Moiré is one of those fabrics that draw you in. Its manufacture starts with a tight ribbed weave (the ribbing comes from the fact that the weft thread is thicker than the warp). This unassuming woven fabric is doubled and run through rollers. A combination of pressure and heat crushes the ribbing and yields a sort of organic map of smooth and matte areas. The result looks something like wood grain or rippled water and seems almost to flow with every movement.
The pressing process, known as calendaring, demands extra skill from the manufacturer, but the resulting pattern is worth it… an entirely organic, oddly pleasing asymmetry. Such moirés are sometimes referred to as “true moiré.” A newer process achieves a similar effect using a patterned roller at the cost of sacrificing that random, organic character; the pattern simply repeats but the play of light and shadow is just as sensual. When shopping online, ensure that the fabric you’ve chosen is actually a true moiré – some may just be prints with a moiré graphic.
This fabric has a cotton weft and acetate warp. Acetate is thermoplastic, so the heat-pressed moiré pattern is permanent. Both materials are breathable and very wearable, so when paired with a well chosen lining (such as silk habotai, silk-blend voile, or even rayon) this moiré will let you dance the night away in comfort.
Moiré does not drape. It’s a stiff fabric that holds a crease well and is very tailorable. When devising a dress pattern, keep the direction of the mapping in mind. Moiré works better for a gathered skirt cut from a straight piece than it does for a circle skirt. Put it to use in dresses (just imagine a cocktail dress from this!), skirts, jackets, boleros, and accessories like clutches, bows, headbands, and, of course, sashes.
Moiré is also stunning for interior decor on anything from throw cushions to wall and window dressings.
Moiré is suited for historical costuming too. It was very popular in the early nineteenth century (see Biedermeier fashion) and remained in favor through the 1950s. Great fashion houses like Givenchy and Dior have made history sewing with moiré. Dior’s famous day dress, „La Cigale“, was constructed from a grey moiré woven of cotton, rayon, and acetate – just like ours. Silk was used for making moiré before the discovery of synthetic fibers – in fact moiré is also known as watered silk – but silk does not hold the pattern as well and the effect will fade over time.
We recommend dry cleaning this fabric at a reliable dry cleaner. The pressed pattern is permanent, but frequent washing may cause it to fade. If you risk hand washing, proceed much as you would for silk: Use lukewarm water (max 30°C), gently agitating the piece by hand as it lays flat in the bath; do not wring or squeeze dry; as with silk or wool, dry by rolling in a clean towel and then laying out flat. Iron on the lowest setting with minimal pressure.