Caring For Habotai (aka China Silk)

Habotai has a soft, graceful drape that falls close to the body and may be gathered or shirred into a limp fullness.  It is moderately easy to cut and sew, but requires a gentle touch.  Choose semi-fitted, loose-fitting or very loose-fitting styles of dresses and blouses.  Often used for lining.  Drycleaning is strongly recommended. 

What to expect with Habotai:
  • fabric is reversible; both sides of the fabric look the same
  • creases easily
  • wears evenly
  • resists snags
  • tends to wrinkle

Suggested care:
  • dryclean only
  • dry iron
Sewing rating (easy to hard): easy
Suggested clothing fit: semi-fitted, loose-fitting, or very loose-fitting
Suggested styles: soft and limp gathers; elasticized shirring; loose and full; soft and flowing; draped

Silk’s Limitations:
Silk is regarded as nature's most perfect fiber, but even perfection has its limitations:
  • Soap and agitation - Silk's smooth surface does not attract dirt and is easily cleaned, but silk can be damaged by most laundry detergents - so always dry clean your silk.  Silk loses strength when wet, so do not wring or agitate.
  • Bleach - Silk is easily damaged by strong bleaches that contain sodium hypochlorite. 
  • Heat and light - Silk is sensitive to heat and begins to decompose at 330 degrees fahrenheit.  Use a warm (not hot) iron.
  • Mildew and moths - Silk will not mildew except in extreme conditions.  Moths don't care for it, but carpet beetles do.
  • Perspiration - Perspiration causes silk to deteriorate and affects the color, causing staining.  Any silk worn next to the skin should be cleaned frequently.