It’s no secret: we love silk. The durability, soft feel and proven positive effects for your body are reasons for us to consider it a truly magical material. But how is this wonderful material produced? Let us tell you.
We’re going to try and keep it short and simple for you. We’ll be sticking to the explanation of the way we produce silk, which is the Ahimsa and non-violent way of producing silk. We’ll let you know where in the process we differ from other silk production cycles.
The process starts with a female silk moth laying eggs. A moth can lay about 300 to 500 eggs. These eggs will hatch and give way to silkworms. Silkworms are then fed by our farmer with mulberry leaves, as our silkworms are laid by the Bombyx mori moth. Their only diet is mulberry leaves. Thus, we create mulberry silk. They feed until they grow big enough (this takes about 6 weeks) and are ready for the next step.
The next step comes when the silkworms begin to transform into cocoons. They spin their cocoon themselves by securing themselves to a frame or tree and wrapping themselves into a shiny fiber. The spinning takes 5 days on average and during these days the silkworm will turn its body countlessly in a figure 8 movement. All with 1 single silk thread, which can measure even up to 900 meters long. Crazy, right? The thread is held together by a natural protein called sericin, by the way.
Now, we are ready to harvest the silk. In traditional serie culture, the unraveling of the cocoons happens in warm water before a moth is able to hatch. This is to wash off the sericin and to keep the long single thread. The larva’s body undergoes changes during which it becomes a pupa, then finally a moth. In traditional sericulture, the silk larvae are not allowed to hatch and are used as very protein-rich food. The animal-friendly process of Ynside silk is done by cutting the top of the cocoon open to allow the developing moth to escape and to finish its natural lifecycle outside of the cocoon. These are now shorter threads. Each thread is then wound on a reel. Most of the sericin is washed off because of the water that is used during this harvesting process to clean the silk but some can still be found. This is important, as sericin has many positive effects on your body.
When the silk threads have been washed and degummed, they will be dried before the dyeing process starts. To keep this step simple, there are roughly three ways of dying one single color. The first is a yarn dye (when it is not a piece of fabric yet), the second is fabric dye (when the fabric has been made), the last piece dyeing (after the product is cut and sewn together).
In organic fashion, and expensive textiles, usually order quantities are smaller, thus fabric dying is often preferred above yarn dying. Both processes are pretty straightforward. The silk threads/fabric are immersed in a dye bath and given time to react to the fibres. After, the silk threads are laid out again to dry, ready for the next step in the silk production process.
It is valuable to know that organic certified (by Global Organic Textile Standard) silk is dyed with non-toxic colors in a carefully secured environment. The GOTS dye is controlled and less harmful than a conventional synthetic dye. Nevertheless, it remains a synthetic dye because the dye products used are not 100% natural. Natural dyeing methods have not yet been able to deliver a constant quality, unfortunately.
Before we can start weaving (and thus creating a uniform silk product), the silk threads are spinned on a bobbin, so they are flat and ready for the weaving or knitting process.
We’re nearly there! During this step of silk production, we need to bind the different silk threads to into a beautiful lustrous fabric. There are many different ways of binding threads, they can be weaves or knits. Knits are very flexible (like a jersey knit most underwear is made of). For our different types of underwear, we use both silk knits and silk weaves. The uniquely engineered tight satin weave gives Ynside products their special smooth interior. This weave absolutely provides the least friction possible and ensures a great look and feel.
The last step! We have to finish the silk materials in order for them to be used. The finishing is also the reason that many silk products consist of a distinctive shiny look. Other silk producers often use harsh chemicals in this process but we don’t. We finish our silk with hydrogen peroxide to make the shade regular. After treatment residuals gather at our bio Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) to not affect the environment. This treatment is a natural way without using dangerous chemicals. Hydrogen peroxide also has antibacterial and antiviral qualities and is used in many other applications.
Producing peace silk
We are very proud that our non-violent, Ahimsa peace silk is unique in the way it is produced. Furthermore, we don’t use any harmful chemicals in the production process. Not in the growing of our mulberry trees, nor during the finishing of our silk material. We are deeply involved to keep on making improvements in silk production for the benefit of our earth. That is also a reason that Ynside silk is produced in the most sustainable way. Find out more about it here.