Satin can be a bit confusing when it comes to clothes. This is because there is satin, that shiny and silky type material used in pretty women’s blouses. Then there is a satin weave, a particular type of weave than can use different fibres to construct it including cotton, nylon and rayon. One thing they both have in common is that they are shiny – but why?
To be counted as a true satin, a fabric has to use a very specific weave. This involves have four threads that are brought to the surface of the fabric in what is said to ‘float’ over the single thread running in the opposite direction. These top threads are the warp strands and run vertically while the one at the bottom is the weft strand and runs horizontally. This floating process allows the threads to reflect the light and creates the shiny effect. The side of the material that has the floating threads is shiny and the other side remains glossy. Sometimes this shiny effect is doubled up by using two sets of warp strands.
Types of satin weave
The fabric created using this weave can have many different appearances as well as textures depending on the thread used. Different looks can also be achieved using different variations of the weave. One example is a mixture of silk thread and rayon that is called duchesse. Another uses one weave or material on the front and a different one on the back. An example of this is Canton satin that uses a crepe weave at the back or slipper satin that has a cotton backing. Cire satin the name when the material is given a coating of wax to make it even shinier as well as stiff and is often used in ribbons.
Variations of the weave create more styles of satin. The charmeuse is where one warp strand passes over three weft strands. Other variations often encountered include sateen and satinet. The former sees the opposite set of threads to the top to satin. It is often made with cotton or rayon rather than silk. Satinet is a thin material used when wanting to keep costs down and uses cotton or synthetic threads.These various satin fabrics have a number of uses. From formal dresses and shirts to bedding and lingerie, satin is a frequently used material. Satin dyes easily to work with a variety of uses and works with synthetic materials.
Satin is one of the three main types of weave used in any textile making alongside plain and twill. It is the smoothest of the three and also the most durable. On the downside, it is the most likely to shrink if it isn’t cared for properly. It is very resistant to wrinkling and creates a good drape.Care instructions depend on the exact nature of the weave but generally, cool water and gentle washes are best. Similarly, ironing on a moderate temperatures is important. Wringing out these clothes can lead to becoming misshaped.