Chiffon in French means rag, and is a lightweight sheer material that feels a bit rough. It can be made from silk, cotton or synthetic fibers. However, it is usually associated with either nylon or silk. Chiffon can be dyed using almost any shade desired, but if you are to use polyester, it is quite difficult. When using magnifying glass, the fabric resembles a fine mesh or net; thus have a see-through characteristic.
What it’s Typically Used For
Chiffon is generally used as an evening wear. It has an overlay property, hence elegant and somewhat floating in appearance. It is also popularly used in blouses, scarves, lingerie and ribbons. However, most people find this fabric hard to work with due its lightweight and slippery nature.
(Picture from www.ec21.com)
Moreover, since chiffon is delicate, it should be hand washed gently; using a washing machine will only tear the fabric. On the other hand, a garment that is made using this fabric can rip apart if the wearer is cautious enough.
What it’s made of
Nowadays, chiffon is made from polyester for the purpose having resistance toward stains. And in order to do so, one must weave it as a stretch- fabric. This technique is basically a way of making non-stretchable fabrics.
Furthermore, silk chiffon is still considered as the premium type. It is can be dried and cleaned easily. It does not also suffer from the same level of degradation and tearing compared to polyester chiffon. It is stocked either as piece-dyed (all one color) or cross-dyed (in iridescent color) by most textile companies.
Why Chiffon Clothes Are Likely to be Expensive
Silk chiffon is the most prized among any other fabrics, since it is richer in shimmer and slicker in texture. And surprisingly, this fabric is quite strong for its weight. Nevertheless, it tends to be more expensive than synthetic ones because it is made from natural fibers.
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On the other hand, silk chiffon is used to make georgette – sometimes called crepe. This type is thicker and more opaque. Another natural fiber is cotton, which is also used in making chiffon-based clothes. However, the resulting fabric is more matte and less floaty in nature.
Synthetic Chiffon Fabric
More often than not, synthetic fibers are used to create chiffon. And since most synthetics take time to dye well, they are relatively cheap but tend to be sturdy. The fabric, particularly, is still delicate enough that is should only be hand washed using cold water.
Things to Remember When Sewing Chiffon
When sewing Chiffon, a lot of crafters use layer tissues in between the two pieces being sewn together. The tissue paper basically helps the fabric to be intact, as the rough surface of the tissue holds the chiffon in place while being handled or sewed.
After sewing, the tissue paper can be carefully removed or ripped out. It is worth noting also that this fabric can be pinned and will spring back, concealing pin marks. A general rule of thumb is that working on it should be taken slowly and steadily; or else, running it quickly through a sewing machine will only result to unwanted appearance.