Silk Description And Information
Crepe De Chine

I use a variety of silk fabrics to create the many garments and items and it is important to understand the difference. The two basic silk categories are grouped into what I call the casual silks and the luxury silks. Each silk has a completely different feel, texture, and price value. Listed below are the most commonly used types of silk and their differences.

Casual Silks 

I use a few different weights of habotai silk for the silk wrap skirts, gypsy tops, hooded ruanas, and dance items such as silk veils and bellydance skirts. Habotai is one of the less expensive silks and makes a perfect choice for layered silk clothing due to its light, airy quality. Habotai is known for its distinctive rippling movement and is a popular choice for dance veils and skirts.
“Habutai”, means ‘soft and downy’ in Japanese and was first used for making kimonos. If you were to buy habotai in a fabric store it would be priced at about $3.40/yard for plain white.

Luxury Silks

I use a variety of higher end silk fabrics for the items listed as luxury silks. Listed below are the most commonly used higher end silks. If you were to buy these types of silks in a fabric store you would notice an increase in price per yard.

Crepe De Chine

Used to make the colorful crepe ruanas. This is a sturdy fabric with a matte, textured finish. On close inspection it looks like a very fine velvet material. It is sensuously soft and dyes beautifully. Crepe de chine is lightweight yet durable and resistant to wrinkles. If you were to buy crepe de chine in a fabric store it would probably cost about $14.60/yard for plain white.


My personal favorite..charmeuse is probably one of the most popular silk choices for designers as it can be used for more elegant wear, evening wear, dressy suits, and luxurious lingerie. Charmeuse silk has a shiny, glossy appearance similar to satin but is buttery soft and smooth. Charmeuse has a beautiful drape and a lustrous appearance. If you were to buy silk charmeuse in a fabric store it would probably cost about $15/yard for plain white.

Cut Velvet

This is actually a mix of silk and rayon. The fabric patterns are varied and appears as a velvet design on a see through fabric. The velvet is very plush and soft. A popular choice for ruanas and cosmetic bags. If you were to buy cut velvet in a fabric store, depending on the pattern it would cost $17-$23/yard for plain white.


There are a few types of hems for silk veils. The type of hem a veil is finished with can affect the float, or the rippling appearance, of the silk. For a dancer, it is normally our goal, when dancing with SILK, to allow for the natural movement of the fabric. Silk is known by dancers to possess a ethereal, almost spiritual movement that other fabrics do not have. Dancers will seek out silk for this purpose. Different weights can affect how the silk breathes and ripples. A 5 mm silk will allow for the greatest amount of air time, it will loft slowly like a feather. A 8 mm silk will still have a beautiful ripple, but will move more like a flag. A general guideline is that larger silk veils, such as the special A'Kai Silks large half circle wing veils, should be a 5 mm silk for lightweight, easy handling, and minimal effort to create ripples. Smaller veils such as standard size half circle veils are better at a 8 mm weight for faster handling and quicker spins. 8 mm silk is also useful for outdoor dancing.

Hems can affect the float of a silk veil and is most notable in the lighter weight silk veils.

Flat Hems: these are carefully sewn, flat hemlines. If there must be a hemline, as with the large half circle veils, a flat, then ironed hemline is preferred as it won't interfere with the natural movement of the silk.

Rolled or undisclosed "Finished Edges": Not recommended for silk veils for dance. Rolled hems have a cumbersome feel and appearance. On a very light weight silk such as a 5 mm, the rolled edges will weigh down the silk. Many student dancers may not realize this. Rolled edges may be useful for learning how to dance with silk, however if your goal is to dance with unhemmed 'magic' silk, it is recommend you start with unhemmed silk and stick with it. Train your fingers how to work with natural edges. Rolled edges are great on garments and silk clothing, but are not recommended for silk dance veils.

Naturally Unhemmed

Imagine silk without the hairspray and styling products that can weigh it down. Imagine silk as a wild flame, or a flower petal on the wind. A natural edge veil will perform with uninhibited loft and float. Experienced dancers and silk purists will dance with unhemmed veils and never look back.

If made and treated properly, the edges of the veil will not unravel over time. As a dancer myself, I'm now in my eleventh year of dancing with some of the very first silk veils I ever made. Their edges remain flawless. If your veil does have a loose thread, it is safe to snip it with a tiny pair of sharp scissors. It is not recommended that you use fray check, wax or soap to treat the edges as these methods will also inadvertently weigh down the edges.

Be sure to ask what type of hem is used on the veil when you are shopping. 

Care for your Silk

Treat silk as you would treat your hair.  No harsh detergents, no excessive drying or heat.  It is safe to use Static Guard to control static cling.  Hang your silks over a closet door or towel rack and lightly mist with static guard.

Spot washing with cool water is recommended for silk dance veils since they are dance accessories. 

Hand washing is recommended for silk clothing items to maintain the natural luster of silk's lifespan.  You may wash your silk clothing items in the washing machine with like colors but the silks will last much longer if you wash them by hand with a gentle detergent and hang dry.

An iron or steamer set on medium heat will smooth the wrinkles from your silk.  It is recommended you hang your silks on padded hangers in a garment bag when not wearing.  Silk is a royalty fabric and should be treated as such :)

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