It is usually the case that the bridal wedding gown is the star of the show at any marriage service. Although there are hundreds of different styles and colors available to choose from, the fact remains that there is one universal thing about the bridal wedding gown - it is always made out of sumptuous, luxurious fabric.
Throughout history the importance of fabric has always been recognized, the world over. Fabric is a symbol of status… and the more lavish the better. Usually the more natural the fibers used to create the fabric are, the higher the perceived "worth" of the garment. Think about the contrast between silk and polyester, for example.
Here is a brief overview of some of the more popular types of fabric that are traditionally used to make bridal wedding gowns.
Silk is one of the oldest luxury fabrics known to man. It has been used by the Chinese since the 27th century BC to make gorgeous textiles for affluent people. Silk has always been prized for its lustrous elegance and statement of high class. It is made from the cocoon of silk worms, and is a natural protein just like human hair. During the Roman Empire silk was literally sold for its worth in gold.
Silk is often the fabric of choice for wedding dresses due to its high properties in areas such as elegance, comfort, versatility and wear-ability.
The best quality satin is actually made from silk, but satin can also be made with a blend of other man made fabrics such as polyester, rayon and nylon. The higher the silk content, the higher quality the individual piece of cloth. Satin comes in many different thicknesses, so therefore it can differ in both look and feel depending upon the handle of the fabric, and also the way in which the bridal gown is tailored and pattern cut.
In general, satin is a very high gloss, shiny fabric. It became very popular in Italy in the 12th Century, and was often the fabric of choice for European Royalty in the 14th Century. To this day Duchess satin is the most popular choice for wedding dresses. This is because it is shiny on one side only, thick and relatively heavy in weight.
Velvet has been considered to be a luxury fabric for at least 4000 years. Very early examples of velvet can be traced back to Egypt, and was worn by those such as royalty and the upper classes. Velvet is a very warm fabric so was particularly popular in Northern Europe in the winter time in days gone by.
When velvet is constructed it requires many more threads and process steps than other fabrics do. Velvet is best when it is made out of silk thread, but in modern times it can also be produced with less expensive threads, including materials such as cotton, velour, velveteen and corduroy.
Because of the way that velvet is constructed it is particularly receptive to dyes. This means that it can sustain and maintain high levels of vibrant color without fading. It is also very possible to create special effects by twisting the velvet during the dying process.