crepe (krāp) [key], thin fabric of crinkled texture, woven originally in silk but now available in all major fibers. There are two kinds of crepe. The hard-finished, typically dyed black and used for mourning (which tends to retain the old spelling crape ), is made of hand-twisted silk yarn and finished by a rather complex trade process after weaving; the soft crepes include the Canton, or Oriental, weaves (crepes de Chine) in plain or damask weaves. Their crisped or wavy appearance results from the peculiar arrangement of the weft, which is formed of yarn from two different bobbins twisted together in opposite directions or uses alternately a right-twisted and a left-twisted thread.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.