What is Organdy Fabric ?

Organdy Fabric is a plain weave fabric which is crisp, lightweight and semi-transparent with a smooth surface and lustrous looks. The fabric has to undergo a special finishing which results in its crispness/ stiffness.

The cotton organdy is a plain weave fabric, made of combed spun cotton yarn, which makes it smooth and fine. A Switzerland made very fine cotton organdy is called Swiss Organdy. Polyester and Nylon organdy are also available.

Organdy fabrics come in varying degrees of stiffness – very stiff, medium-stiff and almost soft. It has the crisp feel because of two reasons; either it is starched and calendared or it is finished with a chemical resin (a special acid and lye treatment together with heat application). The one which is finished with the chemical finish (called organdy finish) have permanent stiffness. The first type is not a durable type as the sizing/starch can wash off – it is definitely inferior to the chemically treated organdy. The crispness of the chemically finished fabric is wash resistant.

Uses of Organdy fabric

fabric rose making

It is a versatile fabric that has many uses in sewing and crafting – it takes dye very well; it can be printed on and painted on easily; can be embroidered on and embellished the way you want.

It is used to add volume to dresses and to make structured clothes, because of its stiffness. You can sew semi-transparent exaggerated sleeves which maintain its shape with medium stiff/stiff organdy. This fabric is a favorite fabric used in making costumes. It is used as a lining, underlining and even as interfacing as a means to add stiffness to fabric. It is used to interface flat collars, thin fabrics.

Soft organdy fabric is used a lot in garment making. Organdy is a favorite fabric for summer-ready clothes because it has great absorbency and also because it is lightweight. 

I love small baby dresses made in fine organdy. Cute little baby bonnets in organdy fabric with heirloom embroidery is quite pretty and a good gift to sew for a baby.

It can be made into voluminous looking gathered / tiered skirts. It is the choice fabric for making overlays for gowns and kids’ dresses because of its sheer and lightweight nature.

You can use it as a nice backing fabric for embroidery – gives support and prevent bagging.

The fabric is also used in millinery. It is used as a silkscreen fabric in screen printing. You can make pretty fabric flowers with it; use it for party decorations, and to make gift bags.

The fabric can be cut and made into pretty crisp ruffles with a lot of fullness. It makes nice crisp pleats. It is also used to make the inside petticoats because of its slightly stiff nature. It is also used for home furnishings as a sheer crisp curtain.

Disadvantages of Organdy fabric.

The cotton organdy fabric wrinkles easily and needs to be pressed nicely – and then still wrinkle in a short time. If the fabric has a special wrinkle-free finish applied on the surface, then the fabric would not wrinkle much.

You also need to take utmost care in maintaining the almost sheer and delicate organdy – like hand washing, it, not wringing unnecessarily, etc. 

Dark colored fabric may also lose color along folds if kept exposed to light for a long time – it has something to do with the finishing applied on it, or rather the loss of it. 

Because of its thin nature, it can be a slight challenge to sew with organdy. It is very easy to damage the fabric while sewing – the wrong pinning with blunt pins can create holes in the delicate ‘organdie’ fabric; the needle plate can suck the fine thin fabric inside while sewing. Because of its transparency seams and cut edges are all visible outside. You will need to finish the edges or use a french seam. Use a fine sharp needle and a straight stitch presser foot to prevent some of the problems in working with Organdy.

Check out this post on sewing with sheer fabrics for some tips you can use to bypass these difficulties.

Related post : Fabric Glossary ; Different types of fabric weaves

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