What is dupioni silk and what is it used for

What is dupioni silk and what is it used for

My first exposure to dupioni silk was all thanks to the chance to attend a wedding in India. Naturally we were in for the whole experience, sari and all! Unlike my silk dresses, pants and tops, the sari I wore was not slinky, neither was it as soft.

Yet I was told it is silk, imagine my confusion.

What is dupioni silk

Dupioni (Douppioni or dupion) silk is made of uneven double silk threads from two united cocoons. The dupioni silk fabric is formed via a plain weave, giving it its signature look; a thick, heavy fabric with a highly lustrous surface and a rough slubbed surface.

This signature slubbed surface adds texture and visual interest to the garment that the dupioni silk fabric is made from.

What is dupioni silk and what is it used for
Notice the lines across the fabric, that is the slubbed surface of dupioni silk

Is dupion silk real silk

Dupioni silk, at its core is still silk that comes from the mulberry silkworm, it is the way it is woven and it’s slubbed surface that makes it special. What is silk and where does it come from? I have a separate post dedicated to this mystery [Link].

Dupioni silk vs raw silk, what is the difference

Besides being known as dupion, douppioni, dupioni; it is also known as raw silk. So, the next time you buy a raw silk clothing, ask if its dupioni silk!

Where is dupioni silk fabric from

Dupioni silk fabric has been traditionally made in China, Thailand, Japan and India. In fact, in India today there are still many traditional silk workers that produce dupioni silk by hand.

What is silk dupion used for

It is a popular fabric for sari’s, bridal dresses, christening gowns, even corsets. The lustre of dupioni silk, its crisp finish and dense fabric is perfect for high quality silk garments that require structure.

What is dupioni silk and what is it used for

Advantages of dupioni silk for garment making

There are several characteristics of dupioni silk that makes it a cherished fabric for occasion wear. Dupioni silk has a crisp, luxurious sheen to its surface and is wrinkle resistant at the same time, perfect for keeping your gown looking pristine. Despite that, it is still very breathable, which is characteristic of silk.

The fact that dupioni silk fabric dyes well and is easy to sew, makes it a favourite for many seamstresses and tailors as well.

Unique characteristic of dupioni silk

Did you know that the prized dupioni silk fabric is also famed for its two tone effect. This is done by using two different colour or different shades of thread to create the silk fabric. You will likely see this effect in beautiful sarees.

What is dupioni silk and what is it used for
see the hues of salmon pink in between the golden yellow, that’s two toned dupioni silk at work

Disadvantage of dupioni silk for garment making

Nothing is ever perfect, dupioni silk has its shortcomings too. Another character of silk that dupioni exhibits is the lack of stretchability. You will want to ensure that your garments made from dupioni silk have enough room for movement, else it may just rip at its seams.

Speaking of seams, the edges of dupioni fabric is more prone to fraying and unraveling as dupioni’s texture is naturally irregular. Loose threads or frayed seams should be quickly dealt with to prevent it from worsening.

Is dupion silk good

Dupion or dupioni silk is good for garments that require some structure, such as saris, gowns and suits. The crisp finish of the fabric is what gives dupioni silk its structure. But it is also its crisp finish that makes it unsuitable for a flowy drapey look.

So, good or not, it really depends on what sort of look you want. In short, perfect for structured ball gowns, not the best for slinky sleepwear.

Is dupioni silk durable

Dupioni silk fabric is a popular choice for clothing that requires tautness, lustre and durable. This is what makes it a choice fabric for corset making and wedding dresses. If dupion silk can be used for corsetry, its durability is unquestionable!

What is dupioni silk and what is it used for

Is dupioni silk expensive

Silk has never been cheap, the question should be – is dupioni silk worth paying for.

If you are keen to purchase dupioni silk try here, I really like how there is genuine positive feedback about the fabric sold.

Can I wash dupioni silk

Washing does not damage or destroy dupioni silk. However, washed dupioni has a less shine and lustre to it, the texture is less stiff as well. I am not saying wash or do not wash your silk dupioni garments, but to decide on what you want your silk to look like.

So, if you want your gowns looking pristine like the day you bought it, stick to dry cleaning. If it’s a saree that you will be wearing every now and then, and you do not mind it looking less stiff, then wash them!

If you decide to wash your dupioni silk, you can wash it like any silk garment. Here’s how you can do it [Link].

What is polyester dupioni fabric

Polyester as we have established previously [Link] is fabric made out of synthetic fibres. Polyester dupioni fabric is simply a fabric made out of polyester that mimics dupioni silk. If done well, you would likely not be able to tell the difference by looking at it.

But, looks are not everything. Even if it drapes and looks exactly like the real dupion silk fabric, it is difficult to fully imitate silk’s breathability.

In fact, some silks like shantung silk is often mistaken for dupioni silk.

What is the difference between dupioni and shantung silk

They are both popular and elegant silk fabrics that are used to make luxurious formal clothing such as gowns, wedding attires and dresses but can you tell them apart? Dupioni with it’s Italian origin and Shantung with it’s chinese – but fabrics do not come with passports!

How to tell them apart? Here’s the trick, dupioni is generally thicker, with more prominent slubs compared to shantung silk. Give it a try if you ever do get to touch both fabrics, side by side.

Remember, the main difference between dupioni and shantung is dupioni as natural slubs and shantung does not.

Should I buy garments made from duppioni silk

Personally, I love how it looks in pictures and on others but not on myself. I like my silks to be a muted colour, drapey, flowy, slightly loose and unstructured. Duppioni silk is none of those things!

What about occasion wear you say, even for gowns and dresses, I like them flowy. Think of bias cut silk, nothing too form fitting yet it clings to the right places and drapes in others.

But that is me, if you like how duppioni looks then give it a try! You won’t know until you try at least one garment made out of duppioni.