You may have gone shopping for bed sheets online or in-store and you might have come across the terms “sateen” and “satin”. The difference between satin and sateen can seem confusing and murky unless you have googled the differences between the two. If you are considering buying either one of the fabrics for your bed sheets in Singapore, satin or sateen, what is the difference?
The word “satin” or “sateen” do not refer to the name of a fiber. They instead refer to the weave of the fabric. Their shared similarity is their unique weaving pattern where both fabrics are weaved based on four threads over and one thread under; traditional weaving is one thread over and one thread under. This unique weaving maximises the visible threads on the top side of the fabric providing the well-known lustrous feel and elegant softness and shine.
Satin is made from 100% silk thread. However, for durability and cost effectiveness, satin bed sheets are mostly made from nylon or polyester or a blend of all three. Satin made from synthetic fibre is does not wick moisture effectively like silk, even though the effect of the fabric is much the same. To tell the difference between the two, simply ask the store or look at the price. A pure silk satin costs a lot more. If you plan on buying a satin bed sheet, we recommend you feel the material before buying it online. Quality of satin can vary from cheap ultra flimsy to thick and luxurious.
Sateen on the other hand is entirely made from cotton and sometimes rayon. The cotton used for sateen is combed, carded or mercerized to produce the soft and lustrous effect of silk. A high-quality sateen is also luxurious like silk, but perhaps not as smooth as silk itself because it is afterall cotton. Sateen though is a more durable and tough material.
Sateen is machine washable. While satin is also machine washable, it depends on the blend of fibres. Frequently, satin has to be dry cleaned or hand-washed. Again, check with the store before making your purchase or to read the washing instruction label.
There are also colour alterations that could help you make your decision. Sateen can be dyed, bleached and also printed with consistency. However, satin can only be dyed in some cases and again, depends on the blend of fibres, it may require a more laborious process.