Chiffon is one of the most popular fabrics used for fashion varieties these days but was primarily for the upper class. It was then only knitted with silk, made it a luxury fabric. This fabric still maintains the seal of luxury ad that’s why it is constantly used making clothes for special events and occasions. And since Nylon and polyester chiffon arrived in the market, they have significantly reduced the price and create the opportunity for greater accessibility to Chiffon.
With the various blends available in the market, chiffon fabric is rather versatile. But due to the scenario - “with beauty sometimes comes the pain” - chiffon becomes a victim because this fabric is difficult to handle while sewing.
Below we have mapped out some need-to-know factors about chiffon and how to sew chiffon even after the challenges.
Chiffon is rather made from cotton and synthetic materials (nylon or polyester), other than silk. But among all variables, polyester chiffon is the most popular these days.
The blends offer a variation in the properties at the affordable price range. Knitted by an alternative twist method than other fabric z-twist and s-twist crepe yarns are firmly twisted that create a bit rough texture. After that, the yarns are joined together as a warp design/ single weft - a plain weave.
The fibre contents of chiffon differ a little bit from each other. However, the following characteristics remain quite the same unless otherwise noted.
- Strong structure
- Slight stretch
- Luminous (unless made from cotton)
- Holds dye well (except polyester)
- Excellent drape
- Prone to snagging and fraying
- Resilience depending on the fibre content (Remember, polyester is resilient, silk is not)
- Breathability depends on the fibres as well (While cotton and polyester are breathable, silk is not)
- Care with caution
- Lay flat but keep out of direct sunlight to dry
- Silk- dry clean only
- Polyester and nylon– either hand wash or prefer a gentle wash cycle
- Do not soak in liquids to avoid dye loss.
Tips for Sewing with Chiffon
Because of being slippery, chiffon pose challenges during cutting and construction. But the combination of working slowly and following the tips below, working with chiffon will be easier.
- Ensure the lengthwise and crosswise grains are perpendicular while cutting.
- Pre-treat the fabric before sewing
- Choose a non-slip surface and use tissue paper between layers to both cut and sew.
- Use fabric stabilizer.
- Use silk pins or pattern weights to avoid slippage
- Cut in a single layer if possible.
- Make the fabric for tailor tracks
- Use a sharp rotary cutter or shears
- Fine threads work best
- Use a throat plate that has a small opening
- Use fine needles such as a size 9 or 10 or microtex needles to avoid snags
- Using French seams, sew with small stitch length and finish with zigzag or serge stitch. Use narrow or rolled hem to complete garments.