Wedding Dress Sewing – Part 2 – Fabric Selection

Welcome to part 2 of The Wedding Dress Blog! Today, I’m talking about picking out fabrics!

Wedding Dress Swatches

As I mentioned in my Planning post, I ordered 29 swatches from Mood the day after we got engaged. I knew it would take time for them to arrive, and I wanted to have them in hand before I tried on any dresses so I would know what I was looking at. Even before trying on dresses, I suspected I would want multiple layers for my skirt. I also knew I wanted a lace overlay on the top. I usually don’t order swatches for anything, but I wanted to make sure the fabric felt and behaved like I thought it would before purchasing dress quantities of it.

wedding dress fabrics | so rachel sews...
all of the fabric swatches I ordered for my wedding dress!

Ultimately, this was the right decision. Many of the swatches I ordered showed up a very different color than I expected, or felt very different than I expected. Not a single fabric I chose was opaque, which was very frustrating given how long it took for them to arrive. I laid them all out on nude swimsuit lining to get the best feel for their color. I took pictures with and without flash to see how they looked in different lights. Then, I FaceTimed my parents and my matron of honor to show them the options and my top choices.

wedding dress fabrics | so rachel sews...
my top choices for the skirt, with flash for extra sparkle effect!

Practice Fabric

While I was making my final decision, I went to Joann to pick up some white satin to use for a practice bodice. I found a crepe-backed satin that was much opaquer than any of the swatches I had ordered. It turned out to be reasonable to work with as well. As a bonus, it was white, which is more than I can say for most bridal fabrics these days. (I’m not hating on off-white dresses – I just really wanted a white one!) I liked it well enough that I decided to use it for the base layer of both the bodice and skirt of the final dress. At that point, I was able to layer on the swatches I liked to see how they looked on the dress base.

Final Fabric Choices

Ultimately, for the bodice of the dress, I chose Mood’s Mattia White Floral Embroidered Lace overlayed on the satin. I used a white-ish scrap I had laying around as the lining. For the skirt, I used White Sparkle Nylon Organza, overlayed with Bright White Silk Chiffon to tone down the sparkles a bit. I have linked all fabrics below. I eagerly placed my order and worked on my bodice trials!

wedding dress fabrics | so rachel sews...
my final choices for bodice overlay/yoke and skirt


McCall’s 7090
McCall’s 7718


Mattia White Floral Embroidered Lace (SKU: 329663)
White Sparkle Nylon Organza (SKU: 109319)
Bright White Silk Chiffon (SKU: PV5000-101 – this also comes in a wider width)

The Whole Series:

Handmade Wedding Dress

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