What Is Dupioni?

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Accent pillow cover made of silk dupioni.
Accent pillow cover made of silk dupioni. (Image: Ekaterina_Lin/iStock/Getty Images)

Luxury fabrics include silk dupioni, which is made, like other silk fibers, from the covering of silkworm cocoons. Each dupioni cocoon, however, is spun by two silkworm caterpillars instead of one. These cocoons yield a thicker strand with bulging areas called slubs, which produce a distinctive texture when woven into fabric. Dupioni silk fabric absorbs dyes well and is noted for having a vibrant color range.

Woven Silk Dupioni

Dupioni yardage has a plain weave with slubbed fibers as the weft yarn going in the crosswise direction, and plain silk for the warp yarn in the lengthwise direction. The resulting fabric has a subtle sheen that highlights the attractive slubbed texture. Sometimes the warp and weft threads are dyed different colors to make an iridescent fabric.

Tailoring Dupioni

With its crisp drape and firm hand, dupioni is best used in shaped garments such as jackets, blouses, pants, stylish dresses and formalwear. It’s also seen in tablecloths, draperies, pillow covers and other home furnishings. Dupioni can be sewn on a home sewing machine with a medium straight stitch and regular sewing thread. Seams should be serged or finished to prevent raveling.

Care of Dupioni

Highly tailored or embellished dupioni garments should be dry cleaned. Less formal items can be machine washed in cold water with mild detergent, avoiding bleach or fabric softener, and air or machine dried on low. The fabric will look softer with washing.

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