What is Taffeta Fabric? Complete Material Guide 2024

Authored by
Mega Apparel
Mega Apparel
Taffeta fabric explained

Table of Contents

Taffeta fabric is also known as shot silk and paper taffeta. Copper-based ammonium rayon or silk fiber is used to form taffeta material. Its texture is crispy, soft, and smooth due to the silk fibers used in its construction.

There is much more to know about this fabric in order to understand its significance in the textile industry. I will help you explore its origin, uses, types, advantages, disadvantages, and much more.

Key Points About Taffeta Fabric

  • Fabric: Taffeta
  • Other Names of Taffeta: Paper Taffeta and Shot Silk.
  • Composition of Fabric: Silk, Rayon, or Polyester.
  • Grams Per Square Metre (GSM): lightweight (45 g/m²), medium weight (150 g/m²).
  • Taffeta First Produced In: Persia.
  • Popular Uses: Blouses, Formal Dresses, Wedding Gowns, Outerwear, Curtains.
  • Country where fabric was first produced: Persia.
  • Countries that produce the fabric: India, China, Pakistan, France, Italy, and the Middle East
  • Washing Instructions: Dry Clean or Hand Wash with Cold Water

What is Taffeta Fabric?

The word “taffeta” originated from the Persian word “tafta,” which literally means woven, twisted, or spun. The name justifies its construction, which takes place by twisting yarn as it is woven.

Taffeta fabric is medium to lightweight, which is appropriate for many clothing products. This fabric is used mostly in women’s clothing like wedding gowns, formal dresses, lingerie (blouses), interlinings, curtains, etc.

History of Taffeta Material? Where was the Fabric First Produced?

Like we have discussed, the name of this fabric comes from the Persian language, so the origin of the fabric is Persia. Taffeta was originally produced from silk. However, the garment manufacturers commenced manufacturing it using polyester and rayon, as the synthetic materials emerged in the 20th century. Although silk taffeta is still present and very functional.

Since we are discussing the history of this fabric, it used to have multiple purposes back in the 18th and 20th centuries. In fact, this fabric has been a part of the past over and over again. For instance, taffeta fabric became a component in many aviation experiments in the 18th century.

Since taffeta was durable and paper-thin, it was utilized in artificial blood vessel experiments. These facts extracted from history indicate the significance of this fabric.

Manufacturing of Taffeta

So how is taffeta fabric made? The answer to this question lies in the nature of this material, which has a silky, crispy, and soft texture. Taffeta’s manufacturing takes place by weaving threads together in a particular weave pattern.

The weaving process gives the fabric its crispy texture. There are other ways, like making taffeta by hand or using satin weave to give it a glossy look.

The Process of Making Taffeta

Taffeta fabric process

A few steps are used in making taffeta fabric.

  • Monomer Alcohol Production

Monomer is produced by reacting dimethyl terephthalate with ethylene (extracted from petroleum oil) at a high temperature.

  • Polyester Production

The second step is creating a polymer (polyester) by combining terephthalic acid with the monomer alcohol.

  • Extrusion

The hot substance passes through a narrow slot and is left to cool into the long ribbons.

  • Chipping

After the extrusion, the ribbons are chipped and melted.

  • Spinning

The spinning process involves molten polyester passing through the spinneret.

  • Stretching or Drawing Process

The fiber strands are given ample time to cool off before they go through the stretching or drawing process.

  • Finishing

The stretched polyester fibers get dyed or treated for antistatic properties and flame resistance.

  • Weaving

The entire procedure produces a raw form of textile fiber. After that, we can form taffeta fabric using a weaving machine or hand weaving technique.

What Are the Traits of Taffeta Material?

Taffeta fabric has some special properties:

  • This fabric has a unique shine due to its composition, which consists of polyester or silk. The shine part is unique to these fabrics.
  • The yarn-dyed taffeta makes a rustling sound when rubbed together. This sound is called scroop, as it is a mixture of “scrape” and “woop”.
  • The surface of this material is very smooth. The entire texture feels outstanding.
  • The fabric is long-lasting and resistant to wrinkles.
  • Taffeta can be dyed very easily. Therefore, it can have various colors and patterns.
  • It is perfect for wear due to its high level of resistance to abrasion.
  • It is perfect for wear due to its high level of resistance to abrasion.

What Are the Uses of Taffeta?

Taffeta is prone to damage, a fabric with amazing texture, and a luxurious material. These qualities make the fabric ideal for many clothing products:

  • High-profile Clothing: Bridal dresses and formal wear.
  • Evening Wear: Skirts, jackets, and pants
  • Formal Events: Tablecloths, napkins
  • Outdoor Equipment and Apparel: Tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags (due to their durability)
  • Practical and Decorative Products: Flowers and bows
  • Accessories: Wallets and bags

Advantages and Disadvantages of Taffeta Fabric

Like any other fabric, taffeta has its pros and cons in textile manufacturing and use. Let’s discuss a few advantages and disadvantages of this material.

Advantages of Taffeta

  • Durability: Taffeta is among the fabric types that have gained popularity due to its durability. The fabric can resist wear and tear for a long time. It has shape-retention ability, due to which it doesn’t lose its appearance.
  • Wrinkle Resistance: The fabric doesn’t wrinkle. This property makes it a travel-friendly material because the garments will maintain their look.
  • Fabric Blends: Various fabrics like polyester, rayon, and silk can be used in making taffeta. Silk is the most popular choice due to its elegance, class, and texture.
  • Drapes Perfectly: Taffeta fabric drapes perfectly, making it ideal for flowing dresses, skirts, and other high-profile dresses like bridal gowns.

Disadvantages of Taffeta

  • Low Breathability: Taffeta fabric has very low breathability. Therefore, it might not be suitable for warm weather.
  • Low Flexibility: Taffeta fabric has very low flexibility, which makes it tough to wear. It becomes irritating at times.
  • Static Electricity: Taffeta is not made for dry weather since it generates static electricity, which can be very frustrating.
  • Noisy: The fabric makes “scroop” sounds when it is rubbed with itself. For some people sensitive to noise, it is noisy and annoying.
  • Expensive: Taffeta made with silk is very costly due to the expensive silk fabric. However, polyester taffeta is less costly than silk.

Production Localities of Taffeta Material

Taffeta fabric made country flags

Taffeta is produced in different parts of the world.

  • Ancient Persia (first ever produced in Persia)
  • India (the biggest producer of silk in the world)
  • China (the biggest producer of silk in the world)
  • Pakistan (leading producers and factories making taffeta)
  • Middle East (not that big a production, but to some extent)
  • France (produced taffeta in the late 19th century)
  • Italy (produced taffeta in the late 19th century)
  • Russia (exporter of products made of taffeta)

All these countries have contributed to producing this material. Persia was the first to ever produce taffeta fabric. India and China are believed to be the biggest producers in the world today. Pakistan has many factories that make this fabric.

The Middle East has made little contribution to the production of this material. Western countries like France and Italy started producing taffeta in the late 19th century and are still making this fabric. Russia exports products made with taffeta.

What are the Types of Taffeta Fabric?

Different types of taffeta fabric

There are several types of taffeta that you should know about:

1. Silk

Many manufacturers use silk to make taffeta since silk was the first material to make this fabric. Silk taffeta is popular and holds beneficial properties like smoothness and luxury.

2. Synthetic

Synthetic taffeta made with rayon and polyester has become widely common today.

3. Yard Dyed

The textile is dyed before being woven to give the garments crispness and stiffness.

4. Piece Dyed

The textile is first woven and then dyed. This type is softer than the yarn-dyed taffeta.

5. Paper Taffeta

The name clearly defines the appearance; paper taffeta is very thin and has a paper-like consistency. Also, it is very lightweight.

6. Antique Taffeta

Antique taffeta contains soft lumps of yarn. However, despite containing these lumps at regular intervals, this fabric is very stiff.

7. Moire Taffeta

Moire taffeta has a rippling watermark pattern, which makes it distinct from all other types.

8. Shot Silk

Shot silk is a variation of silk taffeta where we see different colors of the warp and the weft threads. The overall appearance has a beautiful iridescent effect.

9. Faille taffeta

Faille taffeta is produced using short-length fibers called staple fibers, such as wool or cotton.

10. Stretch Taffeta

Stretch taffeta is the type with the most flexibility. The use of spandex in the weave is the reason behind its stretchability.

What is the Cost of Taffeta?

The cost of taffeta fabric can vary from $20 to $200 per yard. The price depends on the quality and size of the fabric. The investment is considerable since the fabric is popular and used in many clothing products that we have already discussed in the above sections.

Is Taffeta Environmentally Friendly?

The impact of taffeta fabric on the environment depends on the fabric used in its composition. For instance, silk is the most popular choice for making taffeta around the world. Thus, killing silkworms would be a factor indicating the hazardous effects on the environment. Animal rights activists and organizations consider it a major issue.

However, textile enthusiasts, businesses, and environmental activists find synthetic or semi-synthetic fibers more damaging than silk.

The good thing about silk coming from silkworms is that they are found on mulberry trees that require no fertilizers or chemicals to grow. In other words, they grow naturally, which means that no artificial way of growing the trees is harming the environment.

Silk is also biodegradable, which means going back to nature after being destroyed. For example, if you throw away the silk products, they would become part of nature.

How to Care Taffeta Fabric

  • Gentle detergent is much preferable for washing taffeta fabric.
  • Avoid twisting or wiring the garment to keep the shape intact.
  • Hot water can ruin the dyes, so wash the fabric with cold water.
  • Avoid drying it in direct sunlight. Hang the garment in a ventilated area.
  • Low ironing is preferable to pressing the garment.
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