Silk and Satin Sheets - Deciding on different fabrics and weaves

Ann's Satin Sheets Quality Guide

(All this information comes from things I have researched or been told by other "experts")

Weave: This is the most important factor when choosing among satin sheets.  NEVER buy "knit" materials.  They might be made of a shiny thread, but the surface will be rough.  Almost 100% of the "satin sheet sets" you see in department stores are made of knit acetate.  When you get them home and put them on the bed, you'll see the knit surface is not sexy at all.  Knit fabrics may be OK for satin bedspreads or satin comforters where looks are what matters, but never for a sleeping surface.
What you are looking for is "woven" fabric.  It's worth the (significantly) extra money.  But this is the only way to get smooth, high thread counts.  There are other manufacturing methods as well, but almost all leave you with a less-smooth surface than a woven material.

Fabric: (the following information comes from
There really is no "best" kind of satin for sheets.  All the following materials can be used to make high quality, smooth satin sheets.  Different companies make all sorts of claims about which is best.  Read the characteristics below to decide for yourself.

  • Nylon: Petroleum based, but stands up well to vegetable oil. Very strong fabric, machine-washable. Typically thickest of the fabrics.  Very susceptible to breakdown in sunlight, can have pilling problems after washing.   Be careful, some companies say their sheets are nylon, and they are really acetate.
  • Polyester: The first fabric really used for satin sheets, and the best in my opinion.  Petroleum based, it is strong and machine washable.  If you wear a slip under your dress, it is likely made of woven polyester.  This is my personal favorite because is so easy to care for (although hand-washing does make it last longer).
  • Silk: A natural fiber, known for eons for its exceptionally fine thread and ability to be used to create satiny fabrics. It is not as shiny as the man-made materials, so it usually has a duller finish. Silk sheets typically require hand-washing or dry-cleaning and can tear easily. They also cannot stand too much sunlight. Silk is also extremely expensive.