photo <i>Tsumugi</i> silk


Tsumugi silk is woven from spun silk thread (tsumugi ito). Tsumugi is not as smooth or glossy as reeled silk, and features a simple, nubby texture.
Although traditionally used predominantly for striped or kasuri patterns, in recent years it has become possible to produce a wide range of expressions such as gradations and other designs using dyed threads. Tsumugi silk’s light, durable, and supple texture makes it an ideal fabric for kimono and obi.


  • 1.Silkworms produce thread that form a cocoon.
  • 2.Reeled silk (left), silk wadding (mawata, center), silkworm cocoons (right).
  • 3.Thread is drawn out of a stretched cocoon (mawata).
  • 4.The thread is dipped in dye.

Process for tsumugi silk fabric

  • 1.The warp threads (vertical) are aligned on the warp beam of a loom and wound up.
  • 2.The weft threads (horizontal) are wound onto a spindle and then attached to a shuttle.
  • 3.The threads are woven together by passing the weft threads on the shuttle through the warp threads on the loom.
  • 4.A bolt of fabric about 40 centimeters wide (15.7 inches) and 13 meters long is produced (enough for one kimono).
  • Reference: Nihon Kōgeikai Higashi Nihon Shibu (Japan Kōgei Association Eastern Branch), ed., Dentō kōgei-tte nani? – miru, shiru, tanoshimu gaido bukku (What Are Traditional Crafts? –A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying). Unsodo, 2013.