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Chiffon velvet is a type of velvet which is very lightweight, allowing it to drape in a variety of ways. This velvet is often used in lingerie and other intimate items, and it also appears sometimes in formal dresses and skirts. Many fabric stores carry chiffon velvet in an assortment of colors, for people who want to custom-make garments with this textile, and various examples of chiffon velvet can also be seen in antique stores and in department stores in modern garments.
This style of velvet is sometimes called “transparent velvet,” in a reference to its sheer nature. The backing of chiffon velvet is typically silk or rayon, with a rayon pile. Like other velvets, chiffon velvet is woven in such a way that it has a very deep, complex texture, and chiffon velvet is also very stretchy and forgiving. The pile of chiffon velvet can be left plain, or embossed with various designs, depending on the manufacturer's inclination and the demand for embossed chiffon velvet.
When well cared for, chiffon velvet can last a long time, especially if it starts out as a high-quality textile. Because chiffon velvet has a tendency to unravel, it is very important to bind the seams to keep them secure, as otherwise the garment may start to fray at the seams and ultimately come undone. Chiffon velvet should be washed at cool temperatures and hung to dry, and the use of an iron should be avoided, as it can press the pile of the fabric out of shape.
Seamstresses love to work with chiffon velvet because it drapes so elegantly on a wide variety of figures. The light weight keeps the fabric from being oppressive, even when a lot is used, and this can be very useful in warm weather or warmer climates, where traditional velvets might feel too heavy to be worn. It is common to see chiffon velvet draped in folds, and it may be embroidered, beaded, or otherwise decorated.
As a general rule, chiffon velvet is used primarily in women's clothing, because the fabric does not lend itself well to men's designs. In addition to being used in things like dresses and skirts, chiffon velvet also shows up in scarves, hats, sashes, purses, and other accessories.