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Wedding Dress Fabric Guide

Congratulations bride-to-be! You now get to pick the most important, self-expressive garment you will ever wear. NO stress . . . Right? Wrong. It can be overwhelming to step into the world of bridal. So, take a step back. If you want, do some research, ask questions, and educate yourself on wedding gowns. This article was written with you in mind. Just remember, touching, feeling and experiencing the fabrics in person can be the best way to make a decision.

bride holding out fabric of modern bohemian lace dress

Wedding Dress Fabric Guide


Light and softer than satin, this machine-woven fabric can be made from either silk or synthetic fibers. And while it’s more affordable than silk satin, it’s still very luxurious. That’s because this lightweight fabric drapes smoothly over the body, which makes it ideal for form-fitting gowns and warm-weather weddings. On the downside, charmeuse can be difficult to alter. It also hugs your curves, so brides looking for a looser fit should steer clear of this fabric.


Super flowy chiffon is made from either silk or synthetic fibers. Chiffon has an almost transparent feel. That sheer, feminine quality makes this delicate fabric ideal as an overlay on wedding gowns. It’s also commonly used on a gown’s sleeves or skirt. While chiffon is soft enough to drape, it can wrinkle.


There’s an undeniable vintage charm to lace. A full lace overlay can create a show-stopping beauty — think Pippa Middleton in her stunning, floor-length lace gown — but even a few lace details can provide a glamorous edge to an otherwise simple wedding dress. There’s a certain advantage to limiting the amount of lace on your gown. For starters, lace often comes with a higher price tag. It can be itchy if not backed by a lining and incredibly delicate. The open looped material is prone to snagging, so consider limiting the use of lace to trimming and detailing. See one 417-land bride whose lace train was truly stunning!


Similar to chiffon, organza is made from silk or synthetic fibers, organza has a unique crisscrossed pattern that distinguishes it from other popular materials used in wedding gowns. That crisscross weave also gives this fabric a slightly crunchy texture. The stiffer weave puts organza closer to tulle and gives it a crisper drape. It’s also great for adding volume to skirts.


Silk satin is one of the most traditional fabrics used for wedding gowns. It’s important to note in this wedding dress fabric guide that the key to satin is its high thread count, which makes this fabric slightly heavy and gives it a luxurious look and feel. It’s also known for its high sheen and elegant drape. Because this fabric leans on the heavier side, it can be worn during fall and winter weddings for warmth, but it’s not uncommon to find satin gowns at weddings year-round.


There’s a classy and understated shimmer to silk fabric. Made from natural protein fibers that are woven together, silk is unmistakably smooth and sumptuous. It’s also surprisingly strong, and its tightly knit weave means this fabric keeps moisture close to the body. It’s also one of the most expensive fabrics – but for good reason. Silk provides an unmatched softness and beauty, perfect for smooth, flowing gowns. The only thing this natural fiber doesn’t provide is a pure-white color. For this reason, silk gowns are most often shades of off-white.


Need to give your gown a little extra poof? Add some taffeta. Made from woven silk or synthetic fibers, taffeta is a ribbed fabric. Its strength lends itself well to the lining and layers of skirts. If you’re looking for a high-quality taffeta, just crinkle it up in your hands. High-quality taffetas will stay wrinkled instead of flattening back out. In fact, they still look great even when wrinkled, which is why you often see this fabric layered to create a beautifully full skirt. There’s only one downside of taffeta: The tight weave (which makes it so durable) produces a soft rustling noise when moved. Some brides dislike this feature.


Tulle is quite popular for wedding gowns. It has a net-like weave that gives it a sheer, ethereal look. Tulle comes in different strengths and weights and can be less expensive than taffeta and chiffon. It also hides wrinkles and provides extra poof to a full skirt or veil. Tulle is most commonly used in veils and ballgowns.


Now that you’ve reviewed our wedding dress fabric guide and are familiar with some of the most common fabrics, it’s time to stop by Normans Bridal, a full-service bridal salon. Our knowledgeable bridal stylists love what they do and look forward to helping you select the perfect wedding dress. We also have a wide selection of accessories and bridesmaid gowns to make your wedding day planning a little easier. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment or fitting, please call us at 417-866-9800.