"Soft taffeta-like sounds and muffled scurrying sounds filled me with dread."

Creative Commons AttributionTaffeta - Credit: Consulat de la Boirie
Taffeta is a crisp, smooth fabric made from silk or synthetic fibres. The word comes from the Persian for "twisted woven." It is found mainly in female clothing or soft furnishings such as curtains.

An expensive material, it was traditionally used by the upper classes for ball gowns.  Nowadays it is more commonly found in wedding dresses.