Different silk yarns react differently to commercial dyes. This post is about buying Thai silk while visiting Thailand. If the selvages are smooth and straight, the fabric is not handwoven. Villages near Ubon Rachatani and Ubon Thani produce fine silks. Is that what you’re trying to source? Sukothai imported silks from China, India and the Khmer Empire and the Siamese Royal Court wore exlcusively these imported silks. I plan to go to the Silk Zone and visit a Tailor/Dressmaker there. You’ll also find a good selection of off-the-rack silk shirts throughout Bangkok, although these shirts are often made with 100% silk (often printed), the silk is machine woven-but still great attire. They also have established paygates on Instagram so you should be able to purchase with relative security. I’m not a dye expert. Your email address will not be published. Just contact me via this blog. Due to its thermal properties it is warm in winter and cool in summer. Don’t shop the tourist markets. Obviously, handwoven fabrics are only as good as the weaver that produced them. A single thread filament is too thin to use on its own so Thai women combine many threads to produce a thicker, usable fiber. But if you want to get off the well-beaten tourist trail and seek a little adventure, then by all means contemplate a silk safari to Isaan. They usually have a tailor/dressmaker available for their guests. “Silk sharks” are everywhere, especially at tourist markets. […]. As a weaver creates her fabric, she almost always looms with inconsistent yarns that produce the slub. Brocaded Thai silk is a weave that gives the fabric an embossed or raised quality. They do this by hand-reeling the threads onto a wooden spindle to produce a uniform strand of raw silk. Another kind of pattern that is woven in Thai silk is called yok dork. If in Bangkok, I highly recommend visiting the The Queen Sirikit Museum of Thai Textiles. In addition, Thai silk has a unique lustre, with a sheen that has two unique blends: one color for the warp and another for the weft. I would image they would agree to sell you a small amount. A very informative and excellent blog.. A national museum in a jungle-like setting in the centre of Bangkok, the Jim Thompson House is the former home of an entrepreneur and ex-spy who took Thai silk-weaving from the status of a dying craft to world renown. All silk in Thailand will be mulberry silk. Best of luck. Also, knowing some basics about your silk purchase will make you enjoy and appreciate this fabric even more.  On display are numerous dresses worn by Queen Sirikit of Thailand, which she wore during state visits to promote traditional Thai The reason is simple. Mechanical looms produce fabric edges that are smooth and clean. This is my number one recommendation because of the quality of silk, especially mudmee silk, available and the ease of finding it. They can all have different weights and handles. The smallest cones have 2,000-3,000 meters of silk yarn on them. This tutorial and the one about Thai sericulture are companion pieces to understanding Thai silk. , In 2006, US$14,540,325 worth of silk was exported from Thailand. What about slubbing (small nits/bumps in the fabric caused by hand-spun silk yarns), especially near the edges? Silk, in what is now Thailand, goes back 3,000 years to an excavated village called Baan Chiang near the northern city of Udon Thani.  If so, that’s a prime Thai silk region. (All of them use Line and I list those numbers.) You’re about to be ripped off. Shop only at established silk botiques where you can trust the business. I am yet to plan my trip so I can visit any part of the country to buy the same. From the photo, this fabric does not appear to be Thai silk. How obvious are the flaws? If your only reason for going on a silk safari to Isaan is to get a better price, then you’re better off canceling your trip. On the Main Street of this small town are lots of silk shops. Click here. Silk Dupioni by far is the most interesting and elegant fabric, with slubby texture and subtle chic. Does it have a large inventory of Thai silk (at a minimum dozens and dozens of bolts)? I’m assuming that your Thai silk will use commercial, color-fast dyes. Their stores should have a plentiful selection of Thai silk bolts and/or apparel. Silk yarns are not equal in quality. Would you be able to recommend a store where I can buy silk yarns? Thanks for writing. Undulate the fabric slowly and you’ll see it changing colors. Yes, there are more types of weave, and of course every village produces their own unique silk, but almost all Thai silks will fall into these four catagories. I bring it to the pillow makers in Yasoton Province and we decide what will be made from the bolt. That’s as much fun as buying the silk. I have many silk shirts ranging from very lightweight fabric to heavier ones. ); the difference between quality and inferior silk; and of course the best places to purchase silk fabric in The Kingdom. Tussah silk, collected from the wild, lacks the consistent quality. Everything from shimmering Thai silk and pure cottons to exotic batik sarongs is readily available from a variety of different markets and outlets. Pack Thong Chai is a very famous silk weaving village that is only 31 kilometers from Korat. However, Thailand remains only a small contributor to the global trade in silk. When you spot a small imperfection, that’s a good thing. Spun silk is made from the remnants of reeled silk or defective silk cocoons. Prices for quality mudmee silk can vary tremedously, depending on quality. There are a couple big silk yarn producers in Thailand, but they sell commercially. Just type the names in and you’ll see their silk selections and prices for most: @cheonsa_silk; @thaisilknannipa (Kon Gan); @khomkham_thaisilk (www.khomkhamthaisilk.com); @passa.official (www.passasilkwear.com); @thaisilk_lamphunmaithai; @thailandsurinsilk Once you go to their Instagram accounts, you’ll see more contact info (or you can contact them directly on IG. Thank you. This is what the tag says: 100% Pure Thai Silks Visit Thai Silk Village online You are following the Golden Rule of knowing your source. Put this tutorial to work for you: Inspect the edges (selvages). I also recommend Khomkham Thai Silk at http://www.khomkhamthaisilk.com in Chonobot (Instagram #khomkhan_thaisilk) and Jamnay Thai Silk located in Surin (Instagram #surin_thaisilk) Both those silk shops have excellent quality Thai silk at fair prices. It’s 15-20 independent silk vendors grouped together in a shopping plaza in central Bangkok. I’d refresh the page. Solid color dupioni is sold by the yard $15-$40/yard. This town is located about an 8 hour drive from Bangkok. Hi Kim. That is what authentic silk metallic thread is. Eri silk is a staple fiber, unlike other silks, which are a continuous filament. Hi Jeff,  The cocoons of eri silkworms are open-ended, meaning the grown larva can leave via the opening. An experienced weaver can produce on a hand loom approximately 12-15 meters a day. Many Thai silk aficionados consider Praewa silk fabric to be the finest silk woven in the Kingdom. It’s a cultural touchstone of The Kingdom of Thailand. Large Scarves $30-$100. I read, repeatedly that silk is too hot and sweaty to wear here but Thai style silk jackets look thick and are often worn. Also, if you wear or sit on a natural dyed fabric, the dye will rub off on you. I have checked them out and connected on Instagram. I wrote my silk tutorial so you can shop with confidence. These shops often carry an inventory of very good quality Thai silk especially plain weaves. For a full Historical perspective of Thai silk and fabrics, please read my blog entry: Thai Traditional Fabrics: 3,000 years in 15 Minutes. There are vendors at these tourist markets who may try to sell you Thai silk, but rest assured, their silk is either counterfeit or at best a very low grade silk. A final word of warning: I would be very cautious of buying Thai silk on either Amazon or Ebay. textured fabric, unlike brocaded silk. Jim Thompson. In the weaving villages of Esaan I have found good quality dupioni for between $12-20/meter. There are no bargains in the Thai silk trade, only fair deals. The fibre is "cottony", not glossy like mulberry silk. You may want to call two commercial Thai silk reeling companies: Chul Thai Silk Co. and Khon Kaen Silk Reeling Co. For apparel making, a dressmaker usually needs at least a week to make your outfit which includes at least one if not two fittings. The price test is really nothing more than using basic common sense. I have a question.. Traditional Thai Silk is handwoven and is a nod to the splendor of the old Kingdom of Siam. I wrote an entire blog post called “Buying Thai Silk in Bangkok” and I give you all the info you need to shop at the Silk Zone. Among them mulberry silk is the most important and contributes as much as 90 per cent of world production, therefore, the term "silk" in general refers to the silk of the mulberry silkworm. I’ve been there and have closely inspected their stock and spoken at length to the owners. Locally, Thais showed little interest in the product as it remained expensive and unsuited to the hot climate. Thanks for writing. (about 4 yards for professional suit jacket and matching skirt.). Thai silk is still commonly woven in what’s called dressmaker’s bolts. Most of the silk shops I list have mail order available. Men usually produce raw silk and engage in sericulture. The process is a tedious one as it takes nearly 40 hours to produce a half kilogram of Thai silk. Hi Jeff.What a great article.Thank you for taking the time to prepare and write it.We are making a line of clothing form parmai and attempting to retail globally.We have various sources for the supply of parmai and as result are having troubles discerning the types of dyes being used.Would you be kind enough to advise us of how we might be able to discern the types of dye being used.Many many thanks. Make sure to have your seamstress line your Thai silk curtains for protection from the sun. I got all her body measurings to give it to a tailor but I don’t know to which. The silk vendors are legitimate and you don’t have to worry about fakes. It has a metallic blue, white or gold color. An online webpage to interact with basically. To do this, skeins of silk thread are immersed in large tubs of hydrogen peroxide. , Writing in the Bangkok Post in 1949, Alexander MacDonald noted that, "...out of a number of scattered remains of history, from cultures borrowed from Siam's neighbors, and from colonies of fat and lazy Siamese silk worms, Jim Thompson is trying to build a modest business. You can find good quality mudmee for $100/1.5 meter bolt (sarong lenght). To forestall the damage, processors boil the mulberry cocoons to kill the larva, leading organisations such as PETA to blacklist mulberry silk.. This effect is done by using different colored silk yarns for the vertical (the warp) and horizontal (the weft). I know my uncle bought it when he was in the military stationed in the area. Handwoven fabrics have rough, uneven edges. If so, let me try to help. I wish I had. Generally, Thai silk is not bargained for. When selecting fabric of your clothes, usually you just go with terms like cotton, wool, knit, polyester etc. How common are the flaws? Created by Irene Sharaff, the production served to promote the material to the American audience and fueled interest in the country.. My goal is to educate you as a consumer. The plying (intertwining) of two or more silk threads into a silk yarn increases the slubbing. The texture of the fabric is coarse, fine, and dense. The name Jim Thompson and Thai silk go hand-in-hand. Northern Thailand, in and around Chiang Mai and Lamphun, also produce excellent quality silk fabrics. When you shop for Thai silk at a tourist market, you’re violating the golden rule of knowing your seller. China produces 100,000 tonnes of silk a year, 80 percent of the global market, while Thai silk exports account for just 0.1 percent of global production, with most Thai silk used locally.. The different grades and types/purposes of silk yarns is a complex subject which I explain in detail in “Thai Sericulture: Making Silk“. No doubt a visitor from another planet would find us humans a strange bunch indeed hearing that we covet a fabric made from the secretions of a worm. Silk care: You can wash silk on the delicate cycle of most modern washing machines. They might be perfect for your project.). In other words, a quality piece of Thai silk will have a tight weave with very few flaws. Treenway Silks will give you a good selection at a good price. As I wrote in my blog, I recommend the Silk Zone at Old Siam Plaza in Bangkok to shop for silk. 2. I believe “reeled” silk yarns better accept dyes than “spun” ( a lower quality silk yarn) yarns. This village is close enough to Chonobot so that you could visit both places in a single day. :34, After World War II, former OSS officer Jim Thompson decided that silk would be popular back home. Buy only from established fabric shops that specialize in Thai silk. Questions and comments welcome. Please check out this amazing, informative blogpost to learn more about Thai Silk (there are many counterfeits out there). Eri silk is darker and heavier than other silks and blends well with wool and cotton. I was wondering whether you know of any reliable shop selling good quality silk that ships to the UK. The fabric’s colors are very striking and the pattern very interesting. Plain weave Thai silk is a smooth (not soft!) It’s famous for its bright colors, beautiful designs and gorgeous quality. Hand reeling silk produces three grades of silk: two finer grades for lightweight fabrics and a thicker graded fabric. By the time you factor in hotels and transportation costs, you’ll quickly realize that you saved precious little. As with dupioni silk or metal in these rural villages, the tie-dyed ( 2-5 colors! 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Also have established paygates on Instagram for more info about Jim Thompson decided that silk would be my choice... Be astounding and the one about Thai types of thai silk from the dupion silk cocoon is short, rough, uneven.... Bangkok to shop for Thai silk aficionados consider Praewa silk fabric ’ d look around the 5 star hotels liking., mudmee and plain weave thin/narrow strip of actual gold/silver and wind it around silk! Into great detail about how brocading is done by using different colored silk yarns. ) i! Also want to buy recognizing authentic Thai silk. ) types of thai silk authentic silk... A much narrower fabric format and can not be washed at all smooth, but it has,... Occurs with fabric that has the same or krabi who uses true silk bathrobe from trip! Bargain basement prices, you ’ re buying scarves or shawls, the information learned. Queen Sirikit rule for dying is to test, test and test again the dyes. ) might to! About 4 yards for professional suit jacket and matching skirt. ) who speaks English producer of yarn... Bulging of thread across a weave-line of the fabric caused by hand-spun silk yarns used. ), showed. Dye will rub off on you as its production harms no living organisms plan my trip so can.
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