Wedding Dress Fabric Guide

Your wedding dress is probably one of the most important dresses you will ever wear and it is therefore important you not only consider the style, design and colour when choosing your dress but also what fabric the dress is made from.

You would be forgiven for thinking that at Lace & Co. we only recommend dresses made of lace but in reality dresses are made from all types of beautiful fabrics, from dream-like chiffons and laces (think Kate Moss in her recent wedding to Jamie Hince) to sumptuous silks and satins.

Fabric Guide

Lace Fabrics

Lace comes in many different varieties and forms, some of which are centuries old, but all are stunningly beautiful and most can be added to other fabric or embroidered to give gowns a classic look and feel.

Alençon lace, sometimes called “Queen of lace”, is a needle lace usually used on veils and trims. It is a fine needlepoint lace on a sheer background which originated in the 16th century in the French town of the same name.

Brussels lace, which started to be produced in the 15th century, is well known for its delicacy and beauty and is more commonly used in antique bridal veils.

Chantilly Lace is named after the city of Chantilly, France and started to be produced in the 17th century. It is a very delicate lace, known for its fine outlined pattern and details and often incorporates small details such as flowers and ribbons. The best Chantilly laces were traditionally made of silk.

Corded Lace comes from the same region as Alençon lace but is infinitely more ornate and is therefore more popular on traditional styles of dresses.

Guipure lace, also known as Venetian lace, is one of the most robust and elegant types of lace. It is commonly used in bridal gowns as it is easy to work with and doesn’t fray.

Laser lace is one of the more modern styles of lace which involves satin being cut with a laser and then embroidered onto different fabrics to provide an on-trend, striking design.

Other Traditional Fabrics

Chiffon is a light, traditional type of fabric, which is sheer and fine and gives wedding gowns an elegant appearance. It can be dyed to almost any shade and drapes well which particularly allows it to flatter hourglass shaped figures. It can be made from silk or man-made fabrics and is regularly used for layering.

Crepe or Crape is made from a blend of silk and man-made fibres and has a gauzy texture. It is often used in less traditional flowing gowns. Silk crepe comes in two varieties, soft Canton/Oriental crepe and hard/crisped crepe. Heavy silk crepe has been known to be used in designer gowns including the now famous one designed by Sarah Burton and worn by Pippa Middleton at the Royal Wedding.

Duchess Satin is a luxurious, medium weight satin usually used for less formal bridal gowns.
Italian Satin, which has a soft, subtle sheen, is made from a blend of silk and man-made fabrics such as polyester and is used in many styles of dresses because it doesn’t crease easily and is significantly cheaper than pure silk. The iconic black Givency dress designed by Hubert de Givency and worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s is made from Italian Satin.

Mikado is a blended silk fabric which is much heavier than pure silk. It is often used in modern gowns because it has a special way of catching rays of light. It is less shiny than satin but has more of a sheen than other matte materials such as crepe.

Organza is a sheer fabric traditionally made from silk. It is used to add a touch of romance to veils and trains and works wonderfully well in the layering of skirts.

Silk is a popular choice for brides-to-be. It is a natural fibre made from the cocoons of silkworms and has a beautiful shimmering appearance, mainly due to the overall structure of the fabric which allows incoming light to be refracted at different angles.

Taffeta is a plain, smooth fabric made from silk or a silk mix with a gloss finish. It is often used in ball gown-style wedding dresses because the stiffness of the material holds the shape of the dress.

Tulle is a traditional type of fabric, made from silk or a silk mix and often used in veils and the train or underskirts of wedding gowns.

Velvet is a smooth, luxurious fabric traditionally made from silk. It is very popular at winter weddings because of its wonderful warmth and thickness.

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