Woven fabrics are usually a must-have for most wardrobes because of their durability and strength. Although there are several woven fabrics to select from, we can’t ignore the two most common choices: chiffon and crepe. These woven materials are outstanding and used for many purposes today in the fashion industry. However, they differ in many ways, as we’ll explore in this chiffon vs crepe comparison.
This article will discuss these two fabrics, the different types, and their unique characteristics. In addition, this chiffon vs crepe comparison aims to provide you with more insight into the fabrics and the ideal use for them. On that note, let’s begin.
Chiffon vs Crepe – What is Chiffon Fabric
Chiffon was originally made in France. However, it is now found around the world and within several wardrobes. The weaving process creates a plain weave fabric that features a slight shine. Chiffon can be woven from cotton, viscose, polyester, silk, rayon, etc. The weaving process usually results in small puckers that make chiffon feel rough to the touch. This fabric is ideal for evening wear because of its lightweight and softness. It often appears as gauze, and manufacturers weave it with a slight twist in the yarn.
This twisting process gives the chiffon some stretch that looks like a fine net when examined closely. Due to its slightly transparent feature, it would provide an overlay effect for most dresses. It is commonly used in scarves, lingerie, and many more.
Chiffon vs Crepe – What is Crepe?
Crepe can feature wool, silk, or any synthetic fabric as its base material. It features a unique wrinkled and bumpy appearance. It is just as light as chiffon, but it can be any weight, unlike chiffon. You can use crepe in making dresses, pants, suits, and many more. It is also popular in home décors like curtains, pillows, etc. It features a three-dimensional texture manufactured through different spinning techniques and hard twisting. The varying spinning techniques help create the iconic crinkled look of the crepe fabric.
Although different crepe fabrics are available, you can always tell them apart with their unique properties. This includes the twisted fibers, softness, crimpled appearance, and lightweight.
How is Chiffon Fabric Made?
Manufacturers produce chiffon fabric through different methods. Typically, it depends on the material used to weave the textile. The different materials have varying production method that affects the method used in producing chiffon. However, irrespective of the base material, the weaving process is usually uniform once the manufacturers create the textile yarn. Most times, the yarn used for chiffon fabric follows opposing Z-shaped and S-shaped curves. In the end, it is woven together using either a loom or an industrial weaving machine.
Because of the delicate feature of the chiffon fabric, it’s common for manufacturers to weave it by hand. Unfortunately, manufacturing chiffon fabric is usually a slow and arduous process, irrespective of the material. Although there are automated machines you can use in manufacturing the chiffon fabric, the machines also have to work at a slow pace to prevent damage to the finished product.
Due to its slippery nature, most tailors also have to place sheets of paper on both sides of the chiffon while sewing. The goal is to ensure that the chiffon fabric doesn’t move during the sewing process. After sewing, the tailors carefully rip out the papers. Additionally, chiffon wearers also have to care for this fabric delicately to prevent damage while washing.
Chiffon vs Crepe – How is Crepe Fabric Made?
Crepe’s base fabric can be natural or synthetic. Irrespective of the fiber used in its production, all crepe fabrics feature a wrinkled appearance. You can use different manufacturing methods to achieve this unique crepe look. For example, you can make crepes through knitting or weaving. The materials and methods used in its creation distinguish one type of crepe from another.
Although the initial fiber used for crepe was silk, you can use cotton, rayon, spandex, chiffon, and more to produce crepe today. First, it undergoes a weaving treatment to create its ripple texture, distinguishing crepe from other fabrics. The first process involved in manufacturing crepe is complex twisting which requires twisting the textile fibers to make crepe yarn. After the yarn production, the second step is using the yarn for stitching, dyeing, and garments.
Chiffon vs Crepe – Characteristics of the Chiffon Fabric
There are many exciting features that the chiffon fabric has to offer. Below are a few of them to get you started.
You can use chiffon for different purposes, but you can also make it from different fabrics. Although chiffon was originally from silk, a natural fiber, you can now produce it from various materials. However, today’s most expensive chiffon you can find in many fabric catalogs features silk as the base material. You can also make chiffon from rayon, cotton, polyester, and many more; this category of chiffon is more affordable.
Despite its different base materials, the best part about chiffon is that they’re also affordable. The synthetic chiffon looks similar to the silk chiffon, but it can be difficult telling them apart. However, a burning test can always inform you about the fabric’s fiber content.
Another impressive feature of the chiffon fabric is its lightweight. You’ll notice this similarity between the two fabrics in the chiffon vs crepe comparison. Due to its lightweight feature, you can use chiffon for many purposes. Most fashion designers love to use this fabric to add volume to a dress without dealing with extra weight on the garment. Pleats and ruffles designed using chiffon are usually lightweight and give the cloth a flowing elegance. That’s why chiffon is popular in wedding dresses and evening wears.
It is Thin to Touch and Loose
The chiffon weave is usually a simple square type. However, it needs lining if you want to use it in making dresses because it is a loose weave fabric. There’s a need for strong seam stitching because the weave of this fabric can lead to seam slipping. In addition, the thinness of the fabric makes it easy to snag and, therefore, requires careful handling. When using the chiffon fabric, the last thing you want is to pull its threads, especially when sewing.
One feature that’s common with chiffon fabric is its stretchiness. This is due to the twisted yarn used in its production. Therefore, most people use chiffon in soft, flowing garments. However, you should note that chiffon’s stretchiness isn’t enough to make fitted garments. However, they’re adequate to add extra stretch to any garment it features in.
Chiffon vs Crepe: Characteristics of the Crepe Fabric
For quite a long time, crepe has been famous in fashion. Most fashion designers would argue that the feel of crepe on the skin and the fall of a crepe dress are unmatched. The varying textures, weights, and weaves also determine how crepe feels on the skin. To help you understand better, you’ll find some unique features of crepe you should know below.
This is where crepe differs from chiffon in this chiffon vs crepe comparison. Although chiffon is just as versatile, there are several more uses for the crepe fabric. It is available in different textures and weights, ensuring its versatility. You can use crepe to create summer garments or woolen crepe fabric for winter fabrics. You’ll also come across crepe in home décor and furnishing items.
Breathability is a significant feature of the crepe fabric because it is lightweight and sheer. This allows for air to pass through freely. You can wear some types of crepe at high temperatures to ensure ample ventilation.
As we pointed out in this chiffon vs crepe comparison, chiffon is quite stretchy. However, so is some types of crepe. For example, crepe georgette is quite stretchy and provides an excellent drape in gowns and dresses. Crepe created from spandex also offers more stretchiness than every type of chiffon. Other types of crepe fabric produced from elastic fiber are pretty stretchy and active. This allows the wearer of crepe dresses to move freely without compromising the shape and appearance of the dress.
When caring for your crepe garments, you need to carefully follow the label’s instructions. This is because the different types of crepe fabric feature different base materials and different maintenance rules. Usually, delicate crepe fabrics made of wool, silk, or viscose require more maintenance than others made with polyester or fabric. In addition, although some are machine-friendly, some crepes are best washed by hand.
The appearance of the crepe fabric allows all shapes and sizes to wear it comfortably. It adds a beautiful drape to skirts, dresses, pants, and gowns, making it a top choice for formal wear. Some crepe fabrics come with a wrinkled appearance. However, some crepe fabrics are wrinkle-free and offer a beautiful appearance.
To avoid trapped sweat in your clothes, you need to consider the moisture-wicking features. For example, polyester crepe can help draw moisture from the body, ensuring a high moisture-wicking ability. The higher the wicking ability of a fabric, the faster moisture evaporates from the body.
This feature entirely depends on the fiber used in its production. For example, most silk crepes offer a low heat resistance. Therefore, they’re ideal for summer and when the temperature is high. On the other hand, woolen crepes are best for winter because of their high heat resistance. They will retain heat in your body, leaving you feeling warm.
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Chiffon vs Crepe – Final Thoughts
In this chiffon vs crepe comparison, we covered how to produce chiffon and crepe. We also touched on their features to help you understand the difference between the two fabrics. A similarity between the two fabrics is that you can use different base materials in their production. However, they differ in their appearance and versatility, amongst others. They also offer different heat resistance features, making it easier to determine the best choice. Whether you choose chiffon or crepe, both fabrics offer you beauty and a unique feel against the skin.