This silhouette refers to a shape of gown that resembles the letter A. The gown can be anything from a slim to a full A-line.
The most popular choice for wedding dresses, this lace originated in the town of Alençon,
France. It usually features flowers or swirls that are outlined with a heavy
silky cording on a net background. Can be used as an allover fabric or for appliqué.
To cut out fabric pieces and sew them to a larger piece of material for
decoration; also, the individual cutout fabric pieces.
A La Disposition
The weaving of fabric in predetermined pattern shapes that will each become a
specific part of a costume, thereby making the design of the fabric intrinsic
to the design of the finished clothing.
Ball Gown Silhouette
A gown with a dramatically full skirt that typically has a natural or dropped
A diagonal line cut across the grain of a fabric, particularly a line that
crosses the fabric at a forty-five degree angle to the selvedge, which
introduces greater elasticity to the drape of a fabric.
May be mistaken for embroidery owing to its decorative surface, but brocade is woven on a loom bringing in an extra weft which does the figuring and illuminates the floral pattern. Traditionally woven in silk, it is now produced in synthetics. The word brocade is now used loosely to describe any jacquard-woven design.
decorative piece of jewelry that is usually attached to a garment with a pin.
top skirt that is gathered and then attached to the lining at the hemline to
create a bubble effect.
A veil that has all of its edges gathered together and typically attached to a comb to create a bubble.
formfitting and often strapless top or undergarment. Its primary purpose is to
enhance the bust by tightening around the upper midriff in order to push the
breasts up and gently shape the waist.
protruding support structure worn at waist level under the back of a skirt or
dress in the late nineteenth century. Bustles were usually fabric-covered
padded cushions or basketlike tubes of cane, wire, or whalebone attached to a
waistband. Also describes the silhouette that results from the wearing of this
An opaque, delicate, lightweight fabric, chosen for its smoothness, which makes it useful as a lining for linen garments. It is very soft, drapes beautifully and may be woven from cotton, polyester, linen, silk or a blend such as polycotton.
A woven vertical rib with a raised surface effect, like a fine ripple. It is created with a silk warp and a worsted or cotton weft.
A lace constructed with bobbins and pillow, also called pillow lace. The bobbins, originally made from bone, and later wood or plastic, hold a series of threads that are then woven together following a pattern marked by pins on the pillow. The pillow once contained oat straw or sawdust; contemporary lacemakers use Styrofoam or Ethafoam.
A type of bobbin lace that originated in Brussels, Belgium and is made in pieces, with flowers and other designs made separate from the ground, or reseau. Brussels lace dates back to the fifteenth century, and was first mentioned in England in a lest of presents given to the Princess Mary at New Year in 1543. The reseau has a distinctive, hexagonal pattern, and the designs have either a standard woven texture, resembling fabric, or a more open style that looks more like a netted ground. This allows for shading, an effect that is found in more recent designs.
very short veil that typically attaches to a comb, It usually comes forward and
covers half or all of the face and is generally made of wide French netting or
short, fitted sleeve barely covers the shoulder and tip of the arm.
changeable effect attained by using threads of different colors in the warp and
a woman's undergarment usually made of linen or muslin; also, in the early
nineteenth and twentieth century’s, a loose dress with a generally columnar
small cape that is worn over the shoulders.
A veil that measures nine feet long or that
falls twelve to eighteen inches past a cathedral train.
very delicate, lightweight lace that originated in Chantilly, France, and is
usually made of a blend of rayon, cotton, or nylon. It has a fine mesh, and
often features a floral design, It is flat, unlike re0embroidered Alençon lace
which has raised cording.
mid-length train that extends about two to three feet on the floor.
A veil that typically measures
twelve to eighteen inches past a chapel train.
A smooth, lightweight fabric that can be woven from silk, cotton, rayon and synthetics. Silk fabrics will always demand a higher price than other yarns; at he other end of spectrum, synthetic yarns should be among the cheapest.
A fine, lightweight, transparent fabric, with a smoothness and drape that make it suitable for use in veils. It may be woven in silk, rayon, cotton or from a synthetic fiber such as nylon.
A formfitting, usually strapless
bodice with boning, styled in the fashion of a ladies undergarment of the same
In ancient Greece, the open-sided tunic worn by
men in a knee-length form and by both men and women in a floor-length version.
Constructed of two large rectangles of linen, cotton, or wool, the chiton was
seamed at the sides and hung in folds from the shoulders where it was pinned
together with fibulae.
short cloak, or mantle, worn by men in ancient Greece.
Describes a wide variety of fabrics
woven of highly twisted yarns to product a crinkled or pebbled surface.
stiff fabric originally woven of horsehair and linen and used to support a
skirt or dress; also called a petticoat or a cage crinoline (hoopskirt), an
underskirt frame made with whalebone, cane, or steel hoops.
A circular headpiece that sits on
the crown of the head.
Popular in the early 1970s, this fabric is run between rollers, sending the pile in various directions to give it an irregular, waved effect. The pile can be made from silk, cotton or synthetic yarns and can be imitated on a knitting machine.
A form of crochet that uses fine threads, decorative patterns and varying hole sizes to give a lacy effect. Easier and quicker to make than traditional lace, it was not originally considered a true lace.
Also known as whitework, cut work involves removing threads from a woven background and then wrapping or filling the remaining holes with embroidery.
Originally a silk fabric made in Damascus, damask is now woven in silk, cotton,linen or synthetic yarns. A floral pattern defined by a smooth and lustrous surface is created with a sateen weave, a structure that crams the weft threads together, allowing the light to bounce off the surface of the weave and enhance the pattern. Because of the dense weaving, this can be heavy.
tapering, stitched-down fold intended to give shape and fit to a garment.
procession, as of runway models in a fashion show, or defile de mode.
Decorative needlework that involves removing some threads from a fabric and
stitching the remaining threads to form an openwork pattern.
This waistline falls
below your natural waist. It can be shaped straight across, into a V-shape
called a Basque waist, or as a scoop or square, or even inverted.
Also known as a
modified A-line, this silhouette is fitted to the upper thighs and gently
flares out at the bottom of the dress.
Describes a gown that falls
at or just above the floor and has no train.
A veil made from one piece
of material, usually tulle, which is folded over. It can be any length, and the
top layer can be pulled over the face and used as a blusher.
A bustle that is created by
lifting the train at the middle of the skirt and pulling it under the back of
the skirt, where it is then attached with ribbons or buttons and loops.
lightweight muslin scarf, either triangular or square and folded into a
triangular shape that is draped over the shoulders and fastened at the front or
tucked into the top of the bodice to fill in a low neckline.
A loosely wove fabric with a low
luster. It looks like a thick, dense organza with a crisp finish, and is very
A triangular piece of fabric that is
inserted into a seam of a skirt to give fullness or flare.
sleeve that is puffed out along the upper arm and fitted from elbow to wrist. A
style fashionable in the 1830s and 1890s, it was sometimes worn with a sleeve support
(cotton-or down-filled pillows of fabric-covered ribs of whalebone, cane, or
wire) for the upper arm, also called a leg-of-mutton sleeve.
triangular or tapering panel of cloth inserted into a skirt or other garment,
to add fullness at the bottom.
strong, closely woven ribbon with a ribbed, or corded, appearance.
A typically heavy lace in which the elements of the pattern are connected by fine threads, or brides, rather than being supported on a net ground. Often layered with overlapping motifs to form a deep and intriguing texture, this lace is now constructed on a water-soluble or heat-resistant base material that is then removed.
Gros De Londre
A fine silk warp creates a horizontal, flat ribbed fabric with alternate thick and thin stripes. The thickness of the weft yarn determines the stripe, which can also be created with worsted or cotton.
The wide rectangular wool or linen mantle worn by both men and women in ancient
The neckline created by a
sleeveless top that has two straps which connect at the back of the neck. It
can be square, rounded, or V-shaped.
A bustle that is created by bringing
up the gem of a train and attaching it underneath a skirt using ribbons or
buttons and loops. The train is set long enough to make the back of gown
floor-length and bunched to create a “bubble hem” effect.
A bobbin lace made in England at Honiton, Devonshire, from the seventeenth century onwards. Most people associate this term with the lace made in Honiton in the nineteenth century, in which strong floral motifs are joined to an often-spotted net background. Queen Victoria inserted a chemisette of Hiniton lace into her wedding dress in an attempt to support the British lace industry.
A small cap that is often
decorated with lace, pearls, or beads and that hugs the back of the head.
A fabric woven on a Jacquard loom, which is capable of producing a sophisticated and intricate design. It can be woven with silk, cotton or a synthetic yarn.
An opening at the front
or back of a bodice. It can be shaped in a circle, oval, or teardrop.
A style of knitting that incorporated holes into the design to create a lacy effect.
An ornamental openwork patterned
fabric, It generally has a floral motif.
The feminine archetype of modernism as seen in the boyish silhouette
that appeared in the 1920s and was most notably embodied in the
Woven with metallic threads that catch the light to give an impression of liquid silver and gold. It drapes and folds like molten metal.
The name for ultrafashionable women in the last few years of the
eighteenth century; their male counterparts were called les incroyables.
type of open weave in which two or more warp threads cross over each other,
locking the weft threads in position to create a sheer yet strong fabric.
A crisp, cool, lightweight fabric woven from fibers of the flax plant. Linen holds its shape well but will crease easily if starch is not applied. It may be mixed with synthetic yarns to increase manageability.
A fitted gown that has
a seam above the knee with a skirt attached that flares out very full to the
type of open robe dress first introduced in the late seventeenth century as an
alternative to the heavily structured dress required for attendance in the
court of Louis XIV. The Mantua was split in front, to be worn over an exposed
petticoat, with a fitted bodice and elbow-length sleeves; latter, as it became
a more formal gown, a stomacher was added.
of the S-curve silhouette popular during the early twentieth century that was
achieved by wearing a lightly boned bust bodice over the corset to create a
pouch from the bosom to the waist; also known as" pouter pigeon".
A Heavier weight twill weave fabric
with a medium luster.
A rib-woven silk that is finished by being run through rollers. This process crushes the rib in different directions and gives the fabric it a watermark effect.
A very fine net that holds its form and can be used as a veil or to stiffen petticoats.
A soft, transparent net that gives an illusion of weightlessness.
First produced on a development of the stocking frame, invented by John Heathcoat in 1809. By reproducing basic twists and turns, Heathcoat created a diamond-shaped net on which a design could be embroidered. From this point on the handmade hexagonal reseau (ground) was only made upon request and the designs wear appliqued directly onto the machine-made net. This resulted in the designs becoming more spread out and less connected. Because the net is not cut away behind the appliqued design, it can be seen on the back of the design.
A term applied by the American press to the designs featuring wasp,
hip pads, and full skirts that were first presented by Christian Dior in 1947.
Later, the term was also applied to the fashionable Dior posture, which was
slightly hunched, with the back curved, the buttocks tucked under, and the
pelvis pushed forward.
A lace made using a needle and thread. It is the most flexible of the lace-making arts and considered by some to be the highest form. In an early form of needle lace, developed in the fifteenth century and known as Punto in Aria (meaning stitches in the air), outline stitches wear basted onto a temporary backing comprising a parchment pattern and layer of fabric. A simple button-hole stitch was then used to cover and connect the pattern threads. The connecting stitches between the motifs were called brides as these married the motifs.
effect produced by the use of colors that are graduated in tone from light to
Description of a dress with an overskirt that opens in front to reveal the
petticoat, or underskirt.
Off the Shoulder Neckline
The fabric sits
off the shoulders and wraps around your arms. The neckline can be a V, scoop,
square, or sweetheart.
A light, fine, white cotton fabric. It has a stiff, wiry, translucent finish and is often used for details such as cuffs and collars.
A transparent fabric that is heavier and stiffer than organdy and holds its form well, making dramatic shapes. It is woven from rayon.
Particularly suitable for the architectural shapes of the 1950s, this is a heavy warp-ribbed fabric, with broad ribs that run vertically.
usually round spangle of metal or plastic, larger than a sequin, used to trim
oblong cage made of cane, metal, or wood to support the sides of the skirt,
creating a silhouette that was extended at the hips but flattened in front and
back. Panniers first appeared in France in 1718 and persisted with minor
variations until the 1780s.
Corded dress trimmings of braids, fringe, tassels, etc.
short cape that emphasized the triangular silhouette of the upper body
fashionable during the 1830s. Fichu-pelerines had long, tapering ends that
could be tied in the front or crossed in the front and tied in the back.
The visible traces in a drawing or painting of a design that has been altered
and covered over.
An underskirt usually made of
stiff netting or tulle that is used to reinforce the silhouette of the skirt.
ancient Greece, a garment that was formed by folding a large rectangular piece
of cloth in half to form a cylinder(which was usually sewn closed) and then
folding down a second time along the top to form an overfold. Fibulae wear used
to attach the back to the front of the garment at the shoulders, forming the
neckline and armholes of the peplos.
short, flared section of fabric extending from the waistline of a bodice or
Stitching separate pieces together to make a whole.
Fabric-covered cord sewn into seams or along edges for added strength or
Decorative panel set into the front of a bodice; see stomacher.
A soft cotton fabric with a fine, subtle, horizontal stripe created in the weave structure. Because of its robust nature, it may be utilized in cuffs and collars.
tightly woven cotton, rayon, or silk fabric with a ribbed waffle pattern.
Artisans or artisanal workshops that specialize in handwork, such
as embroidery and lace making.
decorative edging of small loops along the selvedge of fabric or lace; also a
similar finished edge of cut fabric.
Point D’esprit Lace
Also known as Swiss dot, this is a finely spun cotton in a plain weave with a raised circular woven spot that sits on the surface and is spaced in an irregular pattern to cover the whole fabric. Used frequently for wedding veils in the 1960s.
Vertical seams in the front
or back of a garment that shape the bust and waist.
A very crisp silk taffeta that folds and creases like paper-hence its name. Princess Diana`s wedding dress was made from paper taffeta; the quality of the fabric was not appreciated and misjudged as having creased badly.
Peau De Soie
A fine, soft, high-quality silk fabric with a low-luster effect.
Point d`Angleterre: An intentionally misleading term used in England and France to describe Brussels lace. Following a ban in England in 1662 on the import of foreign lace, English lace merchants, unable to source lace of a high enough quality from British manufacturers, resorted to smuggling it from Brussels, calling it Point d`Angleterre, or English point, in order to deceive the authorities. France, under similar import restrictions, also sold Brussels lace using this name. To this day, all Brussels lace is called Point d`Angleterre in France.
The term for a type of Belgian lace that does not have a ground, or reseau. It is named after the Duchess of Brabant, Marie-Henriette of Austria. Made entirely on the pilow, the pattern is constructed so that the leaves and flowers naturally join, and there is rarely a bar thrown across to connect them. As there is no reseau, the designs are more continuous.
Point Plat Appluque
The term for a type of Brussels lace in which the design is applique onto a machine-made net, instead of using a handmade reseau (ground).
Robe a Langlaise
An open robe of the eighteenth century that
consisted of a fitted bodice cut in one piece with a rounded overskirt that was
parted in front to reveal a matching petticoat.
Robe à la Française
An eighteenth-century robe with a fitted bodice open at the
front to reveal a stomacher and an overskirt parted in the front to reveal
matching petticoat. The back of the robe typically had two double box pleats
sewn in at the center of the neckline and falling to the hem. The skirts of
most formal robes were supported by panniers that eventually reached widths of
Robe De Style
Credited to Jeanne Lanvin, this 1920s style featured a chemise like
bodice, dropped waist, and a wide, pannier-supported, ankle-length skirt.
Robe a La Polonaise
A late eighteenth-century robe with a close-fitting bodice and a
skirt. The back of the skirt would be gathered up into three puffed sections by
the use of ribbon ties or cords, which could be adjusted to achieve different
An early eighteenth-century robe, worn without an underskirt, with
elbow-length sleeves ending in wing cuffs and in the back, two double box
pleats that spread out in a widening flow from neckline to hem.
roll made by looping a long, narrow strip of fabric around itself or around
cording or another tubular shape.
An unfitted dress that hangs straight from shoulders to hem, or more generally,
a loose-fitting dress or gown.
Also called a bateau or
boat neckline. The name was coined from the movie Sabrina that starred Audrey
A fabric that is densely woven and
typically lustrous on one side and dull on the other. It can be made of
acetate, polyester, or silk. It comes in different weights, with duchesse satin
being the heaviest.
A medium- to lightweight fabric
with a sheen on the front and matte finish on the back.
Either of the lengthwise loom-finished woven edges of a fabric.
A type of machine-made lace
created by embroidering a pattern on a fabric that has been chemically treated
to disintegrate after the pattern has been created.
A rounded, low, U-shaped
front or back neckline that dips from the shoulders.
Shiny sometimes iridescent, highly
reflective or matte plastic discs sewn onto fabric to add sparkle or
Plain woven silk that creates a crisp fabric. The tussah silk thread has an irregular quality to it, created in the spinning process and forming slubs (soft lumps) in the fabric as it is woven. The character of the fabric is so highly prized that some mills try to emulate the shantung effect using rayon or synthetics. However, high-end designers prefer the authentic tussah silk.
A rectangular or oblong garment or
piece of fabric, used as a covering for the shoulders or carried on the arm.
A slim gown that hugs the body and
has a straight shape. A close-fitting dress.
A small jacket that falls above the
waistline, usually shorter than a bolero.
gather fabric into tight parallel rows, secured by parallel stitching.
A length of fabric gathered and draped at one side of a garment.
A loose-fitting dress that hangs from the shoulders and gradually widens
towards the hem.
A thin, crisp, lightweight fabric
with a very fine rib. It is tightly woven and looks the same on both sides.
A skirt with a hemline that
falls several inches above the ankles.
muslin mock-up of a garment that is used to test fit and create a pattern.
An ornamental half-crown that sits
on the head, often made of crystals, pearls, rhinestones, or diamonds.
dress that continuously widens from narrow shoulders to hem, resulting in a
small stitched fold that is used to shape or decorate fabric.
Decorative quilting that creates a raised effect.
Tip of the Shoulder Neckline
created when the top of the bodice rests at the tip of your shoulders. It can
have different shapes, such as V, scoop, square, or sweetheart.
A bustle that is
created when the fabric from a train is pulled up and over the skirt and
attached with buttons and loops or hooks and eyes.
The longer fabric that extends from
the back of a skirt to trail on the floor.
A fitted gown that is similar
to a mermaid. But flare out more gently to the bottom hem. Its gentle flare is
usually made with princess seams instead of a seam above the knee.
A delicate and very sheer fine
netting or mesh fabric made from nylon, silk, or rayon. It is typically used
for veils and can also be used for skirts. It’s often referred to as illusion.
columnar over-the-hip, slip-on overblouse, dress, or jacket.
coarse, irregular silk fabric made from wild silkworm; also refers to the yarn
A thin, almost transparent taffeta created by using very finely spun silk or synthetic threads.
A front or back neckline shaped
like the letter V. It can be a shallow or very deep V.
A thick fabric with a short-cut pile. With its raised surface of soft-cut fibers, velvet is a warm, plush fabric, soft to the touch and suitable for winter weddings. Silk velvet is the most expensive, but velvets made of cotton, rayon or synthetic fibers are cheaper.
A raised fabric similar to velvet made from cotton or rayon in which the pile is created via the weft rather than the warp - a technical differentiation that is only of concern in terms of aesthetic choice and cost.
Waltz Length Veil
A veil that stops at the
floor and is usually worn with a floor length gown.
Any garment or fabric that wraps
around the shoulders or body.
The threads that make up the lengthwise grain
in a woven fabric.
The process of printing a pattern onto the warp threads prior to
The center box pleats, such as those in a robe a la Française, that
flow unbroken down the back of a dress from the neckline to the hem, as seen in
certain paintings by Jean Antoine Watteau(French, 1684-1721).
A term used to describe cloth that appears to cling to body in animated folds
while revealing the contours of the form beneath, particularly evident in Greek
sculpture from the Hellenistic period (ca. 323-31 BC).
Cuffs folded back with points pressed to stick out so the cuffs resemble
threads that are set at a 90-degree angle to the warp threads in a woven fabric
and run from selvedge to selvedge.
Contemporarily referred to as a vest, the waistcoat first appeared
toward the end of the 1660s. In England, King Charles II exploited the
waistcoat for its decorative possibilities, and the garment soon became a focus
of men's dress, often richly embellished and made from the finest materials.