Description : A plain weave fabric traditionally made from silk, although synthetic fibres are also used nowadays. Taffeta is a stiff but smooth fabric with a crisp finish and a shiny surface. Taffeta creases badly, is difficult to ease and is easily marred. The fabric rustles as one walks.
Fabrication :
Subtypes : Paper taffeta is very lightweight and crisp; Moiré taffeta has a watermark finish and is more luxurious; yarn-dyed taffeta is stiffer, while piece-dyed taffeta is quite soft.
Dyes, color treatment and washing characteristics : Most taffeta requires dry cleaning, even when made with synthetic fibres. Use dress shields in the underarms to avoid perspiration stains.
Draping properties : This fabric is stiff and hence drapes very poorly.
Cutting properties : You may cut double thickness. Press tightly with a warm iron. Taffeta is easily damaged, however, including by water spots - use an organza press cloth to avoid getting water on the fabric. Unplanned creases may be impossible to remove.
Sewing challenges : Start new projects with a new, fine needle and change needles frequently. To reduce puckering in seams, use a wide straight stitch foot and hold the fabric firmly in front and behind the foot when stitching. To ensure basting accuracy and to reduce seam ripping, hand baste. You may choose slightly wider seam allowances to facilitate pressing. Interface with bias-cut cotton flannel, for example, along the hem. On prom dresses, use lace or narrow horsehair braid along the hem, so the latter will stand away from the legs. You may need to reduce the cap somewhat the set the sleeve correctly. Serge or zigzag all edges before sewing up the seams, as taffeta unravels a lot. Avoid topstitching taffeta. A double-roll or rolled machine hem works well. Avoid creasing in the finished garment by underlining with organza or net. Avoid princess seams, as the fabric does not ease well. Seams will weaken and shred, so don't fit garments too tightly.
Example creations : Party dress, White blazer, Victorian dress, New Years Eve dress,
Uses worldwide : Taffeta is used in high end garments such as ball gowns and wedding dresses. Piece-dyed taffeta is often used in linings. Most silk taffeta today is produced in India, although it is often woven in Italy, France or the UK. China and Japan, as well as other asian countries also produce silk taffeta.
Origins and history : The term "taffeta" derives from a Persian word "tafta" meaning, litterally, "twisted woven". The fabric has been used at least since the Renaissance, as Shapespeare mentions it.
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