Bride In Wedding Dress

Jose Villa

So you have browsed the image galleries to find your wedding dress and read article upon article on the latest fashion news only to discover that the fashion world has a language all to it's own.

Don't worry you aren't the only fashion illiterate. Here is a glossary of popular wedding fashion terms.

Alencon Lace (uh-lon-sahn): A fine French needlepoint lace of flowers and swirls on a sheer net background. The motifs are outlined with a heavier silky cord creating a raised edge. The true french alencon lace has what is know as a beard - a fringe of threads along the edges of the scallops. Less expensive copies don't have the fringe.

Appliques (a-plih-kay): Additions either re-embroidered or sewn onto the fabric of the gown with an outline stitch.

Ballerina: A full skirt that reaches just above the ankles

Beading: Crystals, pearls, sequins that are stitched directly to the fabric.

Blusher: A short, single layer veil worn over the face during the ceremoy.

Border Trims: Braids, ribbon, ruffles or scallopped edges.

Brocade: A patterned fabric (jacquard) with a raised woven design giving an embossed effect to the fabric.

Battenberg Lace: A style of renaissance lace on a satin background, usually trimmed with beads, sequins or linen tape to form a clean scalloped edge.

Box Pleat: Two folds of fabric brought together to form a pleat.

Caviar Beads: A bead that is heat set to fabric

Chantilly Lace: A delicate pattern of swirls and floral designs with silky threads on a fine net background outlined in a heavy silk thread. This silk is soft to touch.

Charmeuse: An opaque, lightweight, soft satin that clings to the wearer and is less shiny than regular satin.

Chiffon: A delicate, transparent fabric with a very soft, feminine finish. This fluid fabric moves with the wearer and drapes well. Perfect as your veil or used in layers over other opaque fabrics. Silk chiffon is the luxury choice, for a more affordable option use the polyester chiffon.

Crepe: A flowing, sheer fabric with a pebbled texture.

Crepe Back Satin: A light to mid weight fabric with a smooth satin on one side and a crepe weave backing on the other. Ideal for brides seeking a dress with a satin shine.

Crepe de Chine: Like the crepe back satin, but of a lighter weight and is softer to touch. The fabric has a higher lustre than a crepe back satin wedding dress.

Crinoline: Also known as petticoat net, this is a stiff net used for petticoasts for the skirts of wedding gowns and can also be used in bows and bustles to add shape to the fabric.

Dot Organza: Organza with polka dots.Mikado: A lusterous, fine woven silk fabric that is heavier than regular silk.

Dupioni or Douppioni: a textured fabric is similar to shantung, although the woven nubbly texture is heavier and thicker than that of shantung. This is a beautiful fabric used commonly in wedding gowns.

Duchesse Satin: a blend of silk and rayon that is lighter and less expensive than silk satin. Resists wrinkles well.

English Netting: A fine, soft netting made with cotton yarn. Commonly used in trains, bodices and sleeves.

Edging: Lace, cord, embroidered band or silk satin that outlines a section of fabric.

Embroidery: Elaborate designs stitched directly onto fabric by either hand or machine.

Faille (file): A ribbed finish on a low lustre cross weave fabric.

Flounce: a wide ruffle around the bottom of the skirt.

Georgette: A sheer, lightweight fabric with a crepe surface.

Guipure Lace: One of the most elegant of all the laces. A heavy, raised lace with an open background usually in large floral leaf patterns. The heavy stitching is embroidered onto paper (aetx cloth) that is dissolved leaving the motifs to stand alone. Also known as Venise lace in the US. Guipure is a versatile popular choice amongst brides. It can be pieced to create a bodice or used in the train.

Jaquard: A lightweight fabric with a satin background and a pattern woven into the fabric.

Mikado: A lusterous, fine woven silk fabric that is heavier than regular silk.

Organza: Flowing yet crisper than chiffon, this fabric is sheer and often used for full, multitiered skirts or to used under the wedding dress to achieve a full skirt silhouette.

Net: a mesh like fabric - used under the dress as a petticoat and in layers.

Peplum: A short skirt sewn on to the bottom of a fitted bodice

Satin: A medium to heavy weight, smooth, opaque fabric that is glossy on the front side and dull on the underside.

Shantung: woven to simulate the imperfections found in raw silk. This medium to heavy weight fabric has a homespun, nubbly texture and is lighter in weight than the doupioni. A stunning fabric often used in wedding dresses.

Silk: This fiber, made from the cocoon of silkworms, is luxurious, resilient, and strong.

Soutache: A narrow braid of ribbon sewn on as a trim to your wedding dress

Taffeta: A wonderfully crisp, smooth fabric that whispers as you move - shot with a watermark effect. Best suited to stiffer, fuller skirts with net petticoats.

Tea Length: A skirt that sits hemmed at the end of the shin.

Tiered: The skirt of the wedding dress that is comprised of layers of fabrics.

Tulip or Wrapped Skirt: A skirt that has free edges, one that is wrapped and folded over the other

Tulle: Also known as Illusion and is similar to organza however stiffer and coarser. Commonly used in veils and eye catching when layered to form the skirt of a wedding dress. This fabric tears easily so best behaviour please until at least after the cake has been cut.

Veilling: A very fine soft net used in adorning headpieces.

Velvet: A very soft, luxurious heavy fabric - very elegant and wears well with crepes, satins, furs or shantungs - suitable for winter wedding dresses. A wonderful fabric to use in bridal muffs, shrugs, wraps or as a trim on capes.

Yoke: Not the Irish one, this is the upper part of the bodice or a widened waistband where the rest of the dress is attached.

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