Debutante Dress Fabrics

The fabric of your debutante dress is just as important as the style. There are many fabrics used in debutante dress construction from heavier fabrics used for the base construction of a gown to translucent fabrics which are layered over the skirt or sleeves to add fullness and depth. The fabric used to make a dress drastically alters how it looks, feels, and moves.

Knowing what materials are out there is essential to finding the right debutante dress. Every fabric has its own unique properties, and here are some of the fabrics you can expect to see regularly:

Satin

Satin is a heavy material, known for its flexibility and strength. Satin has a shimmery depth that no other fabric can quite duplicate. Satin's rich and luxurious finish works really well with very structured designs.

Taffeta

Taffeta is a very tightly woven, stiff, crisp fabric. Because of these properties, taffeta looks great on structured ball gown style debutante dresses. Taffeta makes “swooshing” noises as it rubs against itself, so most brides use taffeta sparingly in their debutante gowns.

Chiffon

Light with a matte finish, chiffon lends itself well to hanging and draping with a natural, fluid look. It is a popular choice for sophisticated wraps around the bride’s shoulders. Because it is less transparent than other fabrics, layering it over the skirt gives the appearance of more heaviness, fullness, and depth.

Organza

Organza is generally a blend of nylon, polyester, and silk. It can be translucent or sheer, depending on the weave of the fabric. Organza’s soft, romantic appearance adds extra depth and an air of elegance to a debutante dress. It is often seen in debutante gown skirts, trains, and veils.

Lace

Lace is an open weave fabric that is usually used as an overlay for other opaque fabrics. Lace is sometimes used for sleeves and as an inset for necklines. Lace fabric comes as a full bolt of fabric or as an edging piece to be used as an embellishment for a debutante dress.

Tulle

Tulle is delicate mesh netting, often seen in ballerinas’ tutus. Tulle is perfect for the ballerina style debutante gown, combining a gauzy romantic yet fun and youthful feel.

Charmeuse

Charmeuse is one of the most comfortable fabrics to wear, though not quite as lustrous as satin. Pure charmeuse is expensive and must be handled with care: the fabric is prone to being scuffed or marked in addition to “looping” when it catches on something. Less glossy cotton-charmeuse blends are easier to work with, more durable, and therefore more affordable.

Crepe and Jersey

Crepe and jersey, both derived from silk, are often seen in formal-wear and deb gowns. These fabrics are stretchy and lightweight, but still substantial enough to drape and create a very flattering silhouette.

Brocade

Brocade is a heavy material that is woven of silk with an ornate design and a raised texture. Because Brodade is a heavier fabric, it is a popular debutante dress choice for cooler months.

Damask

A patterned fabric which is much like Brocade, but has a much lighter weight. If you like the look of brocade but are being married in a warmer month Damask is an excellent choice.

Duchesse Satin

Stiffer and lighter than regular satin, duchesse satin drapes well while simultaneously preserving its shape. Because of its lighter weight, a duchesse satin dress is more comfortable to wear and walk in and is less prone to wrinkling.

Silk Shantung

Shimmery and elegant but with a defined “nubby” texture, shantung is one of the most interesting debutante dress fabrics out there. Durable, stain-resistant shantung is perfect for full skirts or ruched bodices.

Silk Georgette

Silk georgette is a grainy fabric that is often used in place of chiffon. The two fabrics are similar, but silk georgette is a little heavier and more opaque, similar in texture to crepe.