Jap silk–the favourite soft, wispy, silky but slightly matte fabric used in lingerie and lampshade coverings, a habotai, habouti or pongee from Japan and China.
Now always known as habotai – Jap silk was so called when it was widely exported from Japan to the west in the first half of the 20C. My mother knew it as Jap silk and 20c furnishings and lampshade books always refer to it as such.
The vast range of colours and relatively low cost makes it extremely practicable; as with all silk it will perish quickly in direct sunlight, so much more suited to lampshades and cushions, and perhaps quilted bedcovers than window drapes, which won’t last as long as they should.
The traditional way to prepare lampshade frames is by binding the struts with lengths of jap silk: these are cut on the cross, 2.5cm (1″ ) wide and then folded in half for use; the binding, lining and top cover can all be made of the same silk.