Winning Ways with Abaca Silk- Much Easier Than You Think!
Abaca Silk or Silk Abaca as it is also known, is a fine hand woven cloth of silk and abaca straw. The warp thread is silk whilst the cross threads are fine grade abaca fibres. This results in a soft translucent material that can be blocked, draped and free formed into amazing headwear. It really is so versatile.
Silk Abaca has hardly any fray and adds elegance when used as a trim on sinamay and felt hats. It also behaves like Jinsin when ‘fanned’ out but is much easier to handle. The edge is much easier to finish and the soft draping fan is subtle yet dramatic. Because swirls and finishing strips can be cut on the straight, this luxurious material is far more economical than it at first appears. For a last minute eye catching piece, simply add a dramatic fan of Abaca Silk to an existing hat or headpiece. Voila! Elegance in minutes.
Though, at first glance expensive, a little goes a long way if used as a double top layer only. In hat terms you get a lot of bang for your buck and the results far outweigh the labour.
So here’s some easy ways to use it. This 7” slanted beret was made with just 0.5m of Abaca Silk and 0.5m of sinamay. The cost of blocking materials was just €29.50
Fans and drapes: These form really easily and are hand stitched in place. The long edges can be rolled or simple left unfinished. The short or transverse edge can be finished using a straight cut strip. For this I used the remainder of the 0.5 metres of abaca silk
Swirls and ribbons: Cut on the straight and fold in both edges and iron flat. Fold in half again. Form into a swirl with steam over a mold. Carefully glue the edges together. This can be wired prior to glueing for a swirl that will ‘hover’. I had about 0.25m left over with this trim- plenty left to trim another couple of hats.
Flowers: Cut petals on the straight and form using a hot spoon or a flower iron. The fine weave of Abaca Silk means that the edges barely fray. These are really beautiful when formed into a rose or flower head. The petals can be hand tinted using our acid dyes. I have enough abaca silk to form 3-4 good size rose and ample left to make free formed fans.
So really this little bit of millinery luxury is not only very easy to use, but very affordable!
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