Mulberry vs. Tussah; Know Your Silks

Tussah Silk
Tussah Silk
mulberry silk
"Mulberry" Silk

Today someone asked me about the fiber content of a silk fabric.  They wanted to know if the silk was Mulberry or Tussah. While I’m always happy to answer whatever questions I can about textiles,  I have to admit that I was a bit embarrassed by my lack of knowledge in this area. Not one to shrug my shoulders and quickly forget, I asked a few seasoned professionals as well as consulted the trusty old Google and learned a few things.

Tussuah Silk : Silk in its natural state; raw silk.  Used for making Duppioni fabric.

Mulberry Silk: Silk spun by worms that have been cultivated and fed a strict diet of mulberry leaves.

Simple enough, right?  I thought so. However, from what I hear, “mulberry” silk is not an actual term. It is simply silk that is not tussah silk.  Now, remember, I already fessed up to not being too knowledgeable here.  So now I’m confused.  What’s the deal?  Have you heard of mulberry silk? Ever used it in a sentence?

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

1 Comment
  1. Joe DeLuca


    According to Fairchild’s Dictionary of Textiles (which I have to happen to have open as I read through your wonderful blog), Mulberry Silk is indeed an actual term.

    Mulberry Silk: Silk produced by the Bombyx mori silkworms that feed on the leaves of cultivated Mulberry trees. WILD SILK is obtained from worms that feed on the leaves of Oak, castor oil plants, as well as other trees and shrubs.

    The entry for Tussah silk is interesting. It seems that it’s basically silk produced from undomesticated, Asian, silk worms, including the Tussah Silkworm.

    Thanks for the blog! I love it.

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