Taken from the French word for rag or cloth, chiffon is a balanced, lightweight, sheer, plain-woven fabric woven in alternate Z and S high twist crepe yarns. The fabric is slightly puckered by the twist in the crepe yarns, puckering in both directions after the weave. This gives it a rough feel and some stretch.
Chiffon in the early days was created out of pure silk. However, in 1938, a nylon chiffon version was invented and later; a polyester chiffon was created in 1958. This went through tremendous popularity because it was low in cost and very resilient. Chiffon resembles a mesh or a fine net, giving it greater transparency.
It is in eveningwear that you will see the most chiffon, particularly as an overlay. This gives a floating, elegant appearance to gowns. This fabric is also popularly used in lingerie, scarves, ribbons and blouses. Just like other fabrics made of crepe, chiffon is not exactly the easiest to work with due to its slippery, light texture. Chiffon is gently hand-washed, due to its delicate nature. Since it frays easily and is very light weight, French seams, which are bound need to be used for stopping the fray of the fabric. Chiffon is more lustrous and smoother than georgette, a similar fabric.
Reasons People Love Chiffon
Chiffon has always been popular, and always will be. There are many reasons that people love this fabric. For one thing, there is a broad range in price so you will find both expensive and inexpensive chiffon. If you can’t afford the one hundred dollar silk chiffon, you can opt for the polyester version, which is thirty dollars. You may even graze the discount rack and find one that is five dollars. At times, compared to silk, polyester can even be sturdier. No matter what the content of fiber is, you will definitely be able to reap the fabric’s benefits. There is hardly any difference. For instance, polyester is manmade and synthetic and nothing is silkier than silk. When polyester chiffon was created, this was the best shot made by man to emulate the natural silk chiffon variety. However, aside from the fact that polyester melts like wax when lit, there is hardly any difference to the naked eye.
There was really no season in which absolutely no chiffon was used from the line of one designer or another. There is always a romantic feel full of whimsy and lace that is paired with chiffon. The style of using jewel-toned chiffon has been used countless times, very successfully.
Chiffon has fluidity built into the fabric. There is nothing as bad as wearing something that is hard to move in. You may look great in a tight-fitting garment, but how do you breathe? With chiffon, there are unfitted, loose silhouettes that you can move very easily in. In fact, even with almost no elasticity, it is sheer-enough to be sexy and yet comfortable as can be.