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Material Girl: Becoming Familiar With Wedding Gown Fabrics

by Lisa Beth Miller

Buying a wedding gown can be a very intimidating process. While it is often best to shop in a reputable bridal boutique that employs well-educated bridal consultants, sometimes a bride should do a little homework first!

Before shopping, be sure that you have a clear vision about where and what time of year your wedding will be held. It is important that you have some concept of what fabric weight will be appropriate for your event.

As you shop for your perfect gown, it is very likely that your sales consultant will be referring to some of the following fabrics:

Photo by Kennedy Grace Photography

Any season

Silk: The most common, cherished, and priciest wedding gown fabric, silk is a smooth and soft natural fiber.

Satin: Very common in wedding gowns, satin is a densely woven silk with a lustrous sheen on one side.

Duchesse Satin: More affordable than pure silk satin, duchesse satin is a lightweight blend of silk and rayon (a less-expensive, synthetic fiber).

Charmeuse: Lightweight and soft, charmuese is a satin-like fabric with a slightly more subdued luster.

Shantung: A plain-weave silk or cotton fabric, shantung is notable for its rubbed, rough texture.

Dupioni: Dupioni silk has a similar finish to shantung, but with a thicker, coarser finish and a slight sheen.

Silk Mikado: A blended silk, silk mikado is usually heavier than regular silk.

Taffeta: A crisp, smooth, and light-weave fabric with a slight rib, taffeta is made from silk or synthetic fibers.

Moire: A heavy silk taffeta, moire is noted for a subtle, wavy design.

Tulle: A fine, starched netting made of silk, nylon, or rayon, tulle is often used for skirts and veils.

Crepe: A soft silk fabric with a gauzy texture and a crinkled surface.

Peau de Soie: French for “skin of silk,” peau de soie is a satin-faced silk or synthetic fabric with a dull luster, fine ribs, and a grainy appearance.

 

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Warm weather fabrics

Chiffon:  Soft, sheer, and transparent, chiffon can be made from silk (more expensive) or rayon (more affordable). Due to its delicate transparency, chiffon is often layered and is popular for sleeves, overskirts, and wraps.

Organza: A sheer, stiff fabric of silk or synthetic material, organza is similar to tulle, but less coarse and more flowing.

Illusion: A fine, sheer net fabric, illusion is typically used on necklines or sleeves.

Georgette: A sheer, lightweight fabric, georgette is made of polyester or silk with a crepe surface.

Eyelet: Featuring open-weave embroidery, breezy eyelet is typically associated with spring and summer. 

 

Cold weather fabrics

Brocade: A popular winter fabric, brocade is a Jacquard-woven (a type of loom) fabric with an ornate raised design. Brocade is a popular winter fabric.

Damask: Similar to brocade with raised designs, but lighter in weight.

Velvet: A soft, thick fabric with a felted face and plain underside – typically a winter fabric.

*Fabric descriptions based on information from The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss.

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