The silk museum Macclesfield

Macclesfield; the silk industry

Different coloured silk fabric

The Silk Town

Morton Sewing is based in the heart of Macclesfield and has been since the business was opened in 1986. Macclesfield has had quite an influence in the world of sewing, over many decades and is often referred to as The Silk Town because if its contributions to the silk industry. The local football team are nicknamed The Silkmen, and there’s even a road running through Macclesfield called The Silk Road. Showing how much it has defined the town. 

So when did it all begin?

Charles Roe built the first silk throwing mill in Macclesfield in 1743 and this is where it all began. There was already  button making industry here but they began spinning broadsheet silk fabric and the silk was considered the finest quality and had a worldwide reputation. Many other businesses soon ‘cottoned on’ and eventually, there were 70 mills around Macclesfield. A lot considering the size of the town! Making it an important place for the world’s silk industry. 

Why was it so successful?

Textile manufacturing dominated the town until the nineteenth century. 

It is thought that the success was down to Macclesfield’s good transport links to other markets as many silk products travelled via the canal system to London. 

In addition, the river Bollin that ran and still runs through Macclesfield today, provided power for the numerous mills and its water was soft enough to use for silk processing.

This resulted in Macclesfield’s silk industry growing and becoming stronger. 

Remaining mills in Macclesfield

You may be reading this blog because you have an interest in the history of silk, Macclesfield or buildings. If this is the case, here are a few remaining buildings that you can visit in Macclesfield. Many of them are listed buildings and will be standing for years to come, showing that Macclesfield is proud of it’s strong and influential silk industry. There are far too many to list within this blog post but here are two that you could take a look at…

Located just up the road from Morton Sewing is Albion Mill. This was a silk Mill, dated 1843 and was built for Thomas Heapy. It is now the home of local businesses. 

A picture of Albion Mill in Macclesfield
The silk museum Macclesfield

Also close to Morton Sewing you can find The Silk Museum. They offer guided tours around the looms and know all there is to know about silk and how it’s made!

The best sewing machine for sewing silk

Here at Morton Sewing Machines we would say that the perfect machine to sew silk is the Juki  HZL dx7.

With it’s many functions, it enables a superior stitch quality and allows you sew silk with non of the usual mishaps. 

Sewing a delicate fabric, such as silk, often leads to uneven seams and slipping of the fabric. The float function together with the box feed system would allow you to sew with the pressure slightly raised, preventing uneven seams when sewing your silk together. Whilst also keeping your fabric in place, enabling you to sew a beautiful even stitch. 

It’s fitting that Morton Sewing is based in a town where there is a strong link to silk, the making of it and probably over the years the sewing of it too! 

It is evident that Macclesfield had a significant role in the silk industry and the history very much still lives on in this town. If you have an interest in the history of silk or the buildings that still remain, get yourself into Macclesfield!

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