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Chiffon fabric is lightweight with mesh like weave that looks almost transparent. It originates from a French word meaning thinness, diaphanous, or gauze-like fabric and is usually made from cotton, silk or polyester. It is not the easiest fabric to work with because of its slippery texture.
Sewing tips with Chiffon: you may find that using a layer of thin paper over the fabric will help to keep it in place while you stitch a garment together, then just tear off the paper layers after sewing. Always work slowly as you stitch and try not to stretch the fabric while sewing to give a perfect finish to your garment.
Synthetic chiffon is a popular choice today because of the huge choice of colours and prints that are available, as well as its low cost when compared with the original silk chiffon material. All chiffon fabric feels soft to the touch and appears to float without any stiffness to the fabric, following every move you make easily.
Chiffon made from silk remains very popular for luxury evening and bridal wear and the slight shimmer in the texture of silk chiffon adds a sophisticated beauty that is easily recognised. It is used for dresses, skirts, blouses, veils, and scarves.
Using Chiffon to layer an evening gown or bridal dress is a popular use, as well as the base fabric for complex embroideries, beads and hand sewn crystals. Although it looks very delicate, it is strong enough to be used for many different home furnishings, such as: decorated sofa covers and sheer curtains.
Chiffon will add elegance and luxury to any celebration gown or evening dress and it is often used just for the sleeves in a day dress or cocktail dress, to add fashion style and designer touches, that are easy to copy in any garment you choose to make.
Silk chiffon must be hand washed or dry cleaned, while polyester chiffon can be machine washed on a short programme at low temperature, with the lowest spin speed; or preferable, no spinning at all. It will dry very quickly when hung on a blowy washing line.
It won’t crease so is easy to travel on holidays or business trips, but don’t be tempted to iron it. If it does look a little crumpled, just hang it in a steamy bathroom and allow it to cool naturally. If time is pressing and you don’t have time to do this, then keep the iron cool and place a slightly damp tea towel over the chiffon, and just iron on the top of this. You will get a perfect result.
Chiffon fabric used to be made with Silk until the invention of Nylon 1938. Polyester Chiffon fabric was introduced in 1958, and became very popular because of its low cost, washable and durable properties. It has a history of being used for Royalty and Celebrity occasions going back to the early 1700s across the countries of Europe, to portray high status and great wealth.