Lightweight, soft, extremely sheer, open-weave fabric with a pebbled texture resulting from the slightly twisted yarns from which it is made.
Chiffon, that lovely gossamer fabric, floats around the body like a cloud. In any color, chiffon is lustrous in appearance and soft in hand. Because of its fluidity, chiffon requires your focus and time to sew; but the rewards are great.
Chiffon is a plain-weave fabric made with twisted filament yarns in both the warp and the weft. Its texture may be lightly pebbled, much like that of wool crepe, because of the twist of the yarns.
The most luxurious chiffon is made of silk, which has a softer hand than rayon, nylon, or polyester chiffon. Silk chiffon is strong, and it drapes well.
Popular uses for chiffon include scarfs, evening gowns, blouses, full and flowing dresses, lingerie, nightgowns, negligees and peignoirs.
The word chiffon is often borrowed to describe other unusually lightweight fabrics such as chiffon batiste, chiffon crepe, and chiffon velvet.
Tips & Tricks
Sew with a straight stitch foot and plate to prevent chiffon from being pulled into the hole of the needle plate and to support the fabric through the seaming process.
Use a 60/8 or 65/9 needle with fine cotton or silk thread.
Chiffon can be handwashed in cool water with shampoo or gentle fabric wash. Do not wring the water out; instead, squeeze the fabric very gently or blot it in a terrycloth towel. Lay the fabric flat to dry.
Interface chiffon with silk organza.
Lay out and cut a single thickness. Tissue paper on the cutting board helps to stabilize the fabric as you cut; a second layer placed over the tissue may help further to control the chiffon.
French seams give a perfect finish to chiffon.
Press with a dry iron on a silk setting, and with gentle pressure to avoid stretching the fabric.
Designs with simple lines work best on chiffon, as the fabric is difficult to control, and all seams show through.
For a couture touch, apply a hand-rolled hem to chiffon. A machine baby hem is an alternative.