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Sewing with Silk: Reeled Silk Jacquards

Video: Threads magazine

Reeled silk jacquards are some of the most elaborate of woven textiles. Learn how they are made, in this episode of Sewing with Silk with instructor Katrina Walker.

Jacquards are made on a special loom considered to be one of the first “computers” ever built. This type of loom is programmable with punch cards to create individual designs.

Japanese obis are woven on jacquard looms, and they can have detailed patterns because each thread is controlled independently. Katrina shows a vintage obi that has two different designs on the sash’s opposite sides, plus the maker’s signature woven into the wrong side.

Katrina shows another obi fragment in brocade; brocade is a type of jacquard. In this sample, the wrong side shows all the yarn floats, which appear as broad brands of color. She recommends that you always finish seam allowances and/or include a lining in garments made of brocade, to avoid raveling and wear and tear on the long float yarns. This will prevent snags and other fiber damage.

Another brocade example shows a wide variety of weave textures, including matelassé areas (raised areas with a quilted appearance), and metallic yarns. Jacquards and brocades are highly detailed and among the most luxurious of silk fabrics. They’re well suited to special-occasion garments, such as fitted dresses and gowns, as well as pantsuits, jackets, and evening coats.

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About This Video Series

In this 20-part workshop, textile expert Katrina Walker introduces us to silk fabrics. She covers the gamut from silkworm to crafting beautiful silk garments, so you never need to fear working with this luxury material. Episode topics include sericulture: how silkworms are cultivated, and how the silk filaments are harvested from cocoons. You'll learn about the many categories of woven silk fabrics, including crepes, satins, and jacquards. Katrina also offers advice for matching your fabric…

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