Silk has been in the sewing industry and clothing world from the beginning of time. As the fabric gives a royal look while being luxurious, silk is one of the most popular and desired fabrics around the world. The fabric is widely known as the queen of textiles and is mostly used by royal families and queens around the world. Silk has a lot of characteristics and good things that a person desires ranging from durability, flexibility, longevity, and attractiveness.
The question that usually goes unanswered is, does silk fabric stretch? Does 100% silk fabric stretch? What type of silk fabric is most stretchy? Well, the answers to these questions are not that straightforward because there are plenty of different types of silk fabric, and each one has different characteristics and properties. Continue reading this article as it will tell you if silk fabric is stretchy in different conditions. There will also be a step-by-step procedure to stretch your silk fabric for your specific purposes.
People have mixed opinions on this topic as some say that silk does stretch while others say that they haven’t experienced this factor in the fabric at all.
Well, both parties have the right opinions as silk does stretch but not all of its type has this characteristic. Also, the tendency of how much silk can stretch differs from fabric type to type.
The main thing that contributes to this factor is how the silk fabric was woven or knit, what pattern is used, the looseness of the fibers, and the quality of the material used for manufacturing.
Experts claim that silk having stretchy characteristics can easily stretch up to 20% without facing any damage.
It depends on the type of fabric but most silk fabric can be stretched out when washed or have moisture in it. Some people try to use this method to have an extra stretch in their silk fabric by soaking it in the water.
This method may work for some types of silk but it can ruin or damage your silk to the deep as well. Some silk fabrics also stretch when washed or wet and as soon as you dry them, the fabric will get back to its original size.
Silk fabric doesn’t usually stretch when worn as they are woven in a way to remain in its original shape for a long time. Some types may stretch a bit such as jersey silk or silk satin but if we talk in a general way, silk fabric is very less likely to stretch even a little bit when worn.
Silk doesn’t usually stretch in the dryer but it can shrink a lot if exposed to heat. Silk has natural fibers and these can easily be affected by extreme heat especially if you let it dry to the last extent in the dryer.
To protect your silk fabric from any kind of damage in the dryer, it is always a good idea to take the fabric out while it still has some moisture in it and then let it air dry.
As silk fabric is made using natural fibers, it can stretch with time especially if worn, washed, dried, and repeated a lot of time. The stretch will only be a little bit and you may not even notice it for a long time.
However, if your dress was a perfect fit for your body, you may feel that the fabric has started to snug over time but it will take a huge time for the silk fabric to reach that point.
Most of the silk fabric whether it is for commercial use or any other purposes is solely made using the cocoon taken from the silkworms.
Major silkworms include the different species of caterpillars that belong to the genus, Bombyx. The cocoon is extracted with advanced methods and procedures and then it is boiled at a specific temperature for a certain time.
After that, the boiled cocoon is then transferred into a single long fiber which can go a length of hundreds of meters. Quality can vary depending upon how the fibers were used (woven, knitted, twisted) to make fabric.
If you have two fabrics having 100% silk, both will have different characteristics because this factor only depends on the knit, weaves, pattern, and quality of the fibers. A fabric stretch mainly depends on how the fibers are woven whether they are woven loosely or tightly.
Shantung is a type of plain silk weave which includes 100% silk fibers but it doesn’t stretch at all because the fibers are woven in a way that they are too delicate and prone to breakage if stretched.
On the other hand, jersey silk is not 100% silk fabric and has probably the most elasticity and stretch in its texture. In a nutshell, 100% silk can be stretchy in some forms and it may not be in others.
The major reason for silk fabric having stretch is its manufacturing which is done using natural fibers. Almost all natural fibers tend to stretch to a certain extent as they are extracted from varying plants.
The silk fabric is also woven in a way that it has some space between the fibers that enhance its stretching abilities.
While keeping this factor in mind, it is clear that not all silk fabrics stretch as some are woven too tightly. Some types may stretch even more than 20% of their original size while others may not give a single extra centimeter.
- Silk satin
- Crepe silk
- Habotai Silk
- Silk organza
- Dupioni Silk
- Silk Taffeta
- Silk Jersey
- Silk Cotton
- Mulberry silk
- Eri silk
- Tasar silk
- Muga silk
Although this factor may vary from fabric to fabric, silk satin and jersey silk are considered the most stretchy among all other silk fabric types.
Both fabrics are woven in a way that they can transform according to the size of a person’s body while they are flexible to match the body curves as well.
Although these types of silk are most stretchy, you may also find silk satin and jersey silk fabric that doesn’t stretch at all.
Many people try to stretch out silk fabric using a comprehensive solution made from baby shampoo and water. Although the fabric tends to stretch 20% of its original size, it is not the case all the time. Still, if you want to give this method a try, follow the step-by-step procedure given below:
- Fill a bucket, container, or tub with water as required.
- Pour 1-2 tablespoons of baby shampoo into that water. You may instead add hair conditioner as well.
- Stir forcefully until the whole container is filled with soapy bubbles.
- Put your silk fabric in that water and let it soak for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- You may pull fabric from different places to stretch it out while it is soaked in the water.
- Take the fabric out after 60 minutes have passed.
- Hang it on a hanger in a way that the fabric is wet and is not touching the ground.
- Once the water is gone and the fabric only has mild moisture, remove it from the hanger and press it from center to outwards using an iron.
Another way is to simply wear the silk fabric while it is still wet. This will cause the fabric to remain stretched for a bit longer and those extra centimeters may stay in the fabric for some time.
This is the reason why some people put silk fabric dresses on a mannequin and then pour a good amount of water on it. Although this technique is practiced all over the world, it doesn’t bring desired results all the time.
It depends because you can stretch silk thread as much as you can while it is being transformed into a single string but once it has become an end-use thread, the stretching could be difficult. The threads can stretch about 20% but it can not happen all the time. People recommend making the thread wet and then hanging it as the only way to stretch out silk thread to its maximum extent.
Yes, silk fabric can easily be shrunk especially when you wash and dry it while not taking proper care. As you know that silk fabric is made using natural fibers, such fibers can be shrunk if exposed to an extreme level of heat.
Yes, silk is a breathable fabric which means that it is a good fabric to wear on summer days. You can get an idea about the breathability of this fabric by the fact that it was widely used to make face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.