G1-From handicraft to industry

The manufacture of silk fabrics is aimed at clothing, furnishings, and a variety of items such as sunshades or air balloons.


Weaving is the vertical undercrossing of warp threads (in the fabric length) and weft threads (in the fabric width). The combination of the two threads, called pattern, may vary depending on the type of silk thread and other fibres used (taffeta, satin, serge, mixed...).

Before weaving, the weaver must deal with spooling and warping.


During the 18th and 19th centuries, several inventors brought about improvements to the loom. In particular, Vaucanson, (1709-1792), invented a mechanical contraption to be later improved by Jacquard (1752-1834). This invention helped in the design of precious fabrics thanks to a perforated card installed above the loom. It brought prosperity to Lyons manufacturers, in spite of the hostility of the weavers, the “canuts”, as fewer workers were needed.

G1 - 1.JPGView of a weaving workshop (end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century)


Silk in the Parisian haute couture:

14 - a.JPGClothing design, “Creed: an ensemble: cloak and skirt of black silk velvet. Revers lined with black silk satin and edged with black silk braid”, magazine "Soie Informations", 1939

14 - b.JPGDress design, “Jeanne Lanvin: dress in hard blue silk crepe”, magazine "Soie Informations", 1939

14 - c.JPGDress design, “Vera Borea: dress in black faille with brocaded bands of black satin and gold buttons”, magazine "Soie Informations", 1939

On Display

Tissage - Warping.jpg

Warping: It consists in preparing the warp threads for weaving. The warping machine consists of a frame (“cantre”) on which many spools or “roquets” are laid out, and of a vertical drum on which the warp threads are reeled, and which revolves on a spindle run by a hand operated crank.

The number of warp threads for a 1 meter width ranges from 5000 to 30 000 and can be 1000 m long. The threads from the drum are then reeled on a cylinder called a beam, to be placed on the loom.


Tissage - Plaiting loom.JPG

Plaiting loom to make round or flat ribbons.