What is satin fabric?
Satin material is not actually from a fibre, such as silk; it is a type of weave. Satin fabric is sleek, lustrous and glossy with an easily identifiable shiny face. Satin fabric is created with a specific type of textile weave which is different from the weave of a basic woven fabric.
The yarns that are most commonly used to make satin are cotton, wool, silk – which gives you silk satin fabric, and synthetic fabrics, such as polyester or acetate.
Some widely-used types of satin include:
- Duchess satin – luxurious, heavy satin with a more solid drape
- Polysatin or poly-satin – shortened term for polyester satin; satin made from polyester yarns
- Cotton satin – satin woven fabric made from cotton
- Charmeuse satin – light-weight and elegant with a fluid drape
- Farmer’s satin – made from mercerised cotton
- Baronet satin – cotton back with a rayon or silk front
- Gattar – made with a silk warp and a cotton weft
How is it manufactured?
Satin weave is one of the 3 basic weave structures that have been used for thousands of years. It is like the twill weave but the floats are much longer which gives satin its distinct lustrous surface. Once the yarn is chosen, be it natural or synthetic, the satin weaving process can begin.
To be considered a true satin, the fabric must be woven in this specific manner:
- The textile must have at least 4 threads brought to the surface of the fabric to “float” over a single thread running perpendicularly to them.
- The threads on the top are called warp strands (which run vertically) and the threads on the bottom are called weft strands (which run horizontally).
- This is called “floating” and it allows large portions of the thread to reflect the light. This is what makes satin look so glossy and shiny.
Purposes of satin fabric
Satin is widely used in fashion, interior design and home furnishings. Most commonly found in everyday clothing such as nightgowns, blouses, shirts, ties, scarves, elegant, formal dresses, evening wear, high end bedding as well as upholstery and lingerie. Its luxurious qualities make satin one of the most popular fabrics for wedding dresses.
When a satin weave is made with synthetic fibres, it can also be used as a backing to other fabrics, such as wool or velvet which essentially eliminates the need for a slip or camisole.
Satin is also widely used in footwear, specifically women’s formal shoes, for occasions such as a wedding or black tie event. Satin variations are also used to make ballet shoes.
Satin material is renowned for being a romantic, luxurious, and sensuous fabric. Satin weaves have a glossy face, which makes them instantly recognisable. Some other notable satin properties include:
- A lustrous and shiny face
- A beautiful, fluid like drape
- Durable and strong
- Generally, very taut
- Wrinkle resistant
- Smooth surface
- Generally, a dull back
- Can be tricky to work with
Advantages of satin fabric
The main advantage of satin fabric is that it can be as expensive or as affordable as you need it to be. Because satin is a weave as opposed to a specific material, you can choose whether to opt for silk satin fabric, a luxurious and expensive satin, or satin from a synthetic yarn, such as polyester or nylon. The type of yarn you choose will also impact its ease of washing. Satin made from silk, for example, must be dry cleaned only. Satin made from synthetic fibres, however, are easier to care for and can be washed at home.
Satin is lightweight as well as smooth and silky to the touch which gives it a big advantage to be used for lingerie, nightwear and any other kind of apparel that is worn close to the skin.
You can buy satin fabric online in its raw state or in apparel.