The Fabric Feature - Georgette vs Chiffon

As the great Indian fabric, sarees are the epitome of India's timeless traditions, heritage culture and diverse craftsmanship. But at its very core lies an astonishing variety of threads and yards that give each fabric its distinctive persona and properties. It is only fair to our beloved drapes that we take the time to understand their nature and essence, to be able to wear and care for them in the best possible way. On that note, we would like to introduce 'The Fabric Feature', a series of blogs that takes you through the many beautifully unique textiles that are the heart and soul of our treasured handlooms. And to begin with, we will be exploring the lightweight, sheer and durable fabrics of Georgette and Chiffon, and what makes each so special.

Translucent, woven silk fabric from the crepe family, Georgette originated at the beginning of the 20th century in the fashion capital, France when it was introduced by the famous designer or dressmaker Georgette de la Plante, after whom it is named. Traditionally it is made from pure silk yarns which lend it the sought after feather touch, supple feel and matte finish. Although over the years, it has incorporated synthetic fibres like rayon, viscose, and polyester in its blend. It is woven with yarns that are tightly twisted in the opposite direction which gives it a crinkled and textured surface. This lightweight and durable fabric is known to hold dyes well leading to the popularity of solid coloured Georgette fabrics along with colourful floral prints. Its versatile and breathable nature with the right amount of bounce makes it a delightful drape for women in India. Based on the intricacies of the weaving technique, Georgette can be categorised into 5 types - Silk Double Georgette, Stretch Georgette, Satin Georgette, Jacquard Georgette, and Polyester Georgette.

On the contrary, Chiffon is a lightweight and luxurious fabric renowned for its shimmer and sheen through centuries. In French, the word 'chiffe' means cloth or rag, from which the term was coined. When it was introduced to the fashion world, Chiffon was made exclusively in just silk and was extremely expensive making it accessible only to those aristocratic circles. Over the years it brought synthetic fibres into its folds, making this gossamer, tissue-like fabric more accessible to the world. Technically chiffon refers to a weaving technique where the yarns are twisted tightly in an alternating counter-clockwise and clockwise motion and brought together using a plain weave pattern. This technique when paired with both natural and synthetic materials such as silk, nylon, rayon and polyester gives Chiffon its characteristic net finish, rough feel and transparent appearance. Highly durable, strong and stretchable, it holds its structure well making it highly favoured choice of drape and is available in a spectrum of prints and palettes.  

While they both may sound quite similar initially, let us take a look at what sets them apart and differentiates them. To begin with, georgette has a tighter weave than chiffon causing it to be a bit dull comparatively. This lack of a distinct sheen in Georgette makes it the perfect canvas for delicate colours and pastel shades to come through. The slightly heavier fabric of Georgette makes it a tad bit more opaque and a lot more durable than chiffon. As a result of this, a lot more additional care needs to be taken to ensure the ends of the softer and more delicate chiffon does not fray. With chiffon having a better sheer than georgette, it drapes better in terms of layers and volume. And with georgette being sturdier and thicker, it can also be used to make blouses for the structure it provides. 

In a tropical and humid land like ours, both Georgette and Chiffon are a must-have in one's wardrobe. They do not cling to the body, are absorbent, keep you cool and are available in a plethora of breezy and beautiful prints. As you gain insight into these delightful drapes, you can simultaneously browse through the specially crafted collection of these featured drapes at Sundari Silks, where we seek to bring you the right blend of classic and contemporary styles. 

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