Chiffon, floral appliques, lace, Mikado, tulle… There are as many wedding dress fabrics as there are silhouettes. But which do you choose if you want your dress to be memorable and picture-perfect? Are some more suited to a certain season? And what on earth are they all? With so many fabrics to choose from and each bride wanting a different style, we’ve taken a look at our latest bridal collection and selected three bridal fabrics which are sure to turn heads.
But before we jump into our favourite picks, let us bring you up to speed on wedding dress fabrics (and why it’s important to consider the season when choosing yours). Here’s our beginners’ guide.
There’s a common misconception that wedding dresses (and bridal fabrics) aren’t seasonal and while the rules have relaxed over the years, that’s not necessarily true. Just as you’d choose heavier, warmer fabrics for your winter wardrobe and lighter and cooler cloths for summer, the same can apply to wedding dresses. A floaty chiffon dress isn’t going to keep you warm if you’ve opted for a winter wedding and you’re not going to be very comfortable in a heavy satin dress in the height of summer. Some fabrics are also better suited to structured styles and others to softer, feminine, and floaty silhouettes, so it’s important to think about the look you’re going for.
Our A-Z of the most popular wedding dress fabrics will have you distinguishing chiffon from crepe, so you know which is best suited for your needs and feel more confident visiting bridal boutiques.
Chiffon - Chiffon is a light, matte fabric with a sheer effect that’s often used as an overlay, in layers, or detailing. Made from woven silk or rayon, it creates an ethereal and floaty silhouette that’s fit for the most feminine bride - and a perfect option for spring and summer weddings. Its delicate properties mean it’s quite fragile so it must be protected in transit.
Crepe - Crepe is a sophisticated material that’s suited to every season. Made from soft silk or lightweight rayon, this shapely fabric can be great for accentuating curves. It also works well in minimalist or tailored designs and simple styles like A-line dresses.
Lace - Lace is the most popular wedding dress fabric and universally loved thanks to its feminine and romantic style and suitability to every season and body shape. Made from woven silk or cotton, it’s available in an array of patterns, textures, weights, and embellishments, making it a perfect overlay. The versatile and much-loved fabric is traditionally very romantic with floral botanicals but there are many styles including the French Alençon (bold motifs with corded trim) and Chantilly (very detailed and open), and the Italian Venise (heavier, textured and better suited to winter weddings).
Mikado - Made from heavy silk with a shiny finish, Mikado has the perfect properties for moulding more architectural and structured styles like classic A-lines, ballgowns and mermaids. Although it can be worn all year round, we think its weight is better suited to autumn and winter nuptials.
Organza - Sheer and lightweight with structured properties, organza is suited to warm summer weddings and layered gowns. Woven from silk, it has a shimmering finish and crisp drape that’s often used to add fullness to princess ballgowns, trains, and veils. Like chiffon, it's prone to snags and pulls so it must be protected in transit.
Satin - Satin has been a dominant wedding dress fabric for decades thanks to its durability, sheen and weight. Traditionally made from silk and nylon fibres with a high thread count, it has a weight that's suited to all seasons though thicker types like Duchess are often chosen in cooler months. Smooth, shapely and supportive, it lends itself to constructed designs like ruched or ballgown styles. Just be careful when transiting as it’s prone to creasing, so you may want to arrange a steamer at your venue.
Silk - Silk is not only a timeless, traditional and luxurious bridal fabric but also a surprisingly durable and versatile one. Available in different textures and styles, it’s suited to all seasons. Variations include silk gazar, silk Mikado, faille, shantung, and Dupion (often referred to as Duuppioni).
Tulle - Available in different weights and levels of rigidity, tulle is the perfect wedding dress fabric for adding structure. Characterised by its delicate open weave and net-like appearance, it’s often used in illusion sleeves, linings, sheer panelling, veils and as a base for lace appliqués. This lightweight fabric can be worn all year round but must be protected in transit as its delicate weave is fragile.
Three wedding dress fabrics
Now you’re up to speed with wedding dress fabrics, let’s look at three styles made from different bridal fabrics which make the most memorable wedding dress.
Our first fabric in focus is a Mikado gown from our Ronald Joyce collection. Style 69713 is a stunning fit and flare wedding dress with an intricately-beaded plunging neckline, complementing off-the-shoulder sleeves and beautiful bridal button detailing cascading down the back of the dress to the hemline. This structured gown is available in light gold and ivory and comes with a beautiful beaded overskirt to create an alternative A-line silhouette (style 69713B).
Our second favourite pick is style 69710 - a striking chiffon wedding dress from the same collection. Feminine fluted sleeves, 3D floral detailing and a plunging v-neckline create the most mesmerising silhouette while an open leg adds dramatic detail. We envisage a boho bride walking down the aisle in this fun fabric. This beautiful dress is available in light gold or ivory.
Style 69716 is our final fabric in focus. This beautiful tulle and lace applique dress has complementing long illusion sleeves, intricate embroidery detail and a memorable v-shaped back with button detailing leading to a bustle. It comes with a detachable modesty bodice and overskirt for an alternative A-line silhouette.
We hope you found this bridal fabrics blog both informative and inspiring.
Have fun wedding dress shopping!
Written by Lucinda Bell