What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (2022)

Fabric nameCharmeuse
Fabric also known asCrepe-backed satin
Fabric compositionSilk or synthetic fibers
Fabric possible thread count variations12 to 30 momme
Fabric breathabilityHigh
Moisture-wicking abilitiesMedium
Heat retention abilitiesLow
Stretchability (give)Low
Prone to pilling/bubblingLow
Country where fabric was first producedChina
Biggest exporting/producing country todayChina
Recommended washing temperaturesDry clean or cold
Commonly used inPillowcases, sheets, dresses, pants, lingerie, negligees, slips, tank tops, evening wear, robes, handkerchiefs, ties

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (1)Silky Satin Charmeuse Solid Turquoise

What is charmeuse fabric?

Charmeuse is a luxurious fabric with a shiny front and a dull back. This type of fabric is usually made with silk, but textile manufacturers also make charmeuse with polyester and rayon.

Named after the French word for a female charmer, charmeuse’s elegance makes this fabric ideal for women’s dresses and evening wear. Over the years, however, charmeuse has become more associated with bedding than it is with apparel.

Among the various types of silk textiles on the market, charmeuse has a relatively heavy weight, which makes it more insulative than other types of silk. Fabric manufacturers commonly use the momme as a unit of measurement for the thread count of silk, and charmeuse fabric has a momme between 12 and 30.

History of charmeuse

As a silk fabric, the history of charmeuse traces back to Ancient China. Archeological expeditions have discovered silk garments dating back to 3630 BC, but the art of sericulture (silk-making) was in its infancy at that time, and the earliest Chinese silk garments were relatively rudimentary.

It's unclear when fabrics similar to charmeuse were developed in the history of Chinese sericulture, but over the centuries, Chinese silk garments evolved considerably in fineness and beauty. Long reserved for royalty, average citizens in Ancient China were prohibited from wearing silk, and some sources indicate that a Chinese fabric similar to charmeuse received the designation “ the fabric of emperors” due to its beauty and exclusivity.

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (2)Sky Blue Charmeuse wide-leg pants

At some point, Chinese traders brought charmeuse-like fabrics to the West, or Western textile manufacturers used Chinese yarn to make a new fabric. The exact historical origins of charmeuse remain shrouded in mystery, but based on its name alone, this fabric clearly became popular among the tailors and dressmakers of France.

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Throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, silk remained the most luxurious, opulent fabric in Europe, and of all the silk fabrics available to the European upper class and nobility, charmeuse was especially treasured due to its satin sheen and striking brilliance. Charmeuse remained popular in the West throughout the Enlightenment period, and historical records indicate that women used this fabric to celebrate the successful culmination of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

Charmeuse today

Silk charmeuse remains a reasonably popular material for classy garments and bedding. During the 20th century, however, American corporations developed a variety of different synthetic fabrics, and one of the explicit goals of this unprecedented textile innovation initiative was the replacement of silk, which is expensive and laborious to produce.

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (3)Cushnie - Asymmetric draped silk-charmeuse skirt - Sand

Unfortunately, neither polyester nor rayon (which corporations specifically marketed as a silk alternative) lived up to the expectations of their creators. While the touch of silk has an attractive quality that invites your skin in for more, something about the sensation of synthetic textiles simply feels off.

Neither rayon nor polyester are as soft and supple as genuine silk, and even worse, synthetic satin weaves do not capture the nearly luminescent qualities of genuine silk charmeuse. As a result, silk remains the dominant fiber for charmeuse production. Even though this fabric is reasonably popular within certain niche categories, silk production takes up an infinitesimal portion of the overall textile economy, and charmeuse is only one of many kinds of silk.

Buy high-quality, low-priced charmeuse fabric here. If you are UK based, you can buy it here.

How is charmeuse fabric made?

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (4)

The charmeuse production process begins with the harvesting of silk fibers. Silk workers derive these fibers from the cocoons of silkworms, which live out their life cycles on mulberry trees. Since silkworms are technically pests, using pesticides during silk production would be counterintuitive, and mulberry trees do not respond to chemical fertilizers.

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To unravel silkworm cocoons, silk workers boil these moth metamorphosis chambers and then use brushes to find their loose ends. These loose ends are then placed through eyelets and attached to reels. Silk workers twist the ends of silk fibers together to produce continuous strings, which they then twist into yarn.

Once silk workers have harvested silkworm cocoons and rendered them into yarn, textile manufacturers can use this yarn to make silk charmeuse. Charmeuse is a type of satin weave, which means that it consists of four or more weft yarns floating on top of a single warp yarn. Due to this distinctive weave, satin fabric does not scatter as much light as other types of textiles, leading to a shiny appearance on one side of the fabric.

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (5)Dark Blue Silk Charmeuse, Fabric By The Yard

In most cases, textile manufacturers use industrial machinery to weave charmeuse fabric, but it’s still possible to weave this fabric by hand. Since satin weave is similar in complexity to twill or plain weave, high-tech computerized looms are not necessary to weave charmeuse.

The charmeuse weaving process remains the same in the case of synthetic charmeuse, but in sharp contrast to the conditions in silk production facilities, synthetic fibers like polyester are produced in factories using vats of caustic chemicals. In some cases, synthetic textile producers may reuse these chemicals, but they are commonly discarded.

Shop a wide variety of charmeuse fabrics here for US and rest of world here and here if you are UK based.

How is charmeuse fabric used?

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (6)

As the etymology of this fabric’s name suggests, charmeuse remains a popular product for elegant, charming women’s clothing. Evening wear, gowns, and other forms of dresses are at their most elegant when they’re made with charmeuse, and since this fabric is somewhat heavier than other types of silk, charmeuse garments are viable for formal events in any season. Charmeuse is also a popular material for women’s slips, negligees, and lingerie of all types.

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In the arena of menswear, fashion designers sometimes use charmeuse to make ties and handkerchiefs. It’s also common to find charmeuse in the lining of men’s sports jackets, and designers sometimes use charmeuse to make men’s boxers and other forms of underwear.

Charmeuse has also become increasingly popular as a luxury bedding material. When used to make pillows and sheets, charmeuse combines smooth softness with shiny luster, which makes this fabric simultaneously comfortable and aesthetically appealing. More rarely, designers may use charmeuse as a material for drapery or furniture upholstery.

Where is charmeuse fabric produced?

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (7)

China is the world’s largest producer of silk, and this East Asian manufacturing powerhouse is also the primary producer of synthetic textiles. Therefore, most of the world’s charmeuse originates in China.

How much does charmeuse fabric cost?

Among the various silk fabrics on the market, charmeuse is one of the most fiber-dense, so it is even costlier by the yard than chiffon and other lightweight silk fabrics. Silk is already one of the most expensive fabrics since modern technologies can only improve the efficiency of sericulture to a limited degree.

What different types of charmeuse fabric are there?

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (8)

While all types of charmeuse fabric are alike in their shiny fronts and dull backs, there are a few different types of this textile that you should be aware of:

1. Standard charmeuse

Any type of satin silk fabric with a momme weight between 12 and 30 that has a shiny front side and a dull back is considered to be charmeuse. While some fabrics consisting of synthetic fibers closely approximate the attributes of charmeuse, there are no synthetic fabrics that perfectly replicate this silk textile’s unique attributes.

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What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (9)Nude Stretch Silk Charmeuse

2. Stretch charmeuse

Stretch charmeuse is similar to standard charmeuse in practically every way, but this fabric also contains up to 5% elastane, which provides this fabric with a minor degree of stretchiness that can make charmeuse more comfortable.

3. Sand-washed charmeuse

Textile manufacturers subject this type of charmeuse to a post-production process that abrades its shiny side to slightly reduce its sheen. The resulting fabric remains subtly shiny while also becoming softer than normal charmeuse.

4. Synthetic charmeuse

Textile manufacturers have developed a variety of synthetic fabrics that loosely approximate the beneficial attributes of silk charmeuse. While it’s possible to weave synthetic fibers in the same satin pattern as genuine charmeuse, polyester, rayon, and other synthetic fabrics lack the softness and luster of silk charmeuse.

What is Charmeuse Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where (10)Markarian Asteri Black Charmeuse Twist Top

How does charmeuse fabric impact the environment?

The majority of charmeuse fabric is still made with silk, and this fabric has a negligible environmental impact. It’s certainly possible to engage in worker exploitation in the process of producing silk, which indirectly harms local ecosystems due to poverty. Silk production itself, however, is inherently sustainable since it does not involve the use of agrochemicals or the misuse of land.

Imitation charmeuse made from synthetic fibers, however, has a remarkably negative impact on the environment. The chemicals used to make rayon, for instance, a common silk alternative, enter the hydrosphere at the end of the rayon production process. The process of producing polyester is slightly less harmful to the environment, but both polyester and rayon contribute to microfiber pollution, and synthetic fibers are not biodegradable.

Recycled synthetic fibers have reduced environmental impact, but they still end up as non-biodegradable junk and water pollutants. Therefore, it is best to use silk charmeuse that is certified as genuine.

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Charmeuse fabric certifications available

There are no specific certifications for charmeuse fabric, but Silk Mark certifies silk textiles. This Indian certifier ensures that the fabrics it certifies are genuine silk and not synthetic lookalikes.

The Global Recycle Standard (GRS) is example of an organization that certifies recycled synthetic fabrics.

Even if they are not eligible for GRS certification, synthetic charmeuse materials like polyester and rayon may be eligible for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification. This certifying agency ensures that synthetic materials meet basic quality and safety standards.

FAQs

How is charmeuse fabric made? ›

To be exact, charmeuse is woven such that the lengthwise thread crosses over three or more of the transverse threads. Using this traditional style weave, silk charmeuse has a lustrous and reflective finish on its front, which makes for a great contrast with the dull finish of its back.

What is charmeuse made from? ›

Charmeuse is a kind of satin-weave fabric that may be woven from either silk or polyester thread.

What is the meaning of charmeuse? ›

Definition of charmeuse

: a fine semilustrous crepe in satin weave.

Where is charmeuse found? ›

A rudimentary charmeuse was first found to be made in China, dating back to 3630 BCE. It was originally made of silk and reserved for the upper class, but charmeuse eventually made its way to Europe and remained popular through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.

Is charmeuse a natural fabric? ›

If you are one of those who have been suffering from skin irritation or inflammation due to synthetic or cotton fabric, then Charmeuse is great news for you. Charmeuse fabric is very gentle on the skin and soft to the touch — all being completely natural.

What is charmeuse fabric good for? ›

Charmeuse is commonly used for linings, lingerie, elegant wraps, evening dresses, dressy shirts and blouses, ties, handkerchiefs, costumes, and event décor. Though originally made from silk, polyester charmeuse is used for many applications because of its affordability.

Is charmeuse a breathable fabric? ›

Silk is an extremely breathable fabric, unlike many other synthetic and natural fabrics. Instead of trapping air within the fabric of the pillow and pillowcase, a charmeuse silk pillowcase will allow air to move in and out of the fabrics while you sleep.

What is a charmeuse dress? ›

Lightweight, soft, smooth, semi-lustrous fabric with a crepe back. Made of cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers that may be dyed or printed. Commonly used for dresses, gowns, lingerie, and blouses.

What does charmeuse silk look like? ›

Charmeuse – which is a French word meaning “charmer'' -- is a special weave of silk that is shiny and lustrous on one side with a matte finish on the reverse.

How do you use charmeuse? ›

How To Sew with Charmeuse - YouTube

Is charmeuse silk good for hair? ›

The smoothness and nourishing property of charmeuse silk also smooth hair and creates luster and shine. You will find your hair to be less frizzy, stays in place better and less chance of waking up with bed hair.

What is charmeuse polyester? ›

Polyester Charmeuse Fabric is a lightweight, glossy material with a nice drape for a gorgeously flowy look. Charmeuse Fabric is made using the satin weave technique, whereby at least four weft yarns float over a single warp yarn at a time, or vice versa. This floating, creates the shimmery appearance of the fabric.

Can you iron charmeuse fabric? ›

How to Get Wrinkles Out of a Charmeuse Material - YouTube

What is the difference between silk and silk charmeuse? ›

Charmeuse silk is a lightweight and highly luxurious fabric that boasts a slight sheen. Mulberry silk is the natural, undyed state of silk. The two silks are very similar in terms of feel and luster. However, charmeuse silk has a matte finish whereas mulberry silk is shinier.

Does charmeuse shrink? ›

Extreme temperatures can stretch or shrink the fabric. Dry naturally. Lightly wring out excess water before hanging to dry.

How much does charmeuse cost? ›

Charmeuse Satin Fabric 100% Polyester 58/60" Wide $2.99/yard.

Is charmeuse satin the same as polyester? ›

Charmeuse Satin is a 60" wide 100% Polyester Fabric available in multiple colors.

How does charmeuse feel? ›

Very soft and lightweight, charmeuse fabric is known for its lustrous sheen. Made of either silk or polyester thread woven in a satin weave, charmeuse has a shiny front side and a dull back side. This delicate fabric feels luxurious to the touch and looks expensive.

Is charmeuse fabric difficult to sew? ›

Most garments fabricated in charmeuse feature the shiny side as the right side, but the matte side can also be used. This fabric is tightly woven but the satin face makes it slippery, and it can be difficult to control while sewing.

Is charmeuse satin good for hair? ›

​​Of these types, silk and charmeuse are the best to use to reap the benefits of satin. Silk satin is best - it's smoother, repels moisture better, and preserves healthy hair and skin better. Charmeuse satin is a similar but less expensive alternative, which will still work wonders for your hair and skin!

Is charmeuse light weight? ›

Charmeuse is a lightweight 100% polyester fabric with the feel of satin and a glossy front.

Does polyester charmeuse shrink? ›

Polyester: It won't shrink, so there's no real need to pre-wash! Unless it's thrifted, or vintage, then you might want to give it a rinse to freshen it up. Polyester dries really quickly so you won't have to put it in the dryer very long, if at all.

Can I dye silk charmeuse? ›

You can use Dylon dye to dye silk, but you will need to use Dylon Hand Dye. The washing machine variety doesn't work well for fabrics like silk and wool.

Does charmeuse satin shrink? ›

Charmeuse should also not be twisted or contorted while it is wet, because it may set permanent wrinkles in the fabric. If a garment made from this material does not include care directions, some consumers prefer to dry clean it, since that is unlikely to shrink, warp, or discolor the garment.

What is the difference between satin and charmeuse? ›

Charmeuse and satin are both satin weave fabrics with a matte backing. The main difference is that charmeuse is shinier. Habutae is also similar, but it's a lighter weight plain weave and is known to be the smoothest of the 3.

Can you dry clean charmeuse? ›

Dry clean is recommended for silk sleepwear in order to keep the luster of silk charmeuse. Hand wash can be done, but this will result in slight dulling of the front side on silk charmeuse. Ironing may be used to iron out wrinkles after the hand wash and may bring back some of the sheen to the front side.

How do you pronounce charmeuse silk? ›

How to pronounce charmeuse - YouTube

Is polyester charmeuse stretchy? ›

This lightweight fabric has smooth and silky to the touch. It has a tightly knit weave and slight 2-way vertical stretch, making it extremely versatile in application.

What is chiffon charmeuse? ›

charmeuse and chiffon are two types of silk fabric that consider lightweight and can be used for clothing. Heavier silk fabrics like 30 mm and 25 mm are mostly used for wall decoration and bedding.

Is charmeuse silk see through? ›

Silk Charmeuse: Opaque. You can make a light charmeuse piece translucent if you try really hard, but you really have to work at it.

What is the difference between silk and silk charmeuse? ›

Charmeuse silk is a lightweight and highly luxurious fabric that boasts a slight sheen. Mulberry silk is the natural, undyed state of silk. The two silks are very similar in terms of feel and luster. However, charmeuse silk has a matte finish whereas mulberry silk is shinier.

Is satin charmeuse real satin? ›

The key difference between charmeuse and satin is that charmeuse is slightly softer and lighter than satin.

Is charmeuse a breathable fabric? ›

Silk is an extremely breathable fabric, unlike many other synthetic and natural fabrics. Instead of trapping air within the fabric of the pillow and pillowcase, a charmeuse silk pillowcase will allow air to move in and out of the fabrics while you sleep.

Is charmeuse satin vegan? ›

Is charmeuse vegan? No, charmeuse is not vegan. Silkworms must be killed or used in order to produce charmeuse.

Can you wash silk charmeuse? ›

Handwashing is always the best and safest method for washing charmeuse. Add 2 capfuls of Delicate Wash to a washbasin or sink filled with cool water. Submerge the item and gently agitate the water with your hands to evenly distribute soap. Soak for up to 30 minutes.

What does charmeuse silk look like? ›

Charmeuse – which is a French word meaning “charmer'' -- is a special weave of silk that is shiny and lustrous on one side with a matte finish on the reverse.

Is silk charmeuse natural silk? ›

Silk Charmeuse fabric is a luxuriously smooth and lustrous fabric constructed with a satin weave from 100% natural, hypoallergenic silk fibers.

Is charmeuse satin the same as polyester? ›

Charmeuse Satin is a 60" wide 100% Polyester Fabric available in multiple colors.

How much does charmeuse cost? ›

Charmeuse Satin Fabric 100% Polyester 58/60" Wide $2.99/yard.

What weight is silk charmeuse? ›

Swatches:
Product Information
Width:112cm
Weight:64gsm
Fibre:100% Non-Certified Organic Reeled Silk
Country of Origin:India
2 more rows

Does charmeuse shrink? ›

Extreme temperatures can stretch or shrink the fabric. Dry naturally. Lightly wring out excess water before hanging to dry.

Is charmeuse light weight? ›

Charmeuse is a lightweight 100% polyester fabric with the feel of satin and a glossy front.

Is charmeuse satin good for hair? ›

​​Of these types, silk and charmeuse are the best to use to reap the benefits of satin. Silk satin is best - it's smoother, repels moisture better, and preserves healthy hair and skin better. Charmeuse satin is a similar but less expensive alternative, which will still work wonders for your hair and skin!

What plant is satin made from? ›

The Satin Pothos is native to the rainforests of India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and the Philippines, and is a species of flowering plant in the arum family Araceae.

What animal is satin? ›

Fortunately, modern satin is made from polyester and rayon, which are both vegan-friendly, however, originally, satin was made using silk, which was extracted from a silkworm's cocoon.

Is satin made from animals? ›

' Fabrics like leather, fur, and silk are NOT VEGAN. Vegan materials are often synthetic so be extra careful when shopping. Satin pillow cases are made of polyester and therefore satin is vegan.

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