Crinkle chiffon fabric has an interesting, textured look that makes it popular for dress and skirt overlays, gowns and costumes. Its purposely crinkled appearance makes it an ideal choice for peasant costumes in particular as it will retain a wrinkled look that lends authenticity to the design. Although crinkle chiffon fabric looks like it would be simple to make at home, factory-made crinkle chiffon has actually been through chemical washes which encourage the wrinkles to stay in place. For this reason it can be tricky to create a permanently wrinkled effect yourself and the following method will create semi-permanent wrinkles that need to be refreshed with each wash.
Gather the two opposite edges of the chiffon in toward each other to form a strip of unevenly pleated material. Tie each end securely with a hair band or length of string.
Hold one end of the strip and either ask a friend to hold the other end or secure it firmly in a vice or on a hook.
Twist the material tightly so that it doubles up on itself and eventually forms a tight ball of twisted chiffon. Secure the ball by tucking the ends inside and tying with hair bands or lengths of string.
Place the twisted ball into a pan of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, ensuring that it is completely covered by the water. Leave to cool slightly before removing the ball from the pan.
Remove the outer hair bands or string and unwind the ball slightly. Wring it tightly to remove excess water then wind the material back into a tight ball and secure it once again.
Place the ball in a large, microwave-safe dish, cover with cling film and pierce a few holes in the wrap with a fork to allow steam to escape. Microwave the material on a high setting for one minute intervals, checking the material for dry patches each time and turning it regularly to avoid burning. Remove the material once the outside has begun to dry, taking extra care not to burn yourself.
Remove the hair bands or pieces of string from the outside of the ball once more and unwind it slightly so that you have a doubled-over sausage shape. Hang the sausage up to dry in a warm area out of direct sunlight for 24 hours.
Untwist the chiffon completely and air dry flat on a towel if it is still slightly damp.
Cut a small test strip of your chiffon fabric and boil it to check that the dye will not run before boiling it for the full amount of time required. If the dye runs you can immerse the twisted ball of material in a pan of cold water for a few minutes before microwaving it dry. Wring the material tightly after washing and dry in a sausage shape as before to maintain the crinkled effect.
Use oven gloves or tongs to handle the material when hot.
Tips and warnings
- Cut a small test strip of your chiffon fabric and boil it to check that the dye will not run before boiling it for the full amount of time required. If the dye runs you can immerse the twisted ball of material in a pan of cold water for a few minutes before microwaving it dry.
- Wring the material tightly after washing and dry in a sausage shape as before to maintain the crinkled effect.
- Use oven gloves or tongs to handle the material when hot.
Things you need
- Chiffon fabric
- Hair bands or lengths of string
- Large pan
- Microwave-safe dish
- Cling film