Bedding Material 101 - Silk
f you want to splurge on something extra-luxurious, silk bedding can be a great choice. The natural material is smooth, soft, durable and breathable, inarguably the Queen of fabrics. Silk fabric is woven from silk fibre, produced by silkworms when spinning themselves into cocoons. The fibre tends to be elastic, long, delicate yet durable.
Silk sheets have cool and sensuous texture with an unbeatably lavish feel. The smooth surface helps prevent bed head and tangled hair in the morning, making it a popular choice for skin and hair care at night.
On the flip side, high-quality and authentic silk sheets come with a hefty price tag. The material is also extremely delicate, which means that meticulous care and maintenance are needed to preserve the luxurious texture and sheen.
Types of silk
Depending on the breed of silkworms that spin the cocoons, silk comes in a few varieties - each with its own properties. Generally speaking, longer, finer and smoother silk thread is considered superior.
1. Mulberry Silk
Mulberry silk is sourced from a domesticated silkworm - Bombyx mori, fed on a very special and strict diet of mulberry leaves. This type of silk is commonly considered as superior to wild silk because of its extra-long, more even and fine cocoon threads. Fabrics woven from mulberry silk tends to be smoother, more durable and with a beautiful sheen as well.
2. Wild Silk
Wild silk is produced by silkworms living autonomously or semi-autonomously in forests. This type of silk tends to be shorter in thread length, and with a rougher and thicker texture.
Most wild silks are cultivated once the moths have emerged from their cocoons, which means that the silk cocoons harvested had been cut from the middle. Silk fibre unravelled from those cocoons thus tends to be shorter in thread length, more irregular, less fine and lacking uniformity.
Unlike mulberry silkworms that feed exclusively on mulberry leaves, wild silkworms have a more varied diet, including leaves from chestnut and oak trees. Therefore, silk produced by them has a more brownish tone than the pure white color in mulberry silk. For bedding purposes, wild silk usually needs to be bleached before converting into duvet fills or silk fabrics.
3. Duppoini Silk
Duppioni silk, or also known as double cocoon silk, is cultivated from two silkworms that spin one cocoon together. It results in a strong and lustrous double-thread fabric.
Double-cocoon mulberry silk is generally considered as the most premium grade for making silk-filled duvet. The resulting duvet is soft, fluffy, lightweight, yet very warm.
Tips on buying silk bedding
Silk is not only popular in the fashion industry, but it is also widely used at home. In recent years, the popularity of silk products, such as pillowcases, eye masks, bonnets, sleep wears, duvet covers, sheet sets and silk-filled duvets, has been continuously on rise. Here are some tips on buying high quality silk products.
As a general rule of thumb, for silk fabrics, mulberry silk generally triumphs other types of silk. Momme, a metric that measures the weight of silk fabrics and is comparable to thread count in cotton, is another signal for quality silk fabrics. Higher momme weight is analogous to better quality. For example, 22-momme silk is more premium than 19-momme silk fabric.
For silk-filled duvet, the most premium ones are made from 100% long strand duppioni mulberry silk. The resulting duvets are lightweight, smooth and fluffy, like melted marshmallow. Duvet made from short-strand silk, such as wild silk, tends to be more dense, and less even.
Lastly, when buying silk duvet, be extra careful that the fill may not be 100% silk even labeled so. It could be a mix of polyester and silk. Some brands will replace a small section of the edges with zipper, so users can peak through and check the authenticity of the fill.