Silk gauze is a sheer, thin fabric made of fine but very strong silk threads. The stability of the fabric is increased by the interlocking weave, also known as a leno structure. This weave, or structure, prevents the threads from shifting, which decreases the risk of tearing, pulling, and fraying of the canvas.
Unlike cotton gauze, silk gauze is not used for bandages. Instead, it’s lightweight and sheer qualities make it ideal for use as a facing or lining. It is commonly used in evening wear, dresses, veils, scarves, costumes, or layered over other fabrics. Silk fabric has also become popular in needlepoint because it is easy to handle and does not show needle holes.
Often confused with silk organza, this gauze is actually much more loosely woven. Organza can generally be used in most applications where gauze is appropriate, although it is heavier and stiffer with a closer weave structure. Both fabrics are sheer and delicate, and can be difficult to discern to the untrained eye.
Silk gauze is available in several weights and widths. It is also found in many different holes per inch (HPI), which is similar to the thread count of cotton fabric. The higher the HPI number, the smaller the number of holes in the canvas. It can be purchased by the yard, by the bolt, or in pieces of varying sizes, depending on its intended use.
Needlework kits including a pattern, pre-cut silk gauze and a needle are available for beginners of the craft. Miniaturists and dollhouse enthusiasts often use silk gauze to create realistic-looking accessories that are made to scale. It makes an attractive medium for small, delicate work such as this.
Fabric dyes and paints are easily applied to silk gauze. It has excellent color retention and will not fade quickly. The sheer fabric is machine washable and even after dozens of washes the color will remain bright and fresh.