The American actress Lillian Gish in morning dress in chiffon and lace in 1922
Coat and skirt street suit of gray chiffon broadcloth with embroidery and lace decoration (1905)

Chiffon (French: [ʃi.fɔ̃]; English: /ʃɪˈfɒn/, shif-ON, from the French word chiffe which means "cloth or rag";[1] is a lightweight, balanced plain-woven sheer fabric, or gauze, like gossamer, woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe (high-twist) yarns.[2][3] Crepe yarn tends to have a tighter twist than standard yarns.[1] The twist in the crepe yarns puckers the fabric slightly in both directions after weaving, giving it some stretch and a slightly rough feel.


Chiffon is a lightweight fabric which is associated with elegance and luxury;[4] it drapes well and has a shimmery and sheer appearance.[1][4] Under a magnifying glass, chiffon resembles a fine net or mesh, which gives it some transparency.

Chiffon can be produced out of natural or synthetic fibres.[1] Silk chiffon was very expensive, and it is with the development of synthetic chiffon, such as nylon chiffon, polyester chiffon, and rayon chiffon, that chiffon became more accessible and more popular for common usage.[1][4]

Since chiffon is a light-weight fabric which frays easily, bound or French seams must be used to stop the fabric from fraying.

Natural fibres

Early chiffon was made purely from silk and was very expensive; when used in fashion, it was associated with high status.[1] Silk chiffon displays colours beautifully since silk fibres absorb dyes well. Chiffon also drapes well, adding structure to the clothing item it is formed into. [1] Silk chiffon needs to be dry cleaned.[1]

In China, silk chiffon made of raw silk was known as xiao (Chinese: ), which was also the name of raw silk.[5]: 352 

Chiffon could also be made out of cotton.[4]

Synthetic fibres

In 1938, a nylon chiffon was invented; this was followed by the creation of polyester chiffon in 1958, which became immensely popular due to its resilience and low cost.[1]

Chiffon can also be produced out of rayon.[1]


In modern Western fashion, chiffon is most commonly used in evening wear, especially as an overlay, for giving an elegant and floating appearance to the gown.[1] It is also a popular fabric used in blouses, ribbons, scarves and lingerie.[1]

In India, Chiffon is primarily used to make Sarees and dupattas.[1]

Similar items

Chiffon is smoother and more lustrous than the similar fabric georgette.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "What Is Chiffon Fabric? Learn About the Characteristics of This Luxury Fabric and How Chiffon Is Made". MasterClass. 2021-08-12.((cite web)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ Kadolph, Sara J., ed.: Textiles, 10 th edition, Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2007, ISBN 0-13-118769-4, p. 230.
  3. ^ 28 Types of Fabrics and Their Uses MasterClass
  4. ^ a b c d e "What is Chiffon? Luxury Fabric Vs Thrifty Synthetic | Contrado". Contrado Blog. 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  5. ^ History of textile technology of ancient China. Weiji Cheng. Rego Park, NY: Science Press New York. 1992. ISBN 1-880132-02-8. OCLC 26813079.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)