Satin fabric is a fabric that comes with a distinctive weave. It creates a smooth and shiny appearance. The satin weave is characterized by warp-faced weaving techniques wherein the warp yarns are floated over weft yarns. This floating technique invariably explains the distinctive, even sheen of satin. The high number of floats and low number of tucks creates a high amount of reflectivity for the fabric, which is why satin fabrics are known for their shining appearance. There are a few variations of this type of weave, which produce slightly differing fabrics. However, all satin fabrics are characterized by a glossy and buttery soft front and dull, un-reflective back.
Satin is actually a very ancient fabric, prized for many centuries by aristocrats and the upper classes around the world. It was first produced and widely used in China and other far eastern countries. Eventually, it reached various western countries as well, where it was highly prized for its beautiful appearance and smooth texture. Over time, it became a staple part of luxurious western fashion and was considered to be the finest of all fabrics by many. Hence, for western brides, the most popular fabric is bridal satin fabric, which is used to make their dress and bridal shoes. The soft, smooth sheen of the fabric combined with its beautiful and elegant drape makes it the preferred fabric for special occasions. It remains a very luxurious and somewhat high fashion fabric even today, used to produce all types of clothes, furnishings and covers. Satin has today come full circle as it has recently become popular even in countries like India where it was previously present but not really used for clothing. The influence of western fashion is largely responsible for this recent popularity of satin in Indian culture and clothing.
There are many different types of satin fabrics, based on the raw material used to make the yarns going into the weave. Many believe that silk satin fabric is the only ‘true’ or pure type of satin. Silk has been used to make satin for many centuries because of its inherently shiny and soft nature, which suits the satin weave. Artificial or manufactured fabrics like polyester or nylon are also frequently used, as they also have the softness and sheen required. Polyester satin fabric is somewhat less expensive than the silk version and is therefore used to make more affordable clothing. Cotton satin fabric is also a more affordable version of this fabric, which many purists believe should not be considered satin at all, but instead should be called ‘sateen’. Cotton is mercerized to give it a greater sheen before being woven into satin.
Satin fabric comes in a plethora of gorgeous colors, designs and patterns and is largely preferred for formal or party wear clothes owing to its unmistakable sheen, which makes it entirely inappropriate for casual occasions. Even in ethnic wear, this is quite a preserved trend as women will mostly find satin to make gorgeous, glossy party wear sarees,layered lehenga cholis, evening wear anarkali suits and so on. This also means that satin, in this ethnic context, might come decorated with some type of ethnic embellishments and embroidery. Embroidered satin fabric has an unforgettable kind of beauty as the contrast of the delicate and beautiful designs against the soft glow of satin creates a truly sublime effect. Satin fabric is also used to create more modern, designer garments in which the silhouette, structure and sheen of the garment is more important than the embroidery. Here, the satin fabric itself becomes the main visual and aesthetic appeal of the garment.
Satin is available in different colors and ethnic wear garments. It need not necessarily be in the colorful shades that is the norm in ethnic fashion. Women can find sarees and salwar kameez made with pink, pale yellow, light green as well grey, brown, beige, white or black satin fabric.
Trends and Styles in Satin Fabric
Satin occupies a very high place in western fashion and its luxury value is such that it can never really go out of fashion. This is not the case in ethnic fashion, where the use of satin is a relatively a contemporary trend. Satin garments like satin sarees, anarkali suits and lehenga cholis are associated with high fashion glamour and are often spotted on red carpets and runways. Satin sarees, in particular, have become extremely popular. Their slinky yet heavily draped look makes them the perfect saree to pair with halter neck blouses and net sleeve blouses. When styling satin fabrics, heavy Indian jewelry should be avoided as it really does not match well with this type of fabric. Instead, pearl necklaces and diamond earrings can clinch it for you.