Thai silk is woven in lightweight, medium weight and heavyweight grades. The ply of thread used in weaving it determines the weight of a given piece of silk. For example, lightweight is generally one ply, which means single strands of silk are woven together to make the cloth.
The lightweight variety is often used for making ladies' blouses, summer dresses and men's dress shirts. When buying these items, remember that blouses and skirt combinations use about 5.5 yards of silk, while men's shirts use 2.5 to three yards.
There is a special hand woven Thai silk called 'mudmee.' It is a timeless unique piece of art from the hands of rural women, at their homes in northeast Thailand, using their traditional methods and their own looms. Each bolt of cloth is a unique piece of art, carrying the imprint of the emotions, feelings, thoughts, spirit and life of the weaver.
Thai silk has many properties, which contribute to its reputations as a luxury fiber. It has a beautiful natural luster and will take dye easily. Almost as strong as cotton, it is more elastic than either cotton or linen. It will absorb up to one third of its own weight in water without feeling wet to touch and is a warm fabric despite its lightness.
Some silk types are woven with polyester. If you have doubts about its purity, conduct the 'burn test'.
Ask the salesperson to give you a small piece of silk you wish to buy. Burn the piece and examine the ash. If it is powdery and smells like meat, it is pure silk, if the ash is hard like plastic, it is part polyester.
There are several places in Pattaya where Thai silk is sold. Many sell pure silk at around Baht 300 a yard. Pure silk is also ideal for pillowcases, serviettes and handkerchiefs as it exudes an air of luxury.
How does one wash silk? Just use ordinary detergent. However, don't hang it to dry as you would with other cloth. Otherwise, it will be damaged. Just hang it until it is damp before ironing. Pressing Thai silk while damp makes it smooth and wrinkle free. And don't wash it in the machine.
A number of shops specialize in silk outfits. Most of them have big showroom that carry every shade and design you can imagine.