Types of Wedding Dress Fabrics
Now that you’ve looked through bridal magazines and gathered information in search of the right wedding dress, you probably have an idea of the basic cut and style of dress that you want. There are many fabrics used in wedding dress construction from heavier fabrics used for the base construction of a gown to translucent fabrics which are layered over the skirt or sleeves to add fullness and depth. So, there’s a lot to consider: the fabric used to make a dress drastically alters how it looks, feels, and moves.
Every fabric has its own unique properties, and here are some of the fabrics you can expect to see in bridal wear:
Batiste is a delicate, sheer, plain-woven fabric. It is slightly thicker than cotton. LDS brides who want a Victorian or vintage look may want to consider batiste fabric because of its “home-made” look and translucent texture .
Brocade is a heavy material that is woven of silk with an ornate design and a raised texture. Because Brodade is a heavier fabric, it is a popular wedding dress choice for cooler months.
Charmeuse is one of the most comfortable fabrics to wear, though not quite as lustrous as satin. Pure charmeuse is expensive and must be handled with care: the fabric is prone to being scuffed or marked in addition to “looping” when it catches on something. Less glossy cotton-charmeuse blends are easier to work with, more durable, and therefore more affordable.
Light with a matte finish, chiffon lends itself well to hanging and draping with a natural, fluid look. It is a popular choice for sophisticated wraps around the bride’s shoulders. Because it is less transparent than other fabrics, layering it over the skirt gives the appearance of more heaviness, fullness, and depth.
Crepe and Jersey
Crepe and jersey, both derived from silk, are often seen in formal-wear and bridal gowns. These fabrics are stretchy and lightweight, but still substantial enough to drape and create a very flattering silhouette.
A patterned fabric which is much like Brocade, but has a much lighter weight. If you like the look of brocade but are being married in a warmer month Damask is an excellent choice.
Lace is an open weave fabric that is usually used as an overlay for other opaque fabrics. Lace is sometimes used for sleeves and as an inset for necklines. Lace fabric comes as a full bolt of fabric or as an edging piece to be used as an embellishment for a wedding dress or bridal veil.
Organza is generally a blend of nylon, polyester, and silk. It can be translucent or sheer, depending on the weave of the fabric. Organza’s soft, romantic appearance adds extra depth and an air of elegance to a wedding dress. It is often seen in wedding gown skirts, trains, and veils.
Satin is very heavy, known for its flexibility and strength, plus it has a shimmery depth that no other fabric can quite duplicate. Real satin is expensive, but polyester or rayon blends are similar in appearance and more affordable.
Stiffer and lighter than regular satin, duchesse satin drapes well while simultaneously preserving its shape. Because of its lighter weight, a duchesse satin dress is more comfortable to wear and walk in and is less prone to wrinkling.
Silk georgette is a grainy fabric that is often used in place of chiffon. The two fabrics are similar, but silk georgette is a little heavier and more opaque, similar in texture to crepe.
Shimmery and elegant but with a defined “nubby” texture, shantung is one of the most interesting wedding dress fabrics out there. Durable, stain-resistant shantung is perfect for full skirts or ruched bodices.
Taffeta is a very tightly woven, stiff, crisp fabric. Because of these properties, taffeta looks great on structured ball gown style wedding dresses. Taffeta makes “swooshing” noises as it rubs against itself, so most brides use taffeta sparingly in their wedding gowns.
Tulle is delicate mesh netting, often seen in ballerinas’ tutus. Tulle is (of course) perfect for the ballerina style wedding gown, combining a gauzy romantic yet fun and youthful feel. The beauty and almost weightless qualities of tulle also make it popular for bridal veils.
Velvet has a soft and luxurious feel. Due to its heavy weight and drape velvet is the perfect fabric for a winter wedding .
Knowing what materials are out there is essential to finding the right wedding dress, even if you plan on wearing a store-bought gown. The cut of dress should be complimented and accented by the qualities of the fabric used in its construction.
♥ Jenny Evans
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