What is crepe fabric?

Crêpe, anglicized as crepe, is a French term denoting a thin, small pancake, usually eaten with sugar or lemon juice. It’s safe to say that crepe fabric might resemble the crêpe pancake in some ways. But of course, no one would wear clothing made out of pancakes. So what is crepe fabric or a crepe weave, exactly?

What is crepe fabric? What is crepe material made of? What are its most important properties? And could crepe be the kind of fabric that’ll complete your project? In this blog, we’ll tell you everything you need to know and more.

What kind of fabric is crepe?

Crepe is a relatively old kind of fabric, which means that there’s been a lot of time for it to develop. The term ‘crepe’ doesn’t denote any type of fiber, but rather a way of making a fabric. So, is crepe a natural fabric? Sometimes. Traditionally, crepe is made from silk, but it can also be made from other materials like wool, cotton, rayon, and polyester.

So then, what is crepe material? The key to crepe lies in the wrinkled, bumpy look of the fabric. This look can be achieved in different ways, but part of the process is usually a very tight twisting of the fibers before making them into cloth.

Crepe fabric characteristics

Crepe is a specific kind of look in the world of fabrics, but what does crepe fabric feel like? What does crepe fabric look like? Is crepe fabric flattering? Is crepe fabric comfortable? Is crepe fabric stretchy? Well… that depends. Because crepe can be made from different fibers, its properties differ from fabric to fabric. However, there are some properties that all types of crepe fabric have.

Aside from its characteristic wrinkled look, crepe material fabric usually has a beautiful drape. The thinness of the fabric makes it very breezy and breathable; plus, it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. Though this is great for wicking moisture, it also means that crepe doesn’t retain heat very well. When it comes to the question “is crepe fabric suitable for summer or winter?” it’s better to take your chances with warm weather than the colder seasons.

Another downside of crepe is that it’s a very fragile fabric. The exact care instructions are dependent on the fiber that is used in your material, but crepe usually needs to be dry cleaned. It cannot be machine washed under any circumstance. Some crepe fabrics can also be washed by hand in cold water.

Crepe georgette fabric

What is crepe fabric used for?

Generally, crepe fabric is used to create stunning eveningwear (suits or gowns), and high-fashion clothing like blouses and pants. But it can also be used to create unique looking curtains, pillows, scarves and shawls. Crepe is a very versatile fabric!

Common kinds of crepe fabric

The materials and specific methods used to make the fabric, define the different types of crepe fabric out there and what they’re most useful for. So no wonder you might have questions like ‘what is crepe de chine like?’ or ‘what is scuba crepe fabric?’ There are so many different kinds of crepe that it’d be impossible to list them all, but we have made an overview of the most common ones:

  • Crepe de Chine: Crepe de Chine fabric originated in China, as the name suggests, and is a very lightweight type of crepe usually made from silk. An important difference between Crepe de Chine and other types of crepe is that Crepe de Chine isn’t puckered, but feels smooth on the skin. This type of crepe can also be made from polyester for a similar look and feel, but a more affordable price tag.
  • Crepe georgette: This is a soft, smooth crepe silk fabric, which can also be made from silk-like synthetics like rayon. Crepe georgette tends to be more elastic than other types of crepe and drapes nicely. This crepe is usually what gowns are made out of.
  • Polyester crepe: Any crepe fabric made from polyester is a polyester crepe. This crepe tends to be lightweight, thin, and is used when making dresses, blouses, and pants.
  • Scuba crepe: Scuba crepe is a type of polyester crepe that contains a small percentage of spandex. This makes it a fabric with the characteristic crepe look and feel on the surface, while also being smooth and elastic on the backside.
  • Plissé crepe: This is a crepe that has been chemically treated to create a folded pleat look. Plissé crepe is usually made from cotton.
  • Crepe back satin: Like scuba crepe, crepe back satin is a fabric with a satin weave, where one side looks and feels like satin, and the other has a crepe look and feel to it. This fabric can be made from any kind of fiber.
  • Crepe charmeuse: Crepe charmeuse is usually a with a satin weave, but with yarns that were twisted using the crepe method. This makes crepe charmeuse a crepe fabric while still smooth and reflective like satin.

Crepe de chine fabric

Interested in ordering crepe fabric for your project?

So, what is crepe fabric? Now that you know everything there is to know, you might be interested in ordering some for yourself. House of U will help you print your own designs on crepe fabric by the yard: just upload your pattern to our design generator, select your desired fabric, and we’ll do the rest.

And if you maybe need some extra tips and tricks on how to design your own fabric, we’ve made a helpful guide for you.

If you’re still unsure whether or not crepe is what you’re looking for, we have other blogs to help you pick your desired fabric. Plus, if any questions of your questions are left unanswered, feel free to contact us! We’re always happy to help.

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