Wedding Dress Fabric Glossary

Written by    Last updated: December 9, 2015

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 and wedding dress shopping can be overwhelming!

The first thing to know when discussing fabrics is understanding the difference between fabric fibers and fabric finish. Most people think they are the same thing when in fact they are different. Fabric fibers are the actual material the fabric is made out of such as silk, polyester or rayon. Fabric finish is the way in which the fabric fibers are woven together to create materials such as chiffon, mikado and satin.

Here is a list of the wedding dress fabrics that you are most likely to come across when wedding dress shopping.

Wedding Fabric Glossary |

A fine open fabric of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments

Ever since Kate Middleton wowed the world with her vintage inspired lace gown, this fabric has been the preferred choice for bridal wear designers for the last 4 years. Its delicate, feminine and elegant floral designs offer a timeless look and is perfect for the bride who wants to opt for a vintage or bohemian look.

Lace Wedding Dresses |

(Left to right, top to bottom) Pronovias | Cabotine by Gema Nicolas | Justin Alexander

A soft, fine silk, cotton, or nylon material like net, used for making veils and dresses.

Tulle is a soft, fluid and light weight fabric making it the ideal material for a bride who wants a full dress that isn’t heavy. It works particularly well in ruffles and is perfect if you want to go for a feminine, romantic look on your wedding day.

Tulle Wedding Dresses

(Left to right, top to bottom) Pronovias | Allure Bridals | Bien Savvy | Cabotine by Gema Nicolas

A light, thin fabric with a wrinkled surface.

This matte fabric is great for draping and is used mainly for slimline figure hugging gowns. However due to it’s clingy nature it has a habit of showing lumps and bumps so make sure you invest in seamless underwear to ensure a streamline silhouette.

Crepe Wedding Dresses |

(Left to right) Pronovias | Vera Wang

Mikado Silk
A stiff fabric with a soft sheen, usually made from a silk blend.

Mikado is a stiff fabric with a subtle sheen, which lends itself to structured, modern gowns. Usually made from a silk blend, it wrinkles less than 100% silk and is heavier too, making it a good option for a winter wedding.

Mikado Wedding Dresses |

(Left to right, top to bottom) Pronovias | Cabotine by Gema Nicolas | Vera Wang

A smooth, glossy fabric, usually made of silk.

Satin is most commonly thought of as silk however many bridal wear designers use man-made fabrics to offer a more affordable option. This soft shimmery fabric catches the light making it a stunning option for a formal evening wedding. Avoid wearing in warm weather as it will show nasty sweat marks!

A light, transparent fabric typically made of silk or nylon.

Light weight, fluid and easily draped, chiffon is commonly used for Grecian style, empire line dresses. A popular choice from brides marrying abroad in a warm country or on the beach.

Chiffon Wedding Dresses

(Left to right, top to bottom) Ellis Bridal | Vera Wang | Justin Alexander | Kelsey Rose

A thin, stiff, transparent dress fabric made of silk or a synthetic yarn.

Organza is similar to chiffon but is stiffer making it a great fabric for ruffles and frills and presses nicely to create pleats.

This article was written by

Lucy Leaper
Lucy Leaper is our inspiration and bridalwear specialist! She has a degree in fashion design and 12 years experience in the fashion industry, including 3 and a half years as the manager of a bridal boutique. Lucy loves to hear every little detail about a bride's wedding plans and it is no surprise that the first thing she wants to know is what they're wearing!



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