Wedding dress shopping can be confusing enough with sales assistants throwing around dress terms such as dropped waist A-lines and double bustle trains. Add in fabrics you aren't familiar with…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: June 6, 2006
Whether it’s duchess satin, chiffon or silk, matters when you’re making your wedding dress so consider your options and make a unique wedding dress everyone will love and be so impressed you made yourself.
Brocades have rich weaves with raised designs, in either the same or contrasting colours. Rich and magnificent, brocades are perfect for heavier dresses with full skirts and trains, or for boned bodices. These fabrics are suitable for brides or perhaps matrons of honour, cloaks and gowns with a historical theme.
Tulle is essentially fine mesh netting ‐‐ think tutus. Very light and usually worn in combination with other fabrics, it can complement crêpes or satins beautifully.
A plush material with a plain underside, velvet is often used for cloaks and historically themed dresses. The patterned version ‐‐ dévoré ‐‐ is great for slip dresses.
If you’re making your own wedding dress, or having one made, then you’ll need to select the right fabric to suit both you and your dress.
The fabric you choose will be dictated partly by the style of your dress. A stiff satin, for instance, is more effective for a ball gown silhouette than for an informal style, which would be much better suited to a floating chiffon.
Here are some of the main types of fabrics and their qualities:
A delicate, matt fabric which drapes and skims. Feather‐light and perfect for layering, sleeves and even veils, this fabric makes a beautiful complement to crêpes or satins in the same dress, or can be used for sheer wraps and scarves for brides and bridesmaids.
Crêpe is a softly flowing fabric with a crinkled texture, popular for both brides and bridesmaids. It works well on slim‐shaped dresses that can be cut on the bias to create a flattering silhouette. Georgette (sometimes called georgette crêpe) is very similar. Satin‐backed crêpe is reversible so that the satin side can be complemented by the matt crêpe side in the same dress, for instance in cuffs, borders, panels or neckline.
Similar to chiffon but stiffer, organza works well on shimmering skirts and ballet‐dancer style dresses for bridesmaids. Silk organza is often embroidered.
These are very popular textured silks, with natural imperfections and ‘slubs’ making each length unique. They are medium to heavy fabrics, and their natural texture makes them suitable for simple gowns.
This is what most people think of when they hear the words “wedding dress material”. A rich, glossy satin with a matt back, this is a good fabric for embellishing with beads and jewels as it is relatively strong.
Taffeta is the classic formal party dress material, quite stiff and usually made from silk, although it can be synthetic. Moiré is taffeta with the classic watermark look. Both fabrics are traditionally used for ballgown style dresses.
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