Voile fabric

Comprehensive information about voile fabric, a lightweight and semi-sheer material commonly used in dressmaking including, the characteristics, uses, and features.

voile fabric

What is Voile fabric?

Voile is a thin, lightweight, and somewhat see-through plain weave fabric. It can be made of cotton or synthetic fibers.

It feels very soft as it is made of fine, combed yarns but has a slightly crisp feel because of its tight weave. It also has a slight luster.    

Different types of Voile fabric

Cotton voile

Voile is usually made of cotton fibers but you can also find linen voile and silk voile. 

Cotton voile is very breathable and for this reason, it is a very good fabric to make kids’ tops and other clothes. Another reason is that embroidery, trims, and other embellishments like smocking, shirring, pintucks, etc can look wonderful on the fabric. Printed voile can be used to make very pretty sundresses.

In certain parts of the world you can get cotton voile as ‘Mull’. It is a cheap variation of voile that can be used as lining or to make muslins in sewing.

Swiss Voile

This is a very soft dressmaking voile fabric which is very popular. It can be made of polyester fibers or cotton. Polyester voile has a very good drape, is slightly crisp, available in bright colors and prints and is comparatively inexpensive.

Polyester voile

This is more see-through than cotton voile. Plain voile is more transparent than printed voile.

Leno voile

This is a cotton voile fabric with open weave (Leno weave). It is usually used to make summer clothes and nightwear.

voile fabric

Uses of Voile

Voile as a dressmaking fabric

The somewhat transparent nature makes it suitable for a variety of purposes – sheer curtains, baby clothes, drapey tops, and dresses. Dresses made of floral patterned voile fabric are very pretty.

In comparing crispiness of voile with other thin lightweight cotton fabrics like lawn cotton, you will find voile lacking. It also doesnot have much body, so do not use it for dresses requiring body.

Voile was once used to make thin veils hence the similar name (In French the word Voile means  ‘to wear veil’) – it is because of its semi-sheer nature that it is still used to make veils – light shines through the fabric without it being completely transparent. Delicate embroidery looks beautiful on voile.  

Voile fabric as lining fabric

You can use Voile fabric as a very nice lining when you need just a thin backing without sacrificing the feel or the drape. The crispiness of the fabric adds a little crispiness to the outer fabric. But you have to realize that it does not give a total blackout feel

Dressmaking Voile fabric can be costly but there is a thin voile cotton fabric which is very inexpensive. It may have a lesser thread count. You can use it as a backing fabric for a variety of uses.

Sewing with Voile

As Voile is a fine and almost delicate fabric you will have to be slightly more careful when sewing it than you would when you sew with other cotton fabrics. You will have to use a thinner needle  – you will be usually using a 14 size needle but for a voile fabric you will get better results if you use an 11 size needle. 

Other than this aspect you can treat the fabric as you would any other cotton fabric. I mean you have to prewash the fabric before sewing to prevent shrinkage to which natural fabrics are prone to.

Edges fray as would any other fabric, so you have to finish the edges and as it is slightly see-through you can use a french seam inside. French seam gives a natural folded look inside which hides the cut edges neatly.

Polyester voile need not be prewashed.

As for interfacing, You can use voile fabric itself as the interfacing – this will not change its hand or its drape. Other interfacings may change the feel of the fabric. If absolutely necessary, use very thin fusible interfacing.

It is better to hand wash voile fabric (even the synthetic voile) because of its thin nature. The threads can snag and the smooth surface can be marred by careless washing.

More Faq on VOILE fabric

Is Voile fabric suitable for hot weather?

Voile is light and airy and so, perfectly suitable for summer clothes. But you have to consider that it is semi-transparent and will have to be lined if you do not like this transparency, so that will make the material thicker.

Does Voile fabric fray?

The real question is ‘do we have to finish the cut edges of the fabric?’. And the answer is yes, it does fray. So you will have to finish the edges.

Is Voile a good dressmaking fabric?

If you like a dressmaking fabric that is somewhat sheer, breathable, lightweight, fluid and available in a variety of colors and patterns then voile is the fabric for you.

Is the fabric resistant to wrinkles?

Not at all. Cotton Voile fabric wrinkles a lot.

What is the weave structure of voile?

Plain weave

Does voile fabric shrink?

The shrinkage of voile depends on its make. Cotton voile will shrink after the first wash. Polyester voile fabric will not shrink in the wash.

Related posts : Types of fabrics with pictures and names; Names of other cotton fabric ; Definition of what cotton fabric is.

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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