The Making of Silk

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Silk is the most precious finery of the orient. Of all the natural fibers, silk has the greatest affinity for color, yielding shimmering, brilliantly-hued fabrics.

In Vietnam, there are three main areas being well-known for silk production: Vạn Phúc Silk Village in Ha Dong, Cổ Chât Village in Thuong Tin, and Bao Loc Village in Lam Dong. Silk production may be just a family affair, a co-operative, or even a larger business like silk factory in Bao Loc, of which family production is most prevalent.

The production of silk is rather sophisticated. It can be briefly described as follows:

 

Sericulture: silkworms are fed with mulberry leaves. A fully grown one are about as long and as thick as a human finger, which grows faster at the properly adjusted temperature.

 

Hatching the Eggs: For about six weeks the silkworm eats almost continually. After growing to its maximum size of about 3 inches at around 6 weeks, it stops eating, changes color, and gets ready to spin a silk cocoon.

 

Spinning the Cocoon: the cocoons are heated for killing the silkworms inside and then soaked in hot water to soften silk filament which is then wound onto reels.

 

Reeling the Filament: Single silk filaments are glued together by the melted sericin. The reeled yarn made this way is called raw silk. The more sericin deposited on the filament, the lower the grade of the raw silk. Dyes are then applied to the raw silk after the sericin is removed by boiling.

 

Weaving in Handlooms: Weaving is done on the fly shuttle pit looms. Once the shuttle is passed, the suspended rope from jacquard is pulled to form the weave.

 

The future of silk production in Vietnam looks promising, with new innovations and technologies on the horizon. Silk production is expected to move away from traditional methods in many areas in favor of high-tech and high-production technologies.

Silk products from Vietnam find consumers in the domestic market and are also heavily exported to foreign countries in which the United States is the biggest market for Vietnamese silk as well as textiles in general, with approximately 20% of Vietnam’s exports going to the US annually (data source: USDA)

 

 

 

 

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