Fabric Revealed!  What are the Differences between Polyester, Spandex, Satin, Organza, Cotton, Tulle, and more?

Fabric Revealed! What are the Differences between Fabrics like Polyester, Spandex, Satin, Organza, Cotton, Tulle, and more?

If you’re new to wedding and event supplies, you might not know all the fabric options available to you for tablecloths, chair covers, napkins, table runners, and even your dress! Here, we describe each fabric, trends associated with it, and the type of care it needs if you decide to purchase for multiple events. Follow along to find your perfect fabric for your special event.


Polyester

A synthetic fiber with wrinkle-resistant and stain-resistant properties, polyester delivers a uniform presentation and reliable choice for event dining tablecloths and elegant chair covers. Known for its versatility, many event planners rely on polyester for outdoor events where exposure to the elements plays a larger concern and for more value-conscious DIY indoor/outdoor events. This sturdy fabric can be machine-washed and machine-dried on the delicate cycle, ironed, and even dry cleaned, making it one of the best fabric to use for multiple events.


Spandex

Spandex, also known as elastane, holds its own as another amazing synthetic fiber with similar wrinkle-resistant and stain-resistant properties as polyester and an even greater capacity for sleek, wrinkle-free presentations because of its superior elasticity. We’ve seen wedding planners and DIY brides alike using spandex to cover gift, buffet, cocktail, and cake tables or for chair covers. The tablecloths and chair covers will have corner pockets to easily attach and secure the material and keep it stretched and wrinkle free. Due to the lack of legroom from the way the tablecloth attaches to the table legs, we don’t recommend spandex for event dining tables. Spandex’s versatility and machine-washability makes spandex an easy choice for a variety of events. However, because heat can damage the material, spandex should be air-dried. This also means you shouldn’t iron spandex, so if you’re not a fan of ironing, this material is definitely for you. And, even better, most wrinkles in the material will stretch out upon covering your tables and chairs. Keep in mind, too, that spandex shouldn’t be dry-cleaned. Many event planners use a variety of spandex and polyester since both are sturdy materials that can stand up to multiple events and a variety of scenarios.


Satin

Satin delivers a glossy texture. A common misconception, satin is not a fiber but, instead, is a woven fabric made from polyester, rayon (also known as viscose), nylon, or even silk fibers. When made with cotton, the material is called sateen. You can count on satin to deliver an upscale sheen and soft hand (the hand of the fabric describes how it feels to the touch). Satin elevates your design story and offers you a way to bring a high-end look to your event with value-conscious pricing. This luscious material is a popular choice for chair covers and chair bows to hide dull, everyday event folding or banquet chairs. We recommend machine-washing our polyester satin chair covers on the gentle cycle and then laying them flat to dry. You can iron them using a cool setting on the reverse side of the material. Or, if you prefer, you can let the dry cleaners handle it—most satins are dry-cleanable.


Organza

Woven from silk, polyester, or nylon fibers, organza dresses up any event or dress design with fanciful whimsy. Event and dress designers use this sheer, translucent, lightweight plain weave as top layers on dresses, tablecloth overlays, table runners, or chair bows. Much stiffer than chiffon, which is a translucent, draping material, organza holds its shape while providing an ethereal quality to a design. Care often depends on the fibers comprising the organza. To be safe, we recommend hand washing and air drying organza.


Cotton and Cotton Blends

Cotton is a natural, stain- and wrinkle-resistant fiber that allows for a smooth and soft finish and texture, perfect for things like napkins or tablecloths. This is the fabric of t-shirts. A fabric that is 100% Cotton uses only cotton fibers, whereas a cotton blend uses a mixture of cotton fibers and synthetic fibers. For example, our premium cotton-blend napkins are 35% cotton and 65% polyester. Cotton is machine washable and dryable on low heat and can be ironed or dry cleaned as needed, making it a useful and versatile fabric for a variety of events.


Tulle

You’ll find tulle, with its open, netting-like weave, in ballerina tutus, wedding veils, and flouncy petticoats. Designers use tulle as wedding dress linings to create a ball gown silhouette or they drape the fabric as a top layer for an airy, diaphanous feeling. It can also be used to create table skirts and enliven wedding pews. Tulle hides wrinkles fairly well, but it is delicate and will need to be hand washed and drip dried.


Silk

Silk is a strong, soft natural animal fiber obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm. It’s spun into thread and woven into cloth. This premium fabric (often accompanied by premium pricing) requires additional TLC as it needs to be spot cleaned for stains and hand washed instead of machine washed. Silk is one of the most popular wedding gown materials, and is also used in very formal events for tablecloths, overlays, and runners.


Velvet

Velvet is a type of weave made of silk, cotton, or polyester blends with a thick and short pile on one side for a downy texture and sheen. Its heavy weight makes it a great winter fabric. Depending on the fibers used to make the velvet, you may need to treat it like a silk and hand wash only, or you maybe be able to wash it in the machine if the velvet has been made with polyester or cotton fibers.


Linen

Linen, woven from the flax plant, is long lasting and one of the world’s strongest natural fibers. Linen has a grainy texture and becomes supple through handling. Not to be confused with the plural form table linens which describes all cloth fabrics, linen fibers are great for a rustic-barn design or feel. Hand wash linen to prevent loosely woven linen fabric from becoming damaged by a washing machine. Linen becomes creased and crumpled easily, which gives the cloth a relaxed feel. You will need to iron if you prefer a more smooth fabric.



We hope you’ve been able to understand the difference between each type of fabric and how it might fit with your design and event needs. May your big event be magical and memorable.


Wrinkle Resistant Stain Resistant Machine Washable Machine Dryable Iron Safe Dry Clean Safe
Polyester
Cotton
Cotton-Blend
Spandex
Satin
Organza
Tulle
Silk
Velvet
Linen