One of the first questions I hear during each and every consult with my brides is, “What will the dress be made out of?” They want to know whether it’s silk or polyester, what the fabric will feel like, what it will look like, and how it will move. And most importantly, whether or not anything will itch… (NO!)
All of the custom bridal gowns I design in our studio are made from beautiful and high quality silks and laces that have been hand-selected in the NYC garment district. There are a number of different types of silk we use, but here are a few that I tend to love the most in the studio!
- Silk Chiffon: A sheer, lightweight silk that will typically create a sheer flowy layer on the top of a skirt, a ruffled skirt, or sleeves that loosely flow and drape.
- Silk Charmeuse: A lightweight silk that is completely opaque, with a beautiful shine to its outer side. It flows and twirls like nothing you’ve seen before, and feels like butter in your hands. (Perfect, right?!)
- Silk Crepe de Chine: An even lighter weight silk, that is opaque, but lightweight enough to let sun shine through if there’s not another layer underneath. It is a matte silk, with a very mildly textured feel when compared to charmeuse (but just barely to the touch, it’s not a visible texture!). We typically use Crepe de Chine in the studio for bridal linings, and lingerie design.
- Silk Taffeta: This is a stiffer yet very lightweight silk, with a lovely sheen to it giving it the effect of having a slight change in the shades of color depending on the direction the light hits it. This is what we use for the waistbands of our tulle skirts, as well as for the body of full skirts that need to hold a stiffer poof that still contains movement and flow. We also use taffeta many times for the inside structure of the bodice gowns.
- Duchess Satin: Duchess Satin is a heavyweight silk, and it is very thick (as far as silks go!). It has a shine to its outer side, and it holds it’s shape very well. It’s perfect for creating corsets, as well as fit and flare gowns, or gowns with large and full skirts that you want to be poufy or full, and structured, yet soft.
- 4 ply Crepe: Another “heavyweight” silk, this one is like Crepe de Chine, but much thicker. But it is not on the stiff side like duchess satin, instead it’s heaviness gives it a beautiful flow. It is a matte silk, with a bit of texture instead of a smooth shine. But it still has that buttery movement to it that you can’t find with anything but flowy silks!. The Jardin Gown is made out of 4 ply crepe, and the waist sash is made out of Crepe-Backed Satin, the next one on the list!
- Crepe-Backed Satin: This one is a dream! It’s heavy, with a stunning flow, and a gorgeous shine to the outside. The crepe gives it a bit of texture, but it still can’t be described as anything but smooth. This gown is made almost entirely out of Crepe-Backed Satin.
As I create each design sketch, I usually have a specific idea in mind for what fabrics the design will be most beautifully realized in, and I talk through all of the options with the bride. The fabric we pick in the end is based on what each design needs to create it’s shape and flow, as well as the preferences of each bride! We send all of our brides a set of swatches so that they’ll be able to touch each of the fabric options, as well as see the various shine and matte options, and how they look when the light hits them! Once we’ve picked the silks, we move onto lace selections (one of the BEST parts!)…
Stay classy, K
Images by Amy & Jordan