Thailand is famous for many things but when it comes to fabric, it is most well known for its silk. Thai silk is often used in making national costumes worn by entertainers, the country’s high society and royalty. They’re also handwoven and feature unique patterns and colors.
Khorat situated in the northeastern part of the country is the center of the Thai silk industry. It is the main supplier of this special fabric for long years now.
The process of creating silk or what is called sericulture makes use silkworms that come from the Bombyx mori moth. While this type of moth is blind and cannot fly, it does a very important job of laying eggs for the next generation of silkworms. The Bombyx mori moth is capable of producing silk thread in different colors normally light gold and very light green.
Did you know that one thread of silk obtained from cocoons can have a length of 500 up to 600 yards? These threads are then boiled to remove the sticky and glue-like material. They are also combined to create a thicker fiber and are then yarn dyed.
The next step is to soak them in hot water and bleached using hydrogen peroxide. The goal is to remove the natural yellow coloring of the silk yarn before they are woven by hand.
The weaving process can be complex and often takes two to three days to reel about one kilogram of silk. Each day, the women weavers using their traditional loom can produce about two years of Thai silk fabric. This level of production can be achieved by the more experienced and skilled weavers.
Pure Thai silk is now priced between US$15 and US$70 per yard. The imitation kind is much cheaper at only between US$5 and US$10. It can be bought from the major department stores or at the weekend markets.
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