What Makes Antique Satin Different From Other Satin Fabrics?

In the first place, antique satin is not really an antique fabric. It may be vintage, having been invented in the 1950s but it is not an antique yet. The term just describes the sophisticated look the fabric has once it is woven correctly.

What makes antique satin different from other satin fabrics? One of the biggest differences is that the fibers are long and tightly woven so that it excels at draping and leaves the other satin materials far behind in this category. While it is stronger than other plain weave fabrics, it tends to snag easily and tear very quickly.

To learn more about antique satin just continue to read our article. It has the information you need in order to use this material in some of your finer sewing projects. Take a few moments to see these differences and fins where you can use the fabric in your sewing schedule.

Antique Satin Fabric Characteristics


Due to the arrangement of threads, one side of this material is duller than the other side. Yet, that does not stop the shiny side from glowing when made into some exquisite dresses or gowns.

Along with that characteristic, the material drapes better than most other kinds of fabrics. This is due to the way the fibers are densely packed. Because of the dense nature of the fibers, it is said that this material is stronger than all other plain weave fabrics.

However, that strength does not stop it from being easy to tear or snag. These elements are two of the weaknesses that are in this material. For most sewers, this fabric is a challenge to work with as its slippery texture makes the antique fabric very difficult to sew and work with.

Even with those challenges once your sewing project is done, your gown, etc., should look beautiful.

How Old is Satin?


It is hard to pin an exact date for when this material was first invented but Italy seems to have enjoyed it since the 12th century AD and China long before that. By the 14th century AD all of Europe was using this material and enjoying the look it gave the different clothing items it was used in.

The term satin was first used in the Middle ages and was used to describe a similar fabric called samite, which was a heavy silk material. The word satin is derived from a Chinese town called Zaitun.

However antique satin’s age is a lot easier to determine than regular satin as it was invented around the 1950s. This makes it centuries younger than its satin competitors. Almost all satin fabrics started by weaving silk fibers together in a plain weave fashion which made one side more glossy than the other.

Where Can I Buy Antique Satin?


We can’t possibly visit every fabric store or outlet so it is a bit of a guess on our part to say that you should be able to find the material at your locally owned fabric stores. They may have some in stock or may have to order in some material if your order is large enough.

If neither is the case, you may have to go to your local department store and see what materials they have on hand. Or you can skip those and go straight to the big box craft and fabric outlets like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and so on. They should have some in their stores but then they may have run out as well.

Wal Mart and Target seem to stock antique satin drapes but there was no mention if they sold the material by the yard or not. Then there are the online outlets like Amazon, Etsy, and other fabric stores that cut the price per yard down to size. They should have the material you need and in the quantity you need.

Can you Wash Antique Satin Drapes?


This material is said to be vulnerable to water and can get water stains quite easily. Plus, the direct sunlight can fade the color or change it so that it loses its luxurious look.

While some people have recommended hand washing with gentle laundry soap, cold water, and very gentle agitation. But the best way to clean antique satin is to send it off to the dry cleaners and let the professionals handle the chore.

This was the most recommended cleaning option as antique satin can be quite fickle and while it is strong, densely woven it can be quite vulnerable to tearing. When washing that is a risk that may happen more often than you may think. Handle with care no matter how you wash this material.

How to Clean Antique Satin Drapes


You can try to wash it in your washing machine using cold water, a gentle wash cycle, and a very mild detergent. However, the agitator may snag the material and cause some rips or tears during the process.

You do not dry the fabric in your dryer nor should you hang dry it. The material should be laid out flat on a clean towel out of direct sunlight and left to dry. Or you can take the easy way out and send the fabric off to the dry cleaners.

They have the expertise to handle delicate fabrics like antique satin and can make sure the process of dry cleaning does not harm the material. It is your choice how to clean it and if you decide to do it, handle the material with great care.

Some Final Words

Antique satin is not really that old. It is a recent invention to help provide sewers and fashion icons to look their best once the material is shaped into a nice gown. Unfortunately, it is still a fragile material that can ruin if handled or treated improperly.

The key is to make sure you wear the material on the right occasions where nothing will happen to your gown.

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