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Satin: discover the luxury and versatility of this ancient fabric

4 min

Chic, sensual, and with its own sparkle, satin has a lot of history to tell and is back on the catwalks and hangers.


Satin fabric is known for its unmatched shine, texture, and elegance, which have stood out in fashion and decoration for millennia. From his creation in Asia and his appearance in Europe, he started to dress the royalty of the West, became more popular with the advance of textile technology, was a protagonist in prom dresses, and even became a symbol of sensuality with the creation of the first lingerie.


Marilyn Monroe wears a stunning satin dress

Marilyn Monroe wears a stunning satin dress in the 1953 film How to marry a millionaire.


Forgotten in time in the fashion world, satin recently shone again and is the star of any look, from the party to everyday life, giving a more chic air to the compositions.

Want to know more about using satin in fashion? Read on, find out a lot more about it, and get inspired to create your next collection!


What is the satin fabric?

Satin is a fabric of intense shine and soft and buttery texture, used in the making of clothes, for the most diverse occasions, and in decoration, in upholstery and bedding, always giving luxury to the look of the pieces. It is a fabric made from raw materials such as silk, cotton, or even synthetic materials.

satin fabric


What many people do not know is that satin, despite being popularly known in this way, is not material. Satin, in fact, is the definition of a type of weft for making this fabric, known for its shine, texture, and elegance.

The shiny (right) and opaque (reverse) faces are the results of numerous repetitions of warp yarns, woven across, and weft yarns, woven lengthwise, in addition to their constant order and their separate connection points: while on one side of the fabric the warp prevails, on the other is the weft.


Ancient origin

The history of satin has been woven for more than 2,000 years, and began in China, more precisely in Qhanzhou. It is said to come from “Zaiton”, the Arabic name of the Chinese city, the origin of the word “satin”, although there is another explanation, attributing the Latin word “saeta” or “horsehair” as the true inspiration for the nomenclature, in reference to the brightness of the fine hair of the animal’s mane.

However, it is known that satin appeared in China, where it was very common to produce silk, the raw material used for this type of weaving. It was not uncommon to see peasant women making satin and the use of clothing made from the fabric was not restricted to the upper classes.


Court women preparing freshly woven silk

Court women preparing freshly woven silk, painting attributed to Emperor Huizong of the Song dynasty, a remake of the 8th century original by artist Zhang Xuan.


When this Chinese gem was no longer a secret, through negotiations between China, countries of Arab origin, and Europe, Italy was the first country in the West to produce satin, in the 12th century. In 200 years, this type of plot has spread throughout Europe and, at this point, silk was an expensive item and reserved for aristocrats and the clergy.


Fashionable satin and decoration

With the expansion of the use of satin throughout Europe, the fabric gained prominence as furniture upholstery, mainly in Versailles by Louis XIV. She was also in the nobility’s costumes, in luxurious and heavy dresses, mainly in models created for colder temperatures.

In the mid-19th century, the fabric became popular among brides after Queen Victoria married a satin dress – in fact, even though she was not a fashionista in her day, Victoria was responsible for shaping fashion in the Victorian era and already we talked about her white wedding dress in this post about tulle. At the same time, the ballerina’s pointe shoe appeared, also in satin.



Still in the XIX and at the turn of the 20th century, the concept of lingerie emerges as we know it today. Interestingly, the use of colored satin lingerie was initially attributed to prostitutes at the time, until it became popular and became part of the female wardrobe officially, in bras, panties, and corsets, with a greater appeal of beauty and sensuality, thanks to fashion advertising.

Textile technology made satin even more popular, which gained versions in synthetic materials such as rayon, making the product cheaper. Throughout the twentieth century, satin shone in sweaters, lingerie, wedding dresses, shirts, dresses, and other pieces, having little moments in oblivion and then returning to its glory as a fabric with an air of sophistication and sensuality.


Actress Mae West wearing a satin dress in 1937.

Actress Mae West wearing a satin dress in 1937.


The return of satin

Recently, in the midst of the nostalgic wave that invaded the catwalks and social networks, many vintage elements have entered our wardrobes. Satin was no different! Since the slip dress trend, back in 2015 and 2016, satin has been rehearsing its triumphant return and it seems that its time to shine again.


Skirts, dresses, shirts, and blouses with thin straps are among the pieces that entered the trend, combined with others that balance the look, such as sneakers, denim jackets, and accessories.

In addition to the looks for the day and for parties, satin is also present in homewear and sleepwear, current trends in social isolation, and in the home office, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Satin types

Of course, the variety of materials with which satin is made also provides different effects and different applications. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right type of satin, considering the fit you want in the piece, the modeling, the quality, the look, among others.

Satin also calls for attention because it is very slippery, requiring a little more practice in sewing. It is worth mentioning that satin, in general, marks the details of the body and that is why it is important that the modeling and sewing are perfect.

Know now the main types of satin:


Duchess Satin

It is a type of heavier satin, great for composing wedding dresses and haute couture pieces. It is usually dyed in solid colors and has a little less shine. Made of silk, acetate, or polyester.


Satin Bucol

Very similar to Duchess, bucolic satin is also used for bridal and haute couture outfits, but it is a little heavier than the first.


Changeant Satin

It is a type of satin that has a very beautiful effect, with warp and weft in different colors. The two colors change with each other according to the angle at which you look.


Charmeuse Satin

It has super shine light trim, and smooth texture. It is widely used for linings for casual and party clothes, decoration, and even as linings for other pieces.

Satin silk touch

Thin, very shiny, light, and sophisticated, the satin touch of silk has a certain elasticity and provides comfort, while giving a flowing and delicate trim.


Satin Zebeline

On the one hand, the satin shine. On the other, there is the crepe. It is a full-bodied satin, heavier, and more structured.

Did you like to know more about satin and are you inspired to create your collection? How about starting using the best of technology to optimize time, save resources, and save the expense of a pilot piece? Talk to our consultant and learn how to make fashion in an audacious, technological, practical, and innovative way with the Audaces 360 tools.


Also check out our special post on Fabric Types from A to Z and get inspired by the colors of the chromatic circle for your next creations!


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