Wedding dress fabrics: Part 1 – Glossary of fabrics
If you’ve stepped inside a bridal shop, you can easily get overwhelmed by the vast range of dresses available.
If you have an idea of what style of wedding dress you would like, it helps to have some knowledge about the different types of fabrics and what styles of bridal gowns they are suitable for.
To help you understand fabrics, here is a list of the most commonly used fabrics for bridal gowns, and the style of gowns they are suitable for.
Charmeuse: An opaque soft satin with less sheen than regular satin. Silk charmeuse is luxurious, and flows beautifully. Great for bias cut gowns.
Chiffon: A lightweight, sheer fabric that is soft and fluid. Silk chiffon is the luxury choice; polyester chiffon is a cheaper alternative. Perfect for feminine, flowing gowns. Because it is slightly transparent, multiple layers of chiffon should be used for a wedding gown. Also a fabulous choice for a flowy veil.
Crepe or Crepe back satin: A versatile fabric that is matte (no sheen) and comes in various weights. Suitable for fitted and also softer style dresses.
Crepe Chine: A lightweight crepe fabric with a sheen to it. Suitable for soft flowy designs.
Georgette: A drapey fabric, similar to chiffon but slightly heavier. Silk georgette drapes beautifully, so it’s a great choice for soft, flowy gowns.
Lace: There are so many different types of lace. These are complex fabrics that are made of yarns twisted around each other to form intricate patterns. French laces are the most luxurious and come in lightweight and unbeaded varieties, corded varieties, and heavily beaded varieties. Wide lace is perfect for a gown that features lace from top to bottom, or lace on the entire bodice. Narrow lace trims are great for trimming a gown, such as on the neckline or hem. Lace trims are fabulous as veil edgings, for a dramatic effect.
Organza: A crisp, sheer lightweight fabric, available in silk and polyester varieties. Suitable for use as overlays on fitted gowns with a full skirt. Often used for ruffles in skirts as it holds the shape well.
Satin: A lustrous, shiny firm fabric. Silk satin is the luxury choice. Great for fitted, structured bodices and full ball gown skirts.
Silk Dupioni: A crisp, firm fabric with irregular slubs through it. Great fabric to use for structured gowns that have few embellishments, as the fabric is the feature here.
Tulle: A lightweight, extremely fine netting fabric. Perfect for veils. Can also be used for a layered, princess ball gown skirt.
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