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Crepe Fabric: what it is, what it is used for, characteristics and more

What is Crepe fabric?

Crepe is a type of crinkle-textured fabric that can be made from natural or synthetic fibers. It is known for its elegant drape and use in suits and wedding dresses, although it is also popular when making formal wear such as skirts and blouses.

How Crepe fabric is made

This type of fabric can come from almost any fiber. Traditionally, it was made from natural fibers such as silk and wool, but today, it can be produced from a variety of fibers, including synthetics.

Crepe yarn is made with a process called hard twisting, which involves twisting the textile fibers used in the manufacture of the yarn much tighter than usual. In addition, “S” and “Z” twists are alternated to give the yarn its distinctive bouncy texture. Also known as right-hand and left-hand twists, these alternating spinning techniques result in a Crepe yarn, regardless of the textile material used.

Once the Crepe yarn is manufactured, it can be dyed, treated and spun into garments.

The largest producers of crepe fabric are China and Australia. China is known to be the largest exporter of synthetic textiles, and as for Crepe fabrics, they specialize in the production of silk and synthetic-based variants. On the other hand, Australia, known for its wool production, specializes in producing wool-based variants.

Crepe fabric characteristics

Elegant draping

Crepe fabric is a perfect choice for draped clothing or accessories. This fabric adapts very well to other fabrics, and clings to the body in a way that is often considered seductive and sensual. For this reason, Crepe is usually reserved for fashion shoots, weddings, galas and other high-end settings.

Matte Surface

Despite being originally derived from silk, Crepe fabric does not retain the typical sheen of silk. However, this matte color makes colors deeper and causes an effect desired by many fashion designers and consumers.

Breathable

Modern Crepe fabrics come in many weights and thicknesses, but they were first known as a thin, delicate fabric that is easy to move and highly breathable. Because of this, they are also popular fabrics for warm climates.

Fine

Crepe is considered a fine fabric, although it need not necessarily be sheer. Also, nowadays, varieties of Crepe are produced that can be both thick and opaque, so really, they can have very different thicknesses and appearances.

Uses of Crepe fabric

Because of its flowing drape and popularity as a four-season fabric, Crepe is often used in formal wear such as skirts and blouses, but is commonly used in dresses, both evening and summer.

Another area where crepe fabric shines is in accessories. Crepe coats, scarves and shawls offer warmth that is not too heavy. Interior design accessories such as curtains and living room pillows also use this fabric.

Historically, however, it is known as a mourning fabric because traditionally, Crepe fabric was worn by women in times of mourning in many Western cultures. However, this practice has largely fallen out of fashion.

Types of Crepe Fabrics

There are a staggering number of varieties of Crepe fabrics, but here are the most prominent and popular styles.

Wool Crepe

As the name implies, this is a wool-based Crepe, and consequently has a bulkier, rougher surface.

Georgette Crepe

Crepe Georgette is a silk or synthetic silk crepe with an elastic characteristic that is used for dresses. It is a thin fabric, and is therefore lightweight and easy to wear. It is also somewhat translucent, though a bit thicker and more opaque than Chiffon. In addition, it can be embroidered.

Crepe Charmeuse

It is a silk-based Crepe that uses Crepe twist yarn in the satin weave technique.

Polyester Crepe

It is a synthetic-based Crepe that is lightweight and more economical, so it is widely used and generally used in everyday clothing.

Chinese crepe

It is a lightweight fabric that is usually made of silk base. Its finish is smooth and matte, and does not have a very pronounced Crepe.

Canton crepe

It is a silk-based Crepe from the Canton province of China, and is heavier than Crepe de Chine.

Moroccan crepe

Moroccan Crepe, also known as Moroccan Crepe, is a ribbed fabric of silk, rayon or wool with a heavy texture.

Pleated crepe

Pleated Crepe is often made from cotton and is coated with wax in a striped or pebbled pattern and dipped in a solution of chemical treatments to achieve the wavy finish. The resulting fabric is very strong and does not need ironing.

English Crepe

A Crepe fabric typically black and white in color, used in England.

How to care for Crepe fabric

If the care label does not explicitly specify dry cleaning, you can wash the garment on the gentle cycle of your washing machine in cold water and then hang to dry. Crepe fabric care includes choosing a detergent for delicates and does not require ironing, however, if you need to iron it to remove deeper accidental wrinkles, be careful not to overheat the iron.

Environmental impact of Crepe fabric

Because typical Crepe fabric is produced from silk and wool, Crepe is generally considered environmentally friendly if it does not undergo chemical post-treatments. But these processes are almost always used, and in addition, there are several variants of Crepe fabrics that are made from synthetic fibers. This includes polyester Crepes, which are very typical because of their low cost, and which are petroleum-based products. Petroleum-based fabrics emit greenhouse gases, which negatively impact the ozone layer.

In addition, textile production uses a lot of water, and dyes and chemical treatments have the potential to harm workers if not used properly and to damage the environment if not disposed of in a regulated manner.

Therefore, it is best to avoid producing new fabrics by reusing existing fabrics. At Recovo, for example, we have a catalog of fabrics, including crepe fabrics, that come from unused production surplus and in perfect condition, so you can create collections with minimal environmental impact.

 

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