Silk Pilling

Silk Pilling

I saw a post on a Facebook group about silk pilling. And the poster did not think you could use Fabric Shavers on silk.  Now, I know you can use Fabric Shavers on silk. I have done so many times.  But I have not done so on camera.  So I did.

Before I post the video, let me explain a bit about what causes pilling in Silk. In fibers in general, pilling occurs when short staple fibers work themselves loose from the weave.  In natural fibers like wool and cotton, they eventually break off.  In synthetics like polyester or nylon, they don’t, due to the stronger, filament like nature of synthetics.  Now, for silks what generally causes pilling is a snag in the fabric.  It’s a sad story, but a true story.  And when you wear a garment hard…

Sweat Stains...
Working on building sweat stains…and pilling the fabric.

Snags happen.  And silk, being a very strong, naturally occurring filament, holds on to those pills.  Pilling can also happen in silk when working with noil or spun silk due to the weaker nature of the already broken ends of the filaments.  So, now that we know how pilling occurs in silk, what do you do about it when a snag has caused a pill?

DON’T pull the pill!  That will just pull the snagged thread all the way out, leaving a line in your garment.  Depending on how many filaments are involved in the snag, this can be a visible line.  Enter Fabric Shavers.

I had heard at an SCA event I was vending at, that you could also use a razor blade, like a $2 BIC razor, to shave pills off as well.  So I experimented!  Hands down, the winner was the fabric shaver.  I say there are two options for dealing with silk pilling at the beginning of the video. I don’t think I ever actually amend that statement to one option. But really, there is just one option. Get the Fabric Shaver.  The Fabric Shaver will cut the pill off at the face of the fabric.  The razor will catch and pull on the pill.  I don’t think the razor actually managed to remove a single pill!  But it did pull the filament out more.  Hence my recommendation for the cheap and easy Fabric Shaver.

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