A majority of people think that satin fabrics are fabrics made from a particular type of fiber. However, the truth is that the term satin refers to the way a fabric is weaved and does not mean that the actual name of the fabric is satin.
Satin fabrics are fabrics that have been woven so as to give them a glossy and shiny finish. The fabrics are weaved in such a way that the top side of the fabric is glossy while the bottom is dull. The weaving technique that results in satin fabrics is a technique that has the warp dominating. The warp is the thread running the length of the fabric while the weft is the thread running from side to side.
The weaving technique for satin fabrics has several weft threads being woven above one warp thread which results in what is referred to as floats. The floats are what give the fabrics the smooth glossy finish. The floats cause the light that hits the fabric not to be scattered.
Satin fabrics can be made from different types of fiber such as silk, polyester, cotton, viscose and nylon. They can also be made from a mix of fabrics. The fabric made from cotton fibers is called sateen. Fabrics made from polyester and nylon produce very shiny fabrics which some people may find unattractive. Satin made from silk is more popular because of its more natural shine.
As there are many different types of satin fabrics, they are used for making many different items of clothing and interior decorating items. Satin is used to make lingerie, wedding dresses, evening gowns, shirts, blouses, beddings, curtains, upholstery, neck ties, boxers and athletic apparel. Satin is also sometimes used in making ballet shoes.
The common types of satin fabrics include crepe satin, antique satin, duchess satin, charmeuse satin, slipper satin, ribbed satin, hammered satin and crepe back satin. Duchesse satin, also called bridal satin, princess satin or delustered satin, is commonly used in making bridal gowns particularly silk duchess satin. It is heavy, stiff and has a high thread count. It is popular for wedding gowns because it gives a beautiful drape and takes embroidery and beading very well. Charmeuse satin and crepe satin are also used for wedding gowns.
Crepe back satin, also called satin back crepe, is reversible fabric. One side has the crepe weave while the other side has the satin weave and the side used depends on personal preference. Slipper satin is what is used in making ballet (pointe) shoes as it is heavy satin.
Satin fabrics, particularly those made from silks, need to be well taken care of. They should be dry-cleaned. Satin made from manmade fabrics can be hand washed or machine washed with a gentle detergent. These fabrics should not be wrung and ironed with a cool iron. Ironing should be done on the reverse side, which maintains the glossy finish.