Crepe is one of the most popular fabrics for garment and dressmaking. It is versatile, beautiful, easy to work with and is available in a wide variety of styles, weights and fibres. Here, you can learn more about this beloved fabric, including how it is made and what it can be used for.
What is crepe material?
The word crepe comes from the French crêper which means “to crinkle.” It is a fabric that has a distinct crinkled surface, that can feel rough and grainy, or slightly softer, depending on the construction. Crepe material can be both woven and knitted, although it is the woven versions that are springy and can also fray quite easily. This is a fabric that can be made from any fibre or yarn; both manmade and natural. They can also be made from a blend of fibres. Many crepes take their names from the yarn from which they are made from, “silk crepe”, “cotton crepe,” and so on.
Some of the most popular crepes include:
- Crepe de Chine – Fine, soft, lightweight, dry and crisp handle with a beautiful drape
- Crepe Jersey – Tightly knitted, medium weight, solid, breathable, lovely drape, crepe face
- Scuba Crepe – Heavyweight, knitted, solid. Similar to think neoprene with crepe face
- Crepe Chiffon – Soft, flimsy, sheer. Lightweight like chiffon but with the distinct crepe texture
- French Crepe – Very soft, flat, lightweight. Inexpensive crepe option made from twisted yarns
- Crepe Georgette – Fine, lightweight, woven crepe with a crisp, grainy and dull surface texture
How is it manufactured?
Crepe is a twisted weave fabric. The almost pebble like handle does not wrinkle or crease easily, which is one of its main benefits. When being manufactured, it is usually made with highly twisted yarns in the weft and sometimes in the warp – or even both. It is usually made with a plain weave and the surface can be either smooth or quite rough. Crepe material can be manufactured from all major fibres, both natural and synthetic, making it a universally versatile, affordable, and popular fabric option.
Purposes of crepe material
Crepe is a wonderful fabric that is used to make a wide range of clothing. Crepe is rich in texture and style and is fairly easy to work with. This makes it a popular choice with designers and dressmakers for making fashion garments. Consumers love crepe because it is so easy to care for, and because it is such an affordable textile. It varies in weight and opacity, which helps make it an all-round versatile fabric.
Crepe is well suited for any item of clothing that requires a flowing and draped aesthetic. Garments such as blouses, skirts, and dresses all work beautifully with crepe.
PropertiesCrepes shrink significantly as they relax during finishing. This is something that should be taking into account when planning the fabric dimensions that you need. Some other common properties of crepe include:
- Crisp handle
- Crimped appearance
- Textured face
- Tightly woven
- Twisted fibres
- Dry handle
- Mainly lightweight
- Solid structure
- Lots of variations
- Beautiful drape
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to work with
Advantages of crepe material
Because crepe can be made from any fibre, a main advantage of this popular fabric is that it is versatile and can range greatly in price. Wool and polyester crepes are common and overall very affordable. There are also crepes made from natural and more expensive yarns, such as silk, which gives them a luxurious edge.
This is a low maintenance and easy to care for fabric (depending on the fibre it is made from. Synthetics are always easier to care for over natural fibres such as silk). It wraps well and does not wrinkle easily and therefore requires very little care to keep it looking good. It is a lightweight material that has excellent draping qualities, making it a constant popular choice for tops, dresses, and trousers.