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SILK 101: ALL ABOUT QUALITY

We talk a lot about silk around here. About the quality of the silk we use, about how you can wash ours at home, about how it’s the best thing you could ever want to sleep in. You get the idea. Since we spend so much time talking about silk we thought maybe we should take a step back and talk about some basics: we present to you Silk 101.

Lets start with the most basic part: silk is a natural protein fiber that can be woven into textiles. As with any natural material there are many different types and qualities of silk. We won’t go into the technical details of how modern day silk is produced and woven into fabric. Instead we will chat a bit about silk quality, since that’s really what you should be thinking about.

While the quality of most fabrics is measured with thread count (think bedding), the quality of silk is generally measured using something called momme weight. This is because silk is an incredibly fine thread to begin with, regardless of quality, and so thread counts would be extremely high. This means that a low quality silk could have a similarly high thread count to a high quality silk. Momme weight measures the actual weight of the silk in a standardized way (100 yards of silk, 45 inches wide, in pounds). This leads to a simple system: the higher the momme weight, the higher the quality of the fabric. Silk generally falls into a range of 6 momme (mm) on the lower end and goes up to a maximum of 30mm.

A lot of the lower end silk pieces you see on the market today are made from habotai/china silk which is on the lower end of the quality spectrum. This fabric is in the 8-10mm range when it comes to momme weight. Since the raw silk is a lot lighter weight it not only costs less to purchase, but it also costs less to have it sewn into a final garment because it is easier for factories to work with.

At Nileta, all of the sleepwear in our Core Collection is made from 100% silk charmeuse. This is a particularly beautiful silk with a natural sheen and a momme weight of 19mm (twice the weight of a lot of popular sleepwear brands). When you get your garment home you will immediately notice the weight and quality of the fabric. It feels luxurious because it is.