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Types of Fabrics Used to Make Academic Regalia

While the fabrics used to make academic regalia vary in quality, most academic robes and tams are made from polyester crepe weaves. Polyester crepe weaves are renowned for their excellent wrinkle resistance. In addition, some academic regalia pieces are made of Satin, Velvet, or Silk. All of these fabrics are elegant and sophisticated yet remain relatively inexpensive. Below are descriptions of the various fabrics used for academic regalia.

Polyester crepe weave with excellent wrinkle resistance

Crepe is a fabric usually made of silk, rayon, or wool and is characterized by twisted yarns in the warp and weft. It gives the fabric a wavy, pebbly appearance. Crepe fabrics can be made with either 100% silk or a mixture of silk and cotton. Crepe fabrics are most commonly used for dresses and lingerie. Besides silk, crepe is also available in synthetic fibers such as polyester and elastane, which gives them excellent stretch.


The gowns worn by graduates of colleges and universities represent academic achievement. The gowns typically have a train at the back and 33 buttons. They are always two-tone, using the standard colors for the academic field. The hoods are sometimes also worn. They are made of silk or chiffon. The silk or chiffon gowns are usually embroidered with the school’s logo.


Academic regalia typically include hoods and gowns. A bachelor’s degree does not include a hood, while a master’s degree does. A master’s hood is short and has narrow velvet edging, while a doctoral hood is longer and has wide panels on both sides. The hoods are trimmed with the degree’s velvet and lined with silk from the institution that conferred the degree.


Academic regalia is made from a luxurious fabric, satin. In the 12th century, priests wore a stole to indicate their position. English scholars often used silk stole to distinguish themselves from one another. It is important to note that academic regalia should be washed carefully to avoid damage. It is because satin is a very shiny fabric that can fade easily when exposed to heat.


While silk is traditionally the fabric of choice for academic regalia, synthetic fibers are also increasingly being used to produce academic regalia. These fabrics are stronger and more durable than silk but tend to crease and fray. Organza is a plain weave fabric, with the warp and weft threads woven in equal ratios. It produces a criss-cross pattern. In general, the higher the HPI, the higher the quality.


Historically, academic regalia have been made of cotton, which is highly durable and can be easily cleaned. Academic regalia are traditionally made from cotton, which can be found in many colors. Some companies that make academic regalia keep complete files on the color codes for various institutions. 


Why is spandex used in academic regalia? The fabric is made from a synthetic fiber known as spandex, a type of polymer that can be stretched several times without losing its original shape. Spandex is lightweight, pliable, smooth, odor-resistant, and durable. It is also dyeable and can be spun into various fibers to create unique fabrics. While many academic institutions use spandex as a component of academic regalia, the material is also used in athletic apparel.

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