping with a cleaning theme, I decided to post what we use to clean silk, and why we use those things.  This seems like a reasonable substitute for stains.  So here is what we use for cleaning and maintaining our silks. I’m going to start with Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Liquid Soap.  I use this to pre-wash my silk before cutting and after events for a light clean.  This is VERY

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Frixion Pens–Not quite invisible ink

Frixion pens...They Rock!

Almost a year ago, my mom gave me a pack of Frixion pens.  And she was very excited because if you mark fabric with the Frixion pens, then iron over the mark, the mark disappears.  This is SO COOL!  No more tracing paper!  No more wheels leaving pin pricks in your fabric!  No more uneven lines from the combination of wheel and paper!  I loved my Frixion pens instantly. So I used my Frixion pens pretty heavily on all my projects.  In May I taught my Care and Feeding of Silk Class at West Kingdom’s Golden Beltane.  And one of

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Out out Damn Spot!

So this saga starts at Golden Beltane.  We were prepping our steaks for grilling when some wind kicked up and splashed some blood on my sleeve.  Because I am an idiot, I grinned.  Yay!  Blood stains!  And I didn’t have to donate them myself! If you get blood on silk, move hell and high water to soak that stain immediately!  It can be done on a set in stain, but seriously, if the stain doesn’t get the chance to set, it is ever so much easier. Here is the progression. Internet says to use salt water to break down the

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Water Marks on Silk

Water Marks on Silk…you hate them, yet they inevitably appear. While at costume college, I led a Q&A session on The Care and Feeding of Silk.  And it was awesome!  So much enthusiasm, the energy in the room was high, everyone was sharing tips and tricks.  I loved it.  But in the course of the class, I dropped (deliberately) a spot of water on a previously starched piece of Habotai.  I wanted to demonstrate exactly what water marking was and why it was no big deal. And as the silk scrap made it’s way around the room, it dried, and

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