Sateen Bed Linens vs. Satin bed sheets

The Difference between Sateen vs. Satin bed sheet - explained...

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Direct to Consumer Italian Bed sheets

Updated 10/19

There is a difference between sateen and satin bed sheets.

Webster defines sateen as:

  • A smooth, durable lustrous fabric usually made of cotton. It’s often found in bed linens. Sateen, is usually 100% woven cotton, although it is occasionally woven from rayon.

Satin is defined as:

  • A fabric in a satin weave that has a lustrous face and a dull back.

Red Satin

It is possible that satin can be silk – a silk charmeuse would be an example of a Satin. However, most Satin used in bedding or bed sheets is synthetic. 

There is some level of a cache associated with silk sheets; however, we don’t think it is a great bedding material for the following reasons:

  • Good silk is expensive.
  • Some silk bedding is a blend of silk and polyester.
  • Silk snags very easily.
  • Many find silk bedding as clingy and hot.
  • It is difficult to clean.
  • It does wrinkle and is difficult to iron.
  • It is not very durable.

Satin made from polyester isn’t a great product for bed sheets, many of the same issues found with silk bedding exist with polyester satin:

  • It is very inexpensive.
  • Like silk, polyester satin snags easily is hot and clingy, it does wrinkle and is not durable.
  • Polyester satin sheets look cheap after just a few washes.

Sateen fabrics are much different than satin textiles.

  • Sateen sheets used in bedding are generally 100% cotton.
  • Sateen textiles are a different weave than say a cotton percale, twill, or flannel weave.
  • Sateens are woven on a Jacquard loom, which allows intricate patterns (if desired) to be woven in the fabric.
  • Sateen fabrics can be woven in very high thread counts.
  • A sateen sheet often has a sheen in the textile and has a very soft hand and drape.

The most popular weaves used in bedding are Sateen and Percale.



The Finest Italian Bed SheetsA “sateen weave” is created by having one vertical thread woven over one or more horizontal threads. Here are some more facts about the sateen weave.
With a sateen weave, there generally is more surface area of the individual threads on the top and underside of the fabric, making it softer than an equal quality percale weave.

Higher quality sateen sheets are mercerized. Mercerizing gives cotton textiles more sheen and fiber strength (read about mercerizing here). The mercerizing process treats the cotton with sodium hydroxide to increase its luster and affinity for dye. It also makes the fabric more mildew resistant and stronger.

Vero Linens brings you a wide assortment of luxury linens, including the sateen and percale varieties. Our customers can also choose from sateen and percale duvet covers, and much more. When you are ready to start shopping for fine bed linens made in Italy, contact Vero Linens and let us deliver luxury to you.

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