Part One – Fabrics
We get a lot of people come into the shop trying to explain the style of dress that they want, but often struggle to describe what they’re looking for. I can see a customer making mental notes when I say that the dress she likes is a fishtail style in pale ivory organza. These words can be completely new to you if you didn’t study textiles and you usually wear jeans.
I’m here to break it down for you, so you’ll at least know if you want tulle or taffeta.
Tulle can be soft or stiff, it can stick out like a tutu or drape softly around your body. Lots of petticoats include stiff tulle to help the dress stick out. Veils are often made of soft tulle as it’s a lightweight fabric that is practically completely see through. Chances are, your tulle dress is a few layers of tulle on top of a more substantial fabric, like satin, good job too, or everyone would see your wedding knickers!
I included this under a separate heading, as customers often don’t associate embellished tulle with tulle as it can look so different. Embellished tulle is exactly the same as regular tulle, but for the addition of sequins, motifs or crystals on top of it. Bear in mind, the embellishments add weight to the tulle so it might not stick out as much as it would if it were plain.
Lightweight and see through, organza is similar to tulle in that respect, so you’ll usually find it on top of another fabric. But organza is more classic than tulle, think Disney Princess. It’s a sophisticated fabric that produces beautiful lines when it falls.
The perfect companion to your Disney princess organza dress. Satin is a heavier fabric so makes for great linings but is also making a come back to have as your main fabric. Satin has a beautiful sheen to it and holds it’s shape very well – so your satin train stays put down the aisle! Satin is very smooth which makes it a very comfortable fabric to wear.
A popular choice for Brides, lace comes in all different shapes and sizes, but we’ll stick to the basics for now. Lace can be soft and romantic or it can be a little more structured. Embellished lace is always a show stopper and diminishes the need for lots of jewellery. It is so versatile that lace looks gorgeous with pretty much every other fabric, so many brides have only part of their dress made in lace and team it with another material.
If you want the Lady Diana look, taffeta is for you, it is elegant and makes fabulous ball gowns. It also makes beautiful, slightly more subtle dresses too! It’s a crisp fabric that isn’t too heavy but gives full coverage, so linings aren’t always necessary.
Perhaps the most romantic fabric on the list, crepe is a very soft, very lightweight draping fabric. Although it doesn’t tend to keep much structure, crepe is at it’s best when it just falls. Usually used with a lining as, although it’s opaque, a lining will give the dress a little structure. Beautiful when teamed with lace or on it’s own, crepe makes the perfect beach wedding dress. Just make sure the wind doesn’t take it!
Hopefully that clears a few things up for you! Watch this space for Part Two – Colours and Part Three – Styles.