Silk is a gorgeous fabric and its beauty is difficult to beat. However knowing the pros and cons should ensure that it is used where its best features can be enjoyed for a long time.
Silk – Pros
- Strength: Silk in the strongest natural fiber in the world. It has particularly good tensile strength which means it's able to withstand great pulling pressures.
- Texture: Everyone knows how nice silk is to touch, it has a smooth, soft texture that unlike many synthetic fibers is not slippery.
- Elasticity: Silk fiber is very elastic. It can stretch up to 20% of its original length before breaking. And unless its elasticity is tested frequently it will bounce back to original size.
- Resilience: Silk fabrics are moderately wrinkle resistant which makes them great for both clothing and is an interior designer dream.
- Drapability: Silk curtains have the wow factor. They are so popular because silk has few rivals when it comes to drapability. The fiber is supple and elastic and tough enough to cope with frequent handling.
- Cleanliness: Silk fabric stays relatively clean. It's smooth surface does not capture dirt easily.
- Absorbency: Silk fiber can generally absorb about 11 percent of its weight in moisture and as a result it's easy to print and dye. Dyed silk is normally colourfast.
Cons of Silk
- Sunlight: Sunlight exposure weakens silk fabrics. This is obviously something you need to consider for blinds and curtains. Raw silk is best suited to cope with sunlight.
- Washing: Silk fabrics need to be washed with a mild detergent and ideally on a smoother cycle in the washing machine. Water spots appear easily on silk but washing the fabric should get rid of these easily.
- Resistance to Insects: Insects love silk, particularly clothes moths and carpet beetles, and if you aren't careful they could ruin your fabric.
- Mildew Resistance: Silks are not highly susceptible to mildew but if left in a room with high humidity they won't fare very well.
- Effect of Heat: At high temperatures silk begins to decompose. Not only can direct sunlight cause heat damage but also be aware of proximity to any cooking appliances.
There is a quality that silk has that is very difficult to quantify in a pro and con list. In has a certain grandeur that's hard to put a value on. If you are on the fence about using silk our recommendation (within reason of course) would be to go for it. You are unlikely to regret the decision.