Polyester vs Satin: Difference Between Polyester and Satin

The world is full of differences. If it wasn’t, imagine how boring the place would be. All the girls looking the same, all the guys having the same looks and all the clothes would be the same. No one would care about being creative and innovative which means we might have been stuck in a prehistoric environment. Not good.

The main difference between polyester and satin is that the latter item is a man-made fiber. The former item is a style of weave designed to create a smoother feeling fabric. Polyester fibers can be used to create a satin yarn or material but the reverse is not true.

To learn more about the differences between polyester and satin just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can choose your fabrics wisely and be creative as well as innovative.

Difference Between Polyester And Satin

These terms are used a lot in the fashion and sewing worlds. Each item described by those terms have a different purpose and produce different types of products. Both are fashionable as well as decorative but there are differences.

Here is a quick comparison chart to help you see those differences in a flash:

Polyester Satin
1. Made from petroleum products and is a synthetic fabric Made from different fabrics because this is a style of weave and not a fabric
2. Can come with a dull or shiny look Usually has a good glossy side and a dull back side
3. Is used in a variety of different products Used only with fabrics to create a different look
4. Is made into a variety of different clothing with few limits to its design Usually reserved for jackets, athletic shorts, women’s lingerie, nightgowns,blouses, evening gowns and men’s shorts, ties and sirts
5. Can be used to create furniture Cannot be used on furniture upholstery
6. Very cheap in cost Depending on which fabric it is made from its cost varies

What is Polyester?


We know you get bored by seeing the same sections on every web page on polyester and other fabrics. We do too, but in this case, these sections are very important to help illustrate the difference between the two materials.

As you know, polyester is man-made and comes from petroleum products and chemicals that can harm the environment. Polyester can be woven or knitted once it is spun into its different fibers.

It makes for a good blend fabric to cut the cost of 100% natural materials as well as to import polyester’s resistance to wrinkles, shrinking, and fading. Two of polyester’s weak points are breathing and fire. It does not breathe that well due to the tightness of the weave or knit.

It also burns fairly easily which is why you do not want to wear this fabric near open flames. Its application is almost unlimited and goes far beyond clothing. Another drawback is that it is not as soft as natural fibers and it can look and feel artificial when wearing it.

What is Satin?

This fabric is hard to compare with polyester as it can be made from that material. It is also made from silk, nylon and cotton and other natural fibers. This material is the result of the different fibers used and is not a true material like polyester, silk, or nylon.

It is a weave style that makes it hard to compare with polyester. When made of that fabric it should have all the strengths and weaknesses found in polyester and do keep it from an open flame.

Satin is made with a luster or glossy finish on one side and that is due to the weave style. That style includes 4 weft threads going over a single warp thread and then 4 warp threads going over a single weft thread.

This style of weaving creates that nice sheen seen on one side of the fabric when it is completed. The other side of satin does not look as good and is often described as having a dull finish.

This material’s application is not as extensive as polyester’s but it has a good variety of clothing products it can do well in as well as doing a good job in making your bed look good.

Is Satin The Same as Polyester?


The best answer that can be given to that question is ‘only when the satin products are made from polyester fibers.’ other than that, the satin products will carry the properties and characteristics of the fibers it is made from.

That means that if it is made from silk or cotton and other natural fibers, it may shrink, wrinkle, or crease on you. Unless it is treated to prevent those laundry issues. When made from polyester it should carry a nice sheen but it will be all synthetic and have some harsh chemicals included in its construction.

While polyester fibers can be soft, they are not as soft as natural fibers and may still have that artificial look that polyester is known to have when made into a satin style of fabric. The feel may be more artificial as well.

Natural satin fabrics may not launder as well as polyester fabrics so it is going to be up to your preferences which one you will go with when you want to spruce up your table, bedding, or wardrobe.

Polyester vs Satin Tablecloths

A lot would depend on the event you are planning. Satin style tablecloths provide an elegant look to any setting and are perfect for when your wedding has a satin theme to it. Those tablecloths make any table look better.

Polyester tablecloths would be more durable than the satin ones but they lack the pop that satin brings. Also, the polyester material would be cheaper to buy or rent because polyester is just cheaper than most other fabrics.

Or you can do a combination of both fabrics and have the decor pop while being ready for almost any dinner time accident that is bound to take place. A polyester tablecloth protects while satin runners add the decor and creativity.

In the end, it will be your decision and your budget. The only thing you will lose using polyester over sating is durability unless you use a poly sating tablecloth. Then you get the best of both worlds-- looks and durability.

Polyester vs Satin Sheets


In this case, you will want to go with satin over polyester. Not because they are more expensive but for several fabrics, with one being that polyester is not known to breathe that well. That applies to clothe as well as sheets.

You may stay warmer with polyester sheets in the winter, but you may overheat in the summer. Satin, especially silk satin sheets, are better for those night sweats and for feeling good when it is time to sleep.

Satin has that luxurious and smooth feel that polyester lacks. You can feel like a queen when sleeping between well-made satin bed sheets. You may be more comfortable as well but that comfort level often has more to do with the thread count than the style of weave.

The higher the thread count the more comfortable the sheets. That is one of the factors to look for when you are buying new sheets. Get the highest thread count you can afford. Sadly, the price goes up when the thread count and comfort does.

The other area where polyester may reign in this comparison is laundry time. Polyester may be easier to clean than satin sheets. Read the labels to make sure and buy the one that fits your lifestyle, preference, and budget the best.

What is Polyester Satin?

Besides the obvious, polyester satin is supposed to be a great draping fabric that is perfect for inexpensive evening gowns. There should be little static cling as this fabric is designed to drape not cling to your body as normal polyester does.

The material comes in a variety of colors and designs to make you look stunning all evening long. Then it carries the durability of polyester so the material should last you a long time while being easier to clean. Some of these poly satin fabrics may need hand washing or dry cleaning only so check the labels to make sure.

The drawback to this material is that it does not breathe very well so you may want to keep the temperatures on the low side. Plus, it can feel brittle and hard at times. This is in contrast to the way silk satin feels and breathes.

The main claim to fame for poly-satin is that it is not expensive. It can look like you are wearing silk but for at least the third of the cost or more. Also, poly satin does not have the same healthy properties for your skin that silk satin contains.

Satin Polyester Fabric Blend


When you decide to blend poly satin fibers with other fibers you are only enriching the satin material and adding better properties to the mix enhancing your look and the style of the gown.

The polyester fibers in and of themselves will be more artificial in feel and look. By adding silk, cotton, or other natural fibers you are reducing that artificial nature and making the blend softer, more luxurious, and more breathable.

You are also making the satin material more durable and strong when polyester fibers re-added to silk or cotton sating weaves. A nylon and polyester satin blend may be good for some activewear items but again you should watch how close you get to open flames.

Both materials are prone to catch on fire with nylon melting on you first before bursting into flames. The cost of adding synthetic materials to the natural ones used to make this fabric should come down as synthetic is always cheaper than natural fibers.

Pros And Cons of Satin

While satin is made from different fibers it still has its own list of positive and negative aspects. Here are some of those to help you see why satin is often the preferred fabric of fashion designers.


  • It is a lightweight material.
  • It is a lightweight material.
  • It is a lightweight material.
  • It can drape well and flatter a majority of body types.
  • The fabric provides a contrasting look from other materials it is used with.
  • Comes with a nice sheen to upgrade any bedroom or clothing item.
  • Can be used for sportswear, medical and industrial uses as well as bedding and home decor looks.
  • Has a glamorous look.
  • Catches the light well and reflects that light in a sophisticated way.
  • Is great for period costumes and other unique outfits you like to wear.


  • Not for beginners who are learning how to sew.
  • Comes with a slippery texture that is sometimes hard to control.
  • The weave will show needle holes.
  • The fabric does snag, have loose threads and scratches that ruin the material.
  • It is very delicate if made from silk and ruins easily.
  • Hard to clean and are usually dry clean only material.
  • Can catch fire very easily and not good for children’s costumes.
  • It can unravel on you quite easily.

Some Final Words

Polyester certainly has its uses but when placed side by side with satin materials you should be able to see the difference. Satin, even when made from polyester, just looks better than polyester does.

Then when it is made from silk or cotton its glamorous style just reaches new levels. Sating is a wonderful fabric to wear when you want to impress everyone with your sense of taste, good looks, and sophisticated style.

Satin works great for bedding and makes sleeping more enjoyable.

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