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Silk: From Curtains to Ball Gowns

Updated on November 28, 2017

Oh, heavenly silk! This natural fiber has been used for eons to create elegant home furnishings and clothing items. Even with the advent of synthetic fabrics, the popularity of silk has never waned. Apparently there will always be something endearing about this magical fabric.

This beautiful "gown" is made from  iridescent green taffeta fabric draped around a mannequin.
This beautiful "gown" is made from iridescent green taffeta fabric draped around a mannequin. | Source

The Beginnings of Silk

According to ancient Chinese legend, Empress Hsi Ling Shi discovered silk quite by accident. Taking tea under a mulberry tree, she was startled when a cocoon suddenly fell into her cup and unraveled its shimmering threads. Her husband, Emperor Huang Ti was so impressed, he ordered his people to cultivate the silkworms and spin the newly found fiber into luxurious textiles.

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For the Love of Silk

Taffeta and dupioni conjure up images of old world opulence. Silk curtains with their dressmaker details and plush interlined "petticoats" remind one of elegant ball gowns. Even if you're not one for formal attire, you might be able to envision yourself in a silk dress adorned with fanciful ruching and sparkling beadwork.

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Eliminating Wrinkles

As dreamy as silks are, they inevitably wrinkle. So how do you go about smoothing out the creases? You can look the other way if your silk curtains have a few wrinkles. But a ball gown reduced to a mass of wrinkles is never in style. High heat damages silk fibers, so using a hot iron is totally out of the question. Instead, try removing the wrinkles with steam by either hanging the fabric in the bathroom after a shower or using a professional quality steamer.

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You can also try using the steam setting on your iron. Steam the silk by holding the iron at least 6-8 inches from the fabric. When using the steam method be careful not to let moisture condense on the fabric. Water will cause stubborn spotting which is almost as difficult to remove as a stain. To be on the safe side, take your silk creations to the dry cleaners. It may not be the cheapest route but it's the best way to preserve your investment.

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Say No to Sun

Silks and ultraviolet light do not mix. While your silk ball gown is safely stored in the closet, your curtains are another matter. UV rays can ruin silk in just a few short years. Once the fibers become brittle and the color fades, they're beyond repair. Make sure your curtains are lined and interlined to provide a barrier from the elements. It's also a good idea to hang silk curtains in rooms without direct sun.

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Cleaning Tips

As delicate as silks appear, believe it or not it is a very durable textile. You just need to know how to clean and maintain the fabric. Never try hand washing or treating stains at home. Leave that to the professionals. Find a dry cleaner that specializes in fine fabrics to take care of your precious silk items.

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Storage Suggestions

Giving your silk a well-needed rest once in a while is a good idea. Store silk in a cotton storage bag or another material that will allow the silk to breathe. Dry cleaning bags or PVC storage bags are sure death for any type of silk fabric. Plastic will trap ambient moisture resulting in mildew or discoloration. Don't forget moths love to munch on silk, so throw in cedar chips, blocks or balls to repel hungry larvae.

Which Curtain and Gown combo from this Hub is your favorite?

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© 2011 lindacee

Have Any Other Good Silk Care Tips to Share?

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    • profile image

      ANGEL 5 years ago

      NICE LOVE IT

    • lindacee profile image
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      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you so much Molly! Yes, silk is a magical fabric! Thanks for your comment. Best, Linda

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      These are just lovely, Lindacee. It's clever to combine the drapes and the dress ideas. Nothing says Cinderella quite like silk! Beautiful!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      You are very welcome, linda. Good evening to you and now, good morning to you. God bless.

    • lindacee profile image
      Author

      lindacee 6 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you for your kind words. Good evening.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      12/6/ night time.

      Hello, My friend, lindacee...YOU are most-welcome, but it was "I" who should be thankful, and I am, to have such a creative writer/friend as you. And you take care and have The Best Christmas EVER!

    • lindacee profile image
      Author

      lindacee 6 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for reading this Hub Kenneth! It was fun to research and write. Take care of yourself and best wishes for a wonderful Christmas season!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      12/6/2011...Excellent work, lindacee! Amazing presention and perfect grahics. Voted up and all the way on this informative, helpful and interesting work. I appreciate your talent and for following me. Forgive me for being so late in coming to your site to read your hubs. I have been trying to get out all the hubs I can before my health gets any worse. Have a Merry Christmas you and yours. Kenneth

    • lindacee profile image
      Author

      lindacee 6 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you, Christine. The fabrics speak for themselves!

    • ChristineVianello profile image

      ChristineVianello 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Wow, I am completely impressed.

    • lindacee profile image
      Author

      lindacee 6 years ago from Arizona

      Why thank you, sagebrush_mama! Happy to be following you!

    • sagebrush_mama profile image

      sagebrush_mama 6 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

      Oh, how pretty!

    • lindacee profile image
      Author

      lindacee 6 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you Chandra! What a beautiful sentiment!

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      CHANDER MEHRA 6 years ago

      Yantalizing! Silk worms and mulberry trees weave magic in divinity in your words.