The choice of fabric is one of the most important factors that determine the look of any dress – so when it comes to the most important dress in a girl’s life, the wedding dress, there should not be any confusion. You choose the best one. Not only best in looks, but the colour, the weave, the drape and the weight of the fabric used should be just right.
And then it should fit your budget as well. Then there is the venue and the weather there to consider as well.
When you reach a fabric store, one look around is enough to make an ordinary man swoon – not in delight; mostly due to sheer bewilderment – so many choices and so many patterns, designs, colours, shades and types. It is enough to make a man go back and cancel the wedding – but not for us, girls. We find delight in choices
Related post: If you are looking for making a wedding veil look at these posts on making a wedding veil which gives you the choices in wedding veil fabrics as well and the 10 different wedding veil lengths; And this post if you want to design and make your own wedding dress: 5 steps to perfection.
Let us delve into the main types of fabric available for making wedding wear.
1. Lace fabrics
Lace is a fabric with open holes made with a machine or by hand. Alencon lace, Allover lace, chantilly lace, Venice Lace – all are favorites of brides to make their wedding gowns. Checkout the post on different types of lace and lace trims for more details.
2. Silk Dupioni
Silk Dupioni is known as the purest of silks. It is also known by the name Raw silk. It has small characteristic slubs on the surface – it is not your usual flowy silk. It has a somewhat firm hand and is a little crisp. Silk Shantung is a variety of Silk Dupioni. Silk Shantung Fabric is a heavy fabric with a rough nubby surface, made of spun wild silk. Expensive.
Poly dupioni silk is a blend of polyester and silk. If you cannot afford real dupioni you can go for this.
3. Silk Charmeuse
Silk Charmeuse is a very popular wedding gown fabric. It is a very drapey, luxurious silk with a satin side and a crepe side (Crepe back silk satin). It is costlier than most other silks.
This lightweight fabric with a satin ( silky) finish on the front side of the fabric and a dull finish( matte) on the backside. The fabric drapes very well on the body; This lightweight and breathable and luxurious looking fabric is a favorite of most wedding dress designers for making high-quality wedding gowns and lingerie.
4. English net
This is a beautiful net fabric which is really soft and has a slight stretch. It is usually used to make veils and accessories in weddings. You can also make lace by embroidering over it. This luxurious net is used as an overlay over other fabrics for a great layering look. Check out this post on the different types of net fabrics.
This is a fabric with a glossy face and a dull back; This fabric has excellent flowing drape and hence a very popular choice for making gowns and trains. Satin is not wrinkle free which might be a problem.
Duchess satin (Peau de Soie, Bridal satin) is a high thread count satin fabric with some more weight than regular satin. It has a great dull type of luster on its surface which is very attractive and it is somewhat wrinkle resistant as well.The fabric also has a good drape; All in all a dream fabric for wedding wear sewing. But this fabric is expensive as well.
You also get stretch duchess satin which can sew up very well as a body hugging gown. Other satin fabrics like Italian fabric, Poly satin are all good wedding wear fabrics. Polyester satin is used in wedding sewing because of its inexpensiveness.
This is a very thick and soft fabric with a piled surface and flat underside. Crushed velvet refers to velvet fabric with a crushed look or patterned look. Check out the 11 types of velvet fabric available.
7. Sequined and beaded fabric
This is an oft-used fabric because of the embellishments and glittery opulence. Learn more about sequined and beaded fabric and some tips on sewing with it here
8. Other Silk fabrics
Silk, as you know, is one of the most popular of all fabrics for making wedding dresses and the most expensive. It is a very broad term and there are so many types of silk fabrics. Other recommended fabric among silk for making wedding gowns are Heavy crepe silk, Metalasse, Crede de chine, Thai silk, Peu de soi, Organza, Chiffon, Georgette and Taffeta. Silk Habotai, China Silk, silk gazar, silk mikado, silk faced satin fabric are all popular silk varieties used in making wedding wear.
Silk Gazar Fabric is a four-ply silk organza with more stiffness from extra sizing offering a slightly looser weave.
Silk Mikado is a type of blended silk that is usually heavier than pure silk.
Cotton silk, bamboo silk, paper silk, banana silk are silk varieties made from plants.
Silk Brocade is a shiny fabric made with colorful silk fibers; It is a machine-made silk with or without metallic jari work ( metallic threads in gold and silver ) with beautiful raised patterns on the fabric surface.(There is synthetic Brocade as well) Indian silk brocades like Banaras silk made in North India; Pochampilli silk or Ikat silk from Orissa in India; Chanderi silk are all beautiful brocade silk fabric commonly used for weddings.
Silk Damask is a fabric which looks like brocade but it is lighter than brocade and the raised designs are of the same colour as the fabric. It is used to make the bodices of wedding gowns. Read more on damask fabric here.
This fabric is the closest imitation of silk and drapes beautifully. It has a sheen which makes it very attractive and suited for making wedding wear. Cost-effective as well so used widely in place of silk. Very thin rayon fabrics can be used for layers in a wedding gown. The disadvantage is that it is not durable/long lasting.
This is a popular choice for making wedding wear and has a lustrous shiny and crisp appearance. When it is made of silk fibers it has a very polished appearance. You also get 100% polyester taffeta fabric which is machine washable and inexpensive. If you are looking for inexpensive wedding gowns in shops, you may find that they are made of Taffeta.
Tissue Taffeta fabric is a lightweight, voluminous fabric with a crinkled finish. Moire is a silk Taffeta fabric with a wavy design.
Taffeta makes a good crisp lining under thin nets and other layers for wedding gowns.
Fabrics for Layers
Netting / Tulle/crinoline
Silk, nylon, or rayon semi-sheer netting. It is commonly used to sew veils and crinolines as well as on petticoats to give it volume for weddings. Russian tulle is a type of tulle fabric with bigger holes.Tulle net is a coarse net; Other net fabrics like polynet and Point despirit are used as well. Check out this post on the different types of net fabrics.
This is a delicate, sheer fabric with a very flowing appearance; It is used mostly in layers , as an outer layer. Polyester chiffon is the most commonly used chiffon for making wedding gowns. It is very inexpensive but looks great. Silk Crinkled chiffon fabric ( silk chiffon) is a lightweight, lightly textured sheer fabric which is very expensive. Chiffon can be lined with self fabric so that it doesnot lose its drape.
Read more on chiffon fabric here.
This beautiful fabric with a crinkly appearance has a great drape and is well suited for gowns. It is very soft with a subtle texture. It can be in silk, cotton or polyester. Very lightweight and delicate fabric. Crepe de chine is a soft, thin crepe.
This is a sheer cotton fabric with a crispy feel; It wrinkles very fast. It is generally used to make layers in wedding gowns. You can also make petticoats with organdy or use it as a perfect lining.
This is a very fine thin opaque (almost translucent) fabric mainly used for sewing lining in wedding gowns. It is mostly in cotton but can be in synthetic fibers as well. Swiss batiste is a cotton batiste fabric used in heirloom sewing.
A delicate, sheer and crisp fabric very similar to organdy. Glass organza has a great shine to it. Organza is usually used for making overlays over skirts of wedding gowns, or for making sleeves. Sparkly organza is very much bling.
This is a very flowy sheer fabric with a great drape. It looks a lot like crepe with its crinkly look and texture. Georgette is lighter than crepe though.