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china silk and charmeuse
what's the difference?
Trinity.
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Trinity.
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Date: 4/6/06 11:59 AM

I've been looking on the FM website and they are carrying both of these types of silk for the same price. So what is the difference between charmeuse and china silk?

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Trinity

http://thimblesthreadsandneedles.blogspot.com/

Susan R

Susan R  Friend of PR
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In reply to Trinity.


Date: 4/6/06 12:11 PM

china silk (sometimes called habatai [spelling?] silk) is often used as a lining; it's fairly thin. Charmeuse is a thick silk; it's beautiful, but can be hard to work with--slippery.

PhyllisC
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PhyllisC
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In reply to Trinity.


Date: 4/6/06 12:16 PM

Silk charmeuse is a slippery fabric with a satin weave finish on one side, and a crepe finish on the other (you can use both sides). China silk is crisper with a fine even weave the same on both sides.

Silk charmeuse is a fashion fabric; it drapes beautifully and is a fabric of choice for bias cut evening gowns. It's makes lovely blouses too.

China Silk can be used for lining, interlining and also as a fashion fabric for things like lingerie.

Both wrinkle, china silk more than silk charmeuse.

China silk is not too difficult to sew, silk charmeuse is definitely a challenging fabric to cut and sew.

Both are wonderful!

Phyllis

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Sewing = Fashion
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Trinity.
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Trinity.
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Date: 4/6/06 2:40 PM

Thanks, ladies. Either one sounds positively lovely.

Now how will I choose which to buy....hmmm...maybe some of each.

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Trinity

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PattyU
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PattyU
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Date: 4/6/06 2:52 PM

Dharma trading sells swatches of each for .25 each, no shipping. They come really quick, so maybe you could order just to see for yourself. I recently ordered several different swatches form them, so i could be sure of different fabric descriptions. They have challis, jersey, chiffon etc. What are you planning to make? Like others have said, china silk is mostly for lining and lingerie. Charmeuse is for clothing items that are silky. If you want to make a skirt or blouse, I reccomend the charmeuse.

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Patty

Debbie Cook
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Date: 4/6/06 2:54 PM

Great explanation Phyllis!

It would be great if we could compile such useful info into a pinnable "Fabric Definition" thread but I know Deepika doesn't need yet another item on her list.

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"I base my fashion sense on what doesn't itch." Gilda Radner
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tlmck3
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Date: 4/6/06 2:56 PM

I'm suprised that they are the same price. That would make me definitely hesitate to order the Charmeuse from them.

China silk is usually cosidered to be too fragile to be used as a fashion fabric and is almost always used as a lining fabric for suits, lightweight coats, etc. It is made from shorter, finer fibers and is usually much less expensive than other silk weaves. It usually has a rather matte finish, that lacks the depth of color you find in other silk weaves - it comes in a lot of standard shades suitable for linings - is very lightweight and is not especially attractive (in my opinion.)

Charmeuse is what most of us would think of as a lightweight, drapy "satin." It FEELS and looks luxurious (or should- if it's any kind of quality at all.) Satin or charmeuse are "weaves" rather than specific fibers. (You will sometimes see something called polyester "charmeuse" as well) Charmeuse is very shiny on the "satin" side and like crepe on the reverse side. It takes dies beautifully and is often very "brilliant" in its colors - even beige or grey silk charmeuse has a certain glow. (Think of the bias cut evening gowns of movies in the 1930s, ie: Jean Harlow's most famous, slinky pictures... THAT's charmeuse.)

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I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting that last little piece perfect...Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just keep showing up and doing the work.

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bunz
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bunz
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Date: 4/6/06 7:12 PM

I agree w timck3 -- charmeuse of quality would be more expensive than china silk. Another point that can be confusing is the mm or mommes which is the weight/thread count. Some of the sites don't give the mm - Denver Fabric does.

But there's nothing wrong w buying an inexpensive charmeuse for a trendy blouse or something you don't expect to pass on to your daughters!

Nina

Liana
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Liana
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Date: 4/6/06 11:20 PM

In my experience, china silk doesn't drape, it has a hand about like a similar weight (very light) broadcloth. Charmeuse, on the other hand, is very drapey, and should fall in an almost liquid-looking way, especially on the bias.

I wouldn't recommend china silk for anything, personally. I think it can look very chintzy, it doesn't wear well, it can be very staticky, and I would never think of it as a possible substitute for charmeuse. JMHO!

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Liana
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Cathy Loves Fabric
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In reply to Liana


Date: 4/7/06 0:14 AM

Your humble opinion is greatly appreciated.

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My hope is to sew to the very end. They'll find my head slumped over my precious Kenmore 19606 and have to pry the seam ripper from my cold, dead hands.

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