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 garment making. Additionally, since it 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 special weaving treatment method to create a unique three-dimensional and rippled texture. Garments and other textiles made from this fabric are delicate, so they are typically worn for special events. In many Western cultures, crepe was traditionally worn by women when mourning. However, this tradition is not widely practiced nowadays. Meanwhile, other cultures combined different types of crepe fabric in the manufacturing of their textiles.
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 what is crepe fabric, it is best to discuss some of its features.
- Breathable - One of crepe fabric's defining characteristics is its breathability. Organic crepe fabric tends to be the most breathable amongst all its types. However, other fibers also offer enough ventilation, even when used in high temperatures.
- Moisture-Absorbing - Crepe fabric is also absorbent, making it ideal for use in warmer climates.
- Flammable - Many crepe fabrics have a low resistance to heat, especially crepe fabrics made from silk.
- Three-Dimensional - Another defining trait of crepe fabric is its unique ability to create a three-dimensional shape. This makes it the perfect material for garments.
- Adaptable - This fabric is so versatile and can be used for any occasion including casual clothing and even formal wear, like evening gowns.
Types of Crepe Fabric?
Now you know more about what is crepe fabric, let’s discuss its different fabric types. There are many various types of crepe fabric. However, all of them differ based on how they have been constructed and the fibers used.
Crepe de Chine
This lightweight crepe fabric is typically made from silk without the clear-cut finish of textured crepe. 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. Moreover, crepe de chine also has very twisted fibers. It has silk yarns in the warp and worsted yarns in the weft. When exposed to sunlight or sweat, this fabric becomes weak.
Crepe Georgette is a thin crepe fabric type that can be made from matte silk or silk-like materials. It is highly elastic and drapes well. It is sometimes called chiffon. The texture is fluid making it easy to drape, and so it is ideal for women’s clothing. Aside from evening wear and gowns, this fabric is used for making skirts, blouses, and dresses.
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.
Making Plisse crepe involves the use of heavy rollers. These imprint a crepe design into the fabric. A chemical treatment can also be done to give this crepe fabric type its appearance. This cotton fabric has pebbled or striped patterns made of wax, and they are submerged in an alkaline solution. When the wax is taken off, there are stripes on the uncovered parts of the fabric that shrunk. As a result, the material is very strong, and you do not need to iron it.
Wool crepe or crepon is a wiry type of crepe fabric resulting in the mixing of cotton and silk fibers. The fabric’s unique look appears when the yarn is treated during weaving. It’s often used to make dresses and lingerie.
This crepe fabric is made from synthetic fibers or polyester. It is ordinarily thin and lightweight, so the material has a beautiful drape. Polyester crepe fabric is used for creating blouses, skirts, and dresses. To create a stretch crepe, elastane is sometimes incorporated.
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.
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 because the weaves are heavier.
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.
How Is Crepe Fabric Produced?
Now you know what is crepe fabric and its different types, let’s discuss how it’s produced. Many processes can be utilized to create the base textile for crepe fabric. Its final product also depends on how it was made.
The primary distinguishing feature of crepe fabric is the weave. The weave can be made from natural or synthetic fibers. Textile producers and designers have discovered various ways to make a material that all agree upon as a crepe fabric.
Crepe yarn is created through a process known as hard twisting. Hard twisting involves twisting the textile fibers utilized in manufacturing the yarn tighter than usual. Moreover, the alternating S and Z twists result in a yarn with a unique bouncy feel. These alternating spinning methods, known as right-hand and left-hand twists, make crepe yarn, regardless of the material used.
After the crepe yarn is produced, it can be treated, dyed, and turned into clothing. There are instances wherein the facility that made the completed crepe and yarn is the same. However, it is usually done by two separate facilities.
What is Crepe Fabric - Uses
Crepe fabric can be seen in high fashion and other decorative garments. This textile’s use has expanded a lot compared to its traditional use. For example, it’s ideal for airy and flowy clothing because it can be combined with other fabric types, giving it a one-of-a-kind textured and light profile.
Because of its sensitive characteristic, it is also used in making evening wear, scarves, and other light pieces of clothing. Compared to silk crepe, wool crepe is more durable. That means that the latter is recommended for heavy-duty garments such as dresses and sweaters. Even though synthetic crepe is more durable in many different ways, it is considered very flammable. On the other hand, crepe fabric with natural fibers such as wool is more resistant to fire.
One of the most common uses of this fabric is making dresses. This is because the drape is nicer compared to other materials. However, crepe fabric is not commonly seen on everyday dresses. It is more common for garments used in weddings, photoshoots, and other high-class events.
What is Crepe Fabric - Care Instructions
Crepe fabric can be made from various ways and 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. With that said, here are the steps for handwashing crepe fabric:
- Fill a basin with around 1 gallon of water and a teaspoon of delicate laundry detergent. Mix it properly so that the detergent can be incorporated into the water.
- 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.
- Let the crepe fabric air dry. Do not use a tumble dryer.
- Use a warm iron to iron the fabric. Keep in mind that you need to iron the underside of the fabric. For silk crepe fabrics, use a cool iron and put a thin towel between the iron and the fabric.
What Is Crepe Fabric - In Conclusion
Finally, 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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