The shape of your gown, its texture and draping along with your wedding season are key factors that will determine the best fabric to be used when creating or purchasing “THE ONE”. For example: a column gown needs a fine texture that give your a sense of flow while a ballroom gown needs stiffer fabrics that help maintain the desired silhouette.
Almost every wedding gown has a mix of fabrics ensuring that you have the best quality and shape you can obtain. The bridal dress is a complex composition of rigid and lightweight fabrics, rougher and more delicate– all in a perfect play of elegance and refinement.
As you can see from the above image a wedding gown has a more rigid structure underneath the layers of lace and embroidery and skirts that can be created by layering different types of tulle, organza etc. Every gown is special and the one you desire will be a mix of all the components you desire- one thing is for sure, make sure that the fabrics you opt for give you the structure necessary for a long day.
Today we’ll talk exclusively about fabrics that can create structure and details to your wedding dress. We’ll analyse all types of laces in a future post.
One of the most common, durable and versatile fabrics, satin is heavy and shiny, made out of several types of fibres such as silk, nylon and rayon. Satin is a type of weave that gives its characteristic shine from the way the fibres are woven together.
It’s a supportive fabric that can create a perfect base for a wedding gown but can be worn on its own as well. Perfect fabric for autumn and winter weddings as well as jackets, sleeves and boleros.
Chiffon ( most fabrics retain their original french name) is a soft and sheer material without any shine, often used in layers to create skirts and in single shear sheats as overskirt, sleeves or sheer silhouettes.
It’s a very popular fabric for skirts because it gives that feel of movement and a very special elegance when worn. Chiffon is the reference fabric for empire gowns and boho silhouettes.
Tulle is a gauzy, netted material most commonly used in skirts and details ( such as sleeves). It’s a light material made of silk, nylon or rayon. Most commonly used in many layers to create the ballroom gown. There are a multitude of tulle types – most commonly used for the base of a skirt are the rigid, coarser textures , while for the overlay layers softer tulle is used. For more sparkle you can choose a type of tulle that is weaved with lurex.
Organza / Organdy
Even do it is sheer and lightweight fabric, organza maintains the structure of a wedding gown and confers a stiffer texture. A very delicate fabric it is used for volumizing skirts but it can be used as well for sleeves and corsetry.
For its lightweight structure organza is a perfect fabric for summer weddings. Not to be confused with organdy, which is made out of cotton, organza is made using silk.
A fabric with a specific shine created by using the oldest type of natural fibres – the one made by the silkworm, making it the most expensive on the market. Even do it has a delicate look silk is extremely durable and versatile.
Silk can be used in all seasons and it suits well more traditional silhouettes, but it has been used in contemporary styles as well. This fabric has an incredible timelessness.
Made of wool or silk this fabric is created by double weaving and twisting the fibres. Has a very fine texture and keeps its shape for a long time, making it extremely durable. Perfect for princess cuts and creative styles.
One of the most luxurious types of silk, Mikado is used for structural wedding gowns. It’s heavier that regular silk and hence it gives more volume and creates a more haute couture feel.
The most popular mix of silk, most times synonymous to Shantung because the two fabrics share similar textures. But Dupioni is a bit heavier and rougher because the fibres are still exposed and become a bit coarser.
This fabric is made from silk or synthetic fibres, the better the quality the more rigid the taffeta. It has a delicate shine to it, but it’s more toned that satin, and it fits most silhouettes. It is an ideal fabric for A-line gowns and bridal gowns with draping details.
A light, semi-shine and soft fabric made from silk or synthetic fibers. Similar to silk when touched but it lacks the shine. Given its shape it drapes phenomenal and it’s ideal for lightweight wedding gowns, such as empire or column.
When it comes to haute couture gowns they are lined with charmeuse. Keep in mind that this fabric is quite unforgiving, you can’t wear much underneath.
This fabric is traditionally made from silk and has a wrinkled texture that can be a bit rougher. But this gives georgette an amazing capacity to retain its original shape and offer a true flow.
The weaved fibres are extremely tight because they are very thin, giving georgette a true resistance and versatility. This fabric can be used many times, it can also be draped – it is similar to chiffon but it is heavier and more opaque.
A light, soft, sheer fabric with shine and durability. It is woven from cotton or linen and gives a true option to any eco-conscious bride. Batiste is a common fabric with vintage wedding gowns.
This fabric is woven using a french technique invented by Marie Jacquard, sometimes even borrowing its name. Brocarde is a highly ornate fabric with a heavy and rigid structure. This is a traditional fabric perfect for autumn and winter brides but also traditional brides that want that cathedral look.
Crepe is a light, soft and thin fabric with a shine surface obtained through fiber spinning and chemical treatment. Perfect for draping and column gown, it can cling to the body, showing everything.
A perfect alternative to brocarde if you are getting married in the summertime. It is a woven fabric but a little bit lighter that brocarde. Perfect for vintage wedding gowns and ball gowns.
A light hybrid between silk or rayon/polyester woven with a satin finish. It’s stiffer and lighter than satin but less prone to wrinkle, a perfect choice for brides that love to dance all night.
One of the most structured types of silk it’s easier to tailor that normal silk or satin while keeping its shape. Can be made from silk, cotton or synthetic fibres.
Illusion fabric is finely woven in net material. It’s often used as a decorative support for sleeves, necklines or backless gowns. This is the fabric you never see.
This is a type of taffeta with a heavier and crispier feel. A perfect fabric for wedding gowns with volume and structure.
Peau de soie
A fabric similar to satin with a mat and slightly granular look. Has great draping abilities but it can be used as well in rigid mermaid silhouettes. Perfect for early spring brides.
Shantung has a rubbed texture that resembles raw silk. It’s softer that dupioni being one of the most popular fabrics used for bridal gowns.
Originally from Switzerland this fabric is handspun on looms. A lightweight, breathable fabric with a sprinkled elegant dotted motif perfect for tulle skirts and even veils. Ideal for vintage brides.
Recognisable by name, this french fabric is extremely elegant and feminine. Has a structure similar to tulle perfect for skirts and sleeves.
Known as synthetic silk or viscose, rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber made from cellulose. A cheaper alternative to silk, it is smooth, light breathable. Keep in mind that it can wrinkle easily.
Semi-transparent and sheer, made from cotton, wool, worsted silk or synthetic fibers like polyester. It’s a perfect material for summer weddings and can create lovely princes looks or sexy mermaid or A-line gowns.