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Article: Original silk fabric development & factory tour

Original silk fabric development & factory tour

Introducing MUUGI's original 100% silk circular rib fabric.

Why did we decide to make our original fabric in the first place? It was because there was no ideal fabric available on the market.

In general, when we try to make clothing products that are not mass-produced, we often choose from fabrics available on the market and purchase the necessary quantity. This is because otherwise the fabric prototyping itself is expensive, and the fabric is not suitable for small batch production because it is made in a certain quantity.

At first, we also considered such an approach.

However, no matter how hard we searched, the ideal fabrics (100% silk, easy to wash, elasticity for a comfortable fit, thinness and softness suitable for innerwear, etc.) were not available in the market. One of the reasons was found to be that 100% silk fabrics are not produced as a stock for distribution because the unit price of each fabric is too high to be purchased by general apparel manufacturers.

Therefore, we decided to create an ideal original fabric instead of using a fabric in circulation.

Fortunately, we were able to meet with a good factory, and they were able to develop fabrics in a volume suitable for MUUGI's business size. (Although the unit price of the fabric will be higher...)

Here we would like to tell you a little more about this special fabric.

MUUGI's original fabric is a circular rib fabric made of 100% silk. This "circular rib” fabric is not a woven fabric but a knitted fabric.

Many people may think of sweaters when they think of knitted fabrics,  but the way it is made is different from so-called sweaters. The fabrics knitted on circular knitting machines are cut and sewn, which is called "cut and sewn". MUUGI underwear is also made by this cut and sewn method.

The circular knitting machine can produce a variety of fabrics such as "jersey," "moss stitch," and "smooth”. Among them, we have chosen a knitted fabric called "circular rib" for its superior elasticity in the horizontal direction and its moderate thickness and softness.

MUUGI's original fabric was made at this factory in Saitama Prefecture in Japan, which is dedicated to circular knitting.

This is the machine currently knitting fabric for MUUGI products. The machine is knitting the fabric in a cylindrical shape, drawing a circular pattern. The cream-colored fabric in the middle of the photo is the MUUGI fabric before dyeing and cutting.

A mass of yarn wrapped around a cone is placed around the knitting machine. The yarn is spiraled out of the cone and knitted one by one, and in the case of MUUGI, it is 100% silk yarn that is machine washable. Since the fabric cannot be knitted without preparing so many yarns and turning the machine, circular knitting is characterized by the difficulty of producing small quantities.

“Circular rib” is knitted on a machine called a "double machine".These are the actual needles that are knitted. Depending on how many needles are used and at what intervals, it is possible to produce not only circular rib fabrics, but also "smooth", "rib", "punch the dough" and various other types of knit fabrics. This needle adjustment is a manual process and requires skilled technique.

We were also able to see the inside of the needles. This is the needle feed structure that allows the needles to advance smoothly while knitting. The needle feeds the fabric to a certain degree before the next needle comes down. 

If the knitted fabrics are coarse, they may stretch out while being worn. Adjusting the tension and other parameters to maintain suppleness while stretching tightly is a craftsman's skill.
For fabrics with different needle counts and knitting methods, a variety of machines with different settings are available. These machines range in age from 20 years old to 60 years old.

This machine is almost 60 years old and has the look of a veteran.

This is a single "jersey" knitting machine, about 20 years old. The number of yarns is overwhelming. It seems to be very difficult to change yarn.


When we asked them to make fabric for MUUGI this time, we told them about the ideal thickness, elasticity, smoothness, and luster of the fabric. They made several samples of prototype fabric, adjusting various parameters such as "knitting method," "yarn fineness," "number of needles," and "tension of knitting," and finally the ideal fabric was created.
Trial and error in fabric production is costly and time-consuming in terms of yarn and knitting costs. However, MUUGI believes that it is possible to create new products by fully utilizing the knowledge and skills of skilled craftsmen, which cannot be achieved by simply purchasing existing fabrics in circulation.
Most of all, we would love for you to experience the comfort of our fabric that you have never touched before!

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