We’ve been getting lots of enquiries about taffeta fabric recently and we’re putting it’s popularity down to the fact that both wedding and prom seasons are upon us and taffeta is a very popular choice for posh frocks. With it’s crisp finish and subtle sheen, it’s not surprising it’s often a go-to choice for special occasion garments. Taffeta’s uses don’t stop at evening wear, it also lends itself well to home furnishings such as cushions and curtains where a glamorous feel to a room is desirable. Here’s a quick summary about taffeta fabric and some sewing tips…
What is Taffeta Fabric?
Taffeta is a fine, crisp, noisy woven fabric with a lustrous sheen that rustles when you walk! The word “taffeta” derives from the Persian word tafta, which means “glossy twist” and originally the fabric was woven with highly twisted silk fibres. It’s the highly twisted yarn that give taffeta its characteristic crispness and these days taffeta can be found made from a variety of modern fibres such as nylon, viscose, polyester, acetate, or even a blend of these fibres.
Taffeta fabric belongs to the “Ribbed Weave” family of fabrics. What’s a ribbed weave I hear you ask?! These fabrics are created by using thick yarns in one direction of the fabric weave and much finer yarns in the other direction. Other fabrics in this family include poplin, broadcloth, and douppioni silk, to name a few.
What Can Taffeta Fabric be used for?
Taffeta is very versatile and can be used for dresses, bridal wear, evening dresses, prom dresses, suits, blouses, lining, trimmings, lingerie, costumes, hats, bags, curtains, upholstery and lampshades.
Tips for Sewing with Taffeta Fabric
- Needle size: It’s best to use a Sharps needle with taffeta for both machine and hand sewing. On a sewing machine it’s best to use sizes 60/10 – 80/12 – depending on the weight of the taffeta
- Stitch length: Use 1.7-2.5mm. Hold the fabric taught when sewing to help prevent puckering.
- Thread: All purpose cotton or polyester thread.
- Machine Feet: use a wide straight stitch foot or roller foot.
- Layout: Use the “With Nap” layout when cutting out a pattern especially if your taffeta is iridescent
- Fabric markers: Any type are suitable EXCEPT wax. Mark lightly and a little as possible. Ensure your test on a scrap of fabric!
- Pins: pins can permanently mark taffeta so you may wish to consider using weights or clips but extra fine pins can often be used. If you find your fabric has pin holes these might be removed by gently scratching the fabric where the hole is. These extra fine pins are amazing and highly recommended!
- Pressing: Use a warm, dry iron and press on the wrong side where possible. Always use a press cloth if pressing the right side of a garment as it’s better o be safe than sorry. Always test press on a fabric scrap before pressing your garment.
- Taffeta does not ease well so choose a style of pattern that allows for this. Curves like princess seams might be an issue. You may consider reducing the ease in a sleeve cap if you’re having trouble setting in a sleeve.
- Taffeta can crease easily which can be greatly reduced by underlining a garment with silk organza or net.
- Interfacing: It’s best to use sew in interfacing with taffeta to offer more stability and because iron on interfacing require steam , which taffeta doesn’t like.
Well I hope you taffeta sewists found that helpful! Are you planning on using taffeta on a project soon? Please let us know how you get on, if these tips helped you and do feel free to send us some photos of your creations! We always love to see them….
and the best way to handle this luscious cloth.