Georgette is a popular fabric choice amongst both professional and home dressmakers. Woven from silk and synthetic fabrics, there are a number of different types of georgette fabric that have evolved since the early twentieth century when georgette fabric first made an entrance into the dressmaking world.
We’ll explore the different varieties of georgette in this article, along with the types of clothing that georgette fabric is most commonly used to make. I’ve also included information on its properties and how to care properly for georgette.
I also have an in-depth article covering 40 different types of fabric, if you’re excited to learn more about fabrics afterwards!
What Is Georgette Fabric?
Georgette fabric was first used at the start of the 20th century by French dressmaker, Madame Georgette de la Plante. Taking its name from her, it became very popular in the 1930s – the bouncy fabric with a little give was classic of fashion in that era. Originally made from pure silk, it is often now produced from synthetic fibres woven together.
Georgette sits within the crepe textiles family. Amongst all the sheer fabrics, it’s beautifully stylish and often used for evening and bridalwear, especially dresses. It lends itself well to flowing designs that drape off the wearer. It is semi-translucent with a matte finish.
How Is Georgette Fabric Made?
Georgette weaves are created by twisting yarns tightly to create the puckered effect that is recognisable as georgette. The S and Z yarns are twisted alternately and tightly in both the warp and weft, which creates that recognisable crinkled appearance of the fabric.
What Is The Difference Between Georgette And Chiffon?
There are some similarities between georgette and chiffon, such as the similar drape-ability and feel to the fabric. However, there are significant differences that make them more suited to different styles and forms of clothing.
Georgette’s signature appearance is created by the twisted yarns in the weave. It’s a thicker ply fabric, so is heavier and rougher in texture than chiffon. Georgette usually weighs in between 30-80g/m2, where chiffon is lighter at 20-50g/m2.
Chiffon is made of a combination of fabrics, such as cotton and silk (both natural fibres) or a mix of synthetic fabrics like polyester and rayon. Georgette is opaque, making it popular with people looking for more conservative clothing. Georgette has a matte finish, where chiffon has a sheen to it. The lightness of chiffon means it is less durable than georgette.
Chiffon tends to be used when the fabric is being dyed with pastel or muted colours as it has no obvious sheen so allows the colours to show clearly.
Which Fibres Can Be Used To Make Georgette?
The types of georgette fabric have different combinations of fibres in their makeup. For example, pure georgette is 100% silk, whereas polyester georgette is made completely of synthetic fibres. Viscose georgette is made from regenerated man made materials such as tree bark or wood pulp.
What Are The Properties Of Georgette Fabric?
- The fact that georgette is breathable and lightweight means it is a great fabric to wear all year round. It’s also quick to dry.
- A highly drape-able fabric, it creates an outstanding bounce when worn that is classic of the 1930s era. It’s fabulous for separates as well as dresses and layered garments.
- The semi-transparent effect of the georgette fabric (in between chiffon which is sheer, and gauze or voile) gives it a sheer presentation.
- It holds colour well, especially if it’s 100% silk georgette. Its natural colour is off-white due to the natural fibres which makes it easy to dye. You will often find it dyed in a solid colour, but it can be printed on easily and colourful patterned georgette fabric is very popular.
- Georgette is strong but has a very slight stretch. This is a huge asset for a sheer fabric although it can be easily damaged if mishandled.
- Georgette is a fashionable fabric. Being versatile and adaptable, it can be worn when dressed up or down.
- Hypoallergenic quality: the natural fibres of the silk and the absence of chemicals in the production of georgette mean it is hypoallergenic.
- Silk repels mould and mildew making it incredibly easy to store.
How To Care For Georgette
Let’s look at how georgette fabric should be cared for!
Can Georgette Fabric Be Washed?
Despite the different georgette fabric types being made up of a variety of fibres, hand washing is consistently recommended. Dry cleaning is the other option, but you should not put it in your home washing machine!
When hand washing your georgette clothing, always use mild detergent in cold water. Gently agitate the water to mix the detergent and spread it across the fabric. Don’t stretch it or wring it out after washing as it will affect the texture of the fabric. Simply lay flat to dry in the shade. Note that direct sunlight will cause the colour to fade.
How Should Georgette Be Ironed?
Ironing georgette can cause it to lose its texture and crispness. As with any fabric you iron for the first time, always do a test on a small hidden piece first. This is especially true with a piece of cheaper georgette clothing.
What Is Georgette Fabric Used For?
As I’ve already mentioned, georgette is a lightweight, breathable fabric that is suitable for all-round wear. It is commonly used for clothing such as blouses, tunics, saris, shalwar kameez, and scarves. It’s also an incredibly popular choice of fabric for bridalwear and evening gowns.
As georgette fabric is not completely sheer or translucent, it’s a wonderful fabric for more conservative clothing. The weave works well for both long and short styles of dress, with and without sleeves, and for a range of styles including pleated, wrap and a-line dresses. It clings well to the body, so suits all body shapes and sizes. Saris are often made from georgette fabric as it drapes, layers and wraps well.
Different Types Of Georgette Fabric
So, what are the different georgette fabric types?
Traditional Georgette (also known as Crepe Georgette)
Traditional georgette has a crinkly/grainy appearance caused by tight twists in the fabric as it’s woven. It is usually made from pure silk but sometimes from synthetic silk-like fibres such as rayon and polyester (the latter often referred to as crepe georgette).
100% Silk Georgette
Also known as pure georgette. For obvious reasons, 100% silk georgette is more expensive than the mixed textile version, but you’re getting what you pay for. Pure silk georgette will feel expensive against your skin and will last well. 100% silk georgette is also renowned for retaining colour fabulously, so its natural fibres are always preferred if colour is essential to the design.
Jacquard georgette is a traditional Georgette fabric that creates a weave pattern in the fabric. It is created by a Jacquard loom, which requires an additional attachment to a basic weaving loom. It’s a stronger georgette than most of the other variations.
The texture in this version of georgette fabric is created by satin weave, which creates a shinier finish.
This is a denser version of georgette but still translucent and has a good drape.
Nylon georgette is also known as faux georgette and is popular in Indian fashion due to its suitability for layering as a sari or shalwar kameez. It’s also suitable for a range of temperatures and weather. It can also be embellished or embroidered lending itself to the highly decorated Indian wedding industry.
Polyester georgette (also known as poly georgette) is a simpler form of the fabric, produced from polyester.
Viscose Georgette vs Pure Georgette
Viscose is made from wood pulp and is a type of rayon and due to its chemically produced end product, it is usually significantly cheaper than its pure georgette relative and is less breathable.
There are some simple tests that make it easy to differentiate between the two.
- Touch test
Rub it between your fingers. Rough and harsh fabric will be faux, whereas grainy but soft is pure georgette.
- Burn test
A small sample of viscose georgette will stop burning when you remove the heat source, though pure georgette will continue to burn once it has been set alight. Faux georgette will smell of burning plastic and form ash beads when the burnt fabric has cooled. Pure georgette has an afterglow as it cools and leaves black powdery ash.
- Water stain test
If you get water on faux georgette it will dry without a mark however, water will leave a stain on pure georgette fabric, even once it has dried.
Which Georgette Fabric Is Best?
The end result of your chosen pieces of clothing will determine which types of georgette fabric you should choose. For a highly embroidered or decorated sari, you should opt for a viscose or faux georgette. If your wedding dress has a heavily draped effect, then opting for a 100 gram georgette fabric will create that look more readily than a 20 gram georgette.
Jacquard georgette has a beautiful reverse element, as the weaving style creates a pattern on the underside of the fabric as well as the outer layer. Pure silk georgette is the most sheer and soft to wear against your skin.
You should also take the cost into account when deciding on the type of georgette fabric – the closer to 100% silk, the more costly. The cheaper end of georgette is the faux viscose and polyester type.
Will this be an item of clothing that you wear repeatedly in day-to-day life? Or will it be a special piece for a one-off occasion? Do you need to stick to natural, hypoallergenic clothing or are you happy to wear man made textiles?
All of these factors will influence the type of georgette you choose to create with.
Where To Buy Good Quality Georgette Fabric?
I always say that the best place to buy fabric is from your local fabric store. It gives you the ability to touch and get a feel for the fabric, and this is important for georgette fabrics too. But, if you’re unable to get to a store, online stores are also an option.
Some of the best online stores I have used to buy georgette fabric are:
- Joel & Son Fabrics (UK)
- Minerva Fabrics (UK)
- MyFabrics (UK)
- Mood Fabrics (US)
- Silk World (Australia)
- Stoff & Stil (Germany)
- Tessuti Fabric (Australia)
- Textielstad (Netherlands)
- Tissura (US)
Note that some of the above recommendations sell only silk georgette which is significantly more expensive than polyester georgette.
Amongst the range of georgette fabrics, you can have hand-made or 100% natural fibres, highly decorative to plain and simple colour-block designs. Georgette is a wonderful fabric to work with as a dressmaker, particularly for those one-off special occasion feature pieces.
There are a number of different types of georgette fabric and each one has its own properties and subsequent strengths. Knowing the end purpose of your design will help you to determine which type of georgette fabric will suit your needs best.
Don’t be afraid to work with georgette – the rewards are so worth it!
Eve Tokens (aka The Creative Curator) is a fashion designer, creative pattern cutter and sewing pattern designer.
Eve graduated with a 2:1 in Fashion Design from the University of The Creative Arts in the UK, has a BTEC diploma in Creative Pattern Cutting, a Foundation Degree in Art & Design from Wimbledon College of Art and gained extensive experience in the fashion industry by interning and freelancing for London based fashion brands – Hardy Amies, Roland Mouret, Peter Pilotto and others.
As well as running her own small sustainable fashion brand, Eve has more than 25 years experience sewing and making clothes for herself and family members.