What is Sateen? Fabric Guide and Explanation

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What is Sateen? Sateen is essentially a woven cotton fabric with a smooth, glossy surface. The front of the fabric is smooth and the reverse side is more dense and rough. Sateen is relatively new on the market compared with silk, wool and linen fabrics and is most commonly used for bedding.

What is SateenPinWhat is Sateen


What is Sateen?Sateen vs SatinSateen vs SilkWhat is Sateen Spandex?What is Sateen Used For?What is Sateen Bed LinenTypes of SateenWhat is Sateen laundry instructionsWhat is Sateen? In ConclusionMORE FABRIC ARTICLES

What is Sateen?

The term sateen refers to the weave of the fabric and not the materials used in the manufacture of sateen. Although sateen is mainly found to be made from cotton fibers, it is also possible to make this fabric from other fibers such as silk, wool and polyester.

The woven structure is made with spun yarns and not a filament. The softer texture of sateen is produced by the warp yarn pattern of four over, and one under whereas a standard weave pattern is one over and one under. It is the weaving pattern that sets sateen apart from other cotton fabrics.

Sateen has another quality that distinguishes it and that is it can be machine washed without damages to the fabric. Sateen can be bleached, dyed, and scrubbed and this makes it more versatile than many other silky fabrics.

Sateen has many different properties and comes in different weights and colors. It is easy to sew and more affordable than silk and comes in solid colors and patterns. Sateen is soft and glossy as well as wrinkle-resistant. Best of all it is also hypo-allergenic due to its natural cotton content.

Sateen vs Satin

Although satin and sateen are often compared, they are not the same because they are made of different fibers. Their method of weaving and structure is different and the content of the fabric is not comparable. Satin is produced from filament fibers whereas sateen has spun yarns. Sateen has a shiny appearance due to the satin weave in the fabric rather than the fibers themselves. Satin is made from silk, polyester and rayon rather than cotton.

The benefit of using sateen over satin is that this fabric has cotton as the underlying natural fabric. Cotton sateen is longer lasting and more durable than satin. The cotton content makes sateen easier to dye and take on patterns and designs that are better suited to the cotton content.

Sateen vs Silk

Choosing sateen over silk is a wise choice for the budget-conscious person. Sateen delivers the same or similar soft and shiny texture as silk, but at a much lower price.

What is Sateen Spandex?

The addition of spandex to sateen gives the fabric another dimension. Now it has stretch qualities and can be used to make very good quality pants, jackets and other stylish clothing items.

What is Sateen Used For?

Today’s sateen is used for a wide variety of products. Clothing, bed linen, and curtaining are some of the most common ways that sateen is used. 

Sateen is used in the following ways:

It supports glorious floral prints that make up into beautiful dresses. Floral, stripes, checks or plain solid colors, all look beautiful on sateen since it dyes very easily.Sateen suits all kinds of styles of clothing from pajamas to skirts with frills and beautiful blouses with a ruffled romantic look. Sateen makes really smart shirt dresses.Sateen bed linen is a luxury item and topping it off with a pair of sateen pajamas is really a luxurious feeling. Many people prefer sateen sheets to satin for luxury and comfort. They offer the same luxurious feel but as they can be machine washed they are easier to maintain.

What is Sateen Bed Linen

Sateen sheets are considered high end and luxurious as they are soft and silky to the touch. They can be slightly slippery but many people like that feel.

Sateen holds heat slightly more than cotton so it is important to take that into consideration when choosing bed linens if you are in a hot climate or if you sweat in bed. On the other hand, if you live in a cooler area, then sateen will keep you warmer than cotton. If you are trying to reduce hair breakage, sateen pillowslips are better than cotton but not as good as satin or silk.

Cotton sateen is often compared to cotton percale for bedlinen however there are some important differences. Percale is stronger and has a tighter weave. Percale has a matt finish while sateen is shiny. Some people prefer sateen over percale for their bed linen. They like the soft, silky and shiny finish found on sateen. 

Types of Sateen

Sateen has found its way into catalogs alongside well-known silk and brocade textures. It is such a versatile, basic fabric.

Sateen has been named to sound similar to silks and brocades in order to enhance its perceived value.

Here are some types of sateen:

Chinese brocade sateenCotton spandex or stretch sateenShantung sateenCosmo Japanese spring sateen.Milly cotton sateen

These are just a few of the names used to describe sateen.  Using the connection to brocade and shantung helps to create the link in the purchaser’s mind to silk originally from the East.

What is Sateen laundry instructions

Sateen made from cotton is easy to care for and launder. Because it is made from cotton there will always be a small amount of shrinkage with the first wash so be mindful of not using heat in the wash or drying process.

First check the laundry symbols before washing in case the sateen needs special care.

Machine or hand wash in cold or warm water with a gentle detergent. Separate light from dark colors. Do not bleach unless the label specifically says it is ok to do so. Tumble dry on low heat or better still, air dry on the line in a shaded area. Sateen can be ironed on a low setting but really who wants to iron sheets! Well, not me anyway. Sateen is wrinkle resistant so they normally look good after a wash if you hang them carefully.

What is Sateen? In Conclusion

Now you know what is sateen you can look out for it when shopping for fabric or finished items. It is easy to sew and economical to buy, but at the same time, it is a beautiful fabric with a soft luster and great colors. Sateen looks classy and is great for a variety of different products. It is a good choice for a garment ready to walk down the catwalk with character and style or a soft and luxurious bedding ensemble.


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