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Chiffon Fabric

All About Chiffon, a Fabric That Epitomizes Femininity and Luxury

Think about the most feminine and luxuriant of all fabrics, and your thought will first go to chiffon. So, why is this fabric such a favorite with brides? We try to understand why.
Tulika Nair
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
It is one of the most important days of your life (some may argue the most important). Everything is perfect. The winter sun is streaming though the arched trees that line the garden, the flowers are perfectly placed, the exact shade of lavender that you had always imagined they would be, and best of all, your wedding dress is the one you have always dreamed off.
A shift dress with spaghetti straps, the skirt covered by the most luxurious of fabrics, chiffon. Rich, feminine, and ultra luxurious, chiffon is one of those materials that holds a mystical appeal and in a weird way has become synonymous with not just bridal wear but also prom dresses. It is that fabric that lends a special glimmer to every wedding dress, that is the reason for taking the dress from being beautiful to oh-so-gorgeous.
Despite the luxuriance that is associated with the material, very weirdly history tells us that the name for this cloth is derived from the French word for rag. It can be manufactured from many different raw materials, including silk, nylon, polyester, rayon, and even cotton. This is the reason for the many different types of this fabric like, silk chiffon and nylon chiffon. It is slightly-translucent, giving it a barely-there look. It is light and has a very faint glimmer to it which is what makes the material such a hit with bridal parties and teenagers preparing for the prom.
The reason for the balance and lightweight nature that chiffon displays is the way in which it is manufactured. The quality of the material is determined by the type of weave that is used and the twist and weight of the yarns. When chiffon is made, it is woven of high twist yarns of S- and Z- twist crepe. This pattern gathers the fabric in such a manner that it is pulled in both directions. This allows for slight stretchability and a textured feel to the cloth. Due to the fact that it is so light in nature, it tends to fray very easily and the yarns come out. To stop the fraying, it becomes essential to use French seams.
One of the best types is silk chiffon which has a very rich texture and a subtle shimmer to it. This type is also very strong. Not surprisingly, this is the kind of fabric that is most expensive because it is made from natural raw material as compared to more synthetic raw fibers like polyester. The reason synthetic materials are used to make the fabric very often is because dyeing synthetic types is comparatively very easy, making it easy to create printed fabric. Also using synthetic fibers as raw material brings down costs tremendously.
Remember that if you are sewing it yourself for any kind of clothing, you need to be extremely careful. Try and layer two pieces of chiffon with tissue paper in between. This is important as tissue paper helps to hold the chiffon in place. Once you have sewed it, you can easily rip out the tissue paper. Try to be steady while working with chiffon and take as much time as you want as you do not want the fabric to gather or fray.
Chiffon is used for a variety of women's clothing. From chiffon ruffle fabric that is used to make blouses and ribbons to the silk variety that is used to make clothes like bridesmaid dresses. Its light and slippery, shimmery texture makes it a dream to wear. More often that not it is used to overlay opaque clothing made of fabrics like satin but you can always choose to experiment. Just buy rolls in colors you fancy and work your way with them to create your own creations.