Taffeta (pronounced /ˈtæfɨtə/, formerly sometimes spelled taffety) is a crisp, smooth plain woven fabric made from silk or synthetic fibers. The word is Persian in origin, and means "twisted woven." It is considered to be a "high end" fabric, suitable for use in ball gowns, wedding dresses, and in interiors for curtains or wallcovering. There are two distinct types of silk taffeta: yarn-dyed and piece-dyed. Piece-dyed taffeta is often used in linings and is quite soft. Yarn-dyed taffeta is much stiffer and is often used in evening dresses. Shot silk taffeta was one of the most sought-after forms of Byzantine silk, known in Latin as purpura.[not in citation given] Taffeta was then woven in Italy and France and until the 1950s in Japan. Today most raw silk taffeta is produced in India and Pakistan. Originally this was produced on handlooms, but since the 1990s, it has been produced on mechanical looms in the Bangalore area. From the 1970s until the 1990s, the Jiangsu province of China produced some fine silk taffetas. They were less flexible than the Indian mills that now dominate production. Other countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East are weaving silk taffeta, but not yet either at the quality or competitiveness of India. The most deluxe taffetas are still woven in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. This fabric is also widely used in the manufacture of corsets and corsetry, it gives a more starched type cloth which holds its shape better.
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