Seeing that taffeta is the ultimate fabric for special occasions, forming luxurious wedding dresses and evening gowns, it is frequently used by iconic designers like Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. A light, shiny fabric made of silk fibers, polyester or nylon, taffeta is conducive to beautiful silhouettes and is considered perfect for high fashion looks.
What is taffeta?
Taffeta is a crisp, plain-woven fabric made most often from silk, but it can also be woven with polyester, nylon, acetate, or other synthetic fibers. Taffeta fabric typically has a lustrous, shiny appearance. Taffeta can vary in weight from light to medium and in levels of sheerness, depending on the type of fiber used and the tightness of the weave.
The word «taffeta» comes from the Persian word “Taftah”, meaning “crisp, woven”.
How and where is taffeta made?
Taffeta is made using the technique, which has a single weft thread going over and under a single warp thread, creating a checkerboard pattern. What makes taffeta unique is that the threads are twisted as they are woven, which creates the stiffness and structure of the resulting fabric.
Taffeta was originally made of silk, but in the twentieth century, manufacturers began to produce taffeta out of semi-synthetic fibers, like viscose, and synthetic fibers, like nylon, polyester and acetate. Polyester taffeta is the most popular type of taffeta today, as it is inexpensive and imitates silk well.
Silk taffeta fabric was originally produced in Ancient Persia, however, it is unclear how closely this fabric resembled modern taffeta. Over the years, the production of this fabric has spread to China and India, which remain the largest silk producers in the world. Even though this fabric is still produced in the Middle East, factories in India have been the main manufacturers of taffeta fabric for centuries. This textile is also produced in Pakistan, and in China, which is the leading manufacturer of most types of textiles, there are also many factories producing this type of fabric, irrespective of the fact whether it is made of silk fibers or synthetic material.
Factories in India started employing mechanical looms for textile production in the 1990s, and although high-quality taffeta fabrics were made in China between 1970 and 1990, this country no longer produces the highest quality forms of this fabric. Modern taffeta fabric was originally developed in France and Italy at the end of the 19th century, and it remains the case that the best types of this fabric are still produced in Western countries.
Taffeta is considered a high-end fabric with a beautiful, smooth surface and unique characteristics.
Taffeta canvas is crisp and holds it shape well as a result of the tightly twisted yarns woven together in a plain weave fashion. Taffeta has a lustrous shine that is unique to the fabric and comes from the innate qualities of silk or polyester.
Types of Taffeta
Taffeta can be different – thin, soft, dense, shiny or matte – and used in a wide variety of outfits.
In our online store there are several types of taffeta, including:
- Thin shiny taffeta code EY36.
- Soft taffeta EY7. The fabric has a smooth surface and a moderate sheen.
- Thick taffeta with matte surface EY17.
- “Manageable” taffeta TF06, which takes any form. In the structure of the fabric there is a metalized thread, which gives it excellent shape keeping properties.
What are the advantages of taffeta?
- Luxurious look. Taffeta is a shimmery, crisp fabric has created many iconic looks. The shimmer comes from the type of fiber used to make taffeta, such as silk or rayon.
- Pliability. It is a stiff fabric that can create a beautiful structural silhouette. It drapes perfectly and forms broken textured folds.
- Wearing qualities. The material is durable and retains its smooth surface, and also does not lose its shape over time.
- Good water-repellent properties.
- Hard to work with. The material is slippery and can be hard to maneuver with a sewing machine. To make taffeta a little bit easier to work with, try pre-washing the fabric to make it softer and use a sharp needle.
- Expensive. Silk taffeta can be very expensive due to the cost of silk. However, polyester taffeta is much more affordable.
- Stiffness. Taffeta doesn’t have much stretch to it so it’s not ideal for items where flexibility is needed. Seeing that the fibers are very thin and delicate, it is very easy to leave loose stitches on the fabric.
- Prone to static charge accumulation.
- Poor breathability.
Fabric Care Guide: How to care for taffeta?
Taffeta should be cleaned dry or hand-washed with cold water. Silk taffeta always needs to be dry cleaned; however, synthetic fiber taffeta can be washed at home.
Here are some guidelines for washing synthetic taffeta:
- Wash with cold water, as hot water can cause dyes to bleed.
- Use gentle detergent.
- Do not wring or twist garment not to to avoid damaging the fabric and ruining the shape.
- Hang to dry in a well-ventilated area not in direct sunlight. Taffeta items also need to be placed in a horizontal position on the cotton fabric.
- Use a low-heat iron if needed.