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Fiber Friday: Raw Silk Noil

Raw Silk Noil is all the rage right now and for good reason! The beautiful nubby texture, soft drape, and reasonable price point make this fabric hard to resist. 

Silk Noil

When it comes to fiber, length = stability. The traditional silk that you are probably most familiar with is made from the very long fibers of fibroin produced by moth caterpillars. These long, prismatic fibers have a shiny, smooth texture and high level of durability. Silk noil, while made from the same fiber source, utilizes the shorter fibers unused in the production of highly sought after traditional silk. This shorter fiber length produces a nubby fabric with a slight sheen and is more akin to cotton, but with greater depth and texture. Although these fibers do not have the supreme strength that silk does, they still make a durable fabric that can be used for garments that will last for years to come.

Raw Silk Noils

Since Silk Noil is made from the shorter, “less desirable” fibroin fibers, the cost definitely reflects this. It is much more affordable than traditional silk fabric while still preserving many of the wonderful qualities that silk has. Although it has the thicker feel of a cotton fabric, it definitely retains the some of the wonderful drape that silk is known for. It is also one of the more easily dyed natural fibers so it comes in a huge array of deep and rich colors. 

Traditional silk is notoriously difficult to sew with. Not so with silk noil! This slightly sticky, stable fabric is almost as easy to work with as quilting cotton. Great even for a beginning seamstress, silk noil is easy to manipulate when cutting and sewing and accepts pins without issue.

Kielo Wrap Dress

Uses: This drapey, stable fabric is great for all kinds of garments including long dresses and skirts, blouses and slacks. We also highly recommend if for oversized and drop shoulder garments as the drape creates an elegant silhouette that hugs your frame. Recommended patterns include the Kielo Wrap Dress, Inari Tee, Hadley Top, Fen Dress, Charlie Caftan, Helga Wrap Playsuit, the Helmi Trench Blouse or Tunic, among others.

Hadley Tank in Raw Silk Noil

Care: One of the huge advantages of Raw Silk Noil is its easy care instructions. Although the best way to maintain the fiber’s original look is dry cleaning, this is a totally washable silk! If you decide to wash your silk noil, you can expect a softer, even more slubby texture over time. You may also notice a slight fading over time, as can be expected with most natural fibers. We highly recommend a gentle wash and low tumble dry before using your fabric followed by gentle cycle or hand washing of your finished garment and a flat dry.

Silk Noil

If you are new to raw silk, give it a try! Although it has the intimidating "silk" title, it really is a fantastic fabric for all levels.

Comments on this post (9)

  • Jun 15, 2022

    I’m making a rather drapey silk noil dress that requires a lining fabric for the bodice. What kind of lining fabric do you recommend? Would cotton batiste work?

    — Dana

  • Sep 29, 2021

    I’m about to make a empire waist straight skirt with off-white raw silk noil and am wondering if I need to obsess over correct side vs wrong side. I’m concerned that after washing/prepping my fabric I’ll lose sight of the correct side.


    — kate

  • Feb 23, 2021

    Do you think silk noil could work for something like the Tessuti Sadie bias dress?

    — Rachel Rolseth

  • Mar 02, 2020

    Melissa we recommend you pre-washing.

    — Fancy Tiger Crafts

  • Mar 02, 2020

    Hi — I’m planning on making a garment with this fabric that will be machine washed (but not machine dried…). I was wondering if I should pre-wash?


    — Melissa Fitzpatrick

  • Mar 02, 2020

    Hi Brigit! Jaime made a raw silk noil Haori and its beautiful! Not too light

    — Jaime Jennings

  • Feb 04, 2020

    Hi hi! Just wondering if the silk noil would be appropriate for a Wiksten Haori or if it’s maybe too drapey/lightweight? Thank you!

    — Brigit

  • Sep 10, 2019

    Hi there! Looking at that pattern, we’d recommend something that’s a bit more structured – such as our linen twill. Silk noil is fairly drapey – it would be better suited for the lining.

    — Amanda

  • Sep 08, 2019

    Hi there. Just curious on your thoughts for this silk noil for the Jasika blazer? Thanks!

    — Antoinette McNulty

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