Crepe is a supple fabric with a twisted, pebbled or puckered appearance. The distinctive crepe surface can be the result of tight weaving, twisting or knotting the fibers prior to weaving, using irregular patterns during the weaving process or by embossing a finished fabric with rollers engraved with a crepe pattern. The pattern is permanently embedded into the fibers using a combination of heat and pressure. Several types of fibres can be used to produce crepe fabrics, notably silk, silk-like fabrics and cotton. There is a wide variety of types of crepe, including crepe de chine, plisse crepe, Moroccan crepe, wool crepe and crepe georgette.
Crepe de Chine
Crepe de chine is a lightweight fabric, usually made of silk, without a pronounced crepe finish. It tends to have a smooth, pebbled, matte finish and is used to make luxury garments and evening wear. The fabric is made with highly twisted, worsted yarns in the weft and silk yarns in the warp, or of just silk warps and wefts. It weakens when exposed to perspiration or sunlight.
Crepe georgette is a thin, matte silk or silk-like fabric that drapes well and is very elastic. It is sheer and flat with a grainy texture and is sometimes referred to as chiffon. Its fluidity and easy draping makes it ideal for women’s clothing. It is used to make evening wear, gowns, blouses, dresses and skirts.
Moroccan crepe, also known as crepe marocain, is a heavy textured, woven, ribbed crepe fabric made of silk, rayon or wool. It is made using heavily twisted yarns in the weft, resulting in the characteristic wavy, ribbed texture. It is used to make dresses and suits.
Plisse crepe is made by using heavy rollers to impress a crepe pattern into fabric or by chemically treating the fabric to give it a characteristic crepe-like appearance. The fabric, often cotton, is covered in wax in a striped or pebbled pattern and dipped into an alkaline solution. The uncovered portions of the fabric shrink, resulting in a striping or puckering when the wax is removed. The resulting plisse crepe fabric is very strong and does not need ironing.
Wool crepe, also known as crepon, is a wiry crepe fabric made from mixtures of silk and cotton fibers. The crepe effect on the surface of the fabric comes about through the treatment of the yarn during the weaving process. The fabric can be woven with a combination of left- and right-hand twists in the same fabric or by having different degrees of slackness in the warp yarns or in the tightness of the twists. Wool crepe is used to make lingerie and dresses.