Polyester taffeta is made to imitate silk taffeta, which is one of the oldest luxury fabrics in the world, dating to the third century when it was woven by Persian artisans. Applications using polyester taffeta run the gamut from high fashion to insulation.
Polyester taffeta is fine, tightly-woven, and made in a plain, flat weave with approximately the same number of yarns in both directions. Taffeta can be soft or stiff, and either light or medium in weight. Polyester taffeta can come in a wide range of colors which include metallic hues, and has a lustrous surface.
Polyester taffeta is naturally UV-resistant and has a low moisture retention rating, allowing moisture to dry rapidly. Polyester taffeta resists stretching and sagging. Polyester taffeta is often put through a moire finish, which gives the taffeta a wavy or rippled pattern which resembles the appearance of light through water.
Taffeta is used in evening dresses, ribbons, couture fashion, chiffon, georgette, umbrellas, and in the linings of academic hoods. Softer taffetas is often used in a variety of linings, and even sometimes in electrical insulation.
Taffeta fabric should be dry-cleaned, and pressed with a warm (but not hot) iron to straighten any wrinkles. Stains should be indicated to dry cleaning professionals, as additional or special care may be needed if the stain has set.
Polyester taffeta is usually produced in automated weaving facilities, and put through either a yarn or batch dying process. Yarn dying taffeta usually produces a heavier, stiffer taffeta which produces a distinct rustle. Batch-dyed taffeta is usually far softer, and is usually used as insulation or linings.
References and ResourcesFoundmark: Technical Glossary of Fabrics
Denver Fabrics: Taffeta
All Uniforms: Fabric Guide
Encyclopedia Britannica: Taffeta
Stitch 'n Save: Fabric Care