Chiffon Fabric 1

Fabric Dictionary: What is Chiffon Fabric?

Lustrous & sheer, chiffon is a lightweight fabric that is used in everyday applications. Read this short & interesting blog for everything about chiffon fabric.


From shimmering dresses, to flowy, see-through curtains, chiffon fabric is a staple in the textile industry. Chiffon is a luxurious and sheer fabric, that has a lustrous sheen and a gorgeous drape. Chiffon fabric has a slightly textured surface due to how the yarns are twisted prior to weaving. While it used to be a silk fabric that was only affordable to upper class society, today it has become more and more accessible over the years. Chiffon fabric is commonly used in eveningwear and home décor items. This article will take you through everything you need to know about chiffon, from what it is, to how it’s made, to sewing tips and more.

What Is Chiffon Fabric?

The name chiffon comes from the French word, “chiffe,” which translates to “cloth” or “rag.” It is believed that chiffon originated in 18th century Ethiopia and was woven by indigenous groups in the area. Through trade and exploration, the weaving process for chiffon fabric soon made its’ way to France. Since the 1700’s, France has been a lead producer of chiffon, even being known as the official birthplace of the fabric.

What Is Chiffon Fabric?

While silk chiffon had been popular among European royalty for years, its’ popularity expanded worldwide during the Industrial Revolution. With the invention of synthetic fibers in the early 20th century, chiffon fabric started to be produced on a large scale in the United States and beyond, where it was seen as a fashionable textile.

What Does Chiffon Fabric Look Like?

Chiffon is known for it’s sheer, shimmery finish, which gives the fabric an elegant appearance. The sheen across the surface of this fabric is created by using fibers with some shine as well as twisting the fibers tightly to make very thin yarns. Chiffon often reflects light, attracting attention from those around. In addition, the sheerness of this fabric makes it perfect for romantic, layered garments. It’s often used as an overlayer on top of a lining or stacked in multiple layers to make the finished garment opaque enough to wear.

What Does Chiffon Fabric Look Like?

Chiffon fabric is also a very lightweight, floaty fabric. It is loosely woven with very fine, twisted yarns, giving it a gauze, or net-like appearance. This fabric has an exceptionally flowy drape, making it a popular choice for loose-fitting garments such as gowns, skirts, and blouses.

What Is Chiffon Fabric Made Of?

Historically, chiffon fabric was made from silk. At the time, only the fine and soft fibers of silk, could give chiffon fabric the luxurious and elegant characteristics that we know today. However, when nylon was invented in 1938, some affordable and more durable nylon chiffons became available on the market. The invention of polyester in 1958 spurred the development of polyester chiffon, which proved to be an even more affordable alternative to silk than nylon. Today chiffon is made from a variety of different fibers, including silk, cotton, rayon, polyester, and nylon.

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Two of the most popular types of fibers used to make chiffon are:

How Is Chiffon Fabric Made?

To make chiffon, it all starts with preparing the yarns for weaving. The yarns used to make chiffon are tightly twisted either clockwise (z-twist) or counter-clockwise (s-twist) so that half of the yarns are twisted in each direction. These coiled yarns are called crepe yarns. The twists used to create crepe yarns are much tighter than the typical twists in a standard yarn. The point of twisted crepe yarn is to create a subtle texture on the surface of a finished chiffon fabric.

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Once the crepe yarns are twisted, they are woven together loosely in a standard plain weave style. This means that the yarns are alternated in a basic 1-by-1 weave pattern where the weft yarns are passed over, then under, then over each warp yarn in a crisscross pattern. The z-twist yarns are selected for either the warp or weft direction, then the s-twist yarns are assigned to the opposite direction. This weave creates a checkerboard pattern. The twisted yarns create a subtly textured look and feel on the surface of the chiffon fabric.

What Does Chiffon Feel Like??

Chiffon is a soft and light to medium weight fabric; however, it can feel slightly coarse due to being thin and net-like. Since chiffon is sheer and net-like, the fabric is also breathable. Silk chiffons are known for being softer than chiffons made from other fibers like nylon and polyester. Additionally, chiffon is a flowy fabric. When chiffon is hung, the fabric has a loose, fluid drape.

What Does Chiffon Feel Like??

What Is Chiffon Fabric Used For?

Chiffon is a universal fabric that can be used for almost any kind of apparel and decor. Formally, chiffon fabric can be used to craft gowns, dresses, sarees and more. Chiffon fabric can be used for great formal wear because it is shiny, flowy and can hold bright colors well. Additionally, chiffon can be layered on top of skirts or dresses, to create a voluminous look without being sheer. Additionally, chiffon fabric can be used to craft more casual apparel like blouses and skirts.

What Is Chiffon Fabric Used For?

Chiffon fabric is also used for stylish decors. One popular type of decor chiffon fabric is used for are curtains. The level of sheerness may vary, but chiffon curtains allow light to pass through while still allowing some privacy. Additionally, draped chiffon fabric is used for luxurious draperies, chair covers, and table runners, at weddings, parties, or other, similar events.

Tips For Sewing With Chiffon Fabric

Sewing with chiffon may appear to be tricky because it is slippery, however with a few helpful tips anyone can easily sew this fabric. Check out these chiffon sewing tips:

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What Fabric Is Similar To Chiffon?

Did you know there are other fabrics similar to chiffon? Here are a few examples:

What Fabric Is Similar To Chiffon?


Elegant, lightweight, and sheer, chiffon fabric is perfect for formal attire, stylish garments, and décor items. Made in a standard, plain weave style, chiffon fabric is woven with tightly twisted yarns that creates a subtle texture and puckered appearance. While this fabric was traditionally made from silk, it is now available in many different fibers, such as cotton, polyester, nylon, and rayon. While you may have heard otherwise, chiffon fabric isn’t as difficult to sew as it may seem. Be sure to check out our collection of chiffon fabrics, which are sold by the yard at wholesale prices. Whether it’s for the first time, or hundredth time, use chiffon fabric for your next fabric project!

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