What is Crepe de Chine? It's how the French call it, the “Crepe from China”. It's a kind of fabric processed with a matte finish and textured surface. It makes for an excellent fabric in making slacks due to its wrinkle resistance, durability, and lightweight design. Aside from slacks, it is also commonly used in making evening wear, suits, dresses, and skirts.
What is Crepe de Chine?
Crepe de Chine can be made from different fabrics, but the most common kind is processed using silk. Other varieties are manufactured using other materials with similar feels to silk, including cotton and synthetic items, such as acetate, rayon, nylon, or polyester.
Since it is lightweight, the words “fluid drape” and “silky smooth feel” are commonly used when answering the question about what is Crepe de Chine. This is why you will likely find scarves and shawls made from Crepe de Chine as well as airy blouses and bridal dresses.
Crepe de Chine vs. Crepe
Crepe de Chine is one of the many kinds of crepe fabric. Crepe can be manufactured using almost any kind of fabric, such as synthetic like rayon or polyester or natural like wool, cotton, or raw silk. It can be knitted or woven, but all crepe fabric looks wrinkly, which was done on purpose using different kinds of manufacturing methods.
The methods in which the crepe fabric was manufactured to attain specific textures define its types. Aside from crepe de chine, the other types of crepe include the following:
- Crepe charmeuse – This fabric has a dull black feature but is reflective and smooth like satin. It has crepe yarns which is definitive of what crepe is known for. This silk fabric is woven with crepe twist yarns and satin.
- Plissé crepe – The fabric is unique for its folded pleat due to its crinkles and puckered surface achieved through the fabric's chemical treatment. This can be done by dipping a wax pattern in an alkaline solution and covering the fabric with it or pressing the fabric using hot rollers to make the pattern. Once done, the parts of the fabric without wax will decrease in size, so when the wax is taken out, wrinkles will form throughout the fabric.
- Canton crepe – The name of the fabric comes from the origin of the silk it is made of, which is in the province of Canton in China. It is slightly heavier than crepe de chine due to the bigger mass of the weaved fill yarns.
- Crepe-back satin – This satin fabric has two sides with a different texture. One side feels and looks like a crepe and has a crinkled texture. The other side has a soft and smooth feel like satin.
- Polyester crepe – This thin and lightweight fabric is made from polyester synthetic fiber. It flows smoothly, which makes it ideal for making blouses, skirts, and dresses. Some types include elastane in making a stretch crepe.
- Wool crepe – The fabric can be made from wool, synthetic fabric, or cotton. It has a wiry and tough surface that can resist creases and makes it ideal in making dresses, pants, and suits.
- Crepe georgette – The fabric is typically made from silk, but some types are manufactured using rayon and other synthetic fibers. It's commonly used in dresses due to its nice drape and a bit of elasticity.
What is Crepe de Chine - More about Silk
What makes crepe de chine smooth is the basic material used in making it – silk. The latter is a protein filament fiber naturally made by insects, spiders, and moths.
Silk is commonly used in making fabrics, including crepe de chine, due to its basic properties which include the following:
- It is often resistant to creases and has a bit of elasticity.
- It can be easily dyed.
- Aside from dresses and formal attire, it is also used in making surgical sutures in the medical field. They are used by patients suffering from severe skin allergies.
- Polyurethane coating can be used to make silk waterproof.
- It feels cool to the skin but can also provide warmth when needed.
- It is capable of absorbing moisture.
Polyester Crepe de Chine vs. Silk Crepe de Chine
What is Crepe de Chine? Most crepe de chine fabric is made from silk. Unlike other crepe fabrics, silk crepe de chine doesn't have a wrinkled texture. Instead, it has a matte finish and feels smooth and soft.
On the other hand, Polyester crepe de chine has a similar texture and appearance to the fabric made from silk. The main difference lies in the price. You can get the fabric made from polyester at prices more affordable.
Here are the other characteristics of the two kinds of crepe de chine:
- Weight – The fabric made from polyester is a bit heavier than the kind made from silk.
- Texture – Polyester crepe de chine feels delicate and has a soft drape and semi-sheer appearance. On the other hand, silk crepe de chine feels a little rough but still soft and lightweight. It is durable, has a semi-sheer, fluid drape, and matte sheen.
What is Crepe de Chine Used for?
Aside from blouses and dresses, polyester also makes excellent linings and underwear. Silk crepe de chine is typically used in making lingerie, evening wear, skirts, dresses, and blouses.
What is Crepe de Chine - Fabric Properties
What is Crepe de Chine’s history? Ancient Chinese folks, specifically those who belong to imperial families, were fond of clothing made from the finest fabrics. It is no longer surprising that it is where crepe de chine originated from.
Crepe de chine had a boost in popularity in the 60s when Hollywood celebrities walked the red carpet with outfits made from this fabric. Its popularity never waned through the years due to its features and properties:
- Classy yet fun appearance – The fabric looks lustrous without going overboard. It also drapes nicely, which makes it look romantic and feminine.
- Durability – The fabric can retain its nice appearance for a long time since it doesn't fade or get weaker even when frequently exposed to the sun. It is made stronger by the highly twisted fibers of the silk or other materials used in making them.
- Lightweight – You can wear a dress made from crepe de chine that weighs only around 300 grams. The fabric is light and soft to touch. This is why it is a good fabric for making blouses and summer dresses.
- Breathable – The fabric, especially the kind made from natural materials, feels nice even during the warmer months.
- Wrinkle-free – The fabric remains crease-free even when worn all day. This is one of the properties that make it stand out among the fake ones and imitations.
What are Crepe de Chine Caring Instructions?
What is Crepe de Chine care instructions? To be safe, it is recommended to dry clean your clothing made from crepe de chine. This fabric is coated, so dry cleaning would cause lesser damage to the surface than regular washing.
If dry cleaning is not an option and you'd instead wash the fabric on your own, keep the following tips in mind:
- It is better to hand wash the fabric, but if you have to use the washing machine, make sure it is set to a delicate mode.
- Use soft gels in washing the fabric. Detergents may contain chemicals that can potentially damage the material or cause fading.
- Do not hang it under the sun's direct heat. Hang it somewhere cool and accessible to the air, and leave it to dry. Never use your dryer in dealing with the fabric.
- Avoid hanging the fabric near a radiator. The heat may cause the fabric to become fragile.
- Use a cool iron and run it through the reverse section of the fabric.
What is Crepe de Chine Popular Fashion Prints?
Aside from the comfort and the fabric's versatility, it has become a fashion favorite due to its modern designs and a wide range of color selections.
Here are some of the most popular fashion prints that you can choose from when buying the fabric or items of clothing made from crepe de chine:
- Classic – You will never go wrong with something made from a black silk crepe de chine for any formal or romantic event. It looks classy and expensive without compromising your comfort.
- Polka dots – Many fashion experts have always included the fabric in their lineup of summer outfits. Polka dots are among the most sought-after designs during the warm season.
- Floral – Floral prints look nice in flowy dresses and airy blouses. The fabric comes in various floral designs – exotic, big, and small flowers of several types.
What is Crepe de Chine - In Conclusion
What is crepe de Chine? The fabric is favored for its comfort and durability. The material is also versatile and can be turned into various dresses, suits, lingerie, and many more. It is best to have your clothes made from this fabric dry cleaned to ensure they won't shrink.
It is better to hand wash or put it in the machine in a delicate setting if you can't. While it is made to last long, proper caring is needed to see that the fabric will retain its nice appearance, colors, and finish for a long time.
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