One of the most popular fabrics of today, Crepe or crape is a crinkled, crisp, and lightweight fabric usually used to make luxury garments. It comes in a different variety of weights, textures, and weaves. Read this Fashionhance article to know the description, types, and uses of crepe fabric.
Did You Know?
Crepe was used for making mourning clothes for widows during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 – 1901 and also for veils in nuns’ habits as well.
Crepe, Crêpe, in French, or Crape, as it is called in English, is a clothing material that is crinkled or puckered. It is made of almost any kind of major fabric. It can be thin, hard or soft, fine or opaque, or even heavy. This fabric is achieved after a number of processes. It is the result of yarn twists, tight weaving, uneven warp tension, knotting, or chemical treatment. It is a low-maintenance fabric material that is repulsive of creases, which makes it a versatile and hard fabric that fits comfortably on the skin. The wide range of colors and its inexpensive price makes it an ideal fabric in clothing as well as for home décor all over the world.
Before going into the details, let us first see how crepe gained its popularity.
History of Crepe Fabric
During the Victorian era, i.e., 1837 – 1901, crepe was used for making mourning clothing for widows. It was so extensively used in 1890s that Courtaulds, a UK-based manufacturer built a textile empire for the crepe cloth only. Black crepe was the main mourning color for deepest mourning, while white crepe was used for making caps for widows.
Crepe Fabric Description
The puckered or granular texture of the crepe fabric is achieved through chemical treatment, variations or irregular patterns in weaving, yarn twists, or embossing. It is usually woven with a hard-twist crepe yarn that gives a high number of twists per inch or with ‘S’ and ‘Z’ twists alternatively that give out a rippled effect. In ‘S’ twists, the twist looks like the center part of the letter ‘S’, and in ‘Z’ twists, it looks like the center of the letter ‘Z’. Fabrics like silk, wool, polyester, or cotton are used to create crepe fabrics. These patterns are then embedded into the fabrics permanently by applying a combination of heat and pressure.
Characteristics of Crepe Fabric
► It is thin and lightweight.
► It is soft, smooth, and has good drapability, giving graceful folds.
► It comes in a wide variety of colors, weights, textures, and degrees of sheerness.
► It gives a good slimming effect.
► It has a crinkled and puckered texture.
► It has a good durability, and is easy to cut and sew.
Types of Crepe Fabric
There are a number of fabrics that can be used to produce crepe fabrics.
► Crêpe De Chine
Crêpe De Chine (or crepe de Chine) is a lightweight, smooth, very sheer, and puckered fabric made of silk that doesn’t have a notable crepe finish. It is flat crepe that is used for dresses, evening wear, and blouses. It is made with highly twisted yarns of silk warps and wefts. The fabric weakens when it is exposed to sunlight.
► Polyester Crepe
It is a thin fabric that has a matte finish with a coarse and nubby texture, which is not easily visible. It doesn’t shrink or fade, and looks new for a long period of time. It repels wrinkles and is easy to maintain. It is usually used in formal wear, suits, and blouses because of its drapability.
► Cotton Crepe
It is a luxury fabric with good sheerness and crinkled texture. It is lightweight and easy to sew. It is the most widely used fabric because of its versatility and comfort. It has a graceful drape, and usually used in loose-fitted clothes, blouses, evening wear, suits, and gowns.
► Crepe-Back Satin
It is a satin fabric that has rich satin luster on the side and a crepe finish at the back. It is a perfect material for prom dresses, bridal gowns, and evening wear. It has great durability and comfort. Highly twisted yarns are used in producing crepe-back satin.
► Georgette Crepe
It is a thin silk-like fabric with matte finish that drapes well and fits easily on the skin. It is sheer and flat, and has a grainy feel to it. It is sometimes called chiffon. Its drapability makes it an ideal choice for women’s clothing. It is mostly used in making evening wear, gowns, and dresses.
► Wool Crepe
Wool crepe is a light to medium-weight fabric that is a mix of silk and cotton fabrics. The grainy and crepe effect is the result of variations in weaving process and combination of ‘S’ and ‘Z’ twists. Clothing made out of wool crepe is comfortable to wear and looks elegant.
► Plisse Crepe
It is created by using heavy rollers or chemical treatment that give a crepe pattern to the fabric. Cotton is mostly used in producing Plisse crepe. It is covered in wax in a crinkled pattern and then treated with an alkaline solution. The parts that are uncovered shrink, giving a puckered effect after removal of wax. It doesn’t need any ironing.
► Moroccan Crepe
It is made of silk, wool, or rayon, and is heavily textured. It is made by heavy yarn twists in the weft that give a wavy and crinkled texture. It is usually used to make suits and dresses.
Uses of Crepe Fabric
► It is mainly used in making women’s scarves and other accessories.
► It is also used for making costumes, especially belly dancing costumes.
► It is widely used in making Indian saris along with embroideries.
► It is also used in making tablecloths and home décor items.
Crepe Fabric Care
► Use a delicate laundry detergent for washing the cloth.
► Rinse the fabric with warm water to remove soap.
► Air-dry the crepe.
► When ironing, always iron the crepe with a warm iron on the underside of the crepe clothing.
► For silk crepes, use a cool iron and place a cloth or towel between the crepe and the iron.
Crepe is an ideal choice for summers and children’s wear because it repels wrinkles and creases, and needs very less ironing due to its crinkled texture. Moreover, it is soft, comfortable, and drapes well on the body.