Satin Weave – Structure, Properties, Uses & Types

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Satin weave refers to the way the fibers of a fabric are woven. If you check the labels on some apparel like nightgowns, wedding gowns, lingerie, and blouses, you`re likely to see satin listed as the fabric used. While it`s a popular fabric for many female clothes, satin can also be used to make male clothing like boxer shorts, neckties, and shirts. So what is satin weave, and why is it a popular choice for unisex apparel? Read on to find out all you need to know.

Satin WeavePinSatin Weave


What is Satin WeaveWhat is Satin WeavingWhat is Satin FabricWhat is the Origin of Satin WeaveWhat is Satin Weave Made FromWhat are the Characteristics of Satin WeaveWhat are the Types of Satin WeaveWhat are the Different Types of SatinHow is Satin Weave UsedIs Satin Natural or SyntheticHow do you Care for Satin Weave Fabrics Difference Between Satin Weave Fabrucs and SilkDifference Between Satin and SateenIn Conclusion – What is Satin Weave

What is Satin Weave

Satin is a type of weave and not just a type of fabric. It is made from different types of fibers and has a characteristic soft and smooth feel against the skin. Satin weave is created when you float some warp yarns across the weft before it goes under a weft thread and the cycle is repeated. 

This type of weaving creates a lustrous, smooth surface that is soft to touch. Satin is made with shiny filament yarns that produce the lustrous soft finish we see. Alongside twill weave and plain weave, satin is one of the three basic fabric weaves that has been in existence since ancient times. 


What is Satin Weaving

This is a method of fabric weaving that`s associated with a few interlaces of the warp yarns over the weft or the weft thread predominates on the surface of the warp yarns. The warp yarns are held stationary in a loom and the weft threads are woven over and under it. This sort of weaving with few interlaces yields its smooth, lustrous, and soft surface. 

What is Satin Fabric

Satin fabric is simply the fabric produced when you use a satin weave. Thus these two terms are often used interchangeably. Satin is the fabric and satin weave is the process of weaving from which the fabric is made.

The satin fabric produced with a satin weave has been associated with luxury, sensuousness, and classy romance. 

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Other Fabric Weaves

Fabric WeavesPlain WeaveHerringbone WeaveTwill WeaveSatin Weave

What is the Origin of Satin Weave

Although it has been improved over the years, satin dates back to medieval Chinese. It first originated in the Chinese port city of Quanzhou. Later, it became widely produced across the Middle East. 

The word `Satin` comes from the Arabic name for the Chinese port Quanzhou, it was called `Zaitun`. In the 12th century, Italy became the first Western country to produce satin. By the 14th century, it became a widespread sensation across Europe. At that time, satin was quite expensive in the West. This meant that the fabric was a luxury only the upper class could afford. 

However, the cultivation of silk was widespread in China. As a matter of fact, women used silk to master the craft of satin weaving. So while satin was a luxury fabric in the West, peasants could own it in China.

What is Satin Weave Made From

Due to a much-welcomed innovation, you can produce satin from not just silk but other types of fibers. Satin weaves can be made using fibers such as nylon, polyester, wool, and even rayon.

What are the Characteristics of Satin Weave

Known for its lustrous and soft finish with a smooth surface, satin weave has other characteristics including:

Shiny Front: Due to the weaving technique used, satin leaves off a very shiny right side and a back that`s quite dull. This is due to the organization of the warp thread and the weft thread.Difficult to sew: While satin`s smoothness makes it skin-friendly, it also makes it quite difficult to sew. If you don`t have a lot of experience sewing with satin, you might want to practice on smaller fabrics before working on a major project. Resistant to Wrinkles: Satin fabrics easily stretch out and remain as it is unlike other materials. Even thicker satin fabrics are not prone to wrinkling. Easily snags: Satin threads can easily snag, leaving the fabric unappealing. Luxurious and Aesthetic: Satin gives an air of high classiness and sophistication when it`s worn. And even when used on items such as pillows it looks regal. Did you know that satin pillowcases can prevent your hair from getting frizzy!Versatility: Satin weave can be used to make a whole lot of items. From ballet shoes to bridal gowns to underwear, even up to upholsteries and bedsheets. Its versatility is one of the reasons it has remained popular through the ages. Durable: Due to its long fibers which are woven taut, satin weave can stay for a long time without any visible wear or tear. Satin WeaveSatin WeavePinSatin Weave

What are the Types of Satin Weave

Satin fabrics are woven from a long and continuous fiber filament. This fabric is defined by the length of the filaments. 

There are 4 different satin weaves. They are:

4 Harness Satin Weave: This has more elasticity and stretch than the plain weave. In this type of weave, the weft thread goes over 3 warp yarns or thread and goes under 1 warp yarn or thread. This gives a ratio of 4:1 satin weave while in plain weave, the ratio is 1:1.   5 Harness Satin Weave: This goes the same way as the previous, except that weft thread goes over 4 warp threads or yarns and then under one 1 warp thread.   8 Harness Satin Weave: This is more flexible than the previous weaves mentioned above. Here, the weft thread goes over 7 warp threads and under one 1 warp thread. 

What are the Different Types of Satin

There are about 9 different types of satin made from satin weave. They are:

Antique Satin: It is made from unevenly spun yarns as the weft thread. It is woven in the 8 harness or 5 harness satin weave style. It is usually a heavy fabric. Curtains are a good example. Baronet Satin: This is the most lustrous type and it uses rayon warp threads and cotton weft. It is found in bright colors. Example:  Decorative fabrics.  Charmeuse: This has a luminous face with the very full reverse. Although with a hard twist warp yarn and crepe weft yarn, it is lightweight. It is normally used in dressmaking.Crepe-back:  It is a reversible fabric such that one side has the lustrous finish of satin weave and the other side has the crepe texture visible. It is used in dressmaking.Duchess: Used mainly for bridal wear, it`s a heavy fabric with less luster than the standard satin. It`s stiff and is usually dyed solid colors. Massaline: Lightweight with high luster, it is made from rayon or silk. It is a soft silk and is mainly used for making dresses.  Panne:  It is made from silk and has a high luster due to the heated roller pressure during production. It is used in dressmaking.Poly satin: This satin is woven from the polyester thread and is mainly used in dressmaking.Slipper Satin: A tightly woven medium weight fabric with matte surface and cotton reverse, it is used mainly for accessories. 

How is Satin Weave Used

As earlier stated, satin made from satin weave is quite versatile. Listed below are some of its uses. 

Bedsheets: With a smooth and soft finish, satin is used comfortably as a bedsheet. Dressmaking: Satin is a core fabric in the fashion industry. It can be used for bridal wear, evening gowns, and even comfortable night wears and underwear. Fashion accessories: Clutches, feminine accessories are made from satin. Footwear: Satin finds its place in footwears. It used to make the shoes worn by ballet dancers. Upholstery: One of the indigenous use of satin in 14th century Europe was for the making of royal decorative pieces of furniture. And to this day satin is still used for pillow coverings, pieces of furniture, and the likes. Satin Weave BedsheetsSatin Weave BedsheetsPinSatin Weave Bedsheets

Is Satin Natural or Synthetic

Satin is not a natural raw material. It is woven from other fibres like silk, rayon, polyester, cotton, wool, and nylon.   

How do you Care for Satin Weave Fabrics 

How you care for satin hugely depends on the type. Satin made from synthetic fibers and cotton can be washed at home but satin made from silk should be dry cleaned. 

Follow this guideline to wash your satin at home:

Wash by hand with cold water and mild detergent. Don`t wring or hang your satin after washing as it may lose shape. Don`t machine dry your satin, instead lay it flat to air dry or lay on a towel to dry. 


How to Wash SilkHow to Wash Polyester

Satin Weave DressSatin Weave DressPinSatin Weave Dress

Difference Between Satin Weave Fabrucs and Silk

Silk is a raw material gotten from silkworms while satin is a type of weave structure and not a material. 

You can use silk to make satin, but satin only refers to the weaving technique. Silk is also used to make other kinds of weave patterns that aren`t satin.


How Is Silk Made?Types of SilkSewing Silk

Difference Between Satin and Sateen

Sateen is made from short-staple fibers using the satin weave technique. Although people think they are the same, they aren`t. The major difference between satin and sateen lies in the length of fiber used. Satin makes use of long filament fibers but sateen uses short-staple fibers. Cotton is mainly used to produce sateen. When cotton is weaved using the same weaving technique as seen in the satin weaving technique, the end product is called cotton sateen. 

In Conclusion – What is Satin Weave

Satin weave is a complex weaving technique that`s made from different types of fibers like nylon, polyester, wool, and rayon. It is breathable, smooth, and has a soft feel against the skin. This is why it`s commonly used to make underwear and other male and female apparel. This fabric has been in existence since ancient times and it`s likely to remain a highly coveted fabric for years to come. 

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