Satin vs. Chiffon: Which Fabric Is Better for Bridesmaid Dresses?

/ Post by SimiloluwaAdekoye in

Spicing up your closet with a collection of satin and chiffon bridesmaid dresses is a sophisticated addition. In contrast, chiffon bridesmaid dresses give you an elegant and classy look. On the other hand, satin bridesmaid dresses will give you a luxurious look and a royal touch.

Probably, you're caught in the divide of the fabric to choose for your bridesmaid's dress between chiffon and satin. This article provides you with all of the information you need about both types of fabrics. Keep scrolling for further details.

Let's delve into the fundamentals of both fabrics.

What Is Satin?

Satin is a woven fabric with a high silk content, known for its luxurious sheen and smooth drape”, according to Leslie Ceci, the fashion historian. Satin is woven by floating warp yarns across the weft before going beneath one weft thread and starting the cycle again.

The Origin of Satin

History has it that satin, which was initially made only of silk originated from China. At the time, silk was found and produced majorly in China. The word “satin” was coined in China from Quanzhou, a Chinese port city. However, in medieval Arabic, the city was referred to Zaitun due to pronunciation differences. Zaitun became prominent hence the name satin.

Characteristics of Satin

Generally, satin weave is popularly known for its beautiful drape and lustrous finish. However, there are a few characteristic advantages and disadvantages of satin.

Advantages of Satin

There are a lots of advantages that are peculiar to satin fabric which makes it suitable for use as an evening dress or a wedding dress. To mention a few:

  • Lustrous front: Satin weaves create a lustrous, soft right side of the fabric and a dull back.
  • Durability: Satin is produced using long filament fibres woven in a taut fashion resulting in a drape and durable fabric.

Disadvantages of Satin

Although satin is a very good fabric and can be used for a variety of clothes and items. It has a few disadvantages which you need to take note of before buying the fabric. Some of its disadvantages are:

  • Snags easily: The threads can get easily caught in a satin weave, which leaves unappealing snags.
  • Slippery in nature: Satin's slippery nature can make it difficult to work with during the fabric sewing process.

A Brief History of the Use of Satin in Bridesmaid Dresses

“Satin's popularity as a bridesmaid dress fabric can be traced back to the Victorian era, where it symbolized elegance and wealth”, says Mary Mitchell, curator at the Museum at FIT. During the 12th century, silk satin was introduced into the European market. The fabric was also very expensive because it was imported and only the elite and upper-class citizens wore satin fabrics. Satin was the wedding gown of choice for the daughters of the wealthy back then. This was because it is symbolic of class and luxury, making it an excellent choice.

What Is Chiffon?

Chiffon is a sheer, lightweight, and transparent fabric woven with alternate S- and Z- crepe (high-twist) yarns in a criss-cross patterned weave. This fabric is characterized by a woven grid pattern with small spaces between the threads. Chiffon can be made from natural fibers like silk and cotton. It can also be made from synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon. Generally, chiffon is used for making clothes and dresses.

The Origin of Chiffon

There are many records about the origin of chiffon but the word chiffon was coined from the French word “chiffe” meaning “cloth” or “rag”. As far back as the 1700s, silk chiffon was available in some parts of France which is believed to be the origin of chiffon.

By the beginning of the 20th century, chiffon production had spread across the whole of Europe to the United States. Where it was used mostly by the upper-class women. In 1938, the first synthetic fiber was used, nylon for the production of chiffon. It was the first-ever non-silk chiffon fabric available for customers.

In 1958, polyester chiffon came into the chiffon market. It was a very popular alternative due to its affordability compared to silk chiffon. Chiffon is now being produced across the world using both natural and synthetic fibers with machine looms.

Characteristics of Chiffon

Chiffon is a beautiful fabric to look at in a closet or an upholstery. According to Rebecca Taylor, a fashion designer she says “I love the sheer and languid element that chiffon silhouettes offer.” Below are other characteristic advantages and a few disadvantages of chiffon.

Advantages of Chiffon

Chiffon is popularly used for garments, bridesmaids dresses and upholstery because of the beautiful drape and comfortability it gives. Other characteristic advantages of chiffon include:

  • Shimmering appearance: Chiffon has a slightly shimmering appearance and a smooth texture which adds to its draping effect. However, silk chiffon has more shimmering appearance than other synthetic chiffons.
  • Soft drape: Chiffon is one of the fabrics with a beautiful drape. Its weave pattern gives it this draping effect and makes it fall effortlessly on anything it is used for.
  • Versatility: Chiffon is a versatile fabric that can be used for almost anything. It is used for making wedding dresses, royal scarves, embroidery, and upholsteries (curtains, linens, and furniture upholstery).
  • Lightweight and breathability: Chiffon fabric has a lightweight quality and it's also breathable. The more reason it is the perfect outfit choice for summer outings and ballet dancers or gymnasts.

Disadvantages of Chiffon

Even though chiffon is very common and finds its usefulness in a variety of items, there are some other sides to the use of satin. A few disadvantages of chiffon include:

  • Prone to damage: Chiffon is prone to damage by hot water, steam, and hot iron. Due to its sheer and lightweight nature, it can be easily damaged if not handled with care.
  • Frays easily: Chiffon is extremely delicate because one snag can ruin the entire outfit. If a thread is pulled out, it frays the connecting fibers and tears the fabric in some cases.
  • Difficult to sew: Running chiffon through the machine is difficult compared to other textiles. It creeps easily when used for sewing dresses.

A Brief History of the Use of Chiffon in Bridesmaid Dresses

Chiffon fabric has always been associated with elegance and luxury because of its shimmery appearance and beautiful drape on the body. Being a versatile fabric, it was used for making wedding garments like bridesmaid dresses, especially the silk chiffon. While the synthetic chiffons were used for making wedding veils instead of tulle. Furthermore, its delicate nature makes it useful as an overlap or a base fabric for embroidery and embellishments sewn on bridesmaid dresses.

What Is the Difference between Satin and Chiffon?

Satin and chiffon are fabrics that are different in almost everything from their physical appearance to their maintenance culture. The table below highlights some of the major differences between these two fabrics:

Characteristics Satin Chiffon
Appearance Smooth and lustrous Slightly transparent and luminous
Comfort Soft and comfortable Lightweight and breathable
Wear resistance Better Bad
Versatility Elegant appearance, soft and smooth texture, draping qualities, versatile color options and durability Sheerness, draper, versatile structure, color variety and blend
Applicability Apparel, upholstery, linens, bedding, accessories, bags and more Apparel、home deco and accessories
Durability Resistant to stretching, shrinking and wrinkling, low wear, stain-resistant coating for easy care Easily snagged, torn, worn, stretched and deformed, and difficult to maintain.
Maintenance Hand wash, gentle machine wash or professional care, avoid exposure to sunlight. Put clean clothes into cotton bags, hang them on hangers and store them in your closet. Hand wash, gentle machine wash or professional care, avoid exposure to sunlight. Put clean clothes into cotton bags, hang them on hangers and store them in your closet.

Which Is Better for Bridesmaid Dresses, Satin or Chiffon?

After comparing the two fabrics, satin is better than chiffon. Whether it is type, appearance, quality, comfort and care, or wearing scene and matching, satin gives people a better experience.

How to Choose the Right Fabric for Your Bridesmaid Dress?

Trying to figure out the right fabric for your bridesmaid dress can be a challenging decision to make for your wedding. Both satin and chiffon are beautiful choices of fabric for bridesmaid's dress with each having their characteristic advantages. But for your wedding theme, which is the ideal choice? We have put together different factors to consider when choosing the right type of fabric for your bridesmaid's dress. With this guide, you will arrive at a good conclusion for your fabric.

Bridesmaid Body Shape

All your bridesmaids’ have a different body type so finding a bridesmaid dress that fits everyone might not be feasible. If you're looking for a fabric that will reveal the body contour of your bridesmaids, chiffon is the answer! Chiffon fabric can be worn in all body shapes, big or small sizes. You can decide to switch things up by using the same fabric color with different dress styles. The same thing applies to satin, it can be comfortably worn by all body types.

Personal Preferences

Your bridesmaids might not want to wear similar dress styles which is not in any way a wrong idea. If your bridesmaids prefer a slightly sexier and minimalist look then chiffon is the best option. With chiffon dresses, your bridesmaids can have a timeless look. If your bridesmaids want to choose different dress styles as in a mix-and-match bridesmaid dress. Chiffon is perfect and can be sown in different ways.

Wedding Theme

Different fabrics suit different wedding themes. When choosing the right fabric for your bridesmaid dress, consider your wedding theme. For a luxurious and sophisticated look, chiffon is a good fabric choice. While satin is good if you want a classic look for your wedding. Chiffon, like satin, tends to come in significantly many colors so you can't run out of colors.


Your wedding location determines your fabric choices. Gothic? Rustic? Garden? Beach? What type of wedding location are you looking at? For each of these places, there's the right style of bridesmaid dress. For example, chiffon is an ideal choice for outdoor weddings because it is more durable, packable, and easier to clean. Satin, on the other hand, is an ideal choice for a ballroom or gothic wedding venue.


The season of the year can to a greater extent influence the type of fabric you will choose for your bridesmaids. During warmer months, you'll prefer lightweight and breathable fabrics that will keep your bridesmaids hydrated. Chiffon is an ideal choice of fabric for weddings during warmer months and summer weddings as well. While satin is a perfect choice for winter weddings, especially, duchess satin. Duchess satin is a high-quality fiber and durable fabric.

Dress Design

What type of design do you want for your bridesmaid dress? Will there be embellishments or embroidery? Is it modern or traditional? All these and more influence your choice of fabric. As the bride, ensure that your bridal gown design and fabric are not the same as that of your bridesmaids to ensure that you stand out. For chiffon fabric, you can design your bridesmaids’ dress with pleats or extra layers of fabric. You can also add embroidery to your chiffon dress. For satin fabric, not much design is needed but you can add varying neckline variations.


Lastly, you must discuss with your bridesmaids to know how much they are willing to spend on your bridesmaid's dress! This information determines the kind of fabric to choose from. If you want a very affordable option, you can buy chiffon fabrics for your bridesmaids'. If you can afford an expensive fabric, silk satin is a good choice. It is not difficult to find beautiful bridesmaids’ dresses that suit your wedding budget.


If you are still figuring out the right type of fabric for your bridesmaid dress during your wedding, we have provided a few tips. Depending on your wedding theme and the season of your wedding, you can use chiffon or satin fabrics. Satin bridesmaid dresses are beautiful and classy all year round, especially for informal weddings. For a luxurious summer wedding, chiffon bridesmaid dresses are good options. Let us know which fabric you prefer to use and why. Congratulations in advance on becoming a Mrs!


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