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Silk Scarves – When They Say ‘Handmade’, Is That What They Really Mean?

Updated on August 25, 2015

It is no surprise that articles marked as “hand-made” sell at a substantially higher price than factory-produced goods. Lacking the large-scale reductions possible through mass-production, and requiring extra time to permit creativity and expertise to work, hand-made items simply must cost more. Yet, it is also possible for certain goods that see only a fragment of involvement from the artist to sell for an inflated price. One example of this relates to some of the designer silk scarves found in many department stores. A perfect example of this in action is the retailing of designer silk scarves available in many department stores.

The stitching of designer scarves is usually done by hand. The label should indicate this. This means the stitch work around the outer edges was done by an accomplished seamstress or other capable employee. This requires only a few minutes. If the label does not say otherwise, the scarf is the result of typical industrial production methods – the pattern the result of printing or stamping.

This type of silk scarf is in direct contrast to handmade and dyed counterparts. The product is the entire work of a singular and expert craftsperson. He or she takes a 100% silk fabric piece and turns it into a work of wearable art. The process involves the initial creation of an individualistic design. Two options exist. The designer can sketch the visualized pattern onto the material. Alternatively, he or she will utilize a full-sized template of the specific pattern, sketching it, through tracing, onto the silk fabric. Prior to this process, the silk is stretched tight across a wooden frame. Several specialized tacks will secure the material there, keeping it tight. Next, the designer will block out the borders of the pattern using cold or dye-proof barriers. This prevents bleeding of the colors and protects the set pattern.

When it comes to creating the actual pattern, the artist uses brushwork to fill in the design – building it up within its borders. This is painstaking handwork. The dye flows within the marked borders, seeping into the silk, often directed by the artist to assure maximum affect. After completion, the artist fills in the backdrop. He or she then waits for it to dry completely. Next, the steaming process removes the wax and fastens the colors in. Washing will remove any excess colorant.

Obviously, the method utilized in creating handmade and hand painted silk scarves and shawls is significantly different from any mass-production process - and even those used to create designer products. Yet, in spite of all the concern and consideration integral to the creation of handmade silk items, the price may be equal to or even less than that for a designer one.

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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Beautiful, tasteful and timeless are these scaves.