Dress Fabric Guide
Fabric mystifies many women and teens shopping for formal dresses to wear to special occasions like Prom and Weddings. No wonder! You'll find dozens of fine fabrics for sewing your own wedding dress, prom dress or formal dress for evening wear. You'll find the same amazing fabric selection if you shop for a formal dress in a store, bridal shop or online especially for hard-to- find plus size formal dresses and plus size prom dresses.
We've solved the mystery with this simple Fabric Guide to explain fabrics you'll discover shopping for wedding gowns, informal wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses plus prom dresses or formal evening wear for any special occasion in your life.
Remember: select a fabric that flatters your figure and fits the style and setting for your special occasion and time of year.
Planning a winter wedding or a fall wedding? Think heavier, thicker (and warmer!) fabrics: satins, taffetas, brocade and velvets. Planning a spring wedding or a summer wedding? Think lighter, thinner (and cooler!) fabrics: silk charmeuse, organza and chiffon.
Keep in mind each fabric creates a distinctive look and feel for any formal dress plus can set the fashion tone, feel and mood for the entire bridal party!
Fabric choices also influence price. Looking for a cheap bridal gown or discounted wedding dress in plus sizes or cheap prom dress in plus sizes? You’re best sticking with man-made fibers like polyester, rayon, nylon and acetate. You’ll find satin available in these fabrics as you shop for a formal dress or a wedding gown.
- Bridal Satin: smooth fabric made from synthetic fibers in a tight weave that creates a luxurious shine. Widely available in silk, polyester, acetate, and rayon.
- Brocade: a heavy, thick jacquard (anchor to jacquard) fabric with an overall interwoven pattern or floral design that is raised. Gives your dress a rich feel and exquisite look!
- Charmeuse: popular lightweight fabric made of silk or polyester that creates a soft luster and satin like appearance. Drapes with great grace!
- Crepe: covers a wide range of fabrics including synthetics and silk identified by a grainy surface that can crinkle or crimp.
- Crepe back satin: a light to mid-weight reversible fabric: smooth, high luster satin weave on one faces; dull crepe weave backing on other face. Both sides can be used!
- Chiffon: lightweight, sheer and transparent fabric with soft feel and delicate look. Ideal for flowing designs. Season-less fabric!
- Crushed Velvet: thick pile of different heights make this woven fabric have a crushed look. Added elegance: glimmers in certain light.
- Crepe de Chine: Softer and shiner than crepe back satin and lighter in weight. Typically rayon or silk.
- Damask: distinctive fabric noted by soft sheen and woven pattern same color as the background, usually a floral design.
- Dupioni Silk: textured fabric with highly irregular weave, tiny nubs on surface and rich luster. Heavier and thicker texture than Shantung silk.
- Duchesse Satin: smooth, full bodied fabric with sheen often a mix of silk and man-made fibers such as polyester, acetate or rayon makes it a favorite for full or A-line skirts.
- Faille: stiff fabric with ribbed texture made from such fibers as polyester, cotton and silk.
- Georgette: lightweight, sheer fabric often made from silk or man-made fibers such as polyester. More opaque than chiffon. Illusion: transparent, thin fabric typically used to create sheer sleeves, bodices, and backs.
- Jacquard: soft and silky woven fabric with a pattern weave. Brocade and Damask are jacquard woven fabrics.
- Lace: delicate netting with fine embroidery often in such designs as flowers. The best quality lace is handmade.
- Linen: lightweight natural fabric made from flax fiber used for more casual clothing.
- Matte: smooth fabric without a shine or glass.
- Moiré: stiff fabric with a design woven in, creating a watermark effect usually of silk or polyester.
- Organza: crisp, sheer, transparent and lightweight fabric made from silk, nylon, or polyester. Heavier and stiffer feel than chiffon works well in wedding gowns for overskirt.
- Peau de soie: (French: skin of silk) medium to heavy fabric with a satin weave and dull luster.
- Peau Satin: heavy twill satin with a smooth finish and soft shine.
- Satin: soft woven fabric with a lustrous smooth surface and back in a wide range of sheens popular for formal dresses.
- Silk: luxurious natural fiber woven from the fibers of silkworm cocoons that come in a variety of textures with finishes. Soft, elegant and strong.
- Shantung: medium-weight, plain-weave fabric in silk or polyester with a nub feel and textured effect.
- Taffeta: light to heavy synthetic fabric with body, crispness, and sheen. Smooth surface shines when hit by light. Adds stiffness to full skirts on ball gowns.
- Tulle: Light, transparent and fine open weave netting often sewn for wedding veils and layered for ball gown skirts.
- Velvet: luxurious heavyweight fabric woven with a cut pile finish made of silk, velvet or rayon. Finish creates a soft feel with subtle shine.