Your wedding day has been set. Now you begin your wedding shopping. Venue, flowers, bridesmaids, flower girl, dresses and so on. The list goes on and on. Shopping for a wedding dress is one of the anticipated and exciting moments for a bride. You would breeze through bridal magazines to grasp the general ideas. You collect information for your dresses like color, cut and style that best compliments you with grace.
Once the shopping begins, you will come through same fabric terms— satin, tulle, Chantilly, charmeuse, silk, etc. But unless you are seamstress or designer, you hardly have idea on what they mean exactly and more importantly, which one makes the better choice for your dress.
Wedding dress requires combination of different fabrics. Heavier structured fabrics are used for the making of the base of gowns like detailed bodice or underskirt. While translucent or soft fabrics are layered over skirt or sleeves to add fullness and depth. Each fabric has its own unique individual look. They will determine your comfort level and overall wedding look. Choosing the right fabric is one of the most important points to begin with.
Most of the fabrics are made of either silk or polyester or blend. However, the type of fabric is determined by the fiber woven. Make your experience a little easier with this wedding dress fabric guide:
Satin is most favorite wedding dress fabric that is versatile and durable. Satin has a smooth finish with a lot of body, perfect for adding structure and drama. It is a supportive fabric that suits with every type of body and is good choice for cool weather weddings, especially duchess satin. Satin’s smooth fabric makes it the perfect choice for ruched, draped and ball gown styles.
Taffeta is tightly woven, stiff and crisp fabric. It is a sheen fabric that is similar to satin. It rustles when you move with famous swooshing sound. Taffeta is suitable for all silhouette types, especially structured ball gowns and full skirts.
It is a versatile fabric that is similar to chiffon. Normally, it is a blend of nylon, polyester and silk. It is light in weight and sheer woven, but stiffer. Organza is perfect for warm weather weddings. It is more structured yet has light and romantic appearance. Organza is a delicate fabric that works well with other fabrics especially, great for overlay embellishments such as trains, veils.
Chiffon is a transparent and sheer without sheen fabric. it is light woven fabric that is incredibly lightweight giving a floating and weightless look. Chiffon is a popular choice for wraps around bride’s shoulders. Because it’s so sheer, it’s often used in layers or an overlay for a more substantial fabric.
Charmeuse is one of the most comfortable fabrics to wear. Lightweight and glamorous, this sheer fabric made usually of silk but also synthetic is prone to being scuffed or marked when it catches on something. Cotton charmeuse blends are less glossy but easier to work with, more durable and affordable.
Tulle looks fabulous when mixed with other fabrics. Tulle is sheer made of silk, nylon or rayon with on open weave that looks like netting, often seen in ballerina’s tutus. This delicate open weave gets easily snagged on jewelry. The fabric can incorporate lace designs, ideal for overlay full skirts and wedding veils. Tulle adds drama and volume to the dress without adding bulk.
Lace is most often used as an overlay or detail. It gives a real vintage look. Lace comes in variety of styles, most often for city where they were originally produced. Some of the varieties are Chantilly (finely detailed, open lace with defined border), Alençon (bold motifs on net, trimmed with cord) and Venise (heavier and more textured).
Crepe is light, soft and thin fabric with grainy and crinkled surface. Most preferable for hotter season, this delicate textured fabric can still be draped and guarantees an attractive silhouette.
Brocade is a heavy material woven of silk with an ornate design and raised texture. Due to its heaviness, these fabric dresses are suitable for cooler months. The brocade dress gives a rich feel and exquisite look.
A patterned fabric like brocade but much lighter, delicately sheened and woven patterns enhances its look. A bride wanting brocade style in warmer months should opt for damask fabric.
Silk is the oldest and expensive fabric full of sheen. Delicate in looks, but is a durable fabric. Silk dresses are suitable for both hot and cold weather. Mikado is blend of silks that results in a heavier fabric, suitable for cool weather weddings. Silk gazar is a four-ply organza.
Shantung fabric is similar to raw silk, characterized by its rough texture. Durable, stain-resistant shantung is perfect for full skirts or ruched bodices.
Dupioni is textured fabric with highly irregular weave, a finish similar to shantung, suitable for all seasons. Dupioni fabric’s raised fibers give it a coarser look.
Georgette is sheer and lightweight fabric with crepe surface that is often used in place of chiffon. It is often used for overlays and train embellishments, which can soften the dress silhouette.
Velvet is a soft textured, heavyweight fabric with a plain underside and softly felted face. Velvet comes with warm appeal and is perfect for winter weddings. Crush velvet is in trend for wedding dresses.
Rayon is great alternative to silk. This fabric is airy and lightweight, perfect for summer weddings. It is good for flowy A-Line dresses as well as for sheath silhouette.