Firstly, we need to clarify that the word satin is used to describe a type of fabric weave that is soft and shiny, sometimes elastic with a beautiful drape. Satin fabric is characterized by a soft, lustrous surface on one side, with a duller surface on the other side. This is a result of the satin weaving technique, and there are many variations on what defines a satin weave.
Satin is woven from long, continuous fibers, and satin is defined by the length of the filament, not the fiber used. Originally, satin was made using silk, but modern satin can also be made from polyester and rayon, both of which can be manufactured to form long filaments.
What are characteristics of Satin?
This should help you spot the difference between satin and other fabrics/weaves.
- The front is shiny, and the back is dull.
- It drapes so beautifully.
- Satin doesn’t wrinkle as easily as other fabrics, and thicker satins are less prone to wrinkles.
- The threads can get easily caught in a satin weave, which leaves to unappealing snags.
- Since satin is soft and slippery, it can be unforgiving in the sewing process.
What Are the Origins of Satin?
Satin can be traced back to medieval China, where it was made exclusively with silk. The weave originated in the Chinese port city of Quanzhou, which was called Zaitun in medieval Arabic, hence the name satin today. The fabric and weaving techniques were both passed along the Silk Road and came to be widely produced across the Middle East. Italy was the first Western country to produce satin in the twelfth century, and it fast became popular across Europe in the fourteenth century.
How Is Satin Used?
Some popular uses include making garments, upholstery, bedding, footwear and fashion accessories.
What Is the Difference Between Satin and Sateen?
Sateen is fabric made using short staple fibers in the satin weave pattern. Staple fibers are short fibers while silk is made from long continuous fibers which are called filament fibers.
What Is the Difference Between Satin and Silk?
Silk is the name of the fiber, and satin is the name of the textile weave. Therefore, silk fibers can be used to form satin, but silk fibers can also be woven in other patterns which would not be considered satin. Satin, on the other hand, can be made from any long filament fibers, not just silk.
How Do You Care for my Satin?
Washing and caring for satin depends mainly on the type of satin. Satins made from synthetic fibers can be washed at home, whereas satin made from silk needs to be dry cleaned. When washing your satin items at home, there are some general guidelines:
- Wash by hand or on the delicate cycle in cold water with a gentle detergent
- Do not put satin in the dryer. Instead, lay flat to dry on a clean towel