For a long time, Vietnamese Silk has always occupied a high position in the world market. In particular, this is the country where convergences traditional craft villages with thousands of years of history to create premium silk products meticulously handwoven by artisans. Follow ECOSILKY to learn about the silk production process in Vietnam.
Origin of Silk
In Vietnam, Silk is considered as the quintessence of Vietnamese identity for a long time. Since the reign of the 6th Hung King, started by Princess Thieu Hoa. Accordingly, silk was widely spread throughout the region from the plains to the mountains and highlands of Vietnam. From that, it forms traditional craft villages with a thickness of up to several hundred years old. Over time, it has a deep national meaning.
Where Does Silk Come From?
While there are now a huge variety of different types of insects used to produce silk, the most commonly used species is the larvae of ‘Bombyx mori’ – (the caterpillar of the domestic silkmoth). These incredible silkworms produce one of the most highly sought after materials with a plethora of excellent properties.
Silk fabric has a shiny, light but also very durable beauty. It quickly became one of the most premium items available today.
The process of silk production
This process has to go through many stages from planting mulberry – raising silkworms – spinning thread – weaving silk. Then soft and attractive silk fabric is created with the meticulousness of the craftsman. If you are still not clear about the silk production process, please read the article below to understand better!
This is the most important step in the silk production process. It will decide the quality and color of the direct thread source for silk weaving. Therefore, the workers need to have high knowledge of suitable food and raising techniques to avoid hindering the development of silkworms.
Each silkworm from hatching to releasing silk will have an average life cycle of 23-25 days, divided into 5 ages, with 4 molting processes.
The main food of silkworms is mulberry leaves. These plants are grown and harvested in unpolluted areas. Depending on the size of the silkworm, the food is also changed. Usually, the leaves are picked from the top down. Small silkworms feed young leaves, finely chopped. Large silkworms eat hard leaves.
Silkworms eat all day and only do not eat about 2 days before the molting stage. The age of 5 silkworms is the period when silkworms eat the most. Consume about 80% of the food intake of other age groups.
Release silk thread to make cocoons
After about 3 weeks, silkworms grow to their maximum size with smooth, shiny, thin, yellowish-transparent skin. At this time, silkworms crawl to a suitable place to release silk and create cocoons.
Silkworms are put on a shelf. This is a frame made from jute with 5 layers, arranged to form airy cells.
At this place, silkworms lie down and release silk threads to create cocoons from the outside to the inside. First, silkworms release a few rings of raw silk to cover the outside to shape the cocoon. For 4 consecutive days, silkworms will release silk continuously and wrap around themselves and form cocoons.
The fact that silk thread is a liquid, viscous and transparent protein fiber. It is secreted from the salivary glands of silkworms. When exposed to the air, this liquid will harden and form silk threads. At the same time, silkworms also secrete another type of liquid called sericin. It is a type of glue that glues two thin strands of silk thread together into a silk thread.
After releasing all the silk threads, the silkworms are exhausted, they will lie in the cocoon and become pupae. This is the right time to remove the cocoons and bring them to the thread spinning.
This thread spinning stage is the pulling of silk threads from the cocoon into silk reels.
After a week when placing silkworms on the shelf, it will be the right time to start spinning silk thread. Silk threads must be nursery within 5 days or else the silkworm pupae will turn into a moth and bite the cocoon shell to come out. Thus, the silk thread will be broken, it will no longer have the smoothness and good quality as the silk threads pulled when the cocoon is intact.
First, you need to drop the cocoons into the pot of boiling water and stir well. This will help the sericin glue partially melt, the cocoon softens and peels off the cocoon. Then workers will find the root of the silk to draw and condense 10 strands of silk into 1 and wrap it in a dedicated silk reel. Silk yarn after being spun is called raw silk.
From the silk reels that have been spun, we begin the silk weaving process. Depending on the quality of silk threads, the finished product will have different durability. Based on the number of twines, the silk fabric will have different thicknesses, creating many types of silk from droopy, glossy, soft, hard, or iridescent.
According to the traditional way of weaving in Vietnam, Workers will coordinate the interweaving of warp and weft threads to create a variety of different types of silk fabric including silk satin, silk taffeta, etc. In addition, most of them will be woven by hand. It requires workers to be very meticulous, hard-working and experienced to produce beautiful and quality silk fabric.
The last stage will be the dyeing stage to create the aesthetics of Vietnamese silk. This is also an important stage to create the favorite silk color to attract customers.
Before dyeing, silk is still ivory white or light yellow and quite rough because of sericin glue. So, these silks need cleaning this layer of glue by soaking in the hot water.
Today, dyeing techniques are more modern with many different color mixing methods. This guarantees customers have more color choices!
But anyway, natural rustic colors are always favored to return. In the depths of the Vietnamese souls, this natural material always brings comfort, and safety when dyed traditionally. Silk color will be dyed from natural materials such as bark, leaves, brown tubers, etc.
Until today, Vietnam has brought silk to the world through clothes, accessories, scarves, ties… to affirm the position of high-class Vietnamese silk. It is such a proud to own a product imbued with the quintessence of Vietnamese national identity with such a meticulous, thorough, and wonderful production process!