• Lena Archbold

Margilan Silk

Updated: Aug 3

Different types of silk and how to use in feltmaking

You will learn how to use different types of Margilan silk which is great for feltmaking. I will introduce you various projects to create using different types of Margilan Silk. This blog is based on a video, I recorded about Margilan silk and the link is below.


Margilan silk comes from Margilan in Uzbekistan. What makes Margilan unique is the silk production. The craft that made this city a famous trade centre of the Silk Road is still alive. It didn’t disappear with its extraordinary techniques; anyone can observe how silk was made in 11th century.

Margilan (Marg’ilon in Uzbek) is the centre of Uzbekistan’s silk production. It has been so since the 11th century. Despite the introduction of labor-saving devices at one point or another in the process, these days in Margilan the basic pattern of production and the division of labor into many highly specialized tasks is probably quite similar to the 19th century.

Except at the Yodgorlik “factory” and a select few other production centers where much of the process happens in one compound, most textiles travels from specialist to specialist, each working in his or her own household. Nearly each household has its own silk production.

The most famous silk produced in Uzbekistan is called Khan- atlas. Uzbek ornamental wealth is famous for Uzbek national fabrics - striped "bekasabs" for men's clothing and "khan-atlas" for women. Khan-atlas is the pearl of Uzbekistan. In this beautiful fabric, the character and traditions of the Uzbek people are displayed. Uzbek silk fabric khan-atlas has a unique bright color palette, a polish structure, symbolizing kindness, optimism and indomitable energy.

Pic. 2. Khan-atlas

This blog concentrates on four types of Margilan Silk, such as:

  • Rarefied;

  • Gauze;

  • Excelsior; and

  • Organza

One of the Margilan silk features is silk made of untwisted threads. This creates a happy marriage between silk and wool making a process of feltmaking faster while also achieving bright colours when dyeing Margilan silk.


Rarefied silk is one of the most popular silks in feltmaking. It is the finest of all the Margilan silks and is also known as sparse, gossamer or butterfly silk. It weighs only 8g per square metre and has a high lustre which it maintains after dyeing.

The silk is ideal for nuno felting. If the silk scrunched up, then it gives soft surface texture, laid flat it integrates with the surface of the felt, laminating wool. This explained in details in one of my pre-recorded online classes, Fine Felted Scarf with 3D embellishment.

Pic. 3. Work of my students

It can be used to give stability to cobweb felt while adding little weight, or as a base for very thinly laid fibre when making a garment that needs to drape. It can also be used to trap down objects such as pebbles. Check my online pre-recorded class, Interior Felt with 3D Embellishment; Laptop Case.

Pic. 4. Interior Felt with 3D Embellishment. Laptop Case

Margilan Rarefied Silk is great to use if you want to achieve fine felted garment which drapes well. I have a perfect silk width of 115 cm which is great for garments. This silk is available from my online shop, Margilan Silk.

Pic. 5. Examples of Lena's work

Although Margilan rarefied would seem ideal for scarves, it is difficult to use as a standalone base fabric because of its fineness. It is recommended to cover silk with wool or prefelt.

There is an interesting technique, I call the Stained Glass Technique, applying a surface pattern. This technique is introduced in the class, Stained Glass Nuno Felted Scarves .

Pic 6. Stained Glass Nuno Felted Scarves

The motifs must be lightweight keeping a small distance between. Silk after going through felting process looks like a lace adding more character to a design.

There are many uses of Margilan Rarefied Silk and I invite you to share your work with us in our closed Facebook group, Felting with Lena, Felting Together.

Margilan silk is available to buy from my online shop in 90 cm and 115 cm. There is also possibility to buy 10 meter and 20 meters of Margilan rarefied silk 90 cm width bringing saving.


Margilan Gauze is a lightweight silk (14g per square metre) that has a high lustre which it maintains after dyeing. It comes in different widths, such as 90 cm, 70cm and 45 cm.