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The sheen and softer feel of sateen is produced through the satin weave structure. Warp yarns are floated over weft yarns, for example four over and one under. (In a weft-faced satin or sateen, the weft yarns are floated over the warp yarns.) Standard plain weaves use a one-over, one-under structure. The long floats produce a surface that is smooth to the touch and reduces light scattering to increase shine. This weave structure is more susceptible to wear than other weaves.
Sateen sheets are more tightly woven. Its weave has more yarn surface on the face of the cloth than other basic weaves. That’s why it is turns softer and has more lustrous look.
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