Did you ever wonder what to call that silk fabric used for so many scarves? You know, the elegant light fabric with a diagonal twill weave? 

From the VFG Fabric Resource:

Surah is usually made of silk, or sometimes with silky manufactured fibers. It is found in a right-hand twill weave with the diagonal pattern of the twill visible on both sides. It is soft, smooth and fine and can be printed or solid. The French name surah comes from Surat, India, where the fabric was either first made, or dealt in, depending on the source of information. 
Uses: Neckties (it is sometimes called tie silk), scarves, blouses, dresses, and lingerie 
See also:
©Vintage Fashion Guild - Text by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain,  photo by Hoyt Carter

Although scarves are certainly more common than dresses made of surah, it makes a beautiful dress fabric—as Claire McCardell must have thought in designing this dress (from my web store).