Weaving technique – Silk crepe

First of all, it should be remembered that SILK is a MATERIAL and that CREPE is only a METHOD OF WEAVING silk.

Don't be mistaken when you read the term “fabric type” and think that it is the material the fabric was made from.
A type of fabric simply refers to a way of weaving a material.

For example, the fabric type “Silk Crepe” means that the Silk was woven using weaving techniques called Crepe.
If you only find the word “Crepe”, it could be a crepe weave made from a material such as cotton, wool or even polyester.

Now that the distinction has been made between silk and crepe, we will describe the characteristics of this type of weaving, its derivatives, the use that it is possible to make of it, as well as the way of maintaining the fabrics which result.

Discover the different silk weaving techniques

Silk crepe

The history of silk crepe:

Silk crepe does not originate from any particular culture. The weaving techniques used are so simple and basic that this form of fabric was naturally adopted all over the world.
Popular in the West, silk crepe was worn by women during periods of mourning. It is still used for this same purpose by Greek Orthodox women.
Crepe is also very popular with certain Indian cultures for making their traditional clothing.
In the 19th century, still in the West, crepe weaving gained popularity and began to be used for making haute couture textiles and decorative textiles.

Making silk crepe:

Silk crepe is obtained by weaving the threads very tightly to give them a subtly wavy and embossed appearance.
This weaving process involves twisting the threads using alternating “S” and “Z” twists to give them a bouncy texture.

Crepe can be obtained through weaving but also knitting. Almost all varieties of this type of fabric will have a deliberately wrinkled appearance.

The characteristics of silk crepe:

Silk crepe is a fairly light and shiny fabric, with a wrinkled and bumpy appearance.

The different possible uses of silk crepe:

Silk crepe lost its immediate association with traditional dress and mourning attire. Today it is used in haute couture and in the manufacture of decorative textiles.

Light and delicate in nature, this fabric is ideal for making fluid and airy clothes. It is generally used to make scarves and evening wear. It also drapes very well over other textiles.
If silk is replaced by wool, crepe can be used for more durable clothing such as bathrobes or even dresses and sweaters.

Silk crepe washing instructions:

Dry cleaning is recommended so that this type of fabric can preserve its shine.

Learn more about methods of washing, drying and ironing silk

Variants of the CREPE weaving technique

Crepe is simply a weaving method. It has several derivatives which depend on the length of the threads used during weaving, their number, their thickness and the way in which they were woven.

The best-known derivatives of silk crepe are 8 in number and are as follows:

1. Crepe de chine: Crepe de chine will not have a pleated surface like other crepe fabrics. It is a type of crepe that will have a smooth, matte finish with a slight grain.

2. Canton crepe: Fabric with the same characteristics as crepe de chine, but slightly heavier.

3. Georgette: Soft and smooth fabric with a beautiful curve. It is slightly elastic.

4. Crepe-backed satin: Light and airy fabric. It will be shiny and smooth on one side, and wrinkled on the other.

5. Pleated crepe: Fabric with a sought-after pleated and wrinkled appearance.

6. Crepe charmeuse: Smooth and shiny fabric in front, and dull in the back.

7. Moroccan crepe: Fabric with repeating patterns and an embossed texture.

8. 4-ply: 4-ply is a heavier version of standard silk crepe. It is the most coveted silk fabric for making clothing.

As you will have understood, weaving is an art that translates into diverse and varied forms. However, what you need to remember is that regardless of the material used, a weaving technique will always give the fabric an almost similar appearance.
For example, a silk crepe fabric will look very similar to a polyester crepe fabric. The big difference will lie in the benefits that one material brings compared to another.
It is therefore important not to be fooled by the appearance of a fabric, and to always check the label of an item to find out the material from which it was woven.

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