How is silk quality measured crossword

How is silk quality measured


Sounds like a crossword clue, doesn’t it?

What’s the measurement of the quality for silk? 6 letters across, many M’s, rhymes with Mommy.


In all my haste to write about silk previously, I forgot to address Momme!

What is Momme

The quality of silk fabric is measured in ‘momme’ (mm). Momme is a Japanese form of weight measurement. In silk measurement, momme is the weight (in pounds) of silk sized 45 inches by 100 yards.

Wait, why not use thread count?

What is Thread count

Thread count or threads per inch (TPI) is very literally the count, the number of threads woven together in one square inch of fabric. Or one square centimetre. It is calculated by counting the number of horizontal threads and vertical threads, which makes up the weave of the fabric.

How is silk quality measured thread count

Momme count VS Thread count

We often think of thread count in association with fabric.

Silk however is an ultra-fine thread, to create a fabric, its thread count will be extremely high, regardless of its silk quality. In fact, a low quality silk may have a similarly high thread count as a high quality silk.

Hence, Momme weight to quantify silk quality instead.

Significance of a higher momme count

A higher momme count generically translates to a tighter weave of silk, with more silk threads used per square inch. The end product is a dense and higher quality silk fabric.

Hence, the higher the momme weight, the heavier the fabric with a more durable and opaquer weave.

However, we do not want all our fabrics to be heavy or opaque, do we? Imagine if your silk scarves were as thick and heavy as silk bedsheets. I can’t imagine that it’ll be comfortable.

In general, different weaves of silk have different purposes; with a range of momme weight.

Typical momme weight range for common silk weaves:

Gauze—3 to 5 mm
Organza—4 to 6 mm
Habotai—12 to 16 mm
Chiffon—6 to 8 mm (can be made in double thickness, i.e. 12 to 16 mm)
Crepe de Chine—12 to 16 mm
Charmeuse—12 to 30 mm (typically used in a silk pillowcase or sheets)

Raw silk—35 to 40 mm (very heavy silk with texture)

This momme weight range also provides the delicate balance of the fabric having the best balance of strength, aesthetics and affordability.

A guideline to categorising silk by momme:

Anything under 20 momme = lightweight silk.

20 momme to 28 momme = midweight silk

Anything above 28 momme = heavy silk

How is silk quality measured thick silk
heavyweight silk
How is silk quality measured soft silk
midweight silk
How is silk quality measured sheer silk
lightweight silk

Is momme weight or momme count the only way to determine silk quality

To my understanding, it is the best and only way to determine silk quality accurately.

Feel free to let me know if there’s another way of doing it!

How do we know what momme count should our silk pieces be?

Retailers will always have ‘guidelines’ or advertisements something along the lines of:

“high quality silk camisole / bedsheet / whatever item XX momme count! “

I used to be drawn in to those adverts, with the impression that a higher momme count equals to better silk quality. I’ve bought pieces with a high momme count but sometimes not loving them as much as the pieces with a lower momme count.

For various reasons.

Sometimes it’s the style of the garment, sometimes, how it looks or drapes on the body. How do I decide what momme count is good for myself then?

Now, I throw all that out the window. And just feel the fabric, look and see how it drapes on my body.

Don’t shoot me! I know I just went on and on about momme count.

And how momme count is essential to judge silk quality.

And how there are guidelines to how thick a good quality fabric is supposed to be.

I get all that.

But hey, if you like specific silks on the thinner or thicker end, there’s nothing wrong with that. The end goal, is to have a silk piece that you’ll love, isn’t it? Of course, keep in mind that the rich lustre of silk is best achieved with heavier momme silk