Saturday, June 3, 2017

Crêpe Fabrics
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the sixty-fifth post in the "Art Resource" series, specifically aimed to construct an appropriate knowledge base in order to develop an artistic voice in ArtCloth.

Other posts in this series are:
Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms
Units Used in Dyeing and Printing of Fabrics
Occupational, Health & Safety
A Brief History of Color
The Nature of Color
Psychology of Color
Color Schemes
The Naming of Colors
The Munsell Color Classification System
Methuen Color Index and Classification System
The CIE System
Pantone - A Modern Color Classification System
Optical Properties of Fiber Materials
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part I
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part II
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part III
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part IV
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part V
Protein Fibers - Wool
Protein Fibers - Speciality Hair Fibers
Protein Fibers - Silk
Protein Fibers - Wool versus Silk
Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Cotton
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Linen
Other Natural Cellulosic Fibers
General Overview of Man-Made Fibers
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Viscose
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Esters
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Nylon
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Polyester
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Acrylic and Modacrylic
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Olefins
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Elastomers
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Mineral Fibers
Man Made Fibers - Other Textile Fibers
Fiber Blends
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part I
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part II
Melt-Spun Fibers
Characteristics of Filament Yarn
Yarn Classification
Direct Spun Yarns
Textured Filament Yarns
Fabric Construction - Felt
Fabric Construction - Nonwoven fabrics
A Fashion Data Base
Fabric Construction - Leather
Fabric Construction - Films
Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins
Fabric Construction – Foams and Poromeric Material
Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns
Weaving and the Loom
Similarities and Differences in Woven Fabrics
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part I)
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part II)
The Three Basic Weaves - Twill Weave
The Three Basic Weaves - Satin Weave
Figured Weaves - Leno Weave
Figured Weaves – Piqué Weave
Figured Fabrics
Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements
Crêpe Fabrics
Crêpe Effect Fabrics
Pile Fabrics - General
Woven Pile Fabrics
Chenille Yarn and Tufted Pile Fabrics
Knit-Pile Fabrics
Flocked Pile Fabrics and Other Pile Construction Processes
Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms
Napped Fabrics – Part I
Napped Fabrics – Part II
Double Cloth
Multicomponent Fabrics
Knit-Sew or Stitch Through Fabrics
Finishes - Overview
Finishes - Initial Fabric Cleaning
Mechanical Finishes - Part I
Mechanical Finishes - Part II
Additive Finishes
Chemical Finishes - Bleaching
Glossary of Scientific Terms
Chemical Finishes - Acid Finishes
Finishes: Mercerization
Finishes: Waterproof and Water-Repellent Fabrics
Finishes: Flame-Proofed Fabrics
Finishes to Prevent Attack by Insects and Micro-Organisms
Other Finishes
Shrinkage - Part I
Shrinkage - Part II
Progressive Shrinkage and Methods of Control

There are currently eight data bases on this blogspot, namely, the Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, the Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns, Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements, Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms and the Glossary of Scientific Terms, which has been updated to Version 3.5. All data bases will be updated from time-to-time in the future.

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The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all!

A crêpe crinkle can be obtained in several ways. This post and next months post - unlike previous posts on weaving - deals with the family of crêpe fabrics including those made by crepe weave.

J Crew - pleated silk crêpe blouse.

“Crêpe” is a French word meaning “crinkle”. Crêpe fabrics are classified according to the way crinkle is obtained. True crêpe has a crinkle resulting from high twist yarns – see post: Yarn Classification.

Dollhouse bettie - pinup and vintage lingerie - 30s vintage feather light silk crêpe peignoir.

Crêpe-effect fabrics (next month’s post) are those in which the crinkle is achieved by the weave, finish or by textured yarns. The crêpes and crêpe effects will be compared below.

Comparison of crêpe fabrics.

True Crêpe
True crêpe fabrics are made with plain weave and high twist crêpe yarns (see Yarn Classification). They are made on a loom with a box attachment that can insert alternating S- and Z-twist yarns to enhance the amount of crinkle. Rayon, cotton, flax, wool and silk are fibers that are used for high twist yarns because the liveliness of the high twist can be controlled or “set” by wetting and drying before weaving.

Wool crêpe dress.

Thermoplastic fibers will not take such a set. They must be set with heat, which kills the liveliness of the fabric. Acetate fiber is often used for the low-twist warp yarns.

Grey-goods crêpe fabric is smooth as it comes from the loom. It is woven wide and then shrunk to develop the crinkle. Immersion in water causes the crêpe-twist yarns to regain their liveliness and contact or shrink. For example, the fabric is 47 inches wide on the loom, contracts to 30-32 inches in boil-off and is finished to 39 inches. This explains why crêpe fabric will shrink when it gets wet and why garment size is so much more easily controlled by dry cleaning than washing.

True crêpe fabrics are classified by the position of the crêpe yarn as: filling crêpes, warp crêpes, balanced crêpes, and variations.

Filling Crêpe Fabrics
These fabrics have high twist crêpe yarns in the filling direction and low-twist yarns in the warp direction.

Typical filling crêpe fabrics.

Multfilament and French crêpe are the smoothest and most lustrous of the true crêpe family. Because they are smooth, they are washable and are used in lingerie and sometimes in blouses, They contain crêpe yarns of the lowest twist.

Orange and green embroidered french crêpe dress material with dupatta.

Flat crêpe is the most widely used filling crêpe. It has a dull crepy surface. A rayon/acetate fiber combination is frequently used. The acetate is very low-twist filament warp and the rayon is the crêpe yarn filling. The rayon crêpe yarns alternate with S- and Z-twist or with 2S- and 2Z-twist. A high warp count and low filling count give a cross-wise rib effect. Low count in the filling gives the crêpe yarns room to contract so that the amount of crinkle will be greater. The flat crêpe shown in the figure below shows a filling crêpe. Analysis of the filling crêpe fabric will show that it is easy to distinguish between the warp and the filling yarns.

Flat crêpe. Notice crimp on the regular yarn due to the pressure of crêpe yarns when fabric was pressed. These are not crêpe yarns.

When sewing crêpe it is not advisable to preshrink the cloth with the hope that it will then be completely relaxed. If crêpes are completely relaxed, they will stretch too much during pressing and use. True crêpes present some problems in pressing, but the secret is to work quickly with as little pressure and moisture as is necessary to obtain good results. It is best to dry clean crêpes that have enough crinkle to present pressing or shrinkage problems.

Warp Crêpe Fabrics
Warp crêpe fabrics are made with crepe yarns in the warp and regular yarns in the filling direction.

Crêpe weave fabric with satin stripes cotton and rayon.

There are very few warp crepes on the market, possibly because they tend to shrink more in the warp direction and it is, therefore, difficult to keep an even hemline in washable fabrics. Bemberg sheer and some wool crêpes belong in this group.

Diagram of a warp crêpe.

Vintage: Bemberg sheer navy blue fabric.

Balanced Crêpe Fabrics
Balanced crêpe fabrics have crêpe yarns in both directions and are usually balanced in thread count. They are often made in sheers and the crepiness of the yarns in both directions helps to prevent yarn slippage.

Diagram of a balanced crêpe.

Woman's dovetail balance micro gold crêpe dress.

Other forms of true crêpes are the crepe seersuckers and the double cloth crepes.

Puckered rayons (seersuckers) are made in plain weave with alternating groups of regular yarns and crêpe yarns in the filling direction. Warp yarns are regular yarns. When the fabric is wet in finishing, the crêpe yarns shrink causing crosswise puckers in the regular yarn stripe.

Rayon crêpe seersucker.

Brooks Brothers seersucker dress.

Matelassé is a double-cloth construction with either three or four sets of yarns. Two of the sets are always the regular warp and filling yarns and the others are crêpe yarns. They are woven together so that the two sets criss-cross as shown below. It is as if two fabrics are interlaced with each other. The crêpe yarns shrink during wet finishing and create puffy areas in the regular-yarn part of the fabric. Matelassé is usually a rayon/acetate combination.

Printed satin-metalassé skirt.
Metalassé double-cloth construction showing crêpe and regular yarns crisscrossing.

[1] N. Hollen and J. Saddler, Textiles, 3rd Edition, MacMillan Company, London (1968).

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