Known for its light weight and semi-sheer texture, voile is used widely for creating women’s clothing and home accessories such as curtains and doilies. Let us study the characteristics of this unique fabric more closely.
While purchasing voile fabric, it is important that you test it for durability. For this, scratch the fabric across its grain with your fingernail. If the threads in the weave begin to separate, it indicates that the fabric is not tightly woven, and it will not wear well over a period of time.
Voile is a soft, silky, and sheer type of fabric that is usually made by weaving threads of cotton or its blends like polyester or linen together. Voile is the French term for veil, which indicates its primary intended purpose and nature. This fabric is available in a broad range of shades and patterns. Due to its semitransparent nature, it is mainly used in creating curtains, mosquito netting, and veils, which let indirect light through.
However, it is also used to create women’s summer dresses and undergarments, when woven in layers or in combination with other fabrics such as chiffon. We will now look at how to identify voile fabric depending on various factors and characteristics that affect the quality and appearance of voile fabric.
- Plain Weave Construction: Voile is woven in the style of grids, where horizontal threads go over and under the vertical fibers. These fabrics are made using the shuttling method, where the yarn is moved forwards and backwards throughout the entire process, which keeps the weave loose or tight depending on the number of threads. It is important to note, that using weaving shuttles in this makes sure that the fabric remains sheer even in densely woven clothes.
- Using Long Filament Fibers: All natural voile fabrics use materials such as cotton, wool, etc., which come naturally in long fibers. Even synthetic alternatives such as worsted silk and polyester use the same type of long fiber strands. To give the cloth a light sheen and stiffness, the fibers are combed and twisted slightly. This method gives all voile clothes its sheer and crisp appearance that makes it comparable to organdy.
- Light-weight and Granular Texture:Voile is a lightweight material that has a wiry or granular feel due to the tightly woven fibers. However, it lacks slightly in visual appeal, which makes it unsuitable for evening dinner clothing. It should be used for casual clothing instead. This wiry texture also makes it superior to muslin because it is better at holding its shape.
- Finishing: Voile has a smooth matte finish that is achieved by burning away excess fibers that are sticking out of the surface. Although most voile fabrics have been created with plain pattern weaving; nowadays, new varieties of finishes are available such as seeded, pique, or corded weaves. Also, the invention of more synthetic dyes has created a wide range of color options for the fabric. Synthetic voile is made with the help of materials like wood or petroleum, which makes them robust and strong, and these fabrics take on dyes much better, without compromising on their looks. Therefore, they are often used for creating scarf swags with great prints.
When you look to buy voile for creating various items, it is important to check for certain features:
- It is usually accepted that those fabrics that have a thicker feel are better in quality as this indicates that the weight and the number of the threads per inch are higher, and therefore, more durable.
- Another important thing to check is the stitching of the cloth, it is best if it is tight together, but should allow a little play if stretched.
- The blend of materials used also plays a part on the quality as cotton and other natural variants are more comfortable than synthetic ones; however, they are less durable.
An important factor that you should bear in mind while buying voile is its cost. While regular cotton costs around USD 10 per yard, cotton voile costs USD 15. The price of voile will also differ with the quality of the weave or blends of threads used in its creation. It is a good idea to inquire around different stores before zeroing in on one choice, as cheaper voile may not necessarily be of a good quality, and doing so can save you a lot of money.
- Voile can shrink significantly when washed or dried at high temperatures. Therefore, it is recommended to wash and dry the fabric before you start the sewing process to get the correct measurements.
- Cotton voile is more prone to wrinkling than synthetic ones. However, if you plan on creating summer dresses from polyester voile, it is important to remember that polyester restricts the breathability of the fabric, and will start pilling more faster than cotton.
- Sewing voile clothes is a little tricky as the fabric is slightly slippery. It is usually a good idea to use pins during the stitching process.
- Due to its sheer nature, most voile clothing will require some lining work done on it.
Due to the fact that voile is usually made from cotton or its variants, it is best to wash the fabric in cold water to maintain its shine and weave. The material’s light weight and sweat absorbing qualities make it a very comfortable material for clothing and a popular choice when designing casual wear.