What Is Silk Taffeta?

Written by kaye wagner
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What Is Silk Taffeta?
Silk taffeta is commonly used to make wedding dresses. (ganz in weiss image by romy mitterlechner from Fotolia.com)

Taffeta describes the weaving process of several fabrics such as silk, rayon or synthetic fabrics. Taffeta silk is commonly used to make dress materials and wraps. Taffeta can also be used to cover shoes or upholster high quality furniture.


Taffeta is a silk, rayon or synthetic fabric with a fine cross rib. Silk taffeta is smooth on the surface, but is more stiff and crisp than regular silk fabrics. The fabric is fine and tightly woven. It is flat and looks the same on both sides. Silk taffeta is known for its distinctive rustle, made by the stiffness of the fabric.


Taffeta originated in the 16th century in Iran, which was referred to then as Persia. It was called "taftah" or "taftan." It was developed and praised for its stiffness.


Silk taffeta is often used in dress clothing, because its stiffness allows it to be tailored more easily than regular silk. Because of its stiffness and thickness, silk taffeta wears out slower than regularly wove silk and is therefore often used in furniture upholstery.


Silk taffeta has a variety of textures. Most silk taffeta is smooth, while others have ribbing or small bumps. Fabric manufacturers can give silk taffeta a special finish by passing engraved iron rollers over the silk taffeta. This gives the fabric a rippled texture.


There are several varieties of silk taffeta that include faille taffeta, which has a crosswise rib weave that makes the silk heavy and firm, and that causes distinct ribbing. Paper taffeta is a plain weave that leaves a paper-smooth finish, while shot taffeta uses two different colours for warp and weft to give the fabric an iridescent look.

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