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Gingerlily’s Guide to Momme Silk: What is Momme?

If you’ve recently been introduced to the benefits of silk, and are looking to invest in a silk product such as silk pillowcases, bedding, silk pyjamas or accessories, you may not know what to look for when it comes to the quality of the product. With many different silk fabric offerings on the market, and various price points too, it may be somewhat confusing to determine which is the best value. The ‘momme’ of silk is an indicator of quality, and while this might be a new term currently bearing little meaning at the moment, as experts of silk, Gingerlily is here to clarify what momme is so that you know what to look for.

What is Momme?

Momme (often abbreviated to mm) is a way of measuring the weight of silk. Coming from the Japanese word and pronounced like ‘mommy’, this is a much more efficient way than using thread count. Since a single silk thread is only 1/10th the thickness of a human hair, thread count is not the best way to identify the quality of silk. This makes measuring the weight a much more reliable method.

Measuring the weight of silk in momme is a traditional method based on the imperial system, which weighs a piece of silk fabric 45 inches wide and 100 yards long (Roughly 114 centimetres  x 90 metres). If this piece of fabric weighs 19lb, then the momme would be 19. 

The higher the momme grade, the more silk is used due to the threads being tightly woven together. This is why lower momme silk appears more transparent, where higher momme silk appears more dense and opaque. 

Which Quality of Momme Should I buy?

It’s common to assume that the highest momme grade is the best, as it has the highest silk content. This is a false assumption, as the quality of momme depends on the silk product being purchased. 

For example, if you’re looking for a silk pillowcase, a momme count between 19-22 is ideal. Anything higher may feel more stiff and less comfortable for delicate facial skin, where anything lower will increase friction which is detrimental to skin and hair health.

This range of momme is also ideal for silk pyjamas, eye masks, and hairbands.

Higher momme count is great for throws and blankets, as the heavier silk is extremely soft and able to keep you warm. Some people may also prefer this weightier and softer feel on their bedding.

Alternatively, lower momme count silk such as chiffon makes for a beautiful and flowing material that can be used in scarves, hair scrunchies, toddler blankets and more. 

Does a Higher Momme Require Higher Maintenance?

Silk is a naturally durable fabric, though to keep it in good condition it is important to follow the care instructions provided. Higher momme silk is more durable and resilient to washing due to its density and tighter weaving. 

The good news is that it doesn’t require any extra maintenance. Although to ensure that you keep your silk in pristine condition, you can always take high quality silks to professional dry cleaners. You can read our full guide to caring for your silk if you are unsure. 

What are the Common Ranges of Momme Measurements?

To gain a further understanding of this opulent material, it’s good to know what ranges to look out for. If the momme is not listed but a name is given, you can typically assume that the momme should be within the following ranges. 

Gauze silk - a very lightweight silk between 3 and 5 momme. It is extremely delicate and often used in scarves.

Organza - this is usually between 4-6 momme. Often used similarly to gauze silk to form part of a garment.

Habotai - used in clothing such as shirts and blouses, the range is usually between 8-16 momme.

Chiffon - this is a common form of silk and a familiar word in the fashion industry. Seen in many types of clothing, chiffon is usually between 6-8 momme.

Crepe de Chine - usually between 12-16 momme, this is often found in clothing.

Charmeuse - between 12-30 momme, this material is smooth and soft. Commonly found in bedding and some types of clothing.

Raw Silk - between 35-40 momme, this is a very heavy silk often used in blankets and throws.

Invest in Quality Silk

At Gingerlily, we offer only high quality silk to give you a true taste of luxury. With options ranging from 19 momme to raw silk, you are guaranteed to be impressed with our silk products. Invest in our premium silk pieces and start to reap the benefits of this natural material, day and night.