What is crepe fabric? Crepe fabric is a material that was made originally from silk and was used as a traditional fabric worn to mourn a loved one’s death. However, because modern crepe is incredibly versatile, it has become the fabric of choice for many different garments.
Since crepe can be produced in numerous forms, it is suitable for different occasions and seasons. In fact, you likely own clothes made from crepe or have worked with this fabric before. Even though it can be a little slippery, the drape and texture of crepe fabric are impeccable. So, what is crepe fabric? Continue reading to learn more about crepe and why it is an appealing material to use.
What Is Crepe Fabric?
Crepe is a fabric that undergoes a weaving or chemical method to create a unique rippled effect. Often crepe will be smooth on one side and textured on the other. Crepe fabrics are often used for evening wear due to their delicate nature and soft draping properties.
In many Western cultures, crepe fabric was once worn by women when mourning. In modern times, fabric designers have combined different types of crepe fabric in the manufacturing of their textiles and clothing.
What Are the Characteristics of Crepe Fabric?
Now you have the answer to what is crepe fabric, let’s discuss what makes it unique as a material. Depending on the fiber content, the characteristics of crepe fabric may differ substantially.
To better understand crepe fabric, it is best to discuss some of its features:
Advantages of Crepe Fabric
- Breathable - One of crepe fabric's defining characteristics is its breathability. Organic crepe and cotton crepe fabric tend to be the most breathable among all its types.
- Moisture-Absorbing - Crepe fabric is also absorbent, making it ideal for use in warmer climates.
- Crepe Texture - Another defining trait of crepe fabric is its unique texture. This makes it the perfect material for garments requiring a large amount of drape.
- Adaptable - This fabric is so versatile and can be used for any occasion, including casual clothing and even formal wear, like evening gowns.
Disadvantages of Crepe Fabric
- Shrinkage - Crepe fabric is prone to shrinking when washed
- Need to Dry Clean - Most crepe is recommended to be dry cleaned, and this adds to the overall cost of the garment.
- Expensive - Some crepe fabrics can be expensive, particularly if they are made with silk.
- Flammable - Many crepe fabrics have a low resistance to heat, especially crepe fabrics made from silk or polyester.
Types of Crepe Fabric
Now you know more about what is crepe fabric, let’s discuss its different fabric types. There are various types of crepe materials that differ based on how they have been constructed and the fibers used.
1. Canton Crepe
This crepe fabric traces its origins back to the Canton province in China. When you look at it, you will be reminded of crepe de chine. However, this one is a little heavier.
2. Crepe-Back Satin
Crepe-back satin is a satin crepe fabric with a smooth and soft satin feel on one side and a crinkled crepe look and feel on the other. It is often made from polyester.
3. Crepe Charmeuse
Crepe charmeuse is another crepe created from silk fabric. It is woven using the satin weave method and crepe twist yarns. The material is smooth and satin-like with a flat back. The signature crepe appearance of the fabric is made possible by the crepe yarns.
4. Crepe de Chine
This lightweight crepe fabric is typically made from silk but has a smoother finish than other crepes. Crepe de chine tends to have a pebbled, matte, and smooth feel, so you can usually see it used on luxurious garments and evening gowns. If is made from silk, when exposed to sunlight or sweat, this fabric becomes weak. Polyester or synthetic crepe de chine is considerably cheaper and extremely versatile.
5. Crepe Georgette
Crepe Georgette is a thin crepe that can be made from silk or silk-like materials. It is highly elastic and drapes well. It is sometimes called chiffon. The soft texture makes it easy to drape, so it is ideal for women’s clothing. Aside from evening wear and gowns, this fabric is used for making skirts, blouses, and dresses.
6. Moroccan Crepe Fabric
Moroccan crepe or crepe marocain has a woven and heavy texture. This ribbed crepe fabric is often made from rayon, wool, or silk. Its distinct ribbed and wavy texture is due to the twisted yarns in its weft. It is ideal for making suits and dresses.
7. Plissé Crepe
Making Plisse crepe involves the use of heavy rollers to imprint a crepe design into the fabric. A chemical treatment or wax treatment can also be done to give this crepe fabric type its appearance. Plisse crepe, as a result, is very strong, and you do not need to iron it as the texture is permanent.
8. Polyester Crepe
This crepe fabric is made from man made fibers or polyester. It is usually thin and lightweight, so the material has a beautiful drape. Polyester crepe fabric is used for sewing light blouses, skirts, and dresses.
9. Wool Crepe
Wool crepe or crepon is a comfortable type of crepe fabric. The wool fibers can be combined with polyester, cotton, or silk fibers. It has a more subtle texture and, due to its wool component, is warm while being breathable. Wool crepe is often used to make suits and dresses.
How Is Crepe Fabric Produced?
Now you know what is crepe fabric and its different types, let’s discuss how it’s produced.
The primary distinguishing feature of crepe fabric is the ripple-look weave. The material can be made from natural fibers such as silk or wool, or synthetic fibers.
There are many ways to make this ripple effect in order for it to be called crepe. This makes it quite different from other types of fabric that can only be made one way.
One method is where crepe yarn fibers are created with hard twisting where the textile fibers are twisted tighter than usual. Once produced, the yarns are dyed, woven, and turned into clothing.
What is Crepe Fabric Uses
This textile’s use has expanded considerably in modern times:
- Crepe is ideal for airy and flowy clothing giving it a textured and light feel.
- Because of its lightweight characteristic, it is also used in making eveningwear, lingerie, wedding dresses, scarves, shawls, and other light pieces of clothing.
- Heavier crepe can be used for curtains, cushions, and homewares.
- Wool crepe is durable and recommended for heavy-duty garments such as dresses, jackets, and sweaters.
- Crepe fabric makes beautiful dresses with an amazing fabric drape that is flattering on many body shapes.
What is Crepe Fabric Care Instructions
Crepe material can be made from various fibers, so it is essential to follow the care instructions for this fabric. Moreover, it is better to have it dry cleaned than wash it in a washing machine because the fabric will significantly shrink.
If the care tags indicate, you can also handwash it. Here are the steps for handwashing crepe fabric:
- Fill a basin with cold or lukewarm water and add a delicate laundry detergent. Mix it thoroughly.
- Immerse your crepe fabric and swirl lightly.
- Once it’s clean, take out the fabric and wring it gently.
- Rinse using warm water and wring one more time to remove excess water. You can also pat excess moisture with a towel.
- Let the crepe fabric air dry. Do not use a tumble dryer.
- Use a cool to warm iron to press the fabric. Keep in mind that you need to iron the underside of the fabric. Ensure you use a pressing cloth.
What Is Crepe Fabric - In Conclusion
You now know what is crepe fabric and its features and uses. The crepe fabric has a lot of variations. That is why it is not only beautiful but also versatile in clothing and home decor. Now that you have a better understanding of what is crepe fabric, you can enjoy its flowy drape freely.
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