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Silk, Lace, and Chiffon Wedding Fabric: Choosing Material for Your Wedding Dress

wedding fabric
Here is a handy wedding fabric guide written for us by Elinor Kent. Use it to help decide material for your wedding dress whether you DIY, buy used, vintage or new! The types of fabric (even the types of silk alone) can be overwhelming but this article breaks it down nicely. Enjoy!

Every bride wants to look her best when she walks down the isle. However, picking out the perfect wedding gown can be quite a challenge. Few people realize just how many different fabrics there are to choose from until their wedding date appears just around the corner. If you are stressing about your wedding then this guide can help. Read on to learn all you need to know about the many popular wedding dress fabrics available.

Once you have educated yourself on the commonly encountered bridal fabrics, you'll almost be ready to go gown shopping. First, take an hour to visit a fabric store so you can see and feel each material. When you finally make it to the bridal store you will already have an idea of which fabrics you might be interested in. This will allow you to focus on finding your perfect gown instead of feeling overwhelmed by the many fabrics to choose from.

Silk Fabrics

Silk has long been chosen for luxurious clothing. Silk is selected because it is strong, soft, and has a beautiful shimmering appearance.

Varieties of Silk

bridal fabric

Satin is a tight-woven silk suitable when a stiff silk fabric is desirable. Satin fabric is a great choice for ball gown type wedding dresses. For those that desire a less weighty sort of satin, charmeuse may be preferred. Charmeuse loses some of the gloss of silk satin and isn't a good choice for ball gowns. However, it flows more naturally and it elegantly adapts to most bodies, which makes charmeuse an ideal choice for formfitting gowns.

Silk satin isn't without its downsides. It can be too pricey for some. It's also not comfortable in climates with high heat or humidity. Luckily, duchesse satin solves some of these problems. Duchesse is a fabric mix of silk and rayon. Not only is it more cost-effective, but it's also not as heavy as satin.

Taffeta is another material occasionally made of silk. Taffeta is fairly stiff and has a soft luster. Although Taffeta was a common gown material at one time, it isn't used as much today because it tends to make swishing sounds when it moves. Not many brides want to wear a loud dress when they walk down the aisle!

There are many more silks to choose from, each with its own qualities. Mikado is a silk blend that provides a weightier alternative to traditional silk. Gazar is a transparent organza. It's often used for skirts and sleeves or anytime its transparent appearance is desired. Silk-faced satin is unique because it has a shiny side and a matte side. This is ideal for certain design elements.

wedding fabric for dresses

Brides interested in a multilayered gown might consider delicate see through fabrics like organzas, chiffon fabric, georgette, or tulle. These fabrics make beautiful layers and help create an eye catching gown. Some of these fabrics can be expensive. Luckily, they often come in less expensive polyester or rayon blends that are perfect when price is a concern.

For a textured silk, try silk crepe. This material is less heavy than normal silk and creates a flowing gown. Silk crepe has a slightly crimpy appearance providing a more complex texture. It is also available in a polyester mix.

The majority of silks are ideal for formal wedding dresses. For a more casual gown, you might consider shantung. This fabric has a slightly coarse texture with a mild sheen. It's a great choice when simplicity is preferable to the traditional.

Woven Fabrics

Fabrics with raised designs can look great on many gowns. Brocade and Damasks are both ideal for formal dresses. Brocades have a patterned weave and are quite heavy. If light weight is desired, choose a damask fabric instead.

Plush Fabrics

Velvet is a thick soft fabric with a subtle sheen. It isn't a very common choice for wedding dresses. However, it does provide a unique fabric choice when a sturdy, stiff fabric is wanted. It is also ideal in cooler climates or for a winter wedding.

More Bridal Fabric

eyelet bridal fabric

There is no rule that says you have to wear a dress made from the most expensive formal materials. Some brides want a lighter, casual dress for a more modern wedding.

Batiste and eyelet provide the perfect combination. Batiste is a light cotton fabric. It's transparent and blends perfectly with the embroidered look of eyelet. These materials can create beautiful airy dresses perfect for any warm weather outdoor wedding.

Trim Fabric

Many wedding dresses wouldn't be complete without the use of lace. Lace is the perfect material for trimming the neck or sleeves of any gown. Lace can also effectively compliment the bodice of wedding gowns. Lace comes in many flavors, each ideal for certain gowns.

Alencon lace is notable for its flowery design. This french fabric is often used in dresses of a more traditional style.

Chantilly is a fabric netting decorated with ribbon and flowers. This is a another lace often used on traditional wedding dresses.

Schiffli is an airy Spanish lace. This lace has a light netting ornamented with roses. Schiffli can give your gown a one of a kind look. It's appropriate for formal wedding dresses.

Another lace with flower designs is duchesse lace. This lace has an embossed design with irregular patterns. Guipure is an embroidered lace characterized by its heavy patterns connected by slender threads.

Lace adds an appealing touch to most wedding gowns. However, it should be used sparingly. You always want your lace trims to add to the beauty of your gown. Be careful not to bury a beautiful wedding dress in too much lace!


Although lining fabric isn't as visible as the other dress fabrics, it is equally important, especially for your comfort! A gown's lining is what makes the dress pleasant to wear. The lining fabric is also what holds some dresses away from the body.

Lining fabrics are often made from satins, silks, and polyesters. The lining fabric you choose should compliment the design of your dress. The most important thing to remember is that the various dress fabrics will be washed together. So don't choose a dry clean only material and a washable material. Most bridal stores can help you decide on appropriate dress linings.

Now that you know a little more about the plethora of wedding gown fabrics, you're ready to decide on your ideal wedding dress. Feeling each material at a fabric shop will give you an even better idea of what you like or dislike. Walking into your bridal boutique already knowing about common bridal fabrics makes selecting the perfect wedding dress easier than ever!


About The Author: Elinor Kent's passion for fashion is second only to her love for creating one-of-a-kind bridal designs. Some of Elinor's other articles about bridal designs and fabric can be found on

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