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Fabric Lab: Crepe de Chine

Threads #202, April/May 2019

Silk crepe de Chine has a slightly crinkly surface formed by twisted yarns. It is available in three weights: two-ply, the most common; three-ply, the favorite of top-notch designers; and four-ply, found in tailored pants and jackets by European designers. The Japanese unit of measurement, known as momme, refers to fabric weight. The higher the momme, the heavier the fabric. Two-ply silk is 14 to 16 momme, three-ply silk is 30 momme, and four-ply silk is 40 momme. However, some versions of crepe de Chine can fall outside those guidelines. Unlike polyester crepe de Chine, silk crepe de Chine has a beautiful drape and enables you to sew pucker-free seams.
All three silk weights work for tailored shirts and blouses; three-ply and four-ply work for tailored jackets, pants, blouses, straight dresses, and semifull pants; two-ply works well in full pants, boxer shorts, loose tops, and full dresses.

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