T draws on a great deal of experience to tell us the basic facts about taffeta
My Dear Lorraine,
I am truly flattered that you would consult me about taffeta when there are so many taffeta lovers in the UK. Princess Diana was a strong admirer of taffeta as evidenced by her wardrobe, as are most royalty throughout Europe.
Yes, taffeta is the weave. The fibre is what is used to create the weave. For example, you could take a lustrous rayon fibre and weave it into a satin, or a taffeta. Some of the most obvious differences are that satin is dull on the back side and very shiny on the front, and satin doesn't swish. Taffeta has the same sheen on both sides and swishes a lot depending on the finish and weight of the fibre.
Taffeta was first created in the thirteenth century in Persia (now Iran). At first it was made of silk and was worn mainly by royalty. Taffeta is a woven fabric created by weaving a double thread in every other row. The raised threads create a swishing or rustling sound as they rub together, or as they rub against other fabrics.
As time passed, Ladies in waiting began to wear taffeta, followed by aristocracy, and progressing down the social ladder. It was used as outer wear and under wear as well. Taffeta dresses, and taffeta petticoats were the most obvious.
As time passed, the demand for taffeta exceeded the availability of silk, so scientists created acetate taffeta which is a coal based fibre. As you surmised, taffeta can be woven out of most any fibre, but a lustrous fibre makes the most beautiful fabric.
Acetate had the disadvantage of being unwashable and it wrinkled easily, although it made much more noise than silk taffeta.
Additional progress created nylon taffeta, a chemical based fibre, which is used for sportswear, tents, sleeping bags, umbrellas, jackets, and thousands of other products. Then, more progress created polyester taffeta which is petroleum based. This fabric wrinkles less, is completely machine washable, very shiny, and lighter weight than acetate. However, it is such a tight weave that it does not breath well, and thus is hot to wear, as I am sure rubber is as well.
Not having seen samples of your fabrics, I would be terribly disappointed if you are using a cotton taffeta. That has no sensual value at all. At the very least I would hope for a polyester taffeta.
Taffeta apparel peaked in the 1950s, tapering off in the 1960s and 1970s, and is nearly nonexistent today except in the very elite circles. All of the best designers include something of taffeta in their lines, and all the most social events include many woman wearing taffeta gowns. And, of course you will always see royalty wearing taffeta. Taffeta is a very magical fabric, and the top of society know it.
I could go on for pages, but I would need some more guidance! I would be delighted to influence you to increase your taffeta product line, as I would love to have some taffeta rainwear, and many pictures of same.
But not cotton taffeta. Sorry!
Love and swishes.
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