Satin VS. Silk Fabric: Detailed Comparison Between Them

​​​​Both silk and satin have been well-known throughout history to symbolize luxury. From the monarchies of ancient times to the modern gala nights - we have seen their dominance in every era.

Being a symbol of aristocracy has made them two of the most indisputably desirable materials for clothing, interior decor and more.

But what if you have to choose between the two? Is there even any difference between silk and satin fabric? Let’s find out all the details right here!

A Brief About Silk Fabric

Silk is well-known as one of the strongest fibers procured from natural resources. The larvae of certain insects produce cocoons which are then processed to make this fabric. Among these insects, the most prominent one is, of course, the one named after silk - silkworm.

From the ancient days of China, silk has been in use for its glamorous and glimmering appearance.

Especially, when put in light, its lustrous texture draws everyone’s attention around you. That is why silk is a popular choice for grand ceremonies like weddings, award nights and similar extravagant events.

Advantages of Silk Fabric

Natural Strength

As a fabric, silk exhibits an impressive amount of strength. Some have also claimed it to be stronger than steel!

You may have a hard time believing it since the fabric is incredibly soft and delicate to the touch. However, spiders have relied on its strength to catch their prey!

The webs they make consist of silk which can capture even small flying birds!

This lightweight spider silk is strong enough to be used instead of steel cables for armor. As a result, soldiers have more room for flexibility.

Temperature Regulation

Most natural fibers are breathable and therefore great choices for those days of extreme heat or cold. It functions as a natural regulator to keep your body at the most optimum temperature.

In the hot weather, silk gets rid of the excess heat accumulated inside. On the colder days, it keeps you warm and cozy by retaining the body temperature. So you can feel comfortable no matter what weather or season it is!


One of the most prominent reasons behind the popularity of silk in bedsheets, pillows and similar sleeping items is its hypoallergenic quality. It works wonders for people with sensitive skin or allergies who struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Linen and similar materials make their experiences more frustrating.

In such scenarios, silk can be a sustainable option to mitigate the irritating nature. Its main source of the cocoon is naturally designed to keep dust mites and similar beings away. So the end product of silk sheets and pillows also protect you from those mites ensuring sound sleep.

Hair Volume

You must have heard the advertisements claiming a product to make your hair “silky” smooth. The fabric of silk does really help your hair attain that lustrous texture by keeping it moisturized and detangled.

Compared to cotton, pillowcases made out of silk guarantee lesser hair fall and splits. This material allows the strands to slide instead of twisting them into knots. You can also invest in a silk scarf and wear it before going to bed if you don’t want to change the current pillow covers.

Healthier Skin

Along with hair, silk can make your skin better by keeping it smooth, bright and hygienic. Sleeping on silk will hydrate your facial skin which prevents it from getting flaky, especially during winter. Besides, this also contributes to keeping the skin toned since moisture prevents wrinkles and dullness.

Disadvantages of Silk Fabric

Low Durability

Unfortunately, the luscious beauty of silk fabric does not last long. Its soft texture gets affected by stains, discoloration and tears easily. As a result, you will need to store it carefully if you want to use the item for years to come. Supervised washing and proper maintenance can resolve its durability issues.

Animal Cruelty

The most heartbreaking aspect for many animal lovers is how this beautiful fabric is really made. Millions of silkworms sacrifice themselves on a regular basis to meet the huge demands of silk clothes. The process of its production requires to boil the cocoon worms alive which surely hurts people who value nature.


Since it takes about a thousand silkworms to make just one thread of silk, this fabric is one of the most expensive options in the market. Besides, it often needs to be imported from Asian countries which raises the overall production cost. As a result, you may need to save up for your favorite picks made in this fabric.

A Brief About Satin Fabric

The satin fabric is another option for those of you who like it shiny. However, instead of being glossy on both sides, satin shines only from one.

Its weave is considered among the three fundamental categories along with twill and plain. You can spot it easily because of the four or more warp yarns floating over one weft yarn and vice versa. By utilizing this signature weave with silk, nylon and polyester fibers, the satin fabric is produced.

Advantages of Satin Fabric


Satin does wonders for improving the quality of your skin and hair. This fabric does not absorb moisture like many other popular garment materials like cotton. As a result, you can rest on a satin pillowcase or bedsheet in peace without worrying about losing moisture overnight.

By switching to satin pieces for sleeping, you can also maintain an enviable volume of hair. It does not produce friction between the hair strands and the pillowcase. As a result, you can avoid split ends and excessive hairfall.

Your face will also seem brighter since satin prevents pulling its skin and thus prevents wrinkles. Both hair and skin can retain their natural moisture this way throughout the night.

Smooth Texture

Another reason so many people prefer satin bedding is its smooth texture. Who would not want the most relaxing part of their day to be enhanced further with the soft and cozy feeling against their skin?

Because of its soft and smooth surface, satin is also frequently used for sleepwear and delicate undergarments.

Good for Draping

Even though one surface of the satin fabric dons a shiny slippery look, the other side is dull. This gives you one of the rare options to make a draped decoration without sacrificing the glamour. Its lightweight structure of alternating textures is very convenient for preparing those drapes.

Comfort in Hotter Seasons

You can rely on a satin outfit to reduce your sufferings on a hot day. Be it in spring or summer, this fabric can keep your skin cool and refreshed to a decent level. Besides, you can make the sweating nights more bearable as well by investing in some satin sheets.

Economical Luxury

Compared to similar glossy fabric choices, satin comes at a much more affordable price point. This enables the consumers on a budget to get the luxurious feeling of high-quality shiny garments at an economical cost. You don’t have to break the bank to feel glamorous at an exclusive event anymore!

Disadvantages of Satin Fabric

Difficult Sewing

Although the back of a satin fabric piece is manageable, the front on which seamstresses usually work is quite slippery. As a result, sewing on this surface becomes quite difficult unless they use a sewing frame to keep it in place. Constant slipping of needles may result in crooked hemlines.

Besides, the fine weave of satin makes the sewing mistakes quite prominent. This is why we do not recommend satin for the amateur seamstresses or tailors to practice their craftsmanship.

Tricky to Iron

Although steam iron is a popular method to get rid of wrinkles on clothes, doing it on satin or similar fabric gets a little tricky.

The delicate surface of satin is prone to water spots which will definitely reduce its desirability. These spots occur when steam from iron gets into the non-absorbing material of satin and leave marks even after the cloth is dried.Here we listed our favorite iron for quilting.

Comparing Silk Fabric vs Satin Fabric


Both satin and silk are extremely popular in the apparel industry for their shiny appearance. They help the popular figures rock the red carpet looks and help the masses to leave a lasting impression on their special days.

Evening gowns, blouses, shirts, neckties, undergarments and even some shoes are made out of satin. On the other hand, silk has been used in formal dresses, couture clothes, lingerie, suits, pajamas and more.

Other than garments, both of them are good choices for upholstery, furnishing, draping and bedding items. Silk helps in rugs, wall coverings, parachutes, skin treatments and more!

Historical Significance

Silk has its roots in ancient China of 6000 BC whereas satin was first synthesized in the Middle Ages.

The Chinese emperors used silk for only themselves but eventually, its commercial potential could not be ignored. So after establishing itself as a remarkable and luxurious fabric in China, silk slowly spread around the world.

It became quite a phenomenon in the Middle East, Europe, North America, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Bangladesh throughout numerous eras. Hence the famous trade route called Silk Road came into being.

Later silk was used to produce satin which was mainly used by rich people because of its costly production. Consequently, the Arab world and Europe started to mass-produce satin for ensuring its widespread use.

Production and Environmental Effects

Satin is produced artificially by synthesizing silk, nylon and polyester. In contrast, silk is created from harvesting the natural sources of cocoons holding larvae.

In the age of awareness, it is hard to ignore the animal cruelty necessary for silk production. This process known as sericulture leaves a much larger carbon and water footprint than any other natural fiber production.

Comparatively, satin doesn’t seem to have such a massive adverse effect on the environment since it can be made from synthetic fibers.


In many cases, no one will be able to tell the difference if you keep satin and silk fabric of the same color side by side. However, silk is slightly more luminous than satin. Additionally, satin has a dull surface on the back while silk has the same texture on both sides. Their weaving styles are also different.


Between the two fabric options, sating is more difficult to wash since it can stretch or shrink easily when in contact with hot water. In comparison, silk has a better resistance against hot water because its fiber strength is higher.

Nevertheless, it is better to hand-wash the products made from either of these fibers with cold water. But remember to keep the wringing to a minimum so that the texture remains unharmed.


You can find satin half the price of silk or even lower. Such a stark difference exists in their price points since making one strand of silk requires squirming thousands of worms. In contrast, satin can be made from synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester. As a result, the production cost is much lower for satin.

Bottom Line - Which One is For You?

Difference between silk and satin fabric isn’t much. While both the fabrics of satin and silk offer almost similar benefits, satin seems to be the winner ultimately. It offers the same luxurious appearance and soft feel at a much more affordable price.

Besides, developing satin does not require any animal cruelty. All the manufacturer needs are synthetic fibers. Other than these two factors, they bring you the same perks of moisturized skin and healthier hair. Washing either of them requires some attention.

However, if you want sophisticated glamor for a high-voltage event, one formal gown made of silk is all you will need!

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