Difference Between Silk and Satin

Fabrics have always manifested to be charming and captivating, like silk and satin. Both these fabrics are glossy, smooth, and always appear to be the same but are fundamentally different. Although silk and satin are often interchangeable, they carry certain differences that may baffle us when perceived with the naked eye but are significant differences that distinguish the fabric.  

Silk vs Satin 

The main difference between silk and satin is that silk is a natural protein fiber whereas satin is a man-made fabric weave. Both of these have tremendous uses and are visually so similar that it perplexes us generally. They are often wrongly considered as one. Knowing the difference between silk and satin can prove to be useful in making choices.  

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Silk is a natural fiber produced by certain larvae to form cocoons and is comparatively older than satin. Silk is shiny from both sides justifying its glossy appearance. Silk is stronger than satin because of its natural production with limited raw materials and thus manifests to be costlier than satin.  

Satin, on the other hand, is a man-made weave made by using fibers like nylon, polyester, silk, etc. Satin is shiny from the outer side and has a dull back. Satin often appears glossy and lustrous in illuminating lights. Satin is delicate in comparison with silk as it is made up of intricate fibers.   

Comparison Table Between Silk and Satin   

Parameters of Comparison    Silk  Satin 
Origin    Natural    Man-made  
Texture    Shiny/ Glossy on both sides but not slippery Glossy surface dull back    
Strength    Stronger    Weaker  
Procedure    Sericulture    Twill Weaving    
Produced by    Insect Larvae    Nylon, Polyester, Silk   

What is Silk?  

As mentioned above silk is a naturally made fabric by the insect larvae, peculiarly the mulberry silkworm Bombyx Mori. Sericulture (silk farming) is the procedure by which silk is produced. Sericulture is a time-consuming long procedure.  

 In sericulture, the silkworms are raised in a suitable environment and are processed to produce fiber. These fibers are then combined to form silk thread. These threads are then woven into silk which is then used to make clothes, bed linen, etc.  

 Silk has a Chinese origin as it was discovered there years ago. As the production of silk takes months/ years and demands a lot of effort, silk is slightly expensive. Back then, silk was considered as a royal fabric used by all the royal families, thus to date, it proves to be expensive than other fabrics.   

Silk is generally stronger and durable than other fabrics merely because of its structure and thread texture. Silk has a triangular prism-like structure which allows it to refract incident light at different angles, thus granting its glossy and gleaming appearance. Silk proves to be useful in all seasons such as in summers it releases the heat accumulated inside while in winters it provides warmth when draped around.   

Silk is generally dry-washed and does not shrink easily. Silk has also proven to show piezoelectric properties and is a poor conductor of electricity. Silk has an enormous number of applications including clothing, furniture, medicine, biomaterial, etc. Silk bedspreads and pillowcases are a blessing for those with sensitive and allergy-prone skin and hair as silk are non-allergic entirely because of its natural cocoon texture as it also protects you from different mites ensuring a good night sleep.   

What is Satin?  

As mentioned above satin is a man-made fabric weave using threads/ fibers of other fabrics. The process of satin production is twill weaving and is an elongated process contemplating of several steps. It is created out of low-twist yarn. Satin can be produced from cotton, wool, silk, nylon, polyester, etc.  

Satin also has a Chinese origin and was discovered around the middle age much after the silk invention. Primarily satin was only made of silk but later on, the techniques were modified to produce satin from some other materials. Satin derives its name from a port of China- Quanzhou (Zayton).  

Initially, satin was exported from China to other parts of the world peculiarly in the 12th and 13th centuries to the Romans. Substantially it was used by the royal kings for their décor and garments. Lately, after the Industrial Revolution, the not-so-wealthy public had access to satin.   

Satin is quite distinguishable from other fabrics as its surface is glossy and lustrous but it carries a dull back. However beautiful it may look; it manifests to be burdensome for the tailors merely because of its slippery texture. Satin is cheaper than silk since satin requires worms to naturally produce but satin can be even produced by nylon, polyester and it will carry the same texture. Satin is utilized maximum in summers as satin dresses or bedsheets as it releases sweat and refreshes the body.   

Over the years satin has evolved magnificently, with the introduction of numerous varieties like antique satin, farmer’s satin, slipper satin, surf satin, and so on. Surprisingly, it has also been modified into slightly affordable due to the introduction of new manufacturing techniques. Satin requires high maintenance such as dry cleaning, low steam iron, but is worth it because of its durability. Satin also acts as a great moisturizer simply because it does not absorb moisture like cotton and also improves hair and skin quality when used as a pillow cover or bed-spread as it prevents wrinkles and split-ends.  

Main Differences Between Silk and Satin 

  1. Silk is a natural fabric whereas satin is a synthetic fabric weave.
  2. Silk is produced by the biological process of sericulture on the other hand satin is produced by twill weaving or plain weaving.  
  3. Silk is used for manufacturing formal royal dresses, in contrast, satin is used for manufacturing blouses, gowns, and even undergarments.   
  4. Silk production has more environmental effects solely because it involves animal cruelty while satin does not have many effects because it is manufactured synthetically.  
  5. Silk is more resistant than satin because silk has a natural touch and texture whereas satin does not. 

Conclusion  

Silk and satin do not carry too many differences as they appear almost the same with the same texture, both of them require special attention for maintenance, and both were once considered as royal fabrics, but one must have understood with the above-mentioned points that they are fundamentally different in mode of preparation, cost, strength, etc. 

Both the fabrics offer the same benefits but we can admit that satin being the more affordable one is better. Nonetheless, silk being the original royal fabric wears the crown for being the supreme fabric. Nevertheless, both represent royalty and luxury and will go down in the history as the same.  

References   

  1. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s12221-013-0201-9.pdf  
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01203485 
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