Wedding

Wedding Dress Fabric Glossary

Your fiance probably won’t be focused on what kind of fabric you’re wearing when they see you for the first time in your wedding dress. But we know that you want the perfect dress and that perfect dress starts with the right bridal fabric.

Some fabrics are suited to certain seasons and some rock the aisle all year long. Whether you have your heart set on classic chiffon or demure lace, we have gathered a wide variety of wedding dress fabrics to fit every bride’s needs. Read on to discover the best wedding dress material for you.

Wedding Fabric Tip

There are only a handful of fibers that make up all of the fabrics you’ll see listed below. When talking about wedding dresses these fibers are usually silk, polyester, rayon and cotton. The fabrics that result from these fibers are different from each other because of their “weave,” or the process that was used to create the fabric. This is important to understand because there will be a price and quality difference between synthetic “polyester chiffon” and natural “silk chiffon.”  

  • Fiber examples: silk, cotton, rayon, polyester, nylon
  • Fabric examples: taffeta, satin, chiffon, organza
  • Fibers make up the fabrics and are labeled together (ex: rayon chiffon, silk organza).
  • The quality of the fabric can affect the cost that you should expect to pay i.e. if it’s mixed with synthetics it will be less expensive.  

 

Jump To

Wedding Fabrics A-Z

Most Popular

Applique

Applique

Applique is not a fabric type, but it is an embellishment that can be used to dress up a plain dress or simple material. It also works great over illusion fabric. With a variety of beautiful designs, appliques are sure to make your garments pop.

  • Good for: embellishments, veils, accessories
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: very light

Batiste

Batiste

Batiste is a light, nearly transparent, fine fabric. It is almost always made from cotton and is soft to the touch. Plain cotton batiste is best for lining while the silk batiste can make a lovely overlay.

  • Good for: dress underlining, dress overlay
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: very light

Beading

Beading

Beading will make your dress reflect light and sparkle down the aisle. Price will depend on how much of the dress is beaded as well as the materials used, for example, real crystals versus faux ones. Fabrics that are too thick or too thin will not work with beading.

  • Good for: embellishment, accessories, bodices
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $$
  • Weight: adds weight

Brocade

Brocade

Brocade has an undeniable regal quality to it between the characteristic raised pattern and floral intricacies. It is a thicker fabric and holds its shape well.

  • Good for: structured dresses, a royal look
  • Season: winter, fall
  • Cost: $$-$$$
  • Weight: very heavy

Charmeuse

Charmeuse

Charmeuse is a lightweight fabric that resembles a satin finish. The fabric has a lustrous liquid-like quality when it drapes. Although it looks gorgeous year round, be cautious about wearing a charmeuse dress in hot weather as it can show sweat easily.

  • Good for: flowing dresses
  • Season: spring, fall
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: light

Chiffon

Chiffon

Chiffon is a sheer, light fabric that is usually composed of silk or rayon. It is almost always layered over thicker fabrics because of how sheer it is. Be careful with this delicate fabric, it tends to snag.

  • Good for: layering, dress overlay
  • Season: spring, summer
  • Cost: $$
  • Weight: very light

Crepe

Crepe

Crepe is lightweight fabric that lays beautifully in a soft silhouette. It has a slightly crinkled texture that adds a bit of visual interest without being too overpowering.

  • Good for: soft silhouette dress styles
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: light

Damask

Damask

Damask is similar to brocade in appearance, but is much lighter making it an appealing option for slightly warmer temperatures. The fabric is still structured and features the classic raised jacquard pattern that is characteristic of brocade.

  • Good for: structured dresses
  • Season: fall, winter
  • Cost: $$
  • Weight: neutral

Dotted Swiss

Dotted Swiss

Dotted Swiss is a fabric that is easily recognized by its fun dotted pattern. For bridal apparel, the dotted swiss look is typically used on a delicate fabric for veils and dress overlays. The dots can be woven, flocked or printed onto the fabric.

  • Good for: veils, dress overlays, less formal dress styles, outdoor ceremonies
  • Season: summer, spring
  • Cost: $
  • Weight: very light

Dupioni

Dupioni

Dupioni is a sturdy fabric that has a luminous sheen. It holds its shape well but has more give than other structured fabrics. This makes it a great choice for a variety of dress styles.

  • Good for: most dress styles
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $$
  • Weight: neutral

English Net

English Net

English net is similar to tulle, except it is softer and less voluminous than tulle. In addition to being a popular dress fabric, it’s a great choice for a veil. The size of the netting varies, some english net has very pronounced holes in the netting and other styles are more fine.

  • Good for: veils, dress overlay, dress layers
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$$
  • Weight: very light

Faille

Faille

Faille is a structured fabric that doesn’t have much give. It will hold its shape well making it a good fit for dress styles that require volume. Faille is typically composed of silk, cotton or rayon.

  • Good for: structured dress styles
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: neutral

Georgette

Georgette

Georgette is a lightweight and sheer fabric made from silk or polyester. Compared to similar fabrics, georgette has a rougher texture and a look that is more matte than shiny.

  • Good for: dress overlay
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: very light

Illusion

Illusion

This fabric is so thin and fine that it’s nearly invisible. Illusion fabrics have gained popularity in the last couple of years because it is great for attaching appliques or creating the illusion of bare skin. It is usually used on sleeves or necklines.

  • Good for: sleeves, necklines
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $
  • Weight: very light

Lace

Lace

Lace is a traditional and popular wedding dress fabric. The intricate designs and delicate touches make it perfect for dress overlay and veils. Some popular types of lace are alencon, chantilly and venice.

  • Good for: veils, dress overlay
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $$-$$$
  • Weight: very light

Mikado

Mikado

Mikado is usually made with silk and has a very rich sheen and texture. The appearance and weight of mikado makes it a good choice for weddings in cool climates.

  • Good for: structured dress styles
  • Season: winter, fall
  • Cost: $$
  • Weight: heavy

Moire

Moire

Moire is characterized by its wavy pattern and water-like reflective sheen. Moire is made from a heavier silk or polyester.

  • Good for: most dress styles
  • Season: winter, fall
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: heavy

Organdy

Organdy

Organdy is a stiff sheer fabric made from cotton. Its crisp nature makes it perfect for forming features on dresses such as ruching, ruffles and floral fabric accents.

  • Good for: ruffles, ruching, design elements, layering
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $
  • Weight: neutral

Organza

Organza

Organza is sheer and light, making it a great choice for warm summer weddings. This shiny fabric also holds its shape better than most of the other sheer fabrics.

  • Good for: layering, dress overlay, veils, trains
  • Season: summer, spring
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: light

Point D’Esprit

Point D’Esprit

Point D’Esprit is a delicate tulle that has an elegant dotted motif, similar to dotted swiss. It is transparent so it needs to be layered over an opaque fabric.

  • Good for: dress overlay, veil
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: very light

Piqué

Piqué

Piqué is made from tightly knit cotton. It is recognizable by its waffle weave, which resembles a honeycomb texture and gives the fabric more structure.

  • Good for: structured dress styles, creating volume
  • Season: summer, spring
  • Cost: $
  • Weight: neutral

Polyester

Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is commonly woven into non-synthetic fibers like silk. Dresses that are made with polyester are also less expensive than dresses made with purely non-synthetic fabrics.

  • Good for: cost-conscious brides, wrinkle resistance
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $
  • Weight: neutral

Rayon

Rayon

Rayon is lightweight semi-synthetic fiber that has a similar feel to silk. Rayon is less expensive and has more elasticity. One downside is that it’s prone to wrinkling.

  • Good for: most dress styles
  • Season: spring, summer
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: light

Satin

Satin

Satin is one of the most popular fabrics for wedding dresses. It is characterized by an elegant sheen and soft texture. Satin is most commonly made with silk, although satin can also be with more inexpensive fabrics too.

  • Good for: most dress styles
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$$
  • Weight: neutral

Shantung

Shantung

Shantung has a rich texture and sheen making it a sophisticated choice. The sheen resembles that of dupioni, but shantung is more lightweight.

  • Good for: structured dress styles
  • Season: spring, fall, winter
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: neutral-heavy

Silk

Silk

Silk is the most common and versatile fiber that wedding dresses are made from. Silk is durable, yet fine and soft. It is typically more expensive than other fabric options, but it has a very luxurious quality that’s fit for any bride.

  • Good for: all dress styles
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $$-$$$
  • Weight: varies

Taffeta

Taffeta

Taffeta is a very versatile fabric. Its thickness varies, making it an option year-round. It is smooth to the touch, but has a crisp texture that is responsible for the rusting sound it makes.

  • Good for: most dress styles
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$
  • Weight: varies

Tulle

Tulle

Tulle is known for its ability to add volume while still being very lightweight. This transparent netting has different levels of stiffness depending on the fiber that it’s made from.

  • Good for: veils, ball gown styles, adding volume, crinolines
  • Season: any
  • Cost: $-$$$
  • Weight: very light

Velvet

Velvet

Velvet is a soft, lustrous fabric that goes well with winter wedding colors. Its heavier weight will trap heat so it is best for cold weather.

  • Good for: regal dress styles
  • Season: winter
  • Cost: $$
  • Weight: very heavy

Voile

Voile

Voile is a sheer, breathable fabric that is ideal for outdoor nuptials. It can be made from cotton or wool. Voile has an informal look which makes it a good fit for brides planning a bohemian wedding.

  • Good for: less formal dress styles
  • Season: summer, spring
  • Cost: $
  • Weight: light

Zibeline

Zibeline

Zibeline is a shiny fabric that is made from silk. It is a light-medium weight fabric that holds its shape well and has a sleek elegant look.

  • Good for: structured dress styles
  • Season: fall, winter, spring
  • Cost: $$
  • Weight: neutral

Combine your fabric of choice with the perfect wedding dress style to come fully prepared on the day of dress shopping. The fiber and fabric of your dress will make a big difference in your overall look as well as your comfort level. Make sure you try different fabrics to find your best and most comfortable fit. Don’t forget to also capture your dress as part of your getting ready day for your wedding photos.