What is Mulberry Silk?
Mulberry silk is considered the highest quality silk available. It differs from regular, raw or dupion silk (sometimes referred to as wild silk) which have a knottier texture.
The silkworm cocoon can produce a single, unbroken thread which gives Mulberry silk its luxuriously smooth and soft feel. Other silks are made from much shorter strands, hence their bumpier texture.
How is Mulberry Silk made?
The ultra-fine natural silk fibres are made from silkworms that feed exclusively on the nutrient-rich Mulberry tree leaves. At around 30 days of munching, the silkworm starts to spin its cocoon. At this stage, it produces a single smooth strand of silk fibre, which can often extend to almost a kilometre in length.
When unravelled, this single, unbroken strand is then carefully hand-woven into Mulberry silk, and becomes one of the most refined and coveted fabrics in the world.
What is the quality of silk you use?
All products from A Little Silk are made from the highest quality grade 6A and 22 momme Mulberry silk, free from harmful chemicals. Each pillowcase is manufactured to meet the OEKO-Tex Standard 100, a global independent testing and certification for textile products, and is individually quality-checked before being sent to a customer.
Where are your pillowcases made?
Mulberry silk has its origins in China, going back more than 4,000 years. Traditionally, it was seen as a fabric for aristocrats and royalty. Word spread about the qualities of this fabric, and the ancient network of trade routes for China to export was established, hence 'the silk road'.
Today, China leads the world in silk production, accounting for approximately 74% of the world's silk supply. It continues to be regarded as the premium provider of fine silk - particularly Mulberry silk - due to the Mulberry tree flourishing in this environment. This is where A Little Silk sources our hand-made pillowcases from.
Following an extensive search for a premium silk partner, A Little Silk has selected three silk manufacturers based in China to collaborate with and design our range of Mulberry silk pillowcases.
Every pillowcase, upon arrival in New Zealand, is individually quality-checked, before being lovingly packaged in New Zealand floral-scented tissue-paper and gift box and sent by courier.
What is the environmental impact of silk production?
Mulberry trees can easily grow organically, without any need for pesticides or fertilisers. These trees require less water than cotton to grow, and thrive in countries such as China, Vietnam, India and South Africa.
Consider too that silk is a very durable fabric, and can last a lifetime if properly cared for. It is a natural material, and is totally bio-degradeable, making it a sustainable choice.
What is Momme?
Momme (mm) is a measurement unit for the density and weight of silk. Higher momme means there are more strands of silk per metre of fabric, therefore the higher the momme weight, the greater the silk quality.
Momme can range anywhere from 11-momme to 25-momme. Lighter momme silk is ideal for neck scarves, whereas heavier momme is used for curtains.
22-momme is considered 'ideal' for bedding and pillowcases, offering the best in both durability and luxury.
What’s the difference between silk and satin?
‘Satin’ is a man-made polyester fabric type. Its name is derived from a combination of ‘synthetic satin’ finish. It is petroleum-based, and its slippery surface can aggravate the skin. Wearers of satin complain of sweat, static and overheating.
Mulberry silk, on the other hand, may look and feel like satin, but is 100% natural protein fibre.
Its gentle touch is much kinder to skin and hair, causing less friction and allergic reactions than satin (or even cotton). Silk is also temperature regulating, hypoallergenic and generally much healthier to have next to all types and ages of skin.
Can I wash silk?
Absolutely! Many people think you can only hand-wash silk. Wrong. You can wash Mulberry silk in a washing machine, providing you choose a wash cycle at no more than 30 degrees centigrade.
True, silk is a delicate, natural fabric. So the more you care for it, the longer it will serve you well.
Washing silk higher than 30 degrees runs the risk of permanently altering the silk's touch and appearance.
Any other care instructions for silk?
Do not tumble dry or do not use bleach. After washing, you can either line-dry (silk dries super quick) or lie the pillowcase flat on a dry surface. Use a medium-heat iron after washing, and it will come out like new.
Do not wear jewellery, such as earrings or necklaces, against silk as this may snag the fabric.
Tip: when washing your pillowcase, place it inside another regular pillow case (such as a cotton slip) and then put in the washing machine.
Is silk recommended for chemotherapy patients?
Chemotherapy and radiation can damage delicate hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. And while silk cannot stop this, its smooth and friction-free surface can help to minimize hair damage and aggravation.
When regrowth begins, the hair is very fine and may be prone to breakage.
Sleeping or simply resting on Mulberry silk provides a relaxing and gentle environment for hair to regrow. That’s why many patients opt for silk headscarves and silk pillowcases.
Is Mulberry silk slippery to sleep on?
No (interestingly, alot of people ask this). Anyone who's ever slept on silk will vouch this is definitely not the case. Unlike satin, silk causes zero head-glide. It is a very gentle, comforting fabric to lie down upon, and there's no slippage at all.