Tag Archives: cotton sateen

Glossary: Cotton Sateen

Sateen is a fabric made from cotton, a natural fiber. For more information, see the entry Glossary: Cotton Fiber. Sateen refers to a particular type of weave with long floating yarns which produce a shiny surface, similar to satin-weave. Sateen is typically, though not always, cotton. Sometimes, stretch cotton sateen, with a small spandex content, is also available, but this is not an interchangeable fabric and has different applications from 100% cotton sateen. Sateen currently available is often rather thin, as it is generally intended for shirting use.

For more information on the satin weave, see the entry on silk satin.

Definitions of sateen and satin from a variety of print resources, each of which contains further information:

On the topic of “Weaves” on page 16, it states that “Satin is both a weave structure and the name of a fabric. Satin weaves are much like twill weaves. However, the warp yarns float over from four to as many as twelve weft yarns, and the offset of each successive pick is different, so that no diagonal ridge is formed. Sateen is like satin, except that the weft yarn forms the float, rather than the warp. Sateen is generally woven with cotton. Satin weaves are less durable than other weaves, because the long floats of yarn are easily abraded, and they also tend to pick up and hold dirt. For this reason, and because of the elegant luster that the satin weave creates, these fabrics tend to be used for more formal purposes–evening clothes, or high quality table linen.”

  • Butterick Publishing Company, The. Vogue Sewing. Revised edition. New York: The Butterick Publishing Company, 2000.

Page 41: “Satin weave has a characteristic luxurious shine. The surface is composed of floats, or warp yarns, which may pass over many filling yarns before being caught under one. The surface yarns, usually of filament fibers, intersect cross threads at points randomly spaced so the smooth texture appears unbroken. A variation called sateen has similar surface floats, but they run in the filling direction and are usually of a spun staple yarn.”

On page 179, “sateen” is defined as “cotton or wool fabric with a glossy, satin-like surface, often used for linings and corsets” while “satin” is defined as “thick, close textured silk fabric with the warp threads completely covering the weft threads,thus producing a glossy surface.” Further types of satin, including thinner varieties, are also defined on the same page, including “satinet,” which is “thin or imitation satin.”

On page 339, “sateen” is defined as “An irregular twill weave in which the satin effect is produced by predominant weft threads. Sateen often refers to a cotton material.” On pages 339-340, “satin” is defined in several quotes from historical sources, similar to previous definitions listed on this page. It is also clarified, on page 340, that “The warp threads are ordinarily much finer than the weft threads and more numerous to the square inch so that they conceal the weft and make an unbroken, smooth, and lustrous surface.”

Online Resources:

For more information about an individual fiber, fabric, or other material, select it on the right side menu for “Fibers, Fabrics, and Materials.” This will bring up all entries which have that tag, including (in most cases) a Glossary post like this one, which will offer a definition of that fiber, fabric, or material, and sometimes also offer useful links to outside sources on working with it. For more general information, visit the core entry for the Glossary: Fibers, Fabrics, and Materials. For a directory of all textile glossary posts, go to the Glossary Table of Contents.

Glossary: Cotton Fiber

Cotton is a natural fiber which comes from a plant. Many different fabrics are made from cotton fiber, including voile, batiste, organdy, calico, sateen, flannel, jean, and a wide variety of other fabrics.

“Cotton is a vegetable seed fiber. Botanically, the fibers are the protective covering of the seeds in the cotton plant, a shrub that grows from four to six feet high. Dry cotton fiber is from 88 percent to 96 percent cellulosic.” (Ingham and Covey, The Costume Technician’s Handbook, page 62)

“Under magnification, cotton (a staple fiber) appears like a twisted ribbon. This twist is what makes cotton easy to spin. Cotton is weaker than flax, but its ease of manufacture quickly overcame that deficiency. Cotton is absorbent and thus comfortable to wear in hot weather.” (Bassett, Textiles for Regency Clothing 1800-1850, page 14)

“Extremely versatile in weight, texture, and construction. Found in fabric such as organdy, broadcloth, poplin, terry, corduroy, seersucker, denim, tweed. Used widely for summer wear, work clothes, and in heavier weights, for warm transitional garments.” (Butterick, Vogue Sewing, page 50)

“Cotton is cool, washable, appropriate to nearly all [mid 19th century living history] impressions in some way, and comes in a wide variety of colors and well-researched prints. Cottons fade with laundering and sun exposure, and tend to wear out more quickly than other fibers. It’s an economical choice for everyday or ‘wash’ garments.” (Clark, The Dressmaker’s Guide, 2nd ed., page 54)

For more information about an individual fiber, fabric, or other material, select it on the right side menu for “Fibers, Fabrics, and Materials.” This will bring up all entries which have that tag, including (in most cases) a Glossary post which will offer a definition of that fiber, fabric, or material, and sometimes also offer useful links to outside sources on working with it. For more general information, visit the core entry for the Glossary: Fibers, Fabrics, and Materials. For a directory of all textile glossary posts, go to the Glossary Table of Contents.

Glossary Entries for Cotton Fabrics:

Online Resources:

Print Resources: See the article Glossary: Fibers, Fabrics, and Materials for a list of print resources.

Updated January 10, 2012

1950s style petticoat of stiff white netting trimmed with bows

This petticoat came about as a result of my 1950s style petticoat of soft ivory netting being insufficiently fluffy. I used a great deal of a very stiff white nylon netting that I bought for $1 a yard at one of the shops in the Fashion District in Los Angeles a couple years ago. The fabric was originally intended to be used for a faux bustle similar to the 1870s inspired bustle with lavender sateen pillow and pansy net ruffles, but I didn’t go through with the Steampunk costume I was planning to make it for, so the fabric was duly requisitioned.

Not only is the netting much stiffer this time around, I also made the petticoat longer and much fuller, using most of the material I had in order to achieve maximum floofiness. I cut strips of the netting so that each of the three tiers was double the width of the tier above it. The bottom tier is 13½ yards around! The middle tier is 6¾ yards, and the top tier is about 3½ yards around, gathered into a waistband of white polished cotton. I hand-stitched the entire petticoat, using the selvage of the material for a pre-finished hem. The waistband is top-stitched to look nice and tidy.

And then, after finishing the waistband, I came to a conundrum. How to close the waistband? I didn’t want anything lumpy or uncomfortable, and I wanted some flexibility in the circumference of the waistband. So I decided to use ribbons or tapes, stitched to each end of the waistband, to tie together. But alas! I had no simple white ribbons or tapes of an appropriate size in my stash, and I didn’t know when I’d have a chance to go to the store.

But then I ran across a bag of pre-finished turquoise satin ribbon bows. I’d bought them some time back at the Michael Levine’s Loft store in the Fashion District in Los Angeles, for a dollar or two, without any particular plan. After untying two bows and stitching them on as ties, I decided that the turquoise ties needed company – in the form of the application of many more bows to the petticoat. It makes for a slightly silly petticoat, but there’s something inherently silly about Really Fluffy Petticoats, so I just ran with it. Now my excellent petticoat is delightfully covered in turquoise bows!

This petticoat is satisfactorily fluffy for many things, though I still dream of going even fluffier, especially for evening wear. The netting I used here is excellent for the purpose, and I’m planning to go on the hunt for more like it at some point. I also want to try making a similar petticoat (possibly even wider?!) out of synthetic organza. Of course, silk organza would make a truly delicious petticoat, but I think that’s probably out of my price range for a while.

For more information about 1950s style petticoats, see my intro post about my 1950s style net petticoats.

1870s inspired corset of lavender cotton sateen with black flossing

Garment

1870s Silverado corset of lavender sateen with white flossing

Garment

1860s gusseted corset of coral sateen flossed with white

Garment

1830s stays of white cotton sateen with white embroidery

These stays actually made it all the way through second mock-up and massive quantities of research and planning before I ran out of time during my Div III, and sadly, I haven’t gotten back to them yet. But soon, I’ll post my research.

In the meantime, here’s a link to my Pinterest board for 1830s Stays.