For centuries silk has been globally acknowledged as the most desirable fabric for elegant apparel and accessories. The best fashion scarves are made of high quality silk. Not all silk is created equal so beware of simply relying on a label. The best quality silk has a consistent, smooth texture and takes the color evenly.
Silk twill is the classic weave for fashion scarves. Other silk weaves used are chiffon, habutai, and crepe de chine. All of these weaves are made in varying weights. Silk weight, unique amongst textiles, is measured in momme (mm). The higher the mm, the heavier the silk and the more opaque the scarf.
Until the advent of digital printing, silk screening was the most common way printed scarves were manufactured. This labor intensive craft requires skilled craftsmen, specialized equipment, and plenty of time. Other methods of adding a print to a scarf are hand block printing and hand painting. With the growing prevalence and lower cost of digital printing, screen printing is becoming more exclusive. Many of the best scarves continue to be made with this method. Digitally printed scarves vary quite a bit in quality as the technology is still developing.
Hand rolled hemming is the preferred method of finishing for silk scarves. A hand rolled hem looks better, last longer and says “class.” The delicate looking but surprisingly strong hem which is literally rolled, is three dimensional—unless pressed, God forbid! This adds life and fluidity to the drape. A hand rolled hem, additionally protects the raw edge and lengthens the life of the scarf. Machine hemming weakens the delicate fabric and in time the hem pulls away from the rest of the scarf. To the scarf connoisseur, the rolled hem means quality. A 36” square scarf typically takes an hour to hem. This labor intensive process is one of the reasons for a higher price point for the better scarves.