Satin and Polyester: What’s the Difference?

Are you confused about the difference between satin and polyester? You’re not alone. Many people are unsure about the characteristics of these two fabrics and how they compare to each other.


  • Satin is a type of weave, not a fiber. It can be made from a variety of materials, including silk, polyester, and nylon.
  • Polyester, on the other hand, is a synthetic fiber made from petroleum. It is often blended with other fibers, including cotton and silk, to create fabrics with different properties.
  • Satin has a glossy, smooth surface that is often associated with luxury and elegance. Polyester can also have a glossy finish, but it is not as soft or luxurious as satin.


  • Satin has a unique weave that creates a smooth, shiny surface on one side and a dull surface on the other. This weave is created by floating the warp threads over the weft threads, which gives the fabric its signature sheen.
  • Polyester can be woven in a variety of ways, including satin weaves. Polyester satin has a similar appearance to silk satin, but it is generally less expensive and more durable.


  • Satin is often used in clothing and bedding, particularly for evening gowns, lingerie, and pillowcases. It is also used in upholstery and drapery.
  • Polyester is used in a wide range of applications, including clothing, sportswear, and upholstery. It is often used as a cheaper alternative to natural fibers like cotton and silk.

Understanding the differences between satin and polyester can help you choose the right fabric for your needs. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious evening gown or a durable pair of workout pants, knowing the characteristics of these fabrics can help you make an informed decision.

What is Satin?


Satin is a type of fabric that is known for its glossy and shiny surface. It is created using a weaving technique that produces a smooth and lustrous finish on one side of the fabric. Satin can be made from a variety of fibers, including silk, polyester, nylon, and rayon.

Types of Satin

There are several types of satin, including:

  • Silk Satin: This type of satin is made from natural silk fibers, which gives it a luxurious appearance and feel. It is often used for evening gowns, lingerie, and other high-end clothing items.
  • Polyester Satin: Polyester satin is made from synthetic fibers, which makes it more durable and easier to care for than silk satin. It is often used for sportswear, activewear, and other clothing items that require moisture-wicking properties.
  • Charmeuse: Charmeuse is a type of satin that is made from a lightweight and drapey fabric, such as silk or polyester. It is often used for blouses, shirts, and other clothing items that require a soft and flowing texture.

Properties of Satin

Satin has several unique properties that make it a popular fabric for clothing, bedding, and upholstery. These properties include:

  • Softness: Satin has a soft and smooth texture that feels luxurious against the skin.
  • Shiny Surface: Satin has a glossy surface that reflects light, giving it a shiny appearance.
  • Lightweight: Satin is a lightweight fabric, which makes it ideal for clothing items that require a flowing and drapey texture.
  • Moisture-Wicking: Some types of satin, such as polyester satin, have moisture-wicking properties that make them ideal for sportswear and activewear.
  • Durable: Satin is a durable fabric that can withstand regular washing and wear without losing its shape or texture.

What is Polyester?


It is created through a chemical process that involves the reaction of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. The resulting polymer is then spun into fibers, which can be used to create a variety of different products.

Types of Polyester

There are several different types of polyester, each with its own unique properties and characteristics. Some of the most common types of polyester include:

  • PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) – This is the most common type of polyester and is often used in clothing, bedding, and other textile products.
  • PCDT (Poly-1, 4-cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate) – This type of polyester is often used in sportswear and activewear due to its high strength and durability.
  • PTT (Polytrimethylene terephthalate) – This type of polyester is known for its softness and is often used in lingerie and other intimate apparel.

Properties of Polyester

  • Durability – Polyester is known for its strength and durability, making it a popular choice for products that will be subjected to wear and tear.
  • Softness – Some types of polyester, such as PTT, are known for their softness and comfort.
  • Shiny – Polyester has a shiny appearance that can be used to create a variety of different effects in clothing and other textile products.
  • Breathability – Polyester is a breathable fabric that allows air to circulate, making it a good choice for summer clothing and bedding.
  • Wrinkle-resistant – Polyester is resistant to wrinkles, making it a good choice for clothing and bedding that will be subjected to frequent washing and drying.

Satin vs. Polyester

Differences in Material

Satin has a luxurious look and feel, making it a great choice for fancy apparel like evening gowns, lingerie, or scarves. It can be created from several different fibers, such as silk, nylon, or rayon, whereas polyester fabrics are exclusively made from polyester fibers.

Polyester, on the other hand, is often used in sportswear, activewear, and affordable clothing due to its durability and moisture-wicking properties.

Differences in Properties

Satin and polyester also differ in their properties. Satin fabrics are breathable and comfortable, but they require delicate care to maintain their glossy appearance.

In terms of strength, polyester is stronger than satin and can retain its shape better. Satin fabrics also have a higher thread count than polyester fabrics, which contributes to their luxurious feel.

Differences in Care

Satin and polyester fabrics require different care. Satin fabrics should be hand washed or dry cleaned to maintain their glossy surface and softness. They should not be machine washed or dried, as this can damage the fibers and cause them to lose their shine.

Satin fabrics are also more prone to staining and should be treated immediately to prevent permanent damage. Polyester fabrics are more stain-resistant and can withstand harsher cleaning agents. However, polyester fabrics should not be exposed to high heat, as this can cause the fibers to melt.

When choosing between the two, consider the intended use and care requirements to ensure the longevity of the fabric.

Uses of Satin and Polyester

In Clothing

It is also commonly used for lingerie and sleepwear, as well as blouses and skirts. Polyester, on the other hand, is often used for more casual clothing, such as T-shirts and athletic wear, due to its durability and moisture-wicking properties.

  • Satin robes and pajamas for a comfortable, luxurious sleepwear option
  • Polyester athletic wear for moisture management during exercise
  • Satin blouses and skirts for a dressy, elegant look
  • Polyester T-shirts and hoodies for comfortable, everyday wear

In Bedding

  • Satin sheets and pillowcases for a luxurious, silky feel
  • Polyester sheets and comforters for an affordable, low-maintenance bedding option
  • Satin or polyester bedspreads and duvet covers for a stylish, coordinated look

In Upholstery

  • Polyester outdoor furniture cushions for durability and weather resistance
  • Satin decorative pillows and curtains for a luxurious, elegant look
  • Polyester car seats and boat covers for easy maintenance and durability

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious bedding option, comfortable sleepwear, or durable outdoor furniture, these fabrics have you covered.

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