Chiffon is a flat weave fabric that displays a delicate matt surface structure. Its lightweight consistency allows it to flow effortlessly, making it ideal for scarves and items that drape. But what is chiffon and where does it come from? Read on to learn more about this remarkable material, how it is made and what it can be used for.
If you would like to explore using chiffon in your own textile project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team online or on 0161 320 3637 with any questions.
What is chiffon?
Chiffon as we know it today is a sheer fabric, first produced in France. Its name derives from the French term for ‘cloth’ or ‘rag’.
However, silk chiffon has existed around the world in some form for centuries. It is a traditional fabric for Indian saris, as well as being used for garments by some indigenous groups in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Since it was originally made from silk, chiffon was worn as a sign of status among upper class women. Now chiffon is made primarily from polyester, making it a widespread and popular textile.
The biggest exporter and producer of chiffon today is China.
What is chiffon made of?
Chiffon can be made from a variety of materials, including silk, cotton, nylon, polyester and rayon.
It was originally made from silk, which is a rich fabric of organic fibres with surprising strength for its weight. The first non-silk chiffon was made from nylon and became widely available in 1938. Nylon chiffon proved problematic and polyester superseded it in 1958. Cotton is also less suitable for chiffon, as the resulting finish appears more matte, with less flow.
Most chiffon is made from polyester today, making it both affordable and durable.
No matter the type of material used for the yarn, chiffon fabric is woven in a particular way. The weave is what makes the fabric chiffon. In a chiffon weave, the yarn is arranged in opposing S-shaped and Z-shaped curves, also known as an alternate S-and Z-twist.
This type of fabric is very delicate to produce; often it will be woven by hand. When it is machine produced, the process is still a slow one.
What can chiffon be used for?
The delicate and lightweight structure of chiffon makes it perfect for flowing garments with a significant drape. These may include: scarves, sarongs, saris, fashion items, display hangings, evening wear, nightgowns, blouses, lingerie and ribbons.
Chiffon is semi-transparent, so it is often used as an overlay, paired with an opaque fabric in items such as dresses or other formal wear.
Properties of Chiffon:
- Excellent drape quality
- Low heat retention
- Perfect to print on
- Hand wash cold or dry clean
- Pinnable; will spring back and conceal pin marks
Citrus Rain’s Chiffon Fabric
Polyester chiffon lends itself very well to the Citrus Rain digital printing process, absorbing dye wonderfully. This textile creates an almost double-sided print effect due to its translucent nature.
Despite its slippery texture, chiffon is still a great material to work with; easy to cut and sew, and easily manipulated into pattern pieces. It is a popular choice for our digitally printed scarves, sarongs and headscarves.
Citrus Rain chiffon is:
- 100% Polyester
- 150 cm wide
- Printable to a width of 145 cm
- 190 g/m² in weight
- Fully colourfast
Citrus Rain is a British company, based in Manchester, and is passionate about reshoring textile industry to the UK. We use an innovative digital printing technique to print any image onto high-quality material in full colour and high resolution.