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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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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Put the Starch Back in your Silk

Starch silk...it can be done

After the wash, can you starch silk?  Should you NOT wash silk taffeta because you’ll wash out the finish?  Then what?  Can you put the scroop back in the silk?  What happens if you didn’t previously wash your silk and now it has water marks where rain drops rinsed away the factory finish? I tested three different starches on Tuscan Sunset Habotai and then I tested my favorite on a scrap of Pink Lemonade.  The overall winner really does bear out the statement that you get what you pay for.  My recommended Starch for silk is Le Blanc Portfolio Linen Press.  It

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“Water Stains”

Water Stains

CAVEAT:  I actually do need to start this one with a HUGE caveat.  Watered Silk, aka Moire, should never…EVER…be washed.  This is one of the few silks that is genuinely, unquestioningly, dry clean only.  What is it?  Moire silk is silk that has been pressed through industrial grade, steam rollers, which pull the warp threads slightly out of alignment from the weft threads, while simultaneously steaming the silk, creating a rippled effect that looks like, well, WATER.  It is very cool, as seen in this dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To give an analogy of why you do not

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