Silk Fabric ...
What is "momme"?
Momme, pronounced 'mom-ee', is the unit of measurement for silk, much like thread count is used to classify cotton.
So, what is it? Good question, please read on and we'll get you up to speed in no time ...
Momme = weight. Forget 'thread count'. With real silk - it doesn't apply.
1 Momme = 1 pound of silk fabric, measuring 45inches wide x 100 yards long.
In metric terms, 1 momme = 4.34 grams / square metre.
In the annals of history, momme, which was introduced by the Japanese was adopted as the standard for measuring the density of silk fabric. The higher the momme, the tighter the weave, meaning more silk was used per square inch. This is because silk has a very fine thread (1 Denier).
Fun fact: a single strand of silk fibre is approximately 1/10th thickness of human hair.
Whilst being very fine, silk is stronger than steel of the same diameter, and the strongest natural fibre on earth.
With such a thin thread, that can vary between cocoons, the thread count would not only be incredibly high (in the thousands), it wouldn't offer a feasible way of measuring one fabric against another, so an alternative measurement to thread count was devised by the Japanese. Momme. This measurement is still used as the standardised measurement of the density/weight of silk fabric to this day.
Weight of a silk scarf
A silk scarf is usually produced in a weight of 12 - 16 momme (16 x 4.34g sqm = 69 grams per square metre).
In contrast, 25 momme silk that is used in all our luxury silk pillowcases, weighs 25 x 4.34g sqm = 108 grams per square metre. This is up to 30% more silk used in each pillowcase than other merchants selling 19 and 22 momme silk pillowcases. Higher momme also makes the fabric more opaque, much longer lasting, softer hand-feel and a deeper more complex colour.
No, absolutely not. If you see a silk merchant making reference to thread count as a feature of their silk fabric, we strongly suggest you turn on your heel and look elsewhere. The merchant likely doesn't understand their product and their supplier is weaving cotton or some other substitute, likely polyester or rayon and passing it off as something it's not. Real silk is not measured at any stage of production by thread count. It's a completely foreign term that is unused in 'sericulture' (the art of producing silk).
Seek out the real thing, it will be more cost-effective in the long run.
Let's continue, Momme, as important as it is to understand, is only 1/3 the story when it comes to assessing the quality of silk fabric. Read on to discover, silk grading and finishing.
1 momme = 4.34g / sqm
To begin, insist on Mulberry Silk, produced from the Bombyx Mori that feeds exclusively on white mulberry leaves. It is regarded for millennia (yes, over 4000 years) as the highest quality silk in the world for textiles. Once you've chosen Mulberry Silk, the next question is what grade?
Raw silk is classified by a number of factors including regularity of the thread, cleanliness, neatness, variations in the lot, assays, breaking points, strength, elasticity and cohesion. Each classification is represented as a grade: 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A, A, B, C, D, E, F, G etc. These gradings are applied to each lot after sorting in the country of origin. Good quality grades are identified by the letter A, with Grade A being the best and long-fibre - over one mile in length for a single uninterrupted thread. The finest quality silk fibre is Grade 6A, that is rare and the most expensive to buy. Mayfairsilk uses only Grade 6A Mulberry Silk in all our fabrics.
Dyes and treatment of silk
Whilst choosing silk for bed linen or intimate wear, that is touching your skin for hours on end, it is important that you choose fabrics that are treated with utmost respect and unadulterated by harmful chemicals and dyes which can be toxic and deleterious to your health. At Mayfairsilk we set the highest standards for all our products from the very beginning of the production process all the way through to the finished item.
That all sounds good, but can you be sure. We are certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, the leader in textile safety. The silk production, dyes, buttons, zips and elastics are all tested to be free from harmful chemicals and dyes. This is good for your health and the planet.
Finally, the last step in determining quality of silk bed linen and lifestyle accessories - the finishing.
The final look and feel of the silk is not purely the sum of momme and silk grade, but equally the weave used and the finishing process. How has the silk been woven, in what count of and warp/weft? And what treatment has been applied to the woven fabric?
When you think silk, you probably visualise a very glossy fabric, that may not be for you? We think the same, which is why we developed a silk fabric that has a modern appearance more fitting for the contemporary bedroom and tastes. Effortlessly taking the mantle from Egyptian Cotton as the epitome of luxury bed linen.
Our weave is a closely guarded secret as is the finishing process our fabric goes through to give it the famed smooth hand feel, durability, rich colour and matt appearance with high lustre that dances with the light.
Once the fabric is ready, it's individually measured, hand cut, stitched and finished into exquisite pieces deserving of such a fine fabric.
The difference is in the details. The internet is littered with cheap imitations that cut corners or even worse substitute and pass-off as something they're not. Our products use the finest materials, skilfully crafted so they last.
The most important thing however is how it feels when you slip into bed at night, dreamily drifting off and having a deep restful sleep, wrapped in the ultimate comfort and luxury.