Detail of an embroidered Japanese silk crêpe kimono.
Close-up of a 1960s dress made from satin-backed crêpe; the crêpe side exposed.
Chirimen (Japanese crepe) in rayon
1930s pink georgette evening dress showing the drape of the fabric
Crêpe or crape (Anglicized versions of the Fr.crêpe) is a silk, wool, or synthetic fiberfabric with a distinctively crisp, crimped appearance. The term crape typically refers to a form of the fabric associated specifically with mourning, also historically called crespe or crisp. (The word crape is also used as an Anglicized spelling of crêpe (pancake).
Types of crêpe
Aerophane: (1) Crimped silk gauze with a crêpe texture. (2) A historic 19th century lightweight crêpe, introduced in 1820, and, as crepe aerophane in 1861.
Albert crêpe: (1) A superior-quality black silk mourning crêpe used since 1862. (2) Plain-weave crêpe. (3) An English-made silk and cotton blend crêpe.
Alpaca crêpe: Rayon and acetate blend crêpe with a woollen texture, not necessarily made of alpaca yarn.
Crêpe Algerian: A trade name for a printed pongee with a rough crêpe texture.
Alicienne: A furnishing fabric with alternating plain weave and crêpe stripes.
Armure See Georgian crêpe.
Altesse: A British plain-weave silk fabric with crêpe filling.
Arabian: (1) A British-made plain-weave cloth with figured crêpe designs (2) Piece-dyed silk crêpe embroidered with dots.
Balanced crêpe: Crêpe woven with alternating S and Z twist yarns in both directions.
Chirimen: Japanese raw silk crêpe widely used for kimonos. When woven with a dot it is mon-chirimen.
Courtauld crape: 1890s mourning crape made by Courtaulds. A 1894 variation, called Courtauld's new silk crêpe, was exceptionally thin and soft. Courtaulds monopolised the export market for English crapes and crêpes, meaning that the textiles known as crape anglaise were almost always manufactured by Courtaulds up until 1940.
Crêpe anglaise A French term for English mourning crapes in black and white. The only true 'crape anglais' was considered that made by Courtaulds (see Courtauld crape) which was last made in 1940.
Crêpe mosseux: A type of opaque voile which resists shrinkage.
Crêpe myosotis A later mourning crêpe made in the 1930s, in crimped silk with a soft finish. Courtaulds launched this textile in the early 1930s as an alternative to the increasingly unpopular traditional stiff mourning crapes.
Crêpe poplin: A late 19th century silk-wool rib fabric with crêpe effect.
Crêpe rachel: French print cotton-worsted blend crêpe.
Crêpe radio: British raw silk crêpe with a ribbed effect, using alternate double rows of S-twist and Z-twist.
Crêpe royal Sheer crêpe-de-chine introduced in 1889.
Crêpe suzette: A variation on crepon georgette.
Crepine: Silk with crêpe dots. The name also describes a type of fringe.
Crepoline: A class of transparent fabrics with a warp-wise crêpe effect.
Crepon: A heavier crêpe with an exaggerated warp-directional texture produced by several weaving techniques. A soft silky version was introduced in 1866, and the second, much heavier version in 1882. In the 1890s crepon also described a woollen fabric that puffed between stripes or squares, including crepon milleraye (striped) and crepon Persian (with 'Oriental patterns').
Crystal crêpe: An English term for silk crêpe.
Crespe Lightweight crimped mourning gauze, late 16th century.
Cynara: An crêpe-type fabric in rayon and acetate.
Cyprus Fine crêpe used for mourning hatbands in the 15th-17th centuries, made in Cyprus.
'ele'ele kanikau Black mourning crêpe worn in Hawaii.
Epingline Textile in silk, rayon or worsted with a crêpe surface.
Esmeralda or étendelle: Sheer white crêpe or gauze popular in early 19th century, often embroidered.
Flat crêpe: Also called mock crepe or (inaccurately) French crepe. A smooth, flat plain-weave fabric, typically a silk blend, with hard-twisted yarns and ordinary yarn warp. Also used to describe a similar fabric made without crepe-twist yarns.
French crêpe: Inaccurately applied to flat crêpe. (1) Plain-weave light silk or rayon cloths similar to flat crêpe. (2) A lingerie weight fabric with ordinary yarn warp and a twisted filling yarn that is less twisted than typical crepe twist.
Gamsa: An imitation satin-backed crêpe in twill weave rayon.
Georgette: Sheer, lightweight fabric named after the couturiere Georgette de la Plante. (1) A crepe-surfaced plain weave silk or synthetic fabric with alternating S and Z twist yarns in both warp and weft. (2) An English term for cotton crepe.
Georgian crêpe: A chain-pebbled crêpe (called armure in France) often with diamond, shield or bird's-eye motifs.
Health crêpe: See crêpe de santé.
Lingerie crêpe: See French crêpe.
Marana: Woollen crepe, very resilient and drapable.
Norwich crêpe or crape: (1) 19th century silk warp and worsted, resembling a non-twill bombazine but not considered true crêpe. (2) 17th century black-dyed worsted crêpe made in England. (3) A georgette-like silk and cotton blend fabric in a crêpe weave.
Pekin crêpe Pekin (shiny and matte striped textile) woven with a crêpe weft.
Plissé - Mainly cotton fabric with a crêpe effect created by chemically treating the fabric to pucker and crinkle, typically in stripes. Plissé satin is made using crêpe yarns.
Reverse crêpe: Woven with a crêpe yarn warp and flat filling.
Victoria crepe: British-made cotton crêpe with a high lustre.
Yantsou: Figured silk crêpe made in Yantai, Eastern China.
Yeddo crêpe: Soft cotton fabric, medium weight.
Entry from Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1911)
CRAPE (an anglicized version of the Fr. cr&pc), a silk fabric of a gauzy texture, having a peculiar crisp or crimpy appearance. It is woven of hard spun silk yarn " in the gum " or natural condition.
There are two distinct varieties of the textile: soft, Canton or Oriental crape; and hard or crisped crape. The wavy appearance of Canton crape results from the peculiar manner in which the weft is prepared, the yarn from two bobbins being twisted together in the reverse way. The fabric when woven is smooth and even, having no crepe appearance, but when the gum is subsequently extracted by boiling it at once becomes soft, and the weft, losing its twist, gives the fabric the waved structure which constitutes its distinguishing feature. Canton crapes are used, either white or coloured, for ladies' scarves and shawls, bonnet trimmings, &c.
The Chinese and Japanese excel in the manufacture of soft crapes. The crisp and elastic structure of hard crape is not produced either in the spinning or in the weaving, but is due to processes through which the gauze passes after it is woven. What the details of these processes are is known to only a few manufacturers, who so jealously guard their secret that, in some cases, the different stages in the manufacture are conducted in towns far removed from each other.
Commercially they are distinguished as single, double, three-ply and four-ply crapes, according to the nature of the yarn used in their manufacture. They are almost exclusively dyed black and used in mourning dress, and among Roman Catholic communities for nuns' veils, &c. In Great Britain hard crapes are made at Braintree in Essex, Norwich, Yarmouth, Manchester and Glasgow. The crape formerly made at Norwich was made with a silk warp and worsted weft, and is said to have afterwards degenerated into bombazine. A very successful imitation of real crape is made in Manchester of cotton yarn, and sold under the name of Victoria crape.