You’ve filled your Pinterest boards with all your favorite styles, researched designers, booked appointments at bridal salons & came up with your “bridal keywords” to guide your bridal stylist. But have you thought about fabric?
What fabric you choose for your wedding dress can not only make an environmental impact but your gown’s makeup affects how you feel on your wedding day: is it scratchy, are you sweaty, is it so heavy you can’t dance? Fabric can affect how you feel, move & carry yourself on your wedding day.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be! Our good friend & Brooklyn bridal designer Marteal of Loulette Bride is here to make sense of it all. Featured recently in our 20 Amazing Wedding Vendors Who Give Back, Marteal knows a lot about ethical & sustainable dress design…
Let’s talk fabrics!
First of all, you have the CONTENT of your fabric. The content of your fabric is what the actual fibers and threads of the fabric are made of. You have two main types on content: natural, and artificial. If you know Loulette, you know we like to stick with natural fibers as much as possible.
Your natural fibers are things made from plants or animal products, like silk, cotton, linen, hemp, wool, flax, leather, all that good stuff. Your manmade fibers are poly, nylon, acetate, etc. As you can imagine, your natural fibers tend to be more breathable and lightweight, which is why we make our bodices out of cotton bobbinet and use silk, cotton, and linen as much as possible.
Now that we understand contents, let’s talk about TYPES of fabric. The different types of fabrics are based on how the fibers and threads are woven or knitted together. Keep in mind, almost any type of fabric can be made out of either natural or manmade fibers!
For our purposes today, let’s talk about the most common terms you will hear as you shop for your wedding dress:
Organza: a lightweight yet structured fabric that gives you that big, fluffy skirt look. Organza can be made of silk or poly, but we like to use silk. Organza is what gives our Poppy Skirt all that fun shape!
Tulle: that very thin and sheer fabric that looks like a ballerina skirt. Tulle can be really soft and gorgeous (silk tulle) or really crunchy and gross (nylon tulle). We get our tulle from Spain, and it is super soft and drapey! It is what our Charlie Veil is made out of, and all the layers on our fabulous Jasmin Gown!
Lace: Lace is a whole crazy category unto itself. There is so much to learn as far as types of laces, how they are made, where they come from, etc. While you’re shopping, just be sure to look closely at the lace on your dress, ask about the content of the lace, and where it comes from!
Satin: Satin is actually a WEAVE of fabric! A satin weave leaves more threads on the surface of the fabric, giving you that shiny surface. At Loulette, we hate satin. It highlights all the wrong things, so we stay away from it. Be aware, satin can be silk or poly!
Lining: Your lining is just the inside fabric of your dress, and it can be made out of a whole bunch of things! Almost ALL linings will be some type of poly, even dresses that claim to be “100% Silk.” Just be sure to check the care label, as always!
At Loulette, we line our gowns in a recycled poly, which means just that! It is made from recycled PET and polyester fabrics, that are respun to create new polyester yarns. The energy needed to make recycled PET is less than virgin polyester, and it uses fabrics and plastics that would otherwise end up in a landfill!
Now let’s talk about fabric words that are bullshit!
Silky: Silky is a nonsense word. Silky is used to describe a fabric that is actually not made of silk, but is soft, so feels like silk? Either way, don’t fall for this marketing scheme!
Vegan Leather: Sure, it’s not animal product? But it’s made of polyurethane, arguably worse for our planet than leather itself. If you don’t like leather, just don’t wear leather. Same goes for Faux Fur! The most planet-friendly solution for wearing both leather and fur: vintage, vintage, vintage!
Ok, that’s it for your lesson today, fellow fabric nerds! Want more wedding dress shopping tips? Sign up for weekly Loulette Love Letters!