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Crepe Fabric Guide: Characteristics, Uses, Types & More

Zilingo Editorial Team
Crepe is a versatile fabric famous for its crinkled surface, soft-sheen, and three-dimensional texture. This luxurious fabric was traditionally made from silk but can now it can be produced from almost any fiber. Crepe textile is classy, graceful, comfortable, and undeniably beautiful in appearance. It is a popular fabric for making garments and is available in a wide variety of styles, fibers, and weights. This blog covers what is crepe fabric, how crepe fabric is made, its uses, characteristics types, and more.

What is Crepe Fabric?

Crepe is a material with a unique bumpy and wrinkled look. It is a relatively old fabric that was originally made from silk and was worn to mourn in many western cultures. Now, crepe is a versatile modern textile that has become the perfect choice for garment making for different occasions and seasons.

Crepe does not indicate a fiber, rather it is a method of producing fabric. Traditionally made from silk, crepe is now made from wool, cotton, and synthetic fibers, such as polyester and rayon. The wrinkled look of the fabric is achieved in different ways. However, part of the process involves hard twisting the textile fibers used in yarn manufacture before turning them into cloth.

Characteristics of Crepe Fabric

The following are some of the characteristics of the crepe fabric that make it a unique material for clothing and home furnishings.

  • Soft & Lightweight – Offers airiness and comfort to the wearer.
  • Three-dimensional – It has a unique rippled texture.
  • Breathable – Crepe is known for its excellent ventilation. Crepe fabric made with organic materials is more breathable than its synthetic version.
  • Moisture-wicking.
  • Comes in a variety of colors and retains color saturation for a long time.
  • Excellent wearability – Crepe clothing offers a slimming appearance and a graceful fall.
  • Stylish and luxurious.
  • Versatile – Crepe fabric is highly versatile, as its properties vary depending on its fiber contents.
  • Flammable – It has a low heat resistance when blended with silk.

Disadvantages of Crepe Fabric

  • Crepe fabric is delicate and needs proper maintenance and care.
  • Crepe fabrics produced with 100% silk or wool are quite more expensive than synthetic versions.
  • Although crepe fabric is moisture-wicking, it is not usually suitable for summers. The sweat may get trapped inside the clothes and make the wearer feel uncomfortable.

Where is Crepe Fabric Used?

Crepe fabric has a variety of uses:

  • Clothing: Silk crepe fabric is widely used to make dresses, suits, blouses, scarves, pants, evening or bridal dresses, summer skirts, and more. The crepe wool fabric is used to make heavy suits, sweaters, and coats.
  • Accessories: Scarfs and handkerchief.
  • Home furnishings: Curtains, window treatments, and pillows.

Where is Crepe Fabric Produced?

Crepes can be made from a variety of fabrics. Thus, its production depends on the type of fabric available in a country.

Let’s take a look at the largest producers of base material – silk
across the world. In 2020, China produced nearly 63 percent
of all silk, followed by India, with a market share of 33 percent. China and India together produced around 96 percent of all silk worldwide. Since China is the largest producer of silk, it is plausible that this country produces the most silk-based crepe.

How is Crepe Fabric Made?

Crepe can be produced from almost any type of fiber. It can be made with natural fibers, such as silk, cotton, and wool as well as synthetic fibers, such as polyester and rayon. A variety of methods can be used to achieve a textured look. The material and method that are used decide the type of crepe fabric.

The base materials used to make crepe fabric can be made using different ways. Whether using natural or synthetic fibers, the type of fabric produced and its textured look will depend on its weave.

Step 1:

To produce the crepe yarn, a hard twisting technique is used. In this method, the textile fibers used in yarn production are twisted more tightly than usual. The yarn’s crinkled texture is obtained using alternating ‘S’ and ‘Z’ twists. Using these alternate spinning processes or right-hand and left-hand twists, crepe yarn is produced, irrespective of the base material used.

Step 2:

After producing yarn, it is dyed, treated, and spun into clothing.

What are the Different Types of Crepe Fabrics?

The types of crepe vary depending on the production methods and the fibers used. The following are some of the common variants of crepe available in the market.

1. Crepe de Chine – It is a lightweight material produced from silk. Crepe de Chine has a smooth feel and grainy texture which is achieved with highly twisted yarns. It looks similar to silk and is often used as its affordable version.

2. Polyester Crepe – This variety of crepe is produced with synthetic fiber polyester. Polyester crepe is lightweight, soft, thin, and provides an excellent drape.

3. Wool crepe – Also known as crepon, wool fabric is a wiry crepe fabric. It is made from a combination of silk and cotton fabric. The crepe pattern is produced through a treatment of the fabric during weaving.

4. Aerophane – Crepe aerophane was popular during the mid-19th century. The production of this textile has ceased now. However, its unique gauze-like texture is imitated in many modern crepe fabrics.

5. Bauté Satin – This is a widely used crepe variant that has a warp weaving satin with a reverse plain crepe design.

6. Canton Crepe – Canton crepe was originally produced exclusively in China. Now, this fabric is used all across Asia to make Asian-inspired crepe clothing.

7. Crepeline – It is a lightweight, sheer, stiff textile with a slight sheen. It is produced with natural silk in a loose and plain weave.

8. Crepe charmeuse –It is a smooth and shiny fabric like satin but with a dull back. It is made with silk fabric using the satin weave technique with crepe twist yarns.

9. Plisse –
It is a famous textile that is produced using a chemical treatment to make a crinkled texture.

Crepe Fabric Environmental Impact

The environmental impact and sustainability of crepe fabric depend upon the base fabric used for producing it. Crepe fabrics made using natural materials and procedures are more sustainable than synthetic-materials-based crepe fabrics. Fibers like polyester and rayon are harmful to the environment and may impact it negatively.

Using sustainable fibers to produce crepe can contribute to reducing the environmental impact by conserving water, reducing waste, lowering carbon emission, reducing toxic chemical use, etc. On the contrary, synthetic materials are non-biodegradable and produce plastic pollution.

Silk and wool are considered to be the most sustainable fabrics to produce crepe. Silk is secreted by silkworms who survive on mulberry trees, which do not require pesticides or fertilizers to grow. Silk production is a sustainable process that does not harm the environment, however, it may harm silk worms during the boiling process. It involves placing cocoons in boiling water to dissolve the open cocoon, killing the silkworm in the process.

Similarly, wool is obtained from many different animals, including sheep, goats, llamas, and yaks. Wool production is known to be a sustainable process, but due to the involvement of animals, it can present a host of animal welfare and environmental concerns.

Crepe Fabric Certifications

You can avail different types of certifications, depending on the type of textile used to make the crepe fabric. The following are some examples of the certifications:

  • Silk Mark Certification
  • Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)
  • Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
  • Woolmark Certification

Wrapping Up

Crepe is an excellent fabric to make clothing with an awe-inspiring appearance. Its rippling texture adds a striking feature to the garment and makes it look like a perfect outfit for any occasion. Its versatility, texture, softness, and beautiful drape make it a preferred fabric to make high-end or experimental fashion.

Now that you know what is crepe fabric, you might be interested in sourcing crepe fabric for your clothing line.

Zilingo can help you buy the perfect crepe fabric! Just
fill in your sourcing requirements here and we will get the
best quotes from multiple suppliers for you!

Zilingo Editorial Team
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