From bed sheets to robes, satin is a fabric that can be appreciated because of its soft, luxurious texture and shiny aesthetics. Whether you are trying to select the right material for a sewing project or learning how to take care of your satin garments, it is helpful to know a thing or two about satin.
Satin originated in China and was originally made using silk, which was a fibre native to the land. As such, the material was expensive and reserved for those in the upper classes who could afford to wear the luxurious clothes, robes or slippers made from satin. Other countries throughout Europe learnt of the satin in China, and silk became a popular traded good that China exported.
Satin is a fabric blend, meaning it is not a natural fibre. Satin is made up of a variety of materials woven together. Originally, satin was strictly woven with silk, but modern-day synthetic blends include polyester and nylon.
If you have real silk satin fabric, you do not want to throw it into the washing machine with your socks. Hand wash silk satin or get it dry cleaned to preserve the fine qualities of the material. A satin fabric with synthetic blends of polyester and nylon, however, can be thrown into your washing machine and washed on the delicate cycle. Whether you hand or machine wash your satin, use cold water, as heat can ruin the texture of the weave. And never use chlorine bleach.
Satin is not the same as sateen, which is an imitation fabric blend that is made from cotton. Sateen has a glossy finish, but it does not have the same smooth texture as satin. It can also be washed differently from satin because it is not made from silk.