Sunday, September 06, 2009

The many names of Chine' silk..........

Many of you will recognize or associate a different name to the above 18th silk~ some may call it a chine', warp print, cloud or ikat .....and all would be correct.

In this method of weaving, the threads~ warp, weft, or both, are dyed BEFORE weaving, resulting in a design with soft blurred edges. In the 18th century, they were commonly referred to as 'clouds'. A 1749 Boston paper advertised " Fine cotton and Worsted clouded Wasitcoats" for sale.

This unique design concept was developed in 1740, as was called "chine' a' la branche" . By resist dying the warp threads only, delicate shaded floral motifs were achieved. Some even called them ghost designs
One can imagine the forethought and complex design process that went into weaving these beautiful fabrics. Sometimes the threads were dyed several times to achieve the desired design~ each time a resist paste or wax was used to cover the part of the thread that was not to be dyed. If you click on and enlarge this picture, you can see the background fabric is a single solid color. These are the weft threads, or while weaving, the threads contained in the shuttle that was passed thru the vertical threads on the loom(warp).

Being that the threads were dyed before weaving, the pattern is nearly identical on both the front and back of the cloth. This silk dates from the 1780s, and is strikingly similar to color and pattern of a chine' woven by J&& Jourdain in 1784.

This is an earlier chine' silk with much bolder pattern. These goods were used both for clothing and furnishings.

The term 'Ikat' is Turkish, and actually means 'cloud'. You can still today purchase beautiful hand woven cotton, wool & silk Ikats from Turkey. I can imagine weaving them would become addictive, as you never really know what the fabric will look like until it comes off the loom. This effect is also widely copied in printed textiles, where the design is printed on one side of the fabric only, after it has already been woven. These are easily sleuthed out by simply flipping the fabric over and checking for the design on the reverse.


Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

Hey there - we were in a discussion in the Izannah Walker Dolls group about old style hooks and eyes looking different than the modern ones we can buy now. Do you have any pictures to share? Pretty please?


Rachael Kinnison said...

HI Dixie!
Ohhhh YES I do! I will post some later today when I get back~ I on my way this am to get the children their flu shots.
xoxoxo rachael