satin While most people think of satin as a type of fabric, and correctly assume it is somehow or at least was originally connected with silk, what most people do not know is that satin is actually a type of weaving. It is not a specific fabric. The term satin refers to a type of weave in which the warp or weft are allowed to ‘float’ above the weave on one side, producing a glossy finish on one side and a dull matte finish on the other. It can also be done in such a way as to produce a ‘satin’ or glossy finish on both sides of the fabric.

Satin was originally made popular in the 12th century, traveling from China along the great silk route, traded between Chinese silk producers and European aristocracy. The original satin was all made from silk and was, for this reason, quite expensive.

Typical scarf satin is made from filament fibers, such as silk, nylon, polyester and other acrylics. These produce what most of us know as ‘satin’. However the satin weave can be made from any fabric and carries different names depending upon the fabric it is made from.

Many of the satin scarves found in the market today are blends of polyester and other acrylics made from petroleum products and synthetic manufacturing, but satin weaves are also used for bedding, clothing, ballet toe shoes and in upholstery and furnishings.

There are many variations of the pattern of the weave in making satin and they can produce a wide variety of fabrics, each of which have their own names depending upon what types of fibers are used to weave them and the patterns of the weave itself.

Here are some of the names for satin weaves made with various different fabrics:

  • Baronet or baronette has a cotton back and a rayon or silk front, similar to georgette.
  • Charmeuse is a lightweight, draping satin-weave fabric with a dull reverse.
  • Double face(d) satin is woven with a glossy surface on both sides. It is possible for both sides to have a different pattern, albeit using the same colours.
  • Duchess(e) satin is a particularly luxurious, heavy, stiff satin.
  • Faconne is jacquard woven satin.
  • Farmer’s satin or Venetian cloth is made from mercerised cotton.
  • Gattar is satin made with a silk warp and a cotton weft.
  • Messaline is lightweight and loosely woven.
  • Polysatin or poly-satin is an abbreviated term for polyester satin.
  • Sateen is a satin weave made of cotton and is often used in bedding.
  • Slipper satin is stiff and medium- to heavy-weight fabric.
  • Sultan is a worsted fabric with a satin face.
  • Surf satin was a 1910s American trademark for a taffeta fabric used for swimsuits.

Satin – the marvelous weave that brings so much to the world of fabric. Who knew?

Filed in: Scarf Fabrics

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