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History of Satin Fabric



As previously mentioned, satin is a kind of weave while silk is the raw material. Traditionally, weavers will spin silk threads in a ratio of 4:1, 4 warp threads to 1 weft threads. It is this 4:1 ratio which gives the satin fabric the “floating characteristics”. However, nowadays you can find the satin fabric is a wide variety of materials.

Difference between Satin and Sateen (Source:

Most common materials used for satin fabric include rayon, wool, nylon and other blends of synthetic fibers as well. There is also another variation of satin fabric using cotton, called sateen. We will discuss sateen in another post. Therefore, today, we will learn more about the history of satin fabric.




Before we go through the history, we must first learn about the term satin and its origins. Satin, is actually derived from the Arabic word, Zaitun. Zaitun is the Arabic name for a port city in China, which is Quanzhou. It is from Quanzhou that satin fabric originates and a lot of people went there to do trading.

Modern-day Quanzhou (Source:

At that time, satin dresses and clothes were only available to those belonging to the upper class, royalty and the likes. However, silk was widely cultivated during those times. Due to the demand of satin fabric, almost everyone in Quanzhou at that time could weave satin. By the late 2nd Millenium, every lady in town was wearing satin.

History of silk cultivation (Source:



However, the technique of weaving silk is not common and remain a secret until it passed down through countries like Japan, India, Korea and the rest of south-east Asia. By the 11th or 12th century, Italy began to weave their own satin fabric. From Italy, the whole of Europe started to gain access to the Satin fabric as well.

King Louis 14th of France. the pioneer of using satin (Source:


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