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What is silk chiffon fabric?

Solid Color Pure Silk Chiffon Fabric

Chiffon silk is a lightweight sheer silk fabric that provides a wonderful see-though effect. This see-through effect makes it very popular as an overlay for evening wear and bridal gowns. As an overlay, chiffon silk will provide added depth to the garment or gown and will provide the sensation of floating on the body.

The term “chiffon” derived from the French word for cloth simply refers to the weaving process used to make the fabric. It does not refer to the material used to construct the fabric.

Chiffon silk is produced by alternately weaving together S-twist and Z-twist yarns. S-twist yarn is produced by tightly twisting together or plying two or more silk yarns in a counter clockwise (left hand) direction, while Z-twist yarns are wound in a clockwise (right hand) direction.

Alternating the S-twist and Z-twist yarns in the weaving process is the key to providing chiffon silk with not only its name but also with its characteristics.

Chiffon silk has many uses including bridal gowns, evening wear, blouses, scarves, ribbons, home decor and of course lingerie.

Working with Chiffon

In formal wear, chiffon is often used as an overlay over more opaque fabrics. The fabric floats on top, adding shimmer and texture to the dress while keeping the wearer modest. The color of the underlying fabric will also show slightly, so the chiffon is usually coordinated with the underlayer. This fabric is used in tops, skirts, and dresses as well as in scarves, belts, and accents.

When sewing chiffon, many crafters layer tissue paper in between the two pieces being sewn together. The tissue paper helps keep the fabric together, with the rough surface of the tissue holding the chiffon in place while it is handled. After sewing, the tissue paper can be carefully ripped out. Chiffon is also pinnable, as it will spring back, concealing pin marks. As a general rule, sewers should work slowly and steadily with this fabric, taking care not to run it through a sewing machine too quickly or it will bunch and gather.

Garments made of chiffon can be stretched and lose their shape over time if not properly cared for. Chiffon should be washed with like colours to avoid bleeding and colour loss. The material also may lose its colour if exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

Caring for Chiffon

Chiffon fabric made out of silk is the most delicate. Silk pieces should be hand-washed or dry cleaned. Other chiffon fabrics can be run through the washing machine using a light detergent using cold water. To dry the fabric, put in the dryer on a short cycle. Over-drying chiffon may cause the material to wrinkle. To remove wrinkles, slightly wet the garment before applying the iron to the fabric.