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Fashion Glossary
 

Fabrics


Descriptions about fabrics for all types of prom and wedding dresses. Plus, tips and advice on how to deal with alterations, cleaning care and helpful advice from top industry designers, manufacturers and retailers.

 

Satin

Satin Fabric  Satin Fabric

Description: A light, middle or heavy weight fabric that is lustrious or matte depending on its weave.
Content: Silk or polyester, rayon
Uses, Fit: Heavier weaves hide flaws, drapes well, great for pagaent, trains, bridal gowns, any body styles
Care: Dry clean, can be spot cleaned or hand washed
Alteration Tips: Easy to sew and forgiving (stiches won't show easily)
Expert Advice: Pick a satin dress if you know you'll need lots of alterations (ie: pregnancy, petite) or if you need to wear the dress multiple times as it will hold up well.

 

Tulle

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Description: Fine netting, small open weave for a gauzy effect
Content: Silk, nylon, or rayon
Uses, Fit: Layered in ball gown skirts, gives lift to crinoline slips, creates unique layered color combos, creates sheer panels, for bridal veils
Care: Dry clean, spot clean, hand wash, low iron, steam press
Alteration Tips: Can be easily sewn, doesn't require edging, hemlines can be simply cut
Expert Advice: Additional lining under a tulle skirt can make it more comfortable against the skin. Will catch and tear easily, so it requires a delicate touch.

 

Charmeuse

Charmeuse Fabric  Charmeuse Fabric

Description: Lustrious, lightweight woven fabric, lighter than satin
Content: Silk or polyester
Uses, Fit: Clings to the body, drapes and hangs well.  Usually cut on the bias, never tailored.  Flows nicely, great for pageant gowns with trains & mermaid styles.
Care: Dry clean only, low iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Very delicate, can snag easily.  Difficult to sew, slips easily, fabric puckers and pulls easily so needle must be sharp, stitch length must be short, and thread must be fine.
Expert Advice: Choose charmeuse for a sexier look in any silhouette.

 

Chiffon

Chiffon Fabric  Chiffon Fabric

Description: Sheer, light material with a loose mesh-like weave
Content: Silk or synthetic fibers (silk chiffon has a slightly rough feel)
Uses, Fit: Great for bridal, evening wear, or light summer dresses. Fabric flows nicely and drapes beautifully. Usually used as an overlay. Not recommended for a tailored look.
Care: Dry clean, gently hand wash, low iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Can be difficult to work with because it is lightweight and slippery.  Fabric can fray easily.
Expert Advice: Chiffon is classic and stylish and works well for delicate shirring or ruching detailing.

 

Silk

Silk Fabric  Silk Fabric

Description: Lightweight shimmering or lustrious woven fabric with a smooth, soft texture.
Content: Natural fiber made of cocoons from larvae of the silkworm.
Uses, Fit: Can be used in many ways depending on what the fiber is woven with. In eveningwear it can be used as lining or and overlay.  Flowing fabric.
Care: Dry clean only, fabric may shrink, however steaming may help garment to regain its shape.  Low iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Fabric can fray, and can be difficult to sew depending on the type, can be slippery.  Fabric is delicate and must be gently handled.
Expert Advice: You'll often find formal shoes available in silk that can be dyed to match your dress or that come pre-dyed.

 

Crepe

Crepe Fabric  Crepe Fabric

Description: Gauzy texture with a crimpy look and crisp appearance.
Content: Silk or Polyester, Rayon
Uses, Fit: Usually used for bridesmaids or bridal.  Fabric can be slightly giving, can be tailored or draped.
Care: Dry clean only. Low iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Fairly easy to sew, fabric does not slip.
Expert Advice: Excellent fabric for suits or smart, tailored styles.

 

Taffeta

Taffeta Fabric  Taffeta Fabric

Description: Crisp, smooth woven fabric, often with a noticable weave texture. Can have two different colors woven together for an iridescent effect.
Content: Synthetic or silk fibers
Uses, Fit: Great for Ballgowns or wedding gowns. Can be seamed together or fitted. Great for adding volume to a garment, hides flaws well.
Care: Dry Clean Only, dry iron. Some taffetas (thicker, course weave) can water spot although newer, improved taffeta does not.
  A last effort to remove water spots is to wet entire garment, hang and allow to drip dry.
Alteration Tips: Fabric can fray at edges exposed the different color fibers. Fabric is easily sewn and should be easily altered.
Expert Advice: Choose irridescent taffeta for a bold, rich look that changes with the lighting. 

 

Velvet

Velvet Fabric

Description: Tuffted fabric, cut threads evenly distributed give it a short, dense pile and distinctive feel.
Content: Cotton, silk, polyester, viscose, acetate. Stretch velvet has a small percentage of lyra.
Uses, Fit: Great for pagaent or fall/holiday. Great for corsets or a tailored look.  Stretch velvets fit best and hang beautifully for eveningwear.
Care: Dry clean, can be difficult to hand clean, DO NOT IRON!  If the fabric needs to be pressed, steam is best, or cover with a cloth on the reverse side if you must use an iron.
Alteration Tips: Letting out this fabric is possible but not recommended, you will be able to see where it was stitched the first time. Velvet is hard to sew if much detail is involved.  
  Fabric can slip and can be hard to line up correctly.  Experience is necessary if the gown is expensive.
Expert Advice: This classic fabric has a cozy feeling that makes it great for fall & winter. It also looks rich under lights which makes it a great pageant choice.

 

Stretch Jersey Knit

Stretch Jersey Knit  Stretch Jersey Knit Fabric

Description: Medium weight single knit fabric.  (Knit - a fabric made by intertwining yarns to connect a series of loops.)
Content: Polyester, Cotton, Rayon, always has a small percentange of Lycra
Uses, Fit: Very giving and hugs the body for a great fit. Fabric drapes and flows nicely. 
Care: Care is easy- can be dry cleaned, spot treated, carefully hand washed (depending on embellishments), ironed or steamed
Alteration Tips: Strechy thread is necessary & well as a loose tension so the thread with flex with the fabric. This fabric is giving, but can be difficult to work with, as it may slip.
Expert Advice: The stretchiness of this fabric allows a garment to fit a range of sizes, but flaws will show and it is often perfered for smaller sizes. Great for total comfort and movement.

 

Organza

Organza Fabric  Organza Fabric

Description: Thin, plain weave sheer fabric, with a shimmery finish.
Content: Traditionally made from silk, but is generally made from polyester or nylon
Uses, Fit: Usually layered over another fabric. Great for a flowing effect or to create volume. Mostly used in formal wear.
Care: Dry Clean or spot treat. Can be carefully hand washed (depending on embellishments), ironed or steamed.
Alteration Tips: Can be sewn easily and holds creases.
Expert Advice: Organza has a shimmery look that makes it a truly feminine fabric and great for prom and bridal wear.

 

Silk Shantung

Silk Shantung Fabric  Silk Shantung Fabric

Description: Heavier woven fabric with a rough, irregular surface
Content: Silk
Uses, Fit: Great for bridal or Mother of the Bride dresses or jackets. Stiff fabric, can be used to create volume or hide flaws.
Care: Dry Clean, iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Easy to sew, fabric doesn't slip

 

Stretch Mesh

Stretch Mesh Fabric  Stretch Mesh Fabric

Description: See through, loosely woven stretch fabric.
Content: Poly, rayon, with lycra
Uses, Fit: Creates and illusion effect, clings to the body. Can be used as an overlay and can be embellished with beads, sequins or ruching, gathers, etc.
Care: Dry clean, iron or steam, carefully hand washed (depending on embellishments) 
Alteration Tips: Difficult to sew. Strechy thread is necessary & well as a loose tension so the thread with flex with the fabric. 
Expert Advice: Stretch mesh is great for a comfortable fit and garments will fit a range of sizes.

 

Linen

Linen Fabric

Description: Rough matte suface, woven fabric that is ususally light weight, but can be medium or heavy. 
Content: Cotton or Flax Fibers
Uses, Fit: Great for summer dresses, breathes easily, also good for lining
Care: Dry clean, spot treat, hot iron or steam. Can be carefully hand washed (depending on embellishments).
Alteration Tips: Easy to alter, durable. 
Expert Advice: This fabric wrinkles easily, so plan ahead to have your garment pressed before your event.

 

Lace

Lace Fabric  Lace Fabric

Description: Lightweight open weave, open spaces created by patterns are integrated throughout the fabric.
Content: Cotton or poly, if stretch, woven with lycra
Uses, Fit: Use as trim or embellishment is popular, but some gowns are made entirely of lace. Popular for use in bridal wear, but also common for prom, mother-of-the-bride, etc.
Care: Dry Clean, spot treat, iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Very delicate, must be handled gently.  Moderately difficult to sew
Expert Advice: Contrasting linings can give lace dresses a beautiful layered color effect. You'll find subtle hue differences in bridal and more bold options for prom wear.

 

Lamé

Lamé Fabric  Lamé Fabric

Description: Lightweight fabric woven with metallic threads (aluminized nylon yarns), can be stiff
Content: Various fibers can be used, silk, poly, nylon, etc.
Uses, Fit: Good for tailored look, or ruching details, can add volume. Crisp, not flowing.  
Care: Dry clean, iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Fairly delicate, holes from stitching will show. Moderately difficult to sew.
Expert Advice: This fabric gives you a glitzy look, but can be itchy, so a lining may be necessary.

 

Novelty Print

Novelty Print Fabric  Novelty Print Fabric

Description: A unique design printed on any type of fabric.

 

Floral Print

Floral Print Fabric  Floral Print Fabric

Description: A floral design repeatedly printed on any type of fabric.

 

Ombre

Ombre Fabric  Ombre Fabric

Description: Colors that gradually fade into one another.

 

Iridescent

Iridescent Fabric  Iridescent Fabric

Description: Opalescent effect, showing different colors at different angles, or in different lights. (Comes from different colored threads woven in opposite directions.)

 

Metallic

Metallic Fabric  Metallic Fabric

Description: Woven with aluminized nylon yarns. Resembles the appearance of metal.

 

Skirts


A-Line

A-Line Skirt

Description: A skirt that forms an "A" shape that is fitted at the top and flares out to the hemline.
Best For: Plus size or mothers.  Great for all ages and body types.
Alteration Tips: Very simple to alter, only basic techniques are used.

 

 

Asymmetrical

Asymmetrical Skirt

 

Description: Any style of skirt with a hemline that is diagonal from left to right.
Best For: A funky, creative appeal, good for young girls.  (tall)
Alteration Tips: Usually easy since only about half of the gown will need to be hemmed. 

 

 

Ball Gown

Ball Gown Skirt

Description: A very full skirt that is gathered at the waist.  The waistline and length vary.
Best For: A very formal look, good for all ages and body types.
Alteration Tips: Each layer must be hemmed as needed.

 

Wrap

Wrap Skirt

Description: A skirt that wraps around the body, overlaps and fastens or ties.
Best For: Any size or shape, very flowy and comfortable.  
Alteration Tips: One skirt may fit many sizes so alterations are usually only a matter of moving the fastening.

 

 

Draped

Draped Skirt

Description: A skirt in which the fabric is draped at the shape of a skirt, fitted by gathering.
Best For: Young girls, depends on the style of skirt draped.

 

 

Handkerchief

Handkerchief Skirt

Description: A hemline in which the skirt has layers that form points at the bottom.
Best For: short or t-length gown, great for young girls
Alteration Tips: Each layer must be hemmed as needed.

 

 

High-Low

High-Low Skirt

Description: A skirt that is short in the front and long in the back.
Best For: Any height, but nice for tall girls because not all dresses may be long enough
Alteration Tips: Usually not altered unless the train is removed.

 

 

Mermaid

Mermaid Skirt

Description: A long skirt that is fitted past the hipline and flares out into the shape of a trumpet.
Best For: Small sizes, usually worn by younger women.

 

 

Trousers (Pants)

Pants

Description: A garment that goes from the waist to the foot with one section for each leg.
Best For: Mothers, sophisticated formalwear.

 

 

Pegged

Pegged Skirt

Description: A skirt having fullness and pleating at the waistline and tapering towards the bottom.
Best For: A vintage feeling, Good for small sizes or mothers.

 

 

Tapered (Straight)

Straight Skirt

Description: A skirt that is fitted at the waist and continues straight down from the hips.
Best For: Small sizes, usually worn by younger women, but also found in mothers dresses.

 

 

Dirndl

Dirndl Skirt

Description: A skirt that is gathered at the waist and very full.
Best For: Any size or shape.  

 

 

Trumpet

Trumpet Skirt

Description: A short skirt that is fitted past the hipline and flares out into the shape of a trumpet.
Best For: Small sizes, Any age.

 

 

Circle

Circle Skirt

Description: A skirt that is cut in a circular shape with no pleating at the waistline.
Best For: Great for all sizes and ages.

 

 

Tiers / Layers

Layered Skirt

Description: A skirt with overlapping fabrics cut in various shapes and/or lengths.
Best For: A funky modern look, good for young girls.

 

 

Train

Train Skirt

Description: A skirt that is much longer in the back and trails behind the hemline.
Best For: Homecoming attendants, pageants, bridal great for prom as well.
Alteration Tips: Usually only the front hemline is altered to shorten the gown, the hemline simply continues into the train.

 

 

Bubble Hemline

Bubble Hemline

Description: A skirt in which the lining is shorter than the fabric, the fabric is sewn to the lining so the fabrics' edge doesn't show.
Best For: Short gowns, can be long as well,  best for younger girls.
Alteration Tips: The fabric must be unstitched from the lining, cut appropriately and then stitched to the lining again.

 

Bodices

Halter Neckline

Halter Neckline

Description: A neckline in which two straps fasten behind the neck, shoulders are bare.
Best For: Large busts, pageant gowns

 

 

Asymmetrical Neckline

Asymmetrical Neckline

Description: A neckline in which one side is different from the other.
Best For: fresh, funky look, uncommon, to stand out

 

 

Plunging Neckline

Plunging Neckline

 

Description: A neckline in which a V or U shape is cut down to the bust line or farther, usually having halter or tank straps.
Best For: Small Busted / slim figures

 

 

Scoop Neckline

Scoop Neckline

Description: a neckline that has a rounded shape that is cut below the collar bone
Best For: Women that want more coverage

 

 

Off-the-Shoulder Neckline

Off-the-shoulder Neckline

Description: A neckline in which the straps are fitted across the shoulders
Best For: A sophisticated or sexy look

 

 

One-Shoulder Neckline

One-Shoulder Neckline

Description: A neckline in which one strap goes over one shoulder.
Best For: sophisticated look, good for all figures

 

 

Camisole / Spaghetti Strap Neckline

Camisole Spaghetti Straps

Description: A neckline that has two thin straps, can have a scoop or V-neck.
Best For: Young look, good for most all figures

 

 

Strapless Neckline

Strapless Neckline

Description: A neckline that has no straps, can have a sweetheart or square neckline.
Best For: Sophisticated look, good for most all figures

 

 

Sweetheart Neckline

Sweetheart Neckline

Description: A neckline the mimics the shape of a heart. Can have straps or be strapless.
Best For: Sophisticated look, great for pageants.  Good for all figures.

 

 

Tank / Thick Straps

Tank Thick Straps

Description: A neckline in which the shoulder straps are wide.
Best For: Providing extra coverage, good for all figures, esp. plus

 

 

Round Neckline

Round Neckline

Description: A neckline that is rounded and close to the neck.
Best For: provides lots of coverage, great for mothers

 

 

Bustier / Corset

Bustier Corset

Description: A stiff, tight fitting bodice with boning.
Best For: Slimming down the figure, great for all shapes

 

 

Boat Neckline

Boat Neckline

Description: A neckline that is wide at meets at the shoulder points, falls just below the collarbone.
Best For: All figures, provides coverage

 

 

Square Neckline

Square Neckline

Description: A neckline that is a square shape, can be different widths or lengths.
Best For: Full figures, or mothers, can be done in bridal or b-maids

 

 

V-Neckline

V-Neckline

Description: A neckline forming a "V" shape can be different widths or lengths.
Best For: All figures, used in all types of eveningwear

 

 

U-Neckline

U-Neckline

Description: A neckline forming a "U" shape, can be different widths or lengths.
Best For: Full figured, great for mothers or plus

 

 

Slash Neckline

Slash Neckline

Description: A neckline in which a skinny "V" notch is cut out at center front.
Best For: Coverage, mothers or plus

 

 

Gathered Neckline

Gathered Neckline

Description: A neckline that is gathered by a string to form a billowy effect.
Best For: Any figure,  can have a younger appeal

 

 

Keyhole Neckline

Keyhole Neckline

Description: A neckline with a teardrop shape cut out, can be done in various styles of necklines.
Best For: Can be for any figure or age depending on the cut, can be for showing more skin


 

Waistlines


Empire

Empire Waist

Type: Empire
Description: Waistline that starts under the bust line.
Best For: All sizes, especially plus.

 

 

Natural

Natural Waist

Type: Natural
Description: Waistline at the natural point of the waist
Best For: A classic look, can have a slimming effect.

 

 

Basque

Basque Waist

Type: Basque
Description: Closely fitted bodice that extends below the waistline.
Best For: Ball gowns, any size.

 

 

Low (Dropped)

Low Waist

Description: Waistline that is at the hipline or lower.
Best For: Small sizes, to show off the figure.

 

 

Sheer

Sheer Waist

Description: Waistline in which the midriff is a sheer fabric.
Best For: Small sizes. Able to look sexy while still covered.

 

 

Open / Cut-Out

Open Waist

Description: Waistline in which the midriff is exposed completely or by cut-outs.
Best For: Small sizes and a sexy look.


 

Sleeves


Cap Sleeves

Cap Sleeves

Description: A short sleeve that just covers the shoulder.
Best For: all figures, can be very sophisticated or young.  Great for providing minimal coverage

 

 

Long Sleeves

Long Sleeves

Description: A sleeve that covers the entire arm.
Best For: providing maximum coverage, great for mothers or for an elegant look.  Best for jackets

 

 

Puffed Sleeves

Puff Sleeves

Description: A sleeve with extra gathers to create a full, rounded look.
Best For: young look, provides extra coverage

 

 

 

Dolman Sleeves

Dolman Sleeves

Description: A sleeve that is wide/full at the armhole and tapers in to fit the forearm or wrist.
Best For: provides coverage, in a youthful way.

 

 

Bell Sleeves

Bell Sleeves

Description: A long sleeve that forms a bells shape at the wrist hemline.
Best For: providing maximum coverage with a nice style detail, great for mother's jackets

 

 

Circular Sleeves

Circular Sleeves

Description: A short sleeve that is drapes in a circle, does not have an underarm sleeve. Creates a flared effect.
Best For: great for extra coverage, popular for bridal or mothers

 

 

Set In Sleeves

Set In Sleeves

Description: A sleeve that is sewn into the entire armhole (any length).
Best For: used for many types of sleeves, great for a traditional look


 

Backs


High / Covered

High Back

Description: Covering most of the back, usually up to the shoulders.
Best For: Providing maximum coverage, or for a sophisticated look.

 

 

Mid

Mid Back

Description: Showing the back to just below the shoulder blades.
Best For: All figures, the most popular.

 

 

Low

Low Back

Description: Showing the back to the waist.
Best For: Slim figures.

 

 

Very Low

Very Low Back

Description: Showing the back past the waistline.
Best For: Very slim figures, very sexy look.

 

 

Lace-Up

Lace-Up Back

Description: A back detail that criss-crosses and ties like a shoe lace.
Best For: Providing the best possible fit, recommended for EVERY figure.

 

 

Sheer

Sheer Back

Description: An illusion material that provides translucent coverage.
Best For: Achieving a sexy look without showing excessive skin.

 

 

Open

Open Back

Description: Showing the entire back with no straps except for the arms.
Best For: Showing off the back, very sexy and sophisticated.

 

 

Strappy

Strappy Back

Description: Open back with multiple straps as a design detail.
Best For: A fun, funky look, easy to fit, great for young girls.

 

Embellishments

Beads

Beads  Beads

Description: Glass beads (or seed beads) that can be sewn onto fabric, hand sewn.
Uses: Adorn dresses, add sparkle, create emphasis
Care:  Hand wash or spot clean. Dry cleaning (as well as perfume, deodorant and alcohol based produces) can remove color. Most gowns provide extra in case some are lost
Alteration Tips: Beads are strung in groups and care must be taken when hemming, etc. to not break the strand.
Expert Advice: Take extra care with beaded gowns as they are hand created designs and can be easily damaged. Be careful not to remove the color with your beauty products.

 

Lace

Lace  Lace

Description: Lightweight open weave, open spaces created by patterns are integrated throughout the fabric.
Uses: Use as trim or embellishment is popular, but some gowns are made entirely of lace. Popular for use in bridal wear, but also common for prom, mother-of-the-bride, etc.
Care:  Dry Clean, spot treat, iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Very delicate, must be handle gently.  Moderately difficult to sew.
Expert Advice: Contrasting linings can give lace dresses a beautiful layered color effect. You'll find subtle hue differences in bridal and more bold options for prom wear.

 

Sequins

Sequins  Sequins

Description: Small, shiny disk used to decorated clothing.
Uses: Sequins are used as embellishments for gowns, they sparkle/shine causing a beautiful, fluid effect.  Great for pageant and performances.
Care:  Do not wash, spot treat. Dry cleaning (as well as perfume, deodorant and alcohol based produces) can remove color. Most gowns provide extra in case some are lost.
Alteration Tips: Hand sewing is necessary in altering a fully sequined gown, as you can break the needle if you sew on a machine.  (Sequins can be removed and then re-attached after alterations)
Expert Advice: Truly make a statement in a fully sequined gown! Take extra care with sequined gowns as they are hand created designs and can be easily damaged. Be careful not to remove the color with your beauty products.

 

Embroidery

Embroidery  Embroidery

Description: A decorated fabric with a treaded design.
Uses: A rich way to embellish a gown with colored or metallic thread.  Sometimes embellished with beads. 
Care:  Spot treat, do not wash
Alteration Tips: Easy to alter. Usually it will not effect the alteration, unless the embroidery is near a seam.
Expert Advice: Choose embroidered details on your gown if you want a rich look in subtle, bold or metallic colorations.

 

Rhinestones

Rhinestones

Description: An artificial gem or diamond that is faceted and sparkles.
Uses: To decorate a garment. Great for flashy or sophisticated details. Very popular in pageant, prom or bridal.
Care:  Stones are easily replaceable, most gowns provide extra in case some are lost.
Alteration Tips: If rhinestones are effected in the alterations, simply remove and re-stitch where needed.
Expert Advice: Even a few rhinestones can make your dress more glamorous. Clusters of them give you a stunning look!

 

Glitter

Glitter  Glitter

Description: Tiny pieces of decorative sparkle material (plastic, metallic finish).
Uses: Can be attached to certain areas of a gown for a sparkly effect or incorporated with other embellishments such as embroidery.
Care:  Do not wash.  Do not rub the material, as glitter can easily be removed.
Alteration Tips: Fairly easy to alter, but make cause some problems when using a sewing machine.
Expert Advice: An inexpensive way to add glitz to your gown.

 

Appliqué

Appliqué  Appliqué

Description: Decorative needlework done on one piece of fabric that is then applied to another.
Uses: Used to embellish gowns similar to embroidery. Popular is bridal wear.
Care:  Spot treat, do not wash
Alteration Tips: Easy to alter, usually it will not effect the overall alterations (can often be removed), unless the applique is near a seam.
Expert Advice: Appliques add dimension to your dress with lace or floral elements.

 

Button

Buttons  Buttons

Description: Usually disked shaped knob used for fastening two parts of a garment together.
Uses: Used to fasten one part of a garment to another by inserting the button in slit or loop, or for decoration.
Care:  Spot treat
Alteration Tips: Buttons can easily be moved for fitting.
Expert Advice: Buttons give bridal gowns a classic look when they line the back or side zipper (even if they are faux).

 

Bow

Bow  Bow

Description: A knot shaped with two loops and two loose ends.
Uses: To tie a sash or for decoration.
Care: Spot clean, can easily be re-tied
Alteration Tips: Can be easily moved or tied for the best fit.
Expert Advice: Bows let you get the perfect fit for your corset back gown or add a feminine element to any dress.

 

Belt

Belt  Belt

Description: A strip or band that is flexible and worn around the waist or hips.
Uses: To support clothing or for decoration, to accent the waist.
Care: Spot treat (care depends greatly on fabric or material)
Alteration Tips: Slotted belts are easily adjustable. Fitted belts can be cut and re-sewn for fitting purposes.
Expert Advice: Use a belt to accent your best feature or to help hide a flaw by placing it at the appropriate height (i.e.: empire, natural, low, hips). Give a dress new character just by adding a belt!

 

Sash

Sash  Sash

Description: A ribbon or strip worn around the waist, hips, etc.
Uses: For decorative purposes or as part of the garment.
Care: Spot clean
Alteration Tips: Probably won't need to be altered (if self-tying), but can be cut and re-sewn for fitting purposes
Expert Advice: Add character to your dress with a simple sash in coordinating or contrasting colors and/or fabrics.

 

Piping

Piping  Piping

Description: A thin cording covered in fabric.
Uses: Used for edging or finishing a seam or hemline.
Care: Spot treat
Alteration Tips: When hemming, the garment must be taken up from the next seam above the piping if the detail wants to be kept.
Expert Advice: Coordinating piping adds great texture to a gown, while contrasting piping gives you a completely new look.

 

Crochet

Crochet  Crochet

Description: A hooked needle is used to make a series of loops into a patterned fabric out of yarn.
Uses: Crocheted work can be sewn onto a garment for embellishment or a dresses can be made out of it.
Care: Spot treat, Can be carefully hand washed (depending on embellishments), do not tumble dry, lay flat and mold back to original shape.
Alteration Tips: Do not cut unless the yarns have been tired off or the entire piece will unravel. Can be sewn with a machine to take in a garment. 
  Loose tension and the correct stitches are necessary because the fabric moves and stretches.
Expert Advice: Crocheted gowns have a hand-made feel.

 

Brooch

Brooch  Brooch

Description: A pin with a decorative metallic design, rhinestones, or jewels. A piece of jewelry.
Uses: Worn to embellish women's clothing.
Care: Remove to treat fabric. Can clean with proper metal cleaner as needed, when appropriate.
Alteration Tips: Usually independent of the garment, can be placed or removed as needed.
Expert Advice: Add a touch of glamour to your dress with a sparkling brooch. You can even wear it again on another piece of clothing!

 

Jewels

Jewels  Jewels

Description: An artificial stone cut with facets with a flat back glued onto fabric or set in metal that is sewn onto fabric.
Uses: Used to embellish a garment, has sparkling/shiny detail.
Care: Spot treat
Alteration Tips: Can be easily removed and re-sewn or glued in place.
Expert Advice: Large colored jewels give your dress a unique touch and you'll likely be able to find coordinated jeweled shoes.

 

Feathers

Feathers  Feathers

Description: An artificial or real bird feather, a rod fringed with many barbs.
Uses: To adorn a gown. Jackets or shawls are sometimes made from them.
Care: Spot treat
Alteration Tips: Can be easily removed and re-sewn when altering.
Expert Advice: Feathers give pageant and formal gowns a textured, flowing accent.

 

Banding

Banding  Banding

Description: A strip of fabric that varies in width.
Uses: Used to hem or decorate a garment.
Care: Spot treat
Alteration Tips: If the banding is used to accent the hemline, the gown must be taken up from the next seam up so the banding will not be affected.
Expert Advice: Choose a dress with banding that accents your best features such as at the empire bodice or at the low waist.


 

Style Details


Cowl

Cowl

Description: A draped detail in a woman's garment.
Uses: Can be a neckline, back, or sleeve detail
Alteration Tips: Cowls are draped on the bias, so experience is necessary to alter this detail.

 

 

Pick-Up

Pick-Up

Description: A pattern that is formed by tacking a point in the fabric to a higher point forming a 
  bubble shape.
Uses: Usually used to embellish a skirt for a voluminous look.
Alteration Tips: Can by difficult. Extra pick-ups can be added to hem a gown, or it can be hemmed and re-draped where pick-ups are needed.

 

 

Ruching

Ruching

Description: Creating gathers in a the fabric to mimic a pleat for frill.
Uses: Can be placed anywhere on a garment, especially a bodice.
Alteration Tips: Can be easily manipulated for alteration.

 

 

Pleats

Pleats

Description: Fabric that is folded over and sewn at one point to secure it. Synthetic fabric are heat set. to create many types of pleats
Uses: Most commonly used for skirt, but can be used throughout the garment.
Alteration Tips: Can be difficult to alter, depending on the type of pleating. Heming is the same as hemming fabric that is not pleated.

 

 

Cut-Outs

Cut-Out

Description: Material removed from a piece of fabric.
Uses: Creates a design detail, showing more skin or another fabric underneath.
Alteration Tips: Usually the cut-outs do not effect usual alteration.

 

 

Shirring

Shirring

Description: Creating gathers or pleats in the fabric between two seams (in parallel rows).  Two-point tension, fabric is stretched between two seams and tacked onto another piece of fabric or "foundation".
Uses: Bodices can be fully shirred as well as skirts or sleeves.
Alteration Tips: Can be easily manipulated for alteration.

 

 

Gathers

Gathered

Description: Fabric that is drawn or pulled in from one point to create folds.
Uses: Gathers can give a slimming effect if done properly. Some bodices are gathered asymmetrically.   There are many was to use gathers as a design detail. 
Alteration Tips: Can be easily manipulated for alteration

 

 

Ruffles

Ruffles

Description: A strip of gathered or pleated fabric to create a frilled effect.
Uses: Can be used in many ways for style details, especially on skirt layers and hemlines.
Alteration Tips: Ruffles will only really need to be altered if it is used as a hemline or full skirt, therefore, each gown has to be looked at individually.  As a hemline, the next seam up should be taken up so the detail is kept.

 

 

Sheer

Sheer

Description: Translucent fabric 
Uses: To create an illusion that you can see the skin for a sexy look. Some gowns have beading or embroidery on the sheer fabric to create a beautiful design accent.
Alteration Tips: Take care, the fabric is usually stretchy and can slip easily, appropriate thread and stitches are required.

 

 

Jacket

Jacket

Description: An outer covering with sleeves that extends no further than the hips usually fastening down the center front. 
Uses: Used for coverage or accent a garment.
Alteration Tips: Experience is necessary to alter a jacket or coat. Alterations can be done in many ways.

 

 

Shawl or Stole

Shawl

Description: A strip or square of fabric generally worn by women.
Uses: Used for coverage or accent a garment.