How much do you know about wedding dress fabrics?
The hunt for your wedding gown usually starts online with Pinterest, designer websites, and Google searches. Chances are good you are saving different styles. Chances are also good that you have different fabrics, too.
Do you know what is better for warm weather or what keeps that ball gown skirt fluffed to the max? Do you wonder about which wedding dress fabrics will show off what you love and hide what you don’t?
Let’s get into it and talk about eight common wedding dress fabrics: crepe, chiffon, satin, charmeuse, organza, silk, tulle, and English net.
Crepe is a beautiful and form-fitting fabric. It is very clean, has a matte finish (not shiny) and is easy and comfortable to wear. There are few if any embellishments on most crepe dresses, aside from perhaps a detachable train, jacket, or a hint of lace here or there. It may have a lace bodice with a plain crepe skirt, or even a beautiful mixture of chiffon as seen here:
The most common embellishment on a full crepe dress would be buttons down the back. It will stretch with you as you move, dance, or sit, but it definitely clings.
Chiffon is a wonderful choice for a warm wedding setting. It is lightweight and very flowy, with a clean look that falls beautifully. It does not cling and is a popular choice for those who want to dance the night away.
Chiffon can have embellishments such as beading or lace, usually at the bottom back of the train, however, many chiffon dresses have a more embellished bodice and a plain chiffon skirt as shown in the photo above.
While chiffon can wrinkle if left in the dress bag, a quick steam out does the trick and you will be good all day! Chiffon can snag on sharp edges and will pull if caught. Those pulls can be lessened to look better, but you cannot repair a pull in chiffon.
Satin has a shine to it making it a more formal-looking fabric. It is heavier than other plain fabrics, and is often embellished with beading, embroidery, or both. Many ball gowns and A-lines are made in a satin fabric due to the formality of that shape.
Because it is a thicker fabric, it will hold a full skirt easily over crinoline layers underneath. Satin is a good choice if you are having a formal wedding and/or a winter wedding, but can also blend beautifully with a lighter lace bodice as in the photo above. It does have a tendency to wrinkle, but a press out will make it perfect.
Satin may also be blended with other fabrics like chiffon in the photo above to create a softer and flowier fabric (called luxe satin) that still has the weight and the gorgeous shine of a full satin.
Charmeuse is a middle ground between chiffon and satin, think even lighter luxe satin. It is exceptionally soft and a must-try for those with sensitive skin! Usually there is a sheer tulle layer over the charmeuse adding a pretty, more voluminous bridal affect. This layer can include lace applique as shown in the photo above, organza tiers, or even horsehair layers!
The shine of the charmeuse fabric underneath creates a depth and sets off the lace in front beautifully. This is a very comfortable fabric, and works perfectly if you prefer a little shine but do not want the stiffness of satin.
Organza is a softer version of tulle, made from silk so still keeps a good shape, very light and airy. Many tiered skirts are made of organza because of the beautiful way it falls, often given volume and waves by adding a thick horsehair edge.
Because it is so light, it is very difficult to embellish without causing damage so great way around that is to add details in a different fabric between the tiers:
Organza is mostly wrinkle free, easy to carry (great for destination weddings!), and easy to steam.
Silk is a very tightly woven fabric and that gives it a beautiful, glimmering effect. Silk dresses rarely have embellishments aside from buttons and bows. There are different types of silks, such as dupioni, mikado, and shantung, and all are produced from natural fibers.
Silk has the same luster and is as thickness as satin, however satin is a man-made fabric and costs much less than silk. While most fabrics are able to be let out if a little more room is needed, many silks cannot because the original seams will be visible with stitch marks and pinholes from the needle.
Silks are very rich with a classic, beautiful fit, and some will have “imperfections” due to the way it is made. There is nothing wrong with it and is peace of mind for authenticity.
Tulle is a mesh fabric, made mainly from a silk-rayon combination that gives it a lightweight airiness with the strength to add lace or beaded embellishments. Tulle is typically layered over itself or over other fabrics due to its transparency and is one of the most widely used wedding dress fabrics. Most veils are made of tulle as well. Tulle sleeves are lovely and sheer using just one layer.
English net is a mesh fabric that is similar to tulle however it is heavier and therefore has a beautiful bridal look. It gives volume without being too wide or puffy, it does a perfect twirl and goes right back to its shape. Softer than tulle and has a slight stretch as well. A beautiful choice for a warmer, outdoor affair. Like chiffon, English net is highly prone to snags so give thought to your choice of shoes, jewelry, and veil. A beaded English net dress can even snag on itself so be careful!
We hope this gives you some helpful tips on wedding dress fabrics that may be more appealing to you now that you read about them! Come in and see for yourself the differences, make your appointment here!