What Is Cotton Sateen Fabric?

Written by emily weller
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What Is Cotton Sateen Fabric?
Cotton threads are mercerised to make sateen. (Cotton plant -2 image by Alexey Burtsev from Fotolia.com)

Cotton fabric comes in several varieties, which differ based on whether the fabric is woven or knit, as well as the type of weave used and fibre length. Cotton sateen is a woven fabric, usually made with mercerised threads.

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Mercerised Threads

Mercerising cotton threads involves soaking them in sodium hydroxide under tension, which causes the cells to swell. This process makes the threads strong, shiny and insures they will accept dye better than regular threads.


Manufacturers use a satin weave of mercerised cotton threads to produce sateen fabrics. Woven fabric consists of warp and weft threads. In a plain weave, the weft (horizontal) thread goes under and over each warp (vertical) thread. In a satin weave, the weft goes over several warp threads before going under.


Cotton sateen is very smooth to the touch, but more likely to snag, because there are more threads on the top surface of the fabric.

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