What Is Nylon Taffeta?

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Modern tents are often made with nylon taffeta.
Modern tents are often made with nylon taffeta. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

When you watch a classic movie, chances are that you will see a heroine dressed in a taffeta gown. The fabric is a dressy and elegant fabric traditionally made out of materials such as silk and wool. In the past few decades, however, it has begun to be manufactured out of modern materials such as nylon and acetate and is used in many applications in fashion and industry.

Taffeta

Taffeta is a general term for a fabric with a plain weave that is stiff and smooth. It has a shiny surface and a crisp hand feel, and is considered medium to heavy in weight. When taffeta is rubbed together, it makes a rustling sound, which has often been depicted in movies and books by women wearing the heavy fabric. Due to its thickness, taffeta is considered a durable fabric, but depending on the type of textile it is made with, water can easily damage it. Taffeta is made out of wool, silk, rayon, polyester, acetate and nylon.

Nylon

Nylon is a type of synthetic fiber that was first to be commercialized in the 1930s. Nylon has a higher cost than other synthetic fibers such as polyester and rayon, so people use it more often in applications where its specific properties are needed. It is a high-performance fiber that is difficult to tear and resistant to the elements. This makes it useful in jackets, outdoor furniture and recreation, linings and certain types of clothing.

Nylon Taffeta

Nylon taffeta is a taffeta fabric made out of synthetic nylon fibers. Due to the thick nature of taffeta and nylon's weather-resistant and tear-resistant properties, nylon taffeta is particularly strong and useful for outdoor applications. This material is often used for tents, jackets, purses, storage covers and backpacks. It can even be used as a temporary tarp during harsh weather conditions. Nylon taffeta is relatively expensive compared to other types of synthetic taffeta, but is worth it at certain times because of these properties.

Purchasing and Using

Many nylon taffeta products are on the market. Simply look at the label to find out if an item you are buying is made out of the fabric. If you are interested in purchasing nylon taffeta to make your own projects, then consider a few things. The fabric does not drape well because of its thickness so it is difficult to sew certain patterns out of, and you will need to change your sewing machine needle often to avoid breaking them.

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