Satin Luxuries

From flappers to hippies, fashion has taken a roller coaster ride over the past century.  In an era of cohabitation and high divorce rates, weddings are still popular and still elegant. Hemlines and hair lengths have gone up and down but for the most part, wedding attire fabrics have kept an even keel. 

Satin has been a staple in wedding gowns for centuries. Satin supposedly originated in Zaytoun, China, which is now Canton. It became popular in Europe in the 12th century, in Italy in the 13th century and in England in the 14th century.

Satin, because of its construction and fiber content, is one of the most luxurious fabrics manufactured. Satin is most often made from low twist, filament yarns. It is usually constructed by floating the warp or lengthwise yarns over four filling or horizontal yarns. The long floats give the fabric luster.  Silk is the premiere choice of fiber content for bridal satin fabrics. However, silk satins are more expensive than satins containing acetate or polyester. Satin is found in apparel, lingerie, draperies, drapery lining fabrics and upholstery fabrics. 

Types of Satin

Crepeback Satin:  Crepe yarns, or highly twisted yarns, are used in the filling (horizontal) direction of the fabric and the smooth low-twisted filament yarns are still used in the warp.

Antique Satin:  This type of satin is created using slub (yarns with thick and thin areas) yarns in the filling direction. 

Duchesse Satin: A high yarn count satin that contains fine yarns. This type of satin has a crisp body to it. It is commonly used in bridal gowns. April Oakley, designer at Wild Ginger Software, Inc., designed and made her own wedding gown using a silk duchesse satin. April highly recommends this type of satin for wedding gowns because of the body it gives without a lot of weight. Duchesse satin can be found in couture wedding gowns.

Slipper Satin: A heavy stiff satin used mainly for footwear.

Styles and Colors

Today many colors are seen in wedding gowns from black to hot pink. Designers have played on the recent increase in popularity of velvet by designing elegant gowns of satin accented by velvets. Teen brides of the 16th and 17th centuries wore pale green wedding gowns as a sign of fertility. A bride in her twenties wore brown and some older women wore black during these centuries. White has been the most popular color for wedding gowns since Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840.

Basically, the styles of the wedding gowns change some each year but they still, overall, retain the traditional appearance. Jen Deneberg, spokeswoman for David’s Bridal, states “In the bridal industry, you’ll find more of an evolution rather than a revolution.” 

The style and color of a bride’s wedding gown is influenced by her nationality and ethnic background. In the United States the traditional gown is long, white, as a symbol for purity, and has a hint of the Victorian era in it. However, in other countries, the traditional gown may consist of multicolored ornate robes. 

The new millennium has encouraged theme weddings for the year 2000. The bride and groom select fashion and musical fads from a previous decade and incorporate these themes into their wedding. Other theme weddings are created from historical time periods. For example, costumes can be rented, purchased or designed to simulate the first class dinner scene from the “Titanic” movie. 


Kadolph, Sara J. and Anna L. Langford, Textiles.  8th ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 07458, pages 196-198.

Humphries, Mary, Fabric Glossary. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 07458, pages 197-205.

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