Choosing your fabric

Expert advice on choosing your wedding dress fabric and how to make it work for you...

Your wedding dress fabric

Which fabric do you need?


“Pure fabrics, such as silk, cotton, velvet will crease more than those which have a touch of synthetic in them, which is really useful to know if you are getting married abroad or you want you dress to stay crease-free all day,” says Y&YW fashion director Peta Hunt.

“Silk is a fibre which is simply turned into a thread,” says Marguerite Hannah of Alan Hannah, “so it can become different things – for example, a thicker, more expensive duchesse silk, or a thinner, slipper satin silk. Ask whether the material you are being offered is a pure silk or a mix. You can often tell if a material has silk in it, as it will have a pearlised finish.”

A dress made from pure duchesse silk will be very much more expensive, for instance, than a dress made from a mix of manmade fibre and silk. Pure taffeta will also be much more expensive than taffeta which is a mix of manmade and pure silk.

Brocade: A heavy fabric with a raised patterned

Good for… ornate, vintage-style bodices; striking detail

Not for … overseas weddings in hot climates

Chiffon: Soft sheer fabric with a soft drape

Good for… floaty sleeves and loose dresses for hot climates

Not for … Structured ballgown styles

Crepe: Lightweight fabric with a ruched feel

Good for… slinky, column dresses

Avoid for … tight dresses if you want to disguise heavy hips and bottom

Duchesse satin: A stiff, shiny fabric

Good for…dresses with some structure

Not for … styles with a fluid drape

Lace: The most bridal of all fabrics

Good for…everything, either as a complete dress of just touches

Not for…a dress that is too seamed as the pattern won’t match

Organza: Looks similar to chiffon but stiffer in texture.

Good for… an overlay, to give shape and texture to a skirt

Not for … a whole dress, as it is too transparent


Good for…slinky sheath dresses and styles that need to shimmer

Not for … playing down certain parts of your figure

Taffeta: Papery and lightweight, rustles when you move

Good for…full-skirt and ballroom styles

Not for …smooth finish. Tends to wrinkle easily

Silk tulle: Soft, beautiful and floaty

Good for… great for veils and 50s-style ballroom skirts


Not for … robust styles, as it is flattering but fragile