Satin, Sateen and Silk

by Sierra Neale

There is often confusion between what is silk, satin or sateen, if satin and silk are interchangeable terms and if sateen is a fancy way of saying satin. These are all incorrect! Satin and sateen are actually two different types of weaves and silk is a type of fiber. So a satin fabric is not always made out of silk, but silk yarns can be woven into a fabric in either satin or sateen weave constructions.


Silk is a filament and protein fiber that is derived from the cocoons of silk worms. Fibers are categorized based on where the fiber is derived from and its length. 

In terms of length, there are staple fibers which are short and filament fibers which are long and continuous in length. In terms of the sources of fibers, fibers sourced from natural origins can be from plant sources (cellulosic) or protein (from animal sources). Cotton and linen are examples of cellulosic fibers, whereas wool and silk are protein fibers. Both cellulosic and protein fibers are absorbent and easy to dye.

Silk doesn’t use Thread Count and GSM but “momme” to refer to quality. Our Valeron® Estate 100% Silk Sheet Set & Pillowcases are 19 momme, made in Turkey and woven in a sateen weave. The combination of the sateen weave and luxurious silk fibers give these sheets a beautifully subtle sheen and (literally) silky soft hand feel.

Valeron® Estate 100% Silk Window Panels are available in both single and double widths. These sumptuous window panels are crafted in Turkey out of Dupioni silk and feature not just a 100% cotton liner but also a 100% brushed cotton flannel interliner. The subtle sheen of the silk and elegant color assortment make these the perfect accent for any interior.

Satin and Sateen

Woven fabrics are made up of two sets of yarns interlacing with each other: the warp and the weft. The warp is the set that run vertically along the loom and the weft run horizontally. Satin and sateen are two different types of weaves. The below diagrams illustrate examples satin and sateen; the grey represent the warp yarns and the black represent the weft.

Satin is a warp faced weave, meaning the warp yarns have more coverage on the face of the fabric. The warp yarns have more coverage on the face due to the uneven structure of the weave. This creates a sheen and gives the fabric’s surface a shiny and smooth appearance on the face. A satin weave is characterized by having at least four warp yarns floating over a single weft yarn as illustrated in the above diagram on the left. Satin should not be confused with sateen, as it is the opposite of sateen.

Sateen is also a durable fabric structure which is why it is often used to for sheets. Like satin it also has an uneven construction, however, in sateen the the weft yarns have more coverage on the face of the fabric. This creates a subtle sheen and gives the fabric’s surface a smooth, soft hand feel.

One of our new arrivals, the Brielle Home 300 Thread Count TENCEL™ Lyocell Sateen Sheets is available in five colors. The combination of its 300 thread count, sateen weave construction and TENCEL™ Lyocell fiber content make this sheet unbelievably silky soft and perfect for year round use.

 We also have cotton sateen sheets in different thread counts.  Brielle Home 300 Thread Count 100% Cotton Sateen Sheet Set and Brielle Home 400 Thread Count 100% Cotton Sateen Sheet Set are both OEKO-TEX® certified and have smooth hand feels that gets softer after each wash.  

 Brielle Home 300 Thread Count 100% Viscose from Bamboo Sateen Sheet Set is made with 100% viscose from bamboo fiber, has a soft hand and is perfect weight for use year round.


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