You want to look amazing on your wedding day, and just like with baking a cake, you need to have good quality raw ingredients in order to make it specially delicious! You need to start with beautiful quality fabric in order to end up with an amazing dress.
So how do you find quality fabrics?
This is a real dilemma, especially with the unfortunate number of liars in the wedding industry.
We have had brides present us with lace which they have paid more than $500 per metre for, and we can purchase the same lace for $60. They were told it was French and it was not. (The French are not the only ones who make lovely laces, but their quality in chantilly laces is a cut above anyone else, and yet they are there are so many out there selling lace they say is French when it is not. You should get what you pay for, and it is terrible that there are a number of people out there who will sell you something they say is French when it’s not even made in France. And is most certainly inferior in quality.
Aside from this, we have had several clients come to us with ‘silk’ fabrics they have bought whilst on their holiday when they got engaged, and wanted this to be made into a dress for them. Unfortunately, it was not silk. They thought they had paid for silk, they were told it was silk and they believed those who sold it to them, and yet it definitely was not.
So how do you tell, and why does it matter?
It matters because silk is a natural product of the silk worm. It is strong, lustrous and beautiful. It presses well and makes up beautifully. It comes in an enormous number of weights and thicknesses from very fine chiffon to heavy duchess satin, and everything in between. Typically the replacement fibres are polyester and nylon (polyamide) made from petroleum or coal (that’s why they are a plastic. These do not press as well. They do not have the same delicious feel up against your skin, and they do not press to a deliciously luxurious finish.
Really, if you want a beautiful dress, make sure it is silk.
How do you tell if it is really silk?
You really need to burn a little bit. Don’t freak out, just go to a sink with a silk piece of fabric. Grab some tweezers to hold the fabric piece so you don’t burn yourself. And some matches and light it up. If it is a synthetic fibre it will melt like plastic and smell like melted plastic. It will drip and then form a hard blob after. If its made from a plant fibre it will smell similar to paper burning and will form charcoal reside after it is burnt. If it is silk, it will smell like burnt hair. It will be slightly resistant to burning. It will shrink and curl away like wool and hair.
Ultimately buy from someone you trust, and if you don’t know anyone, ask for a little swatch, take it home and test it yourself. Don’t waste your money on inferior fabric as it can make all the difference between you looking great, and you looking breathtaking.