The vocabulary of the silk professions, so you will never be lost when you come to see us

From A to D


Period which separates the four molts produced by the silkworm.


A fabric is said to be weaved when it presents geometric and repetitive drawing effects. The latter are obtained by crossing the warp and weft threads.


Operation which consists of beating the cocoons in boiling water so that they can unwind. This threshing is carried out using a birch, heather or quackgrass broom.


Name given to the silk thread secreted by the glands of the silkworm.

Bombyx mori or Mulberry bombyx

Name of the greyish-white moth, native to northern China. It is the cocoons of the Bombyx mori that give the silk thread.


Lampas weave characterized by an embossed satin pattern standing out against a plain satin background.


Shaped fabric to which additional threads, which enrich the colours of the design, are added


Work made on a canvas stretched over a wooden frame. The so-called "counted stitch" embroidery is executed on a canvas of coarse canvas.


With the help of a machine called a duckling machine, the threads are wound on small spools, the bobbins, which will take place inside the shuttles to form the weft of the fabric.


A small cylinder on which the weft thread is wound before being placed in the shuttle to be woven


Worker, silk weaver from Lyon


Threads deposited in the length of the piece of fabric on a loom. Warp threads form the basis of the fabric


Thread intertwining. This blockage occurs at the time of spinning.


Shaped fabric using two different weaves and possibly with additional weft decoration.

Dévidage / Tirage

An operation that consists of grasping the continuous thread.


Machine that allows the unwinding of the cocoon

From E to L


Name given to a silkworm breeder.


Un tissu est dit façonné lorsqu'il présente un dessin réalisé au cours du tissage, par le croisement des fils de chaîne et des fils de trame. 


Principal constituant de la soie.


Manual or mechanical operation that allows the silk threads to be recovered after softening the cocoons in hot water.


Skein of Silk


Small machine, for doubling silk threads, after they have been spun

Sandstone or sericin

Silky goo that coats fibroin. Its texture is not very pleasant to the touch

Frame Printing

Frame printing (also known as "à la lyonnaise") can support up to 45 colours. Each frame is made according to a part of the design to be printed. These frames then take turns on the printing table so that they can accommodate their colour. After drying, we go back to the beginning of the table to print another color using a new frame.

Printing on the warp

Warp threads are mounted through which a very loose weft is passed. This fabric is printed and then the weft is removed and rewoven with a normal weft, but keeping the warp threads that have been printed

Roll Printing

Copper or zinc rolls are laser engraved. They are then mounted in series one behind the other and each is given a colour. The rollers rotate together to deposit the color they are loaded onto the fabric.


Shaped fabric in which the wefts (thrown or brocaded) are usually bound with taffeta or twill by the binding warp.


A drawing (paper) is then put on a map. The card layout is then read to make the cardboard (stitching) for the Jacquard mechanism. As each cartoon represents a weft passage and is independent, it is necessary to intertwine them one after the other in the order of the drawing to be made.

From M to P


Building where silkworms are raised; This word comes from the term "magnau", the Provençal name for the Mulberry Bombyx (name of the silkworm)


Manual loom equipped with a rope system to lift the warp threads before the weft is passed. The ropes were handled by an apprentice ("lake puller")

Mise en carte

Representation of a weave on graph paper, the warp threads being represented by the vertical columns, the weft threads by the horizontal line spacing. By convention, a colored box means that at this point the warp thread passes over the weft thread. This binary coding explains how easy it is to program even the most complex patterns.


Fabric whose protruding ribs are deformed by crushing to create optical effects by refraction of light.


An operation that consists of twisting the silk thread in order to make it more resistant (150 to 1500 revolutions per metre).


A fabric that is characterized by its lightness and, in the case of silk chiffons, by its transparency.


Individual coils are arranged on a frame: the cantre. The warping machine picks up the thread from each spool and winds the resulting bundle onto a horizontal or vertical drum, in order to form the warp of the fabric, giving it the final length and the desired number of threads.


A disease that struck European sericulture in the 19th century; This epidemic gave the silkworms a gray color, the color of pepper, and rendered the cocoons unusable.


Fabric made with a silk warp and a silk weft, originally made in Avignon at the time of the Popes (today refers to a strong and very tight cotton fabric).

From Q to Z


Adjustment of the various parts of the loom, this work is carried out by a parking machine.


Support on which the wire is wound (synonymous with spool)

Silk Road

Name given in the 19th century to the trade route that was set up in the 1st century B.C.

Trade between East and West concerned silk, but also spices, perfumes, aromatic woods, ivory, cotton, porcelain, paper, etc.


Silkworm breeder.


Silkworm farming


Fabric with decoration in which the length of the wefts is limited to the dimensions of the patterns. A tapestry is characterized by the presence of "relays", small slits formed between the threads of the warp where two different motifs meet.


An operation that consists of grasping the continuous silk thread.


Interweaving of warp threads (arranged lengthwise) and weft threads (positioned widthwise). The crosses are called "weaves" and will give the fabric its appearance and strength.


Threads arranged across the width of the piece of fabric to be woven.


Fabric whose surface is covered with small loops formed by an additional warp called a "pile warp". These buckles: chiseled velvet (different relief in certain parts of the fabric), multi-body velvet (several pile chains depending on the number of colors), struck velvet, etc. are made with irons and cut manually with a plane. There is a wide variety of types of velvet.