All About Dupioni Silk Fabric
Dupioni silk, sometimes known as Dupion or Douppioni, is a shimmering silk that is created by weaving silk threads of two different colors into a weave that seems to change colors as the silk is moved around in the light. Constructed with threads made from rough silk fibers that are harvested from single or double cocoons that are spun side by side and interlocked, Dupioni silk generally employs a set of vibrant colors in the weave. Along with creating this unique shimmering effect, the choice of two different colors of rough silk fiber helps to create a crisp drape quality to the finished fabric.
Silk Dupioni has additional advantages over some of the other types of silks. Dupioni tends to resist wrinkles, which helps to enhance the usability of the finished fabric, it has a tendency to take creases very well, which can give the final product a crisp and formal appearance, and as an added bonus, Dupioni silk is totally reversible, so it is perfectly acceptable for both sides of the material to be visible.
At the same time, Dupioni silk does have a couple of drawbacks. The material has almost no stretching ability, which means that using silk Dupioni requires the need to be very exact in the measurements before cutting out any pattern. Also, silk Dupioni does not work well with pins, as the pins tend to leave permanent marks in the material. This attribute can be frustrating for some persons attempting to utilize silk Dupioni in home sewing projects.
Dupioni silk can be used in a number of different fabric creations. In the way of clothing, silk Dupioni works well for flowing jackets, blouses, skirts, dresses, and bridal gowns. For home decorating, silk Dupioni can be utilized as drapery panels or other types of window treatments, table runners and cloths, and doilies for accent on tables and sofa backs and arms of sofas and chairs.
While dry-cleaning is generally recommended for silk Dupioni, it is possible to hand wash sections of silk Dupioni fabric before the material is cut and used in a pattern. When washed by hand, there is the chance of some shrinkage, and the fabric will most likely lose some of the crisp texture and a portion of the shimmering effect. For finished products constructed with Dupioni silk, dry cleaning is definitely the best means of freshening the material up.
Caring for dupioni silk is similar to caring for other silk fabrics but, while many silks are washable despite their dry-clean-only label, the majority of vendors and manufacturers advise against it. Some sources say that hand washing is acceptable, but they note that washing Dupioni can cause the fabric to shrink and may also soften its texture. There is disagreement on this point, but the consensus seems to be that the wise consumer will err on the side of caution and dry clean articles made of Dupioni silk. In addition, special care is called for in dealing with the problems of wrinkles, water or perspiration stains, and sunlight.
Allow wrinkled Dupioni silk clothing or drapery panels to hang for a few days. Most wrinkles will relax and fall out on their own. If any remain, press clothing or drapes on a padded, cloth-covered ironing board with a dry iron set on a low setting. Avoid the possibility of creating water spots by not using water or steam. Press garments or draperies on the wrong side even if they are lined.
Water will spot Dupioni silk, and the spots may be permanent. If only one or two spots mar the fabric, it may be possible to erase them by immediately blotting up as much moisture as possible, then gently buffing the edges of the spots with a clean, soft cloth to keep a ring from forming. Treat water spills on silk upholstery the same way. Remove the cushion cover, if possible, and work on the area from the back as well as from the front. Avoid rubbing too hard, because this can leave abrasion marks on the fabric.
Perspiration has the same effect on silk fabric as water does. It will form unsightly rings that may be permanent and can cause the fabric to deteriorate. Wear a cotton blouse or shirt under a silk jacket, and use a reliable antiperspirant. If the garment is designed to be worn without a blouse or shirt and has sleeves, wear underarm shields designed specifically for this purpose. Clean silk worn next to the skin frequently, preferably after each wearing.
Dust can damage Dupioni silk, so be sure to vacuum silk drapes regularly to remove dust that can damage the fabric over time. Use a hand or canister vacuum with a fabric attachment, and, if possible, leave them in place for cleaning. Never spray draperies with fabric-freshening sprays, which also have the same effect as water.
Sunlight will also damage Dupioni silk. Protect it by storing silk clothing in a closet without windows, and do not hang garments in direct sunlight when airing or removing wrinkles. Have silk draperies lined with thick cotton. Draperies in windows that receive direct sunlight may also need an inner lining. Keep furniture with silk upholstery out of direct sunlight to avoid damage or fading.
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