Taffeta (/ˈtæfɪtə/; archaically spelled taffety) is a crisp, smooth, plain woven fabric made from silk or cuprammonium rayons as well as acetate and polyester. The word is Persian in origin and means "twisted woven". It is considered to be a "high-end" fabric, suitable for use in ball gowns, wedding dresses, and in interior decoration for curtains or wallcoverings. It is also widely used in the manufacture of corsets and corsetry: it yields a more starched-like type of cloth that holds its shape better than many other fabrics. An extremely thin, crisp type of taffeta is called paper taffeta.[1][2]

There are two distinct types of silk taffeta: yarn-dyed and piece-dyed. Piece-dyed taffeta is often used in linings and is quite soft. Yarn-dyed taffeta is much stiffer and is often used in evening dresses. Shot silk taffeta was one of the most highly sought forms of Byzantine silk, and may have been the fabric known as purpura.[3]

Woman's Dress LACMA M.2007.211.35 (3 of 7)
Detail of a c. 1880 dress made of silk taffeta


Modern taffeta was first woven in Italy and France and until the 1950s in Japan. Warp-printed taffeta or chiné, mainly made in France from the eighteenth century onwards, is sometimes called "pompadour taffeta" after Madame de Pompadour.[4] Today most raw silk taffeta is produced in India and Pakistan. There, even in the modern period, handlooms were long widely used, but since the 1990s it has been produced on mechanical looms in the Bangalore area. From the 1970s until the 1990s, the Jiangsu province of China produced fine silk taffetas: these were less flexible than those from Indian mills, however, which continue to dominate production. Other countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East also produce silk taffeta, but these products are not yet equal in quality or competitiveness to those from India. The most deluxe taffetas, however, are still woven in France, Italy, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Historical and current uses

Taffeta has seen use for purposes other than clothing fabric, including the following:

  • On November 4, 1782, taffeta was used by Joseph Montgolfier of France to construct a small, cube-shaped balloon. This was the beginning of many experiments using taffeta balloons by the Montgolfier brothers, and led to the first known human flight in a lighter-than-air craft.
  • Synthetic fibre forms of taffeta have been used to simulate the structure of blood vessels.[5]
  • Tabby cats were so-named in the 1600s due to visual resemblance to a tabby, a type of striped silk taffeta.[6]


  1. ^ Shaeffer, Clair (2008). Claire Shaeffer's fabric sewing guide (2nd ed.). Cincinnati, Ohio: Krause Publications. ISBN 9781440223426.
  2. ^ Stevenson, Angus, ed. (2010). Oxford dictionary of English (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 1286. ISBN 9780199571123.
  3. ^ Dodwell, C.R.; Anglo-Saxon Art, A New Perspective, pp. 145-150, 1982, Manchester UP, ISBN 0-7190-0926-X (US edn. Cornell, 1985)
  4. ^ Fukai, Akiko (2002). Fashion : the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute : a history from the 18th to the 20th century. Köln [etc.]: Taschen. p. 56. ISBN 9783822812068.
  5. ^ "Heat sealed dacron taffeta blood vessel replacement". Surg Gynecol Obstet. 105 (3): 370–4. September 1957. PMID 13467673.
  6. ^ "Entry for tabby". Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
Academic dress of the University of Exeter

This page describes the different types of academic dress allowed at the University of Exeter. Definitions of the academic dress for the award holders and officials of the University are set out in the University's regulations.

Academic dress of the University of Warwick

The academic and official dress of the University of Warwick dates originally from the mid-1960s, shortly after the university's foundation. Despite persistent offers from Charles Franklyn (and a single, more moderate letter from George Shaw) the theatrical costume designer Anthony Powell was commissioned to design robes for officials and graduates of the university. Due to pressure of other work, and some apparent differences of opinion, Powell withdrew from the project, and the robes for graduates subsequently designed in consultation with J. Wippell and Company of Exeter, with Ede and Ravenscroft designing and making the robes for officials.The official academic dress for officers and members of the University of Warwick is as follows.

Augustine Phillips

Augustine Phillips (died May 1605) was an Elizabethan actor who performed in troupes with Edward Alleyn and William Shakespeare. He was one of the first generation of English actors to achieve wealth and a degree of social status by means of his trade.

Phillips first enters the historical record as a member of the amalgamation of Lord Strange's Men and the Admiral's Men that performed The Seven Deadly Sins (perhaps by Richard Tarlton) between 1590 and 1592. In the surviving "plot" of this performance, Phillips is assigned the role of Sardanapalus; he is one of the few actors not required to play a double role. He is named in the touring warrant issued to Strange's Men in 1592; after the death of their patron Ferdinando Stanley he joined the new Lord Chamberlain's Men, presumably as a sharer.

Phillips remained with the company through its change to the King's Men and to his death in 1605. Little is known with certainty of his roles with the company, except that he was probably already mature when the company assembled. He appears in the cast lists for Ben Jonson's Every Man in His Humour (1598), Every Man Out of His Humour (1599), and Sejanus (1603). He may be the author of a jig, Phillips His Slipper, entered for publishing in the Stationers' Register in 1595.

He was one of the six sharers in the Globe Theatre when it was built in 1598–9, with a one-eighth share. Over time this made him a comparatively wealthy man, at least as far as Elizabethan actors were concerned. Like Shakespeare, Phillips lived for many years near his occupation in Southwark, in Paris Garden near the Swan Theatre, and in Aldgate; but by the time of his death he owned a house in Mortlake, in Surrey.

In 1601, he was the representative of the company called to testify before the Privy Council about their involvement with the rebellion of the Earl of Essex; the Chamberlain's Men had been paid by supporters of the Earl to perform Shakespeare's Richard II before the abortive coup. Phillips' testimony seems to have assuaged whatever anger the court may have felt towards the players; they were not punished, and indeed played for Elizabeth at Whitehall on 24 February 1601, the night before Essex was executed. (The choice of Phillips as representative is interesting; why him, and not Shakespeare or Burbage? He testified that the Lord Chamberlain's Men had played at the request of Essex's supporters, specifically because they were offered 40 shillings more than their normal fee. This might indicate that Phillips had a role in keeping the financial accounts of the company.)

The evidence suggests a life deeply intertwined with the theater. He was a stepbrother of his fellow King's Man Thomas Pope, and his sister married another actor, Robert Gough.

Phillips's daughters Magdalen and Rebecca were baptized in the parish of St. Saviour's in Southwark in 1594 and 1596 respectively. A son, Augustine or Austen, was baptized there in 1601 but buried three years later. Phillips's will, which was signed on 4 May 1605 and probated on 13 May 1605, mentions two other daughters, Anne and Elizabeth, and his wife Anne, plus brothers, sisters, and other relations of a large family. The will includes a number of interesting and revealing bequests:

a silver bowl worth £5 to each of the executors, John Heminges, Richard Burbage, and William Sly;

a 30-shilling gold piece each to Shakespeare, Henry Condell, and Christopher Beeston (Beeston is described as Phillips's "servant;" he was almost certainly a former apprentice);

20 shillings in gold each to Lawrence Fletcher, Robert Armin, Alexander Cooke, Richard Cowley, and Nicholas Tooley;

40s. to his apprentice James Sands, along with a cittern, a bandora, and a lute, all pending the "expiration of his term of years in his indenture of apprenticehood;"

40s. to his "late apprentice" Samuel Gilburne, plus Phillips's "mouse-colored" velvet hose, his black taffeta suit and white taffeta doublet, his purple cloak, his sword and dagger, and his bass viol;

and £5 to be split among the hired men "of the company which I am of."The musical instruments obviously imply that Phillips was a musician, and as such he was probably involved in the dramatic music used in productions throughout his career.

Ball gown

A ball gown, ballgown or gown is a type of evening gown worn to a ball or a formal event. Most versions are cut off the shoulder with a low décolletage, exposed arms, and long bouffant styled skirts. Such gowns are typically worn with a stole (a formal shawl in expensive fabric), cape or cloak in lieu of a coat, couture or vintage jewelry and opera-length gloves. Where "state decorations" are to be worn, they are on a bow pinned to the chest, and married women wear a tiara if they have one. Although artificial fabrics are now sometimes used, the most common fabrics are satin, silk, taffeta and velvet with trimmings of lace, pearls, sequins, embroidery, ruffles, ribbons, rosettes and ruching.

Doree Lewak

Doree Lewak is an American writer and humorist. Lewak lives in New York City and has written for The New York Post, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, The Jerusalem Post, The Huffington Post, Time Out New York, Newsday, and New York Daily News.Lewak is best known as the author of the 2008 book The Panic Years: A Guide to Surviving Smug Married Friends, Bad Taffeta, and Life on the Wrong Side of 25 without a Ring. The Panic Years offers advice on how to change one's relationship strategy to find a marriage partner. Library Journal called the book “sassy and humorous.” Critics found Lewak’s insistence that women should make matrimony a goal, “repulsive,” and criticized Lewak for “reinforc(ing) negative stereotypes.”


Grosgrain (, GROH-grayn, also sometimes pronounced , GRAHS-grayn), is a type of fabric or ribbon defined by the fact that its weft is heavier than its warp, creating prominent transverse ribs. It is called a "corded" fabric since the weft resembles a fine cord. Grosgrain is a plain weave corded fabric, with heavier cords than in poplin but lighter than in faille. Grosgrain has a very dull appearance with little luster but is very strong. It is a firm, close-woven, fine-corded fabric. Grosgrain fabric is most commonly available in black, but grosgrain ribbon comes in a large variety of colors and patterns. The ribbon is very similar to Petersham ribbon in its appearance, but it does not have the ability to follow the curves of a surface or edge the way that the latter does.

"Grosgrain" is commonly used to refer to a heavy, stiff ribbon of silk or nylon woven via taffeta weave using a heavy weft which results in distinct transverse ribs. Historically grosgrain was made from wool, silk, or a combination of fibers such as silk and wool or silk and mohair. When a combination of fibers was used, the end result was sometimes given the name grogram, silk mohair, gros de Tours or gros de Napels.

Gunne Sax

Gunne Sax is a retired clothing label owned by Jessica McClintock, Inc, which specialized in formal and semi-formal wear for young women. It was founded as a San Francisco retail store in 1967 by Elanor Bailey and Carol Miller. Gunne Sax founders partnered with McClintock in 1969 for a $5,000 investment.The name "Gunne Sax" was associated with McClintock's 1970s prairie, Victorian, and Edwardian-styled designs which drew on many elements popular in late-19th and early-20th-century American fashion such as lace, gingham, and calico. The enterprise was named after the "gunny sack" or burlap trim used on some of the earlier dresses.

Gunne Sax had a children/young girls' line referred to as Jeunes Filles. Gunne Sax also manufactured renaissance- and medieval-inspired designs, with empire waistlines and middle plackets, and used other historical costume elements such as corset-like laced bodices and puffed sleeves that tightened below the elbow, a style popular throughout the 1970s and 1980s known as "leg o'mutton." Collectors consider clothing with the original "black label," used only in 1969, the most valuable. A "hearts label" was used for a short time following, until the 1970s and early 1980s larger label with scrollwork was put into use.

From the 1980s and beyond, Gunne Sax dresses tended to follow modern prom dress sensibilities, such as tight, strapless bodices and full skirts, favoring fabrics like satin, taffeta, and tulle. In 1999 taffeta was the number one seller paired with matte satin or brocade corsets, with an addition of skirts made in tulle or dotted swiss.


Lampas is a type of luxury fabric with a background weft (a "ground weave") typically in taffeta with supplementary wefts (the "pattern wefts") laid on top and forming a design, sometimes also with a "brocading weft". Lampas is typically woven in silk, and often has gold and silver thread enrichment.

Moire (fabric)

Moire ( or ), less often moiré, is a textile with a wavy (watered) appearance produced mainly from silk, but also wool, cotton and rayon. The watered appearance is usually created by the finishing technique called calendering. Moire effects are also achieved by certain weaves, such as varying the tension in the warp and weft of the weave. Silk treated in this way is sometimes called watered silk.


Paduasoy or padesoy (; French: peau de soie) is a luxurious strong corded or grosgrain silk textile that originated in Early Modern Europe. The term paduasoy first appeared in English in 1663.Paduasoy silk was woven in a variation of the satin weave, with bindings arranged to create fine cross-ridges across the fabric. In the British East India Company supercargoes' records, examined by Leanna Lee-Whitman, paduasoy made its first appearance in 1736. Its fine appearance is endorsed in a letter of Mrs. Benjamin Franklin to her husband in London, in 1765: "The chairs are plain horsehair and look as well as Paduasoy." In the British East India records consulted by Leanna Lee-Whitman, black paduasoys completely supplanted "plain" ones after 1761: George Washington commissioned a friend, Tench Tilghman, to purchase numerous household items, "if great bargains are to be had", from the cargo of a ship in the China trade that had docked at Baltimore and were to be auctioned in October 1785. Among his requests, if they could be had cheaply, were "About 13 yds of good bla: paduasoy". Beatrix Potter employed paduasoy to set the old-fashioned scene in The Tailor of Gloucester, which begins, "In the time of swords and periwigs and full-skirted coats with flowered lappets—when gentlemen wore ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of paduasoy and taffeta—there lived a tailor in Gloucester.In Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford (1851), an old white paduasoy wedding dress longed for by Miss Matty's mother has been recut into a christening cloak for a baby.The original French term, peau de soie, is once again part of the English vernacular.

Plain weave

Plain weave (also called tabby weave, linen weave or taffeta weave) is the most basic of three fundamental types of textile weaves (along with satin weave and twill). It is strong and hard-wearing, and is used for fashion and furnishing fabrics.

In plain weave cloth, the warp and weft threads cross at right angles, aligned so they form a simple criss-cross pattern. Each weft thread crosses the warp threads by going over one, then under the next, and so on. The next weft thread goes under the warp threads that its neighbor went over, and vice versa.

Balanced plain weaves are fabrics in which the warp and weft are made of threads of the same weight (size) and the same number of ends per inch as picks per inch.

Basketweave is a variation of plain weave in which two or more threads are bundled and then woven as one in the warp or weft, or both.A balanced plain weave can be identified by its checkerboard-like appearance. It is also known as one-up-one-down weave or over and under pattern.Examples of fabric with plain weave are chiffon, organza, percale and taffeta.

Plum Vera Wang dress of Keira Knightley

The Plum Vera Wang dress of Keira Knightley refers to the evening gown worn by British actor Keira Knightley at the 78th Academy Awards on March 5, 2006. The full-length taffeta dress was created by designer Vera Wang and had a single shoulder strap and fishtail skirt. It was accessorised with a Bulgari necklace.In a subsequent poll by British retail chain Debenhams published in The Daily Telegraph, the dress was voted the 6th greatest red carpet gown of all time. Cosmopolitan magazine also cited it as one of the Best Oscar dresses of all time, saying Knightley looked: "super-graceful in this eggplant taffeta gown custom-made by Vera Wang."


Sailcloth encompasses a wide variety of materials that span those from natural fibers, such as flax, hemp or cotton in various forms of sail canvas, to synthetic fibers, including nylon, polyester, aramids, and carbon fibers in a variety of woven, spun and molded textiles.

Samuel Gilburne

Samuel Gilburne (fl. 1605, d. after 1623) was an Elizabethan actor who is listed as one of the "Principall Actors" in the prefatory material of the First Folio of William Shakespeare's plays. Gilburne is named as a former apprentice to Augustine Phillips, another member of Shakespeare's company, in Phillips' will dated 4 May 1605, in which Gilburne is bequeathed 40 shillings, Phillips's "mouse-colored" velvet hose, his black taffeta suit and white taffeta doublet, his purple cloak, his sword and dagger, and his bass viol. A copy of the First Folio held at the Folger Shakespeare Library has a signature thought to be Gilburne's.

Shot silk

Shot silk (also called changeant, changeable silk and changeable taffeta) is a fabric which is made up of silk woven from warp and weft yarns of two or more colours producing an iridescent appearance. A "shot" is a single throw of the bobbin that carries the weft thread through the warp, and shot silk colours can be described as "[warp colour] shot with [weft colour]." The weaving technique can also be applied to other fibres such as cotton, linen, and synthetics.

Victoria Shaw (singer)

Victoria Lynn Shaw (born July 13, 1962 in Manhattan, New York City, New York) is an American country music artist. She has recorded four studio albums, and has charted five singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. In addition, she has co-written four Number One singles for other country music artists, including Garth Brooks' "The River" as featured on the multi-million selling album Ropin' The Wind and John Michael Montgomery's "I Love the Way You Love Me", which won the 1993 Academy of Country Music award for Song of the Year. With Paul Worley, she is also the co-producer of the debut album of Lady Antebellum.

Warp printing

Warp printing is a fabric production method which combines textile printing and weaving to create a distinctively patterned fabric, usually in silk. The warp threads of the fabric are printed before weaving to create a softly blurred, vague pastel-coloured pattern. It was particularly fashionable in the eighteenth century for summer wear.The silk and taffeta fabrics produced by this technique have a variety of names, including chiné, Pompadour taffeta (after Madame de Pompadour) and chiné à la branche. Chiné velvet was also possible, although the technique was very difficult and expensive and only made in a few places in France in the eighteenth century.

Wedding dress of Lady Diana Spencer

The wedding dress of Lady Diana Spencer was worn by the bride at her wedding to Charles, Prince of Wales, on 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral. Diana wore an ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown, with a 25-foot (7.62 m) train and a 153-yard tulle veil, valued then at £151,000. It became one of the most famous dresses in the world, and was considered one of the most closely guarded secrets in fashion history.

Yellow Valentino dress of Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett wore a pale yellow silk taffeta Valentino dress at the 77th Academy Awards on February 26, 2005. It was the dress Blanchett wore when she won her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Aviator in front of some 42.1 million people in American television. Cosmopolitan magazine cited the dress as one of the Best Oscar dresses of all time, saying, "In this yellow silk taffeta gown created especially for her by Valentino, Cate looks like a classic Hollywood starlet. The one-shoulder strap and contrasting belt are great details, and the color is perfect for her milk-white skin."

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