Cotton Sateen

Saturday’s Stash: Cotton Sateen

Sateen is a fabric that’s been made with a satin weave, where more of the cross threads are on the surface of the fabric, producing a slight sheen. Sateen is usually made of cotton, or sometimes rayon. When it’s made of silk or polyester, the sheen is more pronounced and it’s considered true satin. Sateen can be crisp or fluid, and depending on the hand, can be suitable for bedsheets, lining, and more structured garments, such as jackets and pencil skirts. Softer sateens can be used for gowns or blouses.

Tricks For Working With Sateen
Sateen is generally easy to work with, although it can slip somewhat at the edges. Prevent this with careful pinning or basting, but test your pins ahead of time to be sure they won’t leave permanent marks. Use a ballpoint needle to prevent snagging. Be sure and cut sateen as a napped fabric, for the satin shine will look obviously different from a cross angle.

Thicker sateens will lend themselves more to structured embellishment, such as pleating. Lightweight sateens will work fine with softer decoration, such as gathering and shirring.

Example of the Day
Here we have an aqua cotton sateen. The sheen on this fabric is subtle, but can be seen from the right angle. This is a lightweight sateen, soft and somewhat fluid.

Aqua Sateen

Aqua Sateen

I bought three and a half yards of this sateen from, when it went on sale for $4.98/yd. It’s my plan to make it into a lightweight jacket for spring, lined with rayon bemberg or a patterned charmeuse.


Have you worked with sateen lately? What challenges did you face?

About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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