Prom season is in full swing, and those stunning evening gowns are adorning the red carpet. If you love fabrics and sewing your own clothes, then why not make your own prom dress? Forget spending a fortune on ball gowns inspired by what celebrities wear, with a little bit of know-how and with the right pattern, you can make your own evening dress yourself.
Discover the 7 best fabrics for prom dresses and evening gowns that will make people’s heads turn.
Why make your own evening gown?
Sometimes, we can find our dream dress, but there is something missing. Maybe the price point is too high, maybe the fit isn’t just right, maybe the design itself isn’t in the most flattering colors for your skin tone, or maybe the fabric doesn’t float your boat. When making your own, make sure you choose the best fabrics for your prom dress.
When it comes to prom dresses, think dreamy, elegant, ethereal, almost goddess-like fabrics. Silk, satin, lace, organza, chiffon, these fabrics have been used to make show-stopping evening gowns for years, and with their natural beauty, elegant drapes, and exquisite femininity, it’s no wonder why.
Best fabrics for making prom dresses
To help you with your mission to create your perfect dress for your prom night, we have selected the 7 best fabrics for prom dresses to assist you in your mission. If you are confused by all of the different fabrics available and don’t know the difference is between organza and chiffon, or Georgette and tulle, we are here to help.
Different fabrics suit different silhouettes and cuts. Remember to consider your fabric very carefully, to ensure that it is the right one for your perfect dress.
Velvet is a gorgeous choice for a glamorous ball gown. The shine, the depth, the richness, the drama, all make this fabric perfect for a sexy, vampy, feminine dress. Some qualities we love about velvet include:
- A strong and beautiful sheen
- A soft and elegant drape
- A shimmering surface
- Very soft and textured to the touch
- Strong and durable
- Smooth and touchable
Velvet can be woven from silk or synthetic fibers. It has a short, dense pile and is most traditionally used for formal or evening wear, but the fashion industry has fallen in love with this rich fabric, and velvet fabric and clothing is becoming more and more popular.
Our choice – Marbled Velvet
Marbled Velvet is a contemporary take on a classic. This stylish and opulent fabric is soft and luxurious and has a unique pile, which goes in all directions. This creates a “marbled” effect, and allows the fabric to shift and change colors, depending on the light. If you are looking for a velvet with a difference, then try using Marbled Velvet to make your prom dress.
Chiffon is a beauty of a fabric, which is available in several different versions. It can be constructed from silk, cotton, rayon or synthetic fibers. It is a very fine and lightweight fabric, which gives a beautiful drape, making it an ideal choice for evening gowns. Some other unique chiffon characteristics include:
- A plain weave
- Made from loose and tightly twisted yarns
- Soft and supple
- Drapes and gathers well
- Fine and transparent
- Generally taut
Silk chiffon fabric is a popular choice for elegant and formal evening wear. Chiffon gets its unique handle from the twisted yarns in its construction. It is a mostly sheer fabric, which needs some practice to work with, thanks to its fine and thin nature. Nevertheless, it is worth it! Dresses made from chiffon look and feel so special and feminine; perfect for standing out at your next event!
Our choice – Paris Chiffon
Paris Chiffon really is one of the best fabrics for prom dresses. It is soft and silky textile, which is fine and light. Air passes through easily, making it ideal for formal summer dresses. As a result, chiffon flows beautifully over the body and is slightly less see through than other traditionally transparent fabrics. Create a dress with a flowing skirt, to show off the pure beauty of this fabric.
This lovely fabric is traditionally made from silk fibers, but it can also be made from synthetic yarns, such as polyester. It is a distinctive fabric, which has characteristics unique to itself, some of these include:
- A crinkly, crepe-like texture
- Feels slightly rough and dry
- A bouncy, flowing drape
- Constructed from highly twisted yarns
- Has a tight weave
- Strong and holds up well to wear
Georgette fabric is always a popular choice when it comes to making gowns and prom dresses. It holds up well to embroidery and applications, such as beads and sequins, although these should be kept light and to a minimum, so they don’t pull the fabric out of shape. Thanks to its springy nature, you can have a lot of fun creating flowing, feminine dresses.
Our choice – Poly or Silk Georgette
You can opt for a stunning Poly Georgette or a 100% Real Silk Georgette. The poly combines the sheer beauty of a silk Georgette, with the durability and strong color reproduction of polyester. It is soft, dry and strong, with the lightweight and sheer qualities of the real silk version. The silk Georgette is airy and delicate, and has a wonderful gossamer appearance, thanks to the very thin threads used in its construction.
This woven, flowing fabric is always a popular choice when it comes to elegant formal wear. With a tightly-woven construction, made from twisted fibers, crepe has a lot of wonderful properties, which makes it a favorite choice for dressmakers:
- A slightly creased/wrinkled appearance
- A grainy, textured surface
- Matte face
- Flexible with a 4-way stretch
- A graceful drape
Crepe is known for its crinkled, or pebbled texture. This effect gives the fabric a lot of character, and, combined with its soft handle and stunning drape, crepe is a much-loved fabric in the fashion world. It is also easy to shape and work with, so when it comes to making your own prom dress, crepe is a great fabric to get started with.
Our choice – Fashion Crepe
A double faced, custom crepe, which is constructed from highly springy spun yarns, Fashion Crepe will give your prom dress a breathtaking drape and finish. It has an incredibly soft handle, and, despite being lightweight, it holds shape well is surprisingly tough. We love Fashion Crepe for dressmaking, because it has a good 4-way stretch, so it is flattering and forgiving.
Satin is one of the most popular choices when it comes to formal evening gowns. And it isn’t difficult to see why! This chic and opulent fabric has a wonderfully shiny face, which adds depth, movement and drama. Some other notable characteristics of satin include:
- A sleek and glossy face
- Woven fabric with a very specific weave
- Can be made from silk, cotton, wool, and synthetics
- Typically has a dull back
- Highly lustrous
- Used also for furnishings, bedding, and upholstery
Characterized by the specific satin weave – 4 or more fill or weft yearns, floating over a warp yarn or vice versa, 4 warp yarns floating over a single weft yarn – satin is instantly recognizable thanks to its glossy face and matte back. The light reflects, due to the floating yarns, and this lustrous appearance makes it ideal for red carpet-worthy gowns. The light will bounce off of the fabric, creating an eye-catching look.
Our choice – Duchess Satin
With the classic shiny face, our beautiful Duchess Satin is our favorite satin for making a red carpet dress. The face is smooth and lustrous, composed of a tightly woven weave, which is attributed to satin. Duchess is soft and smooth, and will slip over your body in subtle, undulating waves.
This fine fabric is crisp and lightweight, and ideal for adding that ethereal quality to prom dresses. Made from highly twisted yarns in a loose, plain weave, organza can be made from silk or synthetic fabrics. We love its delicate and dreamy appearance, as well as these other notable organza characteristics:
- Crisp and dry handle
- A wiry feel
- Stiff and transparent
- Thin and lightweight
- A fine texture
- A slight sheen
This distinct fabric can give your dress a real princess quality. It can be layered to create a waterfall of cascading organza, which subtly catches the light and holds its shape well. Organza can be used in all types of dresses, for most silhouettes. It is versatile and mixes well with other fabrics, to create a unique final piece. This romantic fabric can be made to look traditional or contemporary and it remains one of the best fabrics for evening gowns.
Our choice – 100% Silk Organza
This 100% natural silk organza is a dream of a fabric. It is ultra light, weighing just 0.68oz, so it floats delicately like a feather. Its construction is almost mesh-like and is so sheer, that prints will show through on both sides. With its traditional crisp handle, you will hardly feel like you are wearing anything with this stunning natural organza fabric.
7. For something a little different – Neoprene
You might be a little thrown here. Neoprene? As a prom dress fabric? It is completely against tradition when it comes to formal evening wear, but that is why we love it so much! Neoprene has been becoming increasingly popular in the fashion world, breaking conventions and creating new and exciting apparel. Some of our favorite neoprene properties include:
- Soft and flexible
- Durable, and wrinkle resistant
- UV resistant
- Smooth and sculptural
- Adds shape and moves with the body
Fashion designers are always on the look out for innovative fabrics to work with, and neoprene, also known as scuba fabric, has been growing ever more popular over the last 2 decades. The challenge is to make it look as elegant as traditional fabrics, while championing its contemporary characteristics. From Marc Jacobs to Alexander Wang, Michael Kors and Ted Baker, designers are accepting this challenge and walking away with stunning results.
Our choice – Neoprene or Scuba
Our Neoprene is solid, flexible and easy to work with. It is relatively thick; 2mm after printing, and is completely blackout. The highly spongy nature is easy to manipulate into bold, structural shapes. For something a little thinner, Scuba is a great choice. This is a heavyweight, weft-knitted fabric, made with spun yarns. It has a built-in 4-way stretch and is thick and spongy, with a soft and flowing feel. The drape hangs well and it retains its original shape, even after being manipulated. Both of these fabrics would make a powerful statement when it comes to making an evening dress, but one, which will definitely turn heads.
Discover even more fabrics for prom dresses, and check out our collection of 100+ customized fabrics and discover their different feel and drape.