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SMALL BEGINNINGS......................... COCOON TO CLOTH.......................... A FRAGILE FIBER.......................... SILK AND SENSIBILLITY.................... WRAPPED IN LUXURY...................... THE HISTORICAL......................... THE VINTAGE............................ THE CONTEMPORARY....................... SILK SWATCHES..........................

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THE LEGEND According to well-established Chinese legend, Empress Hsi Ling Shi, wife of Emperor Huang Ti, was the first person to accidentally discover silk as weavable fiber. One day, when the empress was sipping tea under a mulberry tree, a cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel. The empress discovered the source of this glistening thread, the Bombyx mori silkworm found in the white mulberry. The empress soon developed sericulture, the cultivation of silkworms, and invented the reel and loom. Regardless of the truth behind the legent, it is the earliest surviving references to silk history and production place it in China; and that for nearly 3 millennia, the Chinese had a global monopoly on silk production. THE SILK ROAD Though originially reserved for Chinese royalty, silk spread gradually through the Chinese culture. From there, silken garments began to reach regions throughout Asia. Silk rapidly became a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants, because of its texture and luster. Demand for this fabric eventually created the exclusive trade route known as the Silk Road, taking silk westward and bringing gold, silver and wools to the East. It was named the Silk Road after its most valuable commodity – silk. The Silk Road played a crucial role in global trade and introduction of silk to the rest of the world. The Silk Road stretched from Eastern China to the Mediterranean Sea. The Silk Road followed the Great Wall of China to the north-west, passing through the Takla Makan desert, climbing the Pamir mountain range, crossing through Afghanistan and going on to a major trading market in Damascus. From there, the merchandise was shipped across the Mediterranean Sea. Few people traveled the entire route; goods were handled mostly by a series of middlemen.

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A HIDDEN SECRET The Chinese realized the value of the silk they were producing and kept its secret safe from the rest of the world for more than 30 centuries. Travelers were searched at border crossings and anyone caught trying to smuggle eggs, cocoons or silkworms out of the country were executed. Because of this, sericulture remained a secret for almost three thousand years.


small beginnings

SPREADING INTO ASIA AND EUROPE Because the silk moth is native to China, the Chinese had a monopoly on the world’s silk production until 200 BC when Korea created its own silk industry with help from Chinese immigrants who had settled there. Eventually sericulture had spread into India, Japan, and Persia. The Roman Empire knew of and traded in silk. Despite its popularity, the secret of silk-making was only to reach Europe around CE 550, via the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines were as secretive as the Chinese, and for many centuries the weaving and trading of silk fabric was a strictly for imperials. In the seventh century, the Arabs conquered Persia, acquiring the silks in the process. Sericulture and silk weaving thus spread through Africa, Sicily, and Spain as the Arabs swept through these lands. By the 13th century, Italy had gained dominance and entered into the silk industry with great sucess. Venetian merchants traded extensively in silk and encouraged silk growers to settle in Italy. By the 13th century, Italian silk was a significant source of trade. Even now, silk processed in the province of Como is considered to be of great quality. Italian silk was so popular in Europe that Francis I of France invited Italian silkmakers to France and create a French silk industry. By the 17th century France was challenging Italy’s leadership, and the silk looms established in Lyon are still famous today for the beauty of their weaving. In Medieval Europe, only the nobility used silk.

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SERICULTURE Cultivation of the is known as sericulture. many insects produce silk, filament produced by Bombyx used by the commercial silk

silkworm Although only the mori is industry.

HATCHING THE EGGS The first stage of silk production is the laying of silkworm eggs, in a controlled environment such as an aluminum box, which are then examined to ensure they are free from disease. The female deposits 300 to 400 eggs at a time. The female dies almost immediately after depositing the eggs and the male lives only a short time after. The tiny eggs of the silkworm moth are incubated until they hatch into larvae, or caterpillars. THE FEEDING PERIOD Once hatched, the larvae are placed under a fine layer of gauze and fed mulberry leaves. During this time they shed their skin four times. Larvae fed on mulberry leaves produce the very finest silk. The larva will eat 50,000 times its initial weight in plant material. For about six weeks the silkworm eats almost continually. After growing to its maximum size of about 3 inches at around 6 weeks, it stops eating, changes color, and is about 10,000 times heavier than when it hatched.

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SPINNING THE COCOON The silkworm attaches itself to a twig, tree or shrub in a rearing house to spin a silk cocoon over a 3 to 8 day period. This period is termed pupating. Silkworms possess a pair of specially modified salivary glands called sericteries, which are used for the production of fibroin – a clear, viscous, proteinaceous fluid that is forced through openings called spinnerets on the mouth of the larva. Liquid secretions emerge from the spinneret, a single exit tube in the head. The diameter of the spinneret determines the thickness of the silk thread, which is produced as a long, continuous filament. The secretions harden on exposure to the air and form twin filaments composed of fibroin, a protein material. A second pair of glands secretes a gummy binding fluid called sericin which bonds the two filaments together. Steadily over the next four days, the silkworm rotates its body in a figure-8 movement, constructing a cocoon and producing silk filament. REELING THE FILAMENT At this stage, the cocoon is treated with hot air, steam, or boiling water. The silk is then free from the cocoon and then delicately and carefully unwinding, or ‘reeling’ the filaments from multiple cocoons at once to create a single strand. As the sericin protects the silk fiber during processing, this is often left in until the yarn or even woven fabric stage. Raw silk is silk that still contains sericin. Once this is washed out, the fabric is left soft, lustrous, and lighter. The amount of usable silk in each cocoon is small, and about 2500 silkworms are required to produce a pound of raw silk. TYPES OF SILK Raw silk is twisted into a strand for weaving or knitting. This process of creating the silk yarn is called “throwing,” and prevents the thread from splitting into fibers. Four different types of silk thread may be produced from this procedure • Crepe: twisting individual threads of raw silk, doubling two or more of these together, and then twisting again. It is for weaving crinkly fabrics and a single thread for sheer fabrics. • Tram: twisting two or more threads in one direction. It is used for the weft or filling • Thrown singles: individual threads that are twisted in only one direction. • Organzine: twistin raw silk in one direction and then twisting two of these threads in the opposite direction. It is used for the warp threads of materials Broken or waste filaments and damaged cocoons are retained, treated to remove the sericin, and combed. This is then processed into yarn, marketed as spun silk, which is lower quality than reeled and cheaper.

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ilk is the thinnest natural fiber. It has a triangular cross section, which provides its luster. Cultivated silk is more lustrous than wild varieties like tussah silk and comes in off-white to cream. Cultivated silk can be bleached white while wild silk cannot. Wild silk is normally brown, but it may can also appear yellow, orange or green. The surface contour of silk is smooth and rod-like. Wild silk is coarser than cultivated silk so, fabrics made of wild silk have greater stiffness and texture. When silk is rubbed against itself it produces a rustling noise referred to as scroop.

CHEMICAL EFFECTS Silk tends to have good absorbency making it easy to dye. It is comfortable to wear and it also wicks well. Heavier silks are warm, though sheer fabrics are cool because silk does not conduct heat well. When silk burns it self extinguishes when the flame is removed. Silk turns yellow and deteriorates when exposed to alkaline detergents and chlorine bleach. It is also damaged by perspiration and by some chemicals in deodorants.

MECHANICAL FUNCTION Although silk is one of the strongest natural fibers, it loses up to 20 percent of its strength when wet. Silk has only moderate abrasion resistance, but it is lightweight stability. Because silk is only moderately resilient, it tends to wrinkle more than other protein fibers.

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SILK FIBERS STRENGTH

Good

ABRAISION RESISTANCE

Fair

ABSORBENCY

Excellent

STATIC RESISTANCE

Excellent

RESILIENCY

Poor

PILLING RESISTENCE

Excellent

SUNLIGHT RESISTENCE

Good

ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS Exposure to sunlight will cause silk to yellow. Between 1870 and 1930 it was common to weight silk with metallic salts to improve its body and drape. These weighted silks deterioriate faster than unweighted silks. When weighted silk has deteriorated it is turned into a “shattered silk.� It is resistant to mold and mildew. Critters like carpet beetles and moths will attack silk. Silk is the only natural fiber that occurs in filament form.


CARE OF SILK Silk is expensive and requires extra care. The care procedures are affected by things such as Dyes, finishes, yarn formation, and garment construction. Frequently, dyes or finishes require that silk be dry cleaned. Although dry cleaning is usually recommended, silk can be washed. Washable silks must be washed gently with mild detergents. Nonchlorine bleaches can be used to improve whiteness, but not Chlorine bleaches as that will yellow the silk. Silk may discolor from contact with water. Silk garments are to be ironed with a dry iron on top of a pressing cloth and kept out of sunlight to avoid damage. Since both moths and carpet beetles will attack silk it must be stored properly. Historical silk pieces should be sealed from light and air.

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silk and sensibility SOCIAL IMPACTS Mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing creats profitable employment opportunities to farmers, With that being said mulberry growers suffer from a shortage of labor due to other agricultural labourers taking on segments of silkworm and mulberry cultivation, taking away from small, specialized farmers. Silkworm rearing is a delecate activity in which requires a lot of care and attention. Skilled labor is very essential during this process to maintain timely feeding and care. Currently there is a shortage of these skilled workes and special training should be given to those with an interest in sericulture in order to increase cocoon yields and reduce unemployment among the rural population. Sericulture is made up of small and marginal farmers with limited means who require financial assistance. The cost required for cultivating one acre of mulberry and silkworm rearing are more than any other commercial or food crop. Often, even with small loans from banks, farmers resort to borrowing from other sources such as friends, and money lenders at high rates of interest. Women’s roles in sericulture are far more dominant than the activities of males. They take part in the mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing in addition to their responisbilities at home. The concern is that women in this labor force are often exploited by middle men within their marketin of the cocoons. and Often these women are recognized among communities for their work.

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS Silk is another highly renewable resource with less impacts than many fabrics. You have to kill the silk worm when you boil the cocoon, but a single moth that hatches will lay hundreds of eggs. They feed on mulberry leaves, which don’t require pesticides or fertilizers to grow. With that being said, silk is not a local resource for commercial use in the United States, and processing can lead to pollution. Much of the silk available in the U.S. is from China and India. Commercially available cultivated silk is impactful on resources as atmospheres are controlled and rigid growth conditions are employed. The cleaning process involves chemicals and the polluted waste water is usually discharged to the ground water. More water and chemicals are needed for dyeing.Unfortunately, some of the silk producing countries, such as china, do not require strict adherence to high environmental protection standards. The extraction of the fibres is a process that involves steaming to kill the silk chrysalis. When you add it up, it does take a large amount of resources to produce a small amount of silk by some estimates, 35 pounds of silk from an acre of mulberry trees. PEACE SILK OR “AHIMSA� SILK Some Bombyx mori silk producers allow the moths to emerge from the cocoon, instead of boiling them, and then salvage the damaged cocoons. Because the one continuous silk fiber woven has been broken into many smaller strands by the emerging moth, the cocoon is degummed to remove the sericin and then spun similarily to other fibers such as cotton or hemp rather than being reeled onto spools of one continuous silk strand. Because of the more humane harvesting of these silk cocoons, this silk is often called peace silk. This silk is slightly discolored by the alkaline solution secreted by the moth to create the hole, and the peace silk is not as strong and has a slightly different look and feel. Because the peace silk is spun as a fiber rather than reeled as a thread, it produces a fabric that is warmer and softer.

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SPECIFIC APPAREL USES • Formal/Bridal Wear • Dresses • Blouses • Lingerie • Scarves • Ties • Long Underwear/Socks

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wrapped in luxury

THE USE OF SILK

Because of its natural protein structure, silk is the most hypoallergenic of all fabrics Silk is warm and cozy in winter and comfortably cool when temperatures rise. Its natural temperature-regulating properties give silk this paradoxical ability to cool and warm simultaneously. Silk garments thus outperform other fabrics in both summer and winter. Silk worn as a second layer warms without being bulky Silk is highly absorbent it can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp. Silk will absorb perspiration while letting your skin breathe In spite of its delicate appearance, silk is relatively robust. Its smooth surface resists soil and odors well. Silk is wrinkle and tear resistant, and dries quickly While silk abrasion resistance is moderate, it is the strongest natural fiber and, surprisingly, it easily competes with steel yarn in tensile strength Silk takes color well washes easily and is easy to work with in spinning, weaving, knitting, and sewing Silk mixes well with other animal and vegetable fibers.

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CHINA SILK BROCADE

For centuries, China has built a reputation for producing world’s finest quality silk fabrics. And it is not any surprise since it was in China that silk was first discovered. Chinese brocade, as it is known today, has become a popular type of silk from all across the globe. It is rich in color and texture with patterns usually from Chinese folklore. The Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), had experienced a steady development in silk production throughout China. The silk industry then consisted of thin silk, open-work silk and brocade. The emergence of brocade is a milestone in the silk history because it combines silk’s excellent capabilities with art. Silk is not only the noblest of clothing materials; it was also considered a piece of art. During the Song (960 - 1279) and Yuan (1271 - 1368) Dynasties, silkworm technology had developed even further, the color and varieties of silk increased, culminating in the Song Brocade and the emergence of ornamental gold and colorful fabrics we see replicated today.

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ORIENTAL BROCADE 50% silk, 50% nylon 44” wide. Hancock Fabrics www.hancockfabrics.com #3663044

FLORAL EMBROIDERED SATIN 50% silk, 50% nylon. 55” wide. Hancock Fabrics www.hancockfabrics.com #3560489

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Mainbocher, Duchess de Windsor Wedding Ensemble, 1937, Metropolitain Museum of Art collection, New York

Mainbocher, Evening Dress, 1938, Metropolitain Museum of Art collection, New York

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Mainbocher, Evening Dress, 1939, Metropolitain Museum of Art collection, New York


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Mainbocher

DOUBLE CREPE MOROCAIN 100% silk. 137cm wide. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1801W/91/C

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CLERMONT TAFFETA 100% silk. 150cm wide. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #11003/52/C

FRENCH CHANGEANT CHIFFON 100% silk. 137cm wide. 29 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1555W/52/C

ain Rousseau Bocher was an American couturier who operated fashion houses in Paris and later New York from the 1930s through the 1960s. n 1929, he established his own fashion house, designing elegant haute couture gowns for exclusive clientele. He became known as the “Father of Haute Couture.” He designed the Duchess of Windsor’s wardrobe, naming a color, Wallis blue, for her, and created the first strapless evening gown. Mainbocher specialized in elegant, and extremely expensive fashions, the luxurious materials, and workmanship that could only be recognized by those “in the know”. The use of luxurious fabrics, predominately in fine silks, intricate cut, quality and materials, were cherished and worn for years by Mainbocher’s upper crust customers.

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the contemporary

THE USE OF SILK

For the Spring/Summer 2014 season, designer Antonio Berardi gives s new definition to the term “sporty chic.� The collection includes sporty silhouettes through athletic jackets and track pants and pairs them with the soft and feminine look of flowing chiffon skirts and satin trousers. Sheer velvet devore skirts and trousers alongside flirty metallic dupioni accents create an ironic contrast with the athletic and masculine elements of varsity sweatshirts with football uniform shaped shoulders. The color blocked effect seen commonly in activewear is enhanced by the bright, flirty pinks. These contrast with the soft subtle look of neutral whites and timid peach silk sheers. In essence Antonio Berardi mad a successful collaboration between sporty and elegance, with a range of garments taloring to a girl with the ball in her court to a woman hanging with her court at the ball.

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COCHIN HEAVY DUPIONI 100% silk. 137cm wide. 110 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #8018X/50/C

FRENCH CHANGEANT CHIFFON 100% silk. 137cm wide. 29 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1555W/39FC/C


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RAVENNA DEVORE VELVET 100% silk. 140cm wide. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #5111WD101/04/019/C

SANDWASHED CREPE SATIN 100% silk. 137cm wide. 82 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1806WSW/68/C

Antonio Berardi s/s 2013 18


SILK SWATCHES


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FORTUNY PLEATED CHIFFON 100% silk. 100cm wide. 34 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1505WPF/53/C

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SANDWASHED SPUN SILK 100% silk. 140x82 cm. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1684WSW/03/C

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SHORT PILE VELVET 85% Viscose, 15% Silk. 135cm wide. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #5111W/04/C

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CRUSHED METALLIC ORGANZA 86% Viscose, 14% Silk. 42cm wide. 90 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1508C/91/C

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SHOT ORGANZA 100% silk. 137cm wide. 24 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1510/91/C

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MADRAS SUITING 100% silk. 120cm wide. 193 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #3998/B/C

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KATMANDU MATKA 100% silk. 138cm wide. 153 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co,uk #8022W/811/C

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SILK SUITING 56% linen, 44% silk. 135cm wide. 260 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co,uk #8012/53/C

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MEDIUM WEIGHT HABOTAI 100% silk. 137cm wide. 34 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1681W/301/C

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STRETCH GEORGETTE 90% silk, 10% elastane. 135cm wide. 52 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #8112WL/0905/C

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DUPOINI POWERWOVEN 100% silk. 150cm wide. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1015/41/C

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VARANASI DUPIONI 100% silk. 137cm wide. 90 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #5018W/400/C

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STRETCH DUTCHESS SATIN 53% nylon, 42% silk, 5% elastane. 140cm wide. 190 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1054/91/C

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CREPE DE CHINE 100% silk. 137cm wide. 70 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1803W/91/C

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STRETCH SATIN 95% silk, 5% elastane. 135cm wide. 82 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1806WL/1119/C

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SILK GAUZE 100% silk. 140cm wide. 31 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #20201/55X/C

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KNITTED SILK JERSEY 100% silk. 137cm wide. 125 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #7112W/55X/C

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DOUBLE GEORGETTE 100% silk. 137cm wide. 80 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1507/53/C

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SILK TULLE 100% silk. 175cm wide. 13 grams Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1503

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SATINISED MOUSSELINE 100% silk. 140cm wide. 26 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1580W/03/C

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LONG PILE VELVET 85% viscose, 15% silk. 154cm wide. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #5112W/41/C

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GAZAR SATINISED ORGANZA 100% silk. 140cm wide. 64 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1557/91/C

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TAFFETA CLERMONT 11003 100% silk. 150cm wide Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #11003/400/C

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HEAVY CREPE BACKED SATIN 100% silk. 140cm wide. 130 grams. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1810W/53/C

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CRINKLE CHIFFON 100% silk. 135cm wide. Bennett Silks LTD www.bennettsilks.co.uk #1505W/305/C

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morgan mccarty fash 105-05 introduction to textiles professor stephanie foy


Silk Fiber Book