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Silk Taffeta Fabric Draping

Silk Taffeta is an opaque fabric most often used for eveningwear. In particular, silk taffeta is commonly seen in prom dresses, bridal gowns, and mother-of-the-bride ensembles. Because of its intense luster, ability to dye to very saturated colors, and slight stiffness, it is one of the go-to fabrics for eveningwear. The luster of the fabric makes it perfect for techniques that cast shadows such as gathers or pleating. The pleats will stand out by creating contrast between the edge of the pleat the light reflects off of, and the tuck of the pleat, where the shadow creates a dramatic darkness in the folds. When pleating taffeta it is best to use polyester taffeta, as it will be able to pleat permanently, where as silk (a natural fiber) will not. If you use silk taffeta, the pleats will fall out when the garment is washed or steamed.


Taffeta is often used as a base, and then garnished with embellishments such as Lurex embroidery, beads, or ribbons. These embellishments all bring shine and luster into the garment, which is accented by the luster of the taffeta. Inherently, taffeta is a fairly stiff fabric, which allows you to build body and fullness into a garment. However, because of this stiffness, taffeta garments are almost always lined with a softer fabric against the wearer’s skin. 

The Acne 2012 resort collection brought a new twist to this typically-eveningwear fabric. The collection uses Taffeta in more casual sportswear looks, pairing the taffeta with fabrics such as denim and linen. The luster of the fabric is toned down by the informal fabrics that surround it, making it more of a daytime street look, than something for the opera. The collection focuses on volume, layering, and unique silhouettes- all of which makes Taffeta an ideal choice for fabrication.


In the three quick-drapes I did for this fabric, I tried to show some of the most unique properties of the fabric. I wanted to show how it can be tailored, possibilities of self-fabric embellishments, how using it on the bias changes its natural properties, and how the stiffness can be played upon to create unique shapes and silhouettes. I hope these images provide inspiration to discover new ways to use this fabric in unconventional ways!

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