Satin is a kind of fabric. It is quite soft and has a glossy or shiny appearance. It was first introduced to Europe in the twelfth century, and by the fourteenth century, it became highly popular, chosen by the “Fashionistas” of the time—the royalty—for its beautiful appearance and comfortable texture.
Satin was once made from silk, which was exported by China. Today, however, satin is made from other fabrics, including nylon, rayon and polyester. These are less expensive and has made it possible for satin to become more affordable.
Satin’s key feature—its beautiful shine—is achieved by special weaving techniques. Through a special procedure called “floating” some of its weft yarns are exposed to the surface, allowing it to reflect light. In traditional satin only one side is glossy, so tailors or seamstresses had to carefully cut and sew their patterns to expose the “right” side. Today, however, special manufacturing processes have created double-sided shiny satin. This feels incredible against the skin but is, understandably, more expensive.
There are different kinds of satin: duchess satin, satin faconne, slipper satin and delustered satin. These have different thickness and weight, and even flexibility. Because of this, seamstreses must choose the satin carefully, considering the drape and the use of the garment.
Satin is sometimes used as a lining, especially with slightly “irritating” fabrics such as wool or velvet. It is a favorite fabric for formal dresses and wedding dresses (a heavier satin, such as duchess satin, is required). For softer drape satin jacquard is preferred.