:: Chivalry Silk :: We weave by hands with heart

History of Silk

The history of silk is a very interesting one; especially the history of Thai silk. Silk is a beautiful fabric that has connotations of luxury and wealth, but actually it is made from very humble origins; it starts with silk worms, also known as moth caterpillars. The way moth caterpillars (or silk worms) make silk is the same in every country; they spin a floss, and then wind a continuous thread around their body. However what makes Thai silk different is that it is fed two different varieties of mulberry tree leaf called Mon Noi and Mon Ta Dam. Thai silk has a different texture from Western, Korean or Japanese silk. A piece of Thai silk is also different from silk found elsewhere because only the weft is made of silk thread, which has been reeled within the country. It is this silk weft that gives Thai silk its sheen and texture. Raw Thai silk has a very special and beautiful texture, and although the fabric isn’t always uniform this only adds to its luxurious appeal.

 

Throughout history, silk has commonly used as a means of clothing themselves by the Thai people. Traditional Thai dress is very simple with "a piece to wear and another piece to wrap" being the motto of the Thai wardrobe. If a more ornate form of dress was required the simple two piece style was not changed, but the fabric was and a more decadent brocade  Siam Classic Silk  was worn. This brocade fabric isn’t as common now, and tends to be reserved either for ceremonial wear or bridal wear. The wearing of Thai silk is an intrinsic part of Thai culture and is linked heavily to the history of dress in the region. The way a Thai person dressed reflected both their ancestral wisdom and local belief systems. You could tell what part of the country a person was from simply by observing the way they wore their silk robes.

 

So what else historically sets Thai silk apart from other countries varieties of the fabric? Well, Thai silk is always woven on a locally made wooden hand loom. Until twenty years ago Thai silks were still dyed using primitive vegetable dyes, but now you will find that most Thai manufacturers, including Chivalrysilk, use imported fabric dyes. Because Thai silk is made by hand and such care and attention is taken to make it, it still takes a long time to produce. The brocaded Siam classic silk, for example, can take between 30-45 days to produce a length of fabric that is 6 meters long.

Historically, the production of silk was the work of women in Thailand. Thai silk was made by women who worked at their looms in their homes; as well as making and weaving the silk they even harvested the materials to make their own silk dyes. These traditions still continue in some rural arts of Thailand and we embrace these traditional and historic silk making techniques when making their own superior quality Thai silk.