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What Is Moiré Fabric?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated: Feb 02, 2024

While you may not have known it, chances are that you have worn moiré fabric at some point in the past. As a material that finds its way into a number of different types of apparel as well as other uses, moire fabric has a look that is often associated with quality, style and glamor. Here are a few things you should know about moiré and how this beautiful material finds its way into many different settings.

Moiré fabric is created by the application of a finishing technique to a woven fabric section. Often created with the use of silk fabric as the foundation, moiré fabric finishing can result in a deep luster to the material, or dull the finish by essentially regulating the degree of crushing that is done to the fibers. The resulting effect is to create a rippled or wavy pattern to the fabric that allows for a shimmering quality as the fibers are brushed one way or the other.

One popular method of preparing moiré involves using rollers that have been engraved with a design. The material is run between the engraved rollers with some sections of the fabric crushed to reveal the finished design that has a fluid or watery look. This type of application is often used to create material styles are ideal for evening gowns, formal capes, clutch handbags, and other types of formal apparel and accessories for women.

Another approach to achieving a moiré fabric style is by using several different colors in printing fabrics, allowing the colors to overlap. The design achieves a sense of depth that varies as the eye travels across the pattern of the fabric. Because of the crushing of the fabric during the process, the color variation as the nap is brushed one way or the other will create a stunning effect.

When used as fabric for household textiles, moiré fabric provides a nice touch of elegance to the space. The corded fabric is perfect for creating formal window treatments with corded silk panels as part of the overall treatment. The material also makes a statement as covering material for chair seats, screen panels, and fabric wall treatments. For many years, the use of moiré for bedspreads was an easy way to add a sense of style to just about any style of bedroom furniture without spending a lot of money.

Other uses for moiré fabric pop up from time to time. The material can be used as the liner fabric in jewelry boxes and cigarette cases. Along with the uses around the house, moiré can also be used in what may be referred to as a final application, as the lining material of choice in coffins.

Durable and attractive, moiré is a great way to add some zing to the home or the wardrobe. Available in a full range of colors, the material is relatively inexpensive and holds up well with a minimum amount of care.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon45086 — On Sep 13, 2009

How do I clean moire if it is used as a tablecloth?

By veela — On Aug 17, 2008

What happens if moire fabric is exposed to bleach? Will it maintain its sheen? My drapes arrived in a brilliant peach rather than an off-white, and I'd like to know how to fade them quickly. Sunshine will of course work, but it will take a year or 2.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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