What is the difference between silk and satin?

Silk and satin – often get confused for each other, they look similar but what are the differences between the two? Despite their similar appearance the biggest difference is that satin is a weave and not a natural fibre, whereas silk is a natural fibre fabric.

Silk Characteristics

Silk is a type of fabric that is made from the larva of silkworms, especially the bombyx moi species. Silk is more luxurious and as expected more expensive. This is because of the quality of fibres used to make the fabric, and it’s a more time-consuming fibre to manage.

Its reported that the larvae feed on leaves for 40 days and then spin a pod around themselves to pupate. This ‘pod’ is made of high protein fluid which then can then be made into a silk thread. A single cocoon can produce a high level of raw silk threads. The method is completely natural and a dedicate process that dates back to as early as 6000 BC.

The first reports of silk originate in China – but is produced all over the world today. Once a very exclusive fabric, now it’s widely used for luxury items such as scarfs, gowns, home goods and nightwear. Even though its more popular today, producing silk is still a long tedious process. It is possible to get synthetic artificial silk, but it does not have the same wow factor as the real version.

Silk is a versatile fabric, delicate yet durable. Strong but breathable and insulating, it’s also great for those who have sensitive skin because of its organic non-irritating natural state.

Satin Characteristics

Satin can be made from natural or synthetic fibres. The type of fabric used will reflect the quality and price. Satin is cheaper than its natural counterpart.

Satin can be made from:

• Silk

• Cotton

• Nylon

• Polyester

• Rayon

• Acetate

• Viscose

Satin fabric is traditionally known and recognised for its glossy appearance, similar to silk. The inexpensive and easier to maintain shimmery textile is popular for use in the manufacture of clothing, interior design and costumes.

The thickness of the fabric will vary depending on the fibre content and degree of yarn twist. The quality also is related to the thickness of the satin weave. They way in which the fabrics are woven give the signature glossy finish. You will often notice that satin has one shiny side and a dull side, that is a result of the waving process.

Both silk and satin are brilliant fabrics, Here at Whaleys Fabrics, we sell over 90 varieties of silk and over 30 of satin – so you will not be spoilt for choice. Unsure which will be most suitable for your project? Get in touch with one of our expert team today who will be happy to assist. Check out our range of silk fabric and satin fabric today.