Silk is a textile fiber of animal origin that is obtained from the
cocoons of the Bombyx Mori (silk worm). The silk worm is
born as an insect that eats only mulberry leaves. Over the course
of three or four weeks it becomes an adult and begins to prepare
a cocoon, for which it requires three or four days. Inside of the
cocoon the worm transforms itself into a chrysalis and then a butterfly.
When the butterfly leaves the cocoon it lives only long enough to
conceive and lay eggs, and then dies.
These cocoons are unraveled in one continuous string, which when
done well, can reach a length of approximately 1200 meters (nearly
4000 ft.). They are then immersed in hot water to dissolve the gummy
substance. The foam helps form a natural silk fiber which can be
made immediately into fabric or undergo treatment to be tinted.
There exist three types of silk:
- Domesticated silk which is the most uniform;
- Tussah silk obtained from worms which live in their
natural state, characterized by threads which are large and irregular
- Double or shantung silk which comes from
a natural phenomenon where two silk worms spin the same cocoon together.
Silk is the softest and most subtle of fibers, cool in the summer
and warm in the winter and characterized by a special luminosity.
The cultivation of linen is very ancient and in fact seems to have
been the first textile fiber used by man. It is extracted from the
plant linum usitatissimum that is ground after shredding.
It is a grassy plant of the Linacee family with pale blue
flowers and encapsulated fruit. The dry stalk is soaked in water
for several days to harvest the textile fiber.
Linen, after silk, is the longest fiber. It's yarn is not particularly
subtle and is irregular to the touch, however it is cool and pleasing
on the skin.
Wool is a textile fiber obtained from coat of sheep and other mammals
such as vicunas, camels, mohair goats and angora cats. The fiber
most commonly used is that of sheep.
Sheep's wool can be differentiated by various types according to
the species of animal and the part of the body from which it is
Its capacity to be spun into yarn is influenced primarily by the
length, the curl, the elasticity and the fineness. The quality instead
is influenced by the species, the breeding and the color.
Shearing is followed by the separation of the flocks of wool from
the back, sides and the neck, more fine and uniform than that which
comes from the legs which is less valuable. The flocks are beaten
to remove impurities and then washed. After drying the wads of wool
are examined, carded, spun into yarns and made into fabric. The
type of fabric depends on the yarn used and can be combed or carded.
The longest fibers are used for combed fabrics and the shorter for
The best quality wool comes from Australia (Merinos, Southdown),
Argentina and Uruguay. From Europe comes the Spanish Merinos.
Wool offers many qualities of which one is the capacity to absorb.
It has the ability to absorb humidity without feeling wet. It is
also a non-conductor and a great insulator from cold and heat; it
has a good capacity to resist wrinkling, is elastic and is difficult
to tear. It is found in shirts only for particular sports and winter