What is Silk Gauze?

C. Ausbrooks

Silk gauze is a sheer, thin fabric made of fine but very strong silk threads. The stability of the fabric is increased by the interlocking weave, also known as a leno structure. This weave, or structure, prevents the threads from shifting, which decreases the risk of tearing, pulling, and fraying of the canvas.

Silk comes from the cocoon of the silkworm.
Silk comes from the cocoon of the silkworm.

Unlike cotton gauze, silk gauze is not used for bandages. Instead, it’s lightweight and sheer qualities make it ideal for use as a facing or lining. It is commonly used in evening wear, dresses, veils, scarves, costumes, or layered over other fabrics. Silk fabric has also become popular in needlepoint because it is easy to handle and does not show needle holes.

Silk fabric has become popular in needlepoint.
Silk fabric has become popular in needlepoint.

Often confused with silk organza, this gauze is actually much more loosely woven. Organza can generally be used in most applications where gauze is appropriate, although it is heavier and stiffer with a closer weave structure. Both fabrics are sheer and delicate, and can be difficult to discern to the untrained eye.

Silk gauze is available in several weights and widths. It is also found in many different holes per inch (HPI), which is similar to the thread count of cotton fabric. The higher the HPI number, the smaller the number of holes in the canvas. It can be purchased by the yard, by the bolt, or in pieces of varying sizes, depending on its intended use.

Needlework kits including a pattern, pre-cut silk gauze and a needle are available for beginners of the craft. Miniaturists and dollhouse enthusiasts often use silk gauze to create realistic-looking accessories that are made to scale. It makes an attractive medium for small, delicate work such as this.

Fabric dyes and paints are easily applied to silk gauze. It has excellent color retention and will not fade quickly. The sheer fabric is machine washable and even after dozens of washes the color will remain bright and fresh.

Silk gauze is often used to make evening dresses.
Silk gauze is often used to make evening dresses.

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Discussion Comments

Lostnfound

@Grivusangel -- I don't think I've even seen it. I've seen references to it in books, but I don't think I've ever seen anything made from it. I'm betting you'd have to special order silk gauze, and there's no telling how much it costs. Silk organza is pricey enough!

Grivusangel

I've seen silk gauze, but never as a basis for needlepoint. The needlepoint fabrics I've seen are usually much sturdier.

Silk gauze over satin used to be popular for evening gowns, but I don't know if it still is. It's not a common fabric, and I don't know any fabric stores in my area that carry it. I could find silk organza or silk taffeta, but silk gauze is not easy to find.

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