Shantung Fabric: History, Properties, Uses, Care, Where to Buy

Introduction to Shantung Fabric

Shantung fabric is a material that is easily identifiable by its characteristic slubs. Fabric experts believe that Shantung silk is the finest silk fabric available, and it is a popular choice for high-end bridal gowns.

Topic Pros Cons
Introduction – Easily identifiable by its characteristic slubs – None
History – Rich history dating back to the Renaissance – Uncertainty about the origin of the name “Shantung”
Properties – Clean and crisp fabric – Synthetic shantung lacks the sharpness and longevity of silk
Production – Made using silkworms – Shandong is no longer a key place for manufacturing silk
Common uses – Men’s and women’s apparel – None
Sewing with Shantung – Delicate fabric with beautiful drape – Slippery texture requires special attention when sewing
Dyeing with Shantung – Fabric can be dyed depending on its composition – None
Care instructions – Dry clean recommended – Requires special care when washing and ironing

What is the History of Shantung Fabric?

The Chinese province of Shandong is where the Shantung culture first emerged. There are a variety of different predictions on the period in which the first Shantung fabric was manufactured. However, there is evidence that this fabric made its way to Westernized countries as old as the Renaissance. 

It is unknown if people of Chinese or Western society came up with the name for the cloth known as Shantung, which takes its name from the area in which it was first developed. Raw silk fibers were the only fibers used in shantung apparel until the turn of the 20th century. 

With the introduction of synthetic fibers like polyester and other chemicals, textile companies have obtained the ability to replicate Shantung’s distinctive features. Still, silk shantung fabric, on the other hand, has a sharpness and longevity that synthetic shantung does not have.

Properties of Shantung Fabric

  • It is a clean and crisp fabric
  • It drapes beautifully
  • It is a lightweight fabric
  • It has an irregular texture 
  • It is comfortable to wear

How is Shantung Fabric Made?

Shantung fabric is made using silkworms. The silkworm cocoons are boiled to obtain a fiber converted into a string twisted with some other strings to make a yarn. The first type of yarn is run through a roller to make it more consistent. 

The second yarn, also called slub yarn, isn’t. These yarns are then woven together to form a fabric with an uneven texture. 

Where is Shantung Fabric Made?

At the moment, China is the world’s largest producer of silk. Although India is also a big producer of silk, it is doubtful that any of its silk manufacturers will ever produce shantung because this type of fabric was first developed in Northern China.

Shandong is not a key place for manufacturing silk in China anymore; yet, the expertise in manufacturing the signature silk fabric of this province has spread to other regions.

Common uses of Shantung Fabric

Shantung fabric is used for various garments by designers and customers alike.

Men’s Apparel

Shantung is a sought-after fabric for men’s dress shirts, vests, fitted slacks, and even jackets in the menswear market. However, women’s apparel uses shantung more than men’s.

Women’s Apparel

Shantung fabric is highly appreciated as a luxury fabric and is often used by textile makers to produce high-end clothes for both men and women. A typical use for shantung silk is in wedding gowns. This silk has a clean, beautiful drape and an appealing feel.

One more common use for shantung is creating evening clothing for women because of its ability to drape beautifully while remaining lightweight.

Sewing with Shantung fabric

Shantung fabric is a delicate fabric that requires special attention when sewn. The lightweight cloth should be cut using a rotary cutter and held down using pattern weights since it is quite slippery. 

If one wants to get ideal results with their sewing, they should be sure to employ the appropriate sewing essentials, sewing notions, and supplies.

When sewing patterns and designs on the fabric, avoid permanent holes from pins and needles. You can use silk pins for your shantung fabric. The sewing threads used can be all-purpose, depending on the composition of the fabric. 

You should use the best sewing machines available like the Brother SE600 for the best results. Shantung fabric can be sewn in various ways, so long as you keep these minor tips and tricks in mind.

Dyeing with Shantung fabric

It is possible to color Shantung fabrics, as unlikely as it may sound. The technique can assist both designers and customers with unique likes and preferences.

The fabric can be dyed depending on the composition of the fabric. If made using silk, the Rit All-Purpose Liquid Dye can be used as the best fabric dye available.

How to care for Shantung Fabric?

Shantung fabric is a delicate material made of silk that needs to be handled with caution and extreme care when either washing or ironing.


  • It is recommended to dry clean your shantung fabric.
  • If you still prefer to wash it, handwashing is always the safest and most effective cleaning method.
  • The water should be lukewarm or slightly cold.
  • You should use a non-alkaline soap and avoid using detergents.

If you still want to wash the fabric in a machine, make sure to use a gentle cycle

  • The fabric can be dried by air-drying it on a flat exterior or hang-drying it
  • Never dry the fabric in direct sunlight since this can cause the fabric’s color to fade.


  • Using a shark steam iron, press the fabric on the wrong side
  • Use a low heat setting and a press cloth 
  • Avoid repetitively ironing the cloth back and forth.

Where to buy Shantung Fabric?

Fabric and garment stores both carry the shantung fabric used to make garments. Customers can also purchase shantung fabric through online stores and websites like and Amazon.

These websites carry the best Shantung fabric that is currently available, such as the one-of-a-kind Shantung Sateen.

It can be sold in several ways depending on the seller;

  • By yard
  • By Inches
  • Can be cut to order

Shantung fabric takes its name from the part of China where the fabric was first made. Shantung is a lustrous, woven fabric that was traditionally made of silk, but now, many other fibers can be used. Both natural and synthetic fibers are now popular for making Shantung. The fabric generally features a smoother side and a “Shantung” finish on the reverse side. The shantung side of the fabric has a signature texture with small “rubs” or “ribs” running throughout and a beautiful sheen.

Best Shantung Fabrics

Here are our shantung fabric reviews.

1. Shantung Sateen

  • This reversible gorgeous shantung sateen (also known as shantung satin) fabric has a smooth shiny sateen side and a shantung finish on the other side. The shantung side of the fabric has a nubby texture similar to silk dupioni, but with more sheen and luster due to the satin side of the fabric. Fabric is perfect for skirts, jackets, dresses, special occsion apparel, toss pillow, draperies and duvets. Create a cool effect and play up the texture of this gorgeous fabric by mixing both the satin side and the shantung side on sewing projects!
  • Dry Clean
  • 60'' Wide. Fabric is sold by the yard and cut to order. For example, order of 1 yard (Qty=1) is 60" x 36''. Order of 3 yards (Qty=3) is 60" x 108''.

Shantung fabric usually has a smooth side and a Shantung finish on the reverse side, and this fabric definitely follows suit. The opposite side of this fabric is very lustrous and shiny, while the Shantung side features signature ribs. This fabric could be interchanged, with either side, or both used on sewing projects.

  • Shantung fabric is great for making dresses, jackets, skirts, and formal wear, but it can also be used for home décor projects like window treatments, bedding, and toss cushions
  • This fabric is lightweight and is 100% polyester
  • Dry clean only

2. 100% Silk Shantung

  • 100% Polyester; Weight: 6.4oz and Thickness: 0.26mm
  • Soft & Smooth Faux Silk
  • The luxurious faux silk works wonderfully with upholstery and apparel creations such as dresses, ball gowns, suits and other timeless heirloom garments.

Shantung fabric was traditionally made using silk, but many other fibers are now used. This fabric, as the name implies, is indeed made with 100% silk. The fabric has more of a matte sheen and does still have the signature Shantung texture, but the rubs are naturally occurring. This fabric can be used for many different apparel items, including skirts, dresses, jackets, and for special occasions and formal wear as well.

  • This line of fabric comes in nearly ten different colors and is available in 54” widths
  • Fabric is very lightweight
  • Dry clean only

3. Shantung

The fabric itself has a crisp hand, and features the signature Shantung textured slubs on one side. The fabric does have some sheen and is very lightweight.

  • This fabric is best used for home décor items like bedding, window treatments, accents like pillows, and can even be used for some lighter weight upholstery projects
  • Made from 100% polyester
  • Dry clean only

4.  Shantung Jaquard

  • Fabric Type: 100% Polyester
  • Import Designation: Made in the USA or Imported
  • Fabric care instructions: Machine Wash Cold/Tumble Dry Low
  • 58'' wide. Fabric is sold by the yard and cut to order. For example, order of 1 yard (Qty=1) is 58'' x 36''. Order of 3 yards (Qty=3) is 58'' x 108''.
  • Use this fabric for costumes and special occasion. Creates an added sheen to the fabric. Just the right touch to dress up any project. Use this fabric for costumes and special occasion.

Shantung fabric isn’t just available in solid colors. Shantung can be purchased in prints as well. This line of Shantung features a beautiful jacquard print and is available in different neutral hues. The fabric has a beautiful sheen.

  • This fabric could be a great choice for many different home décor projects like window treatments, bedding, toss cushions, and more
  • Fabric is lightweight and is a blend of 58% cotton and 42% polyester
  • Dry clean only


  • Your purchase will help victims of recent major earthquakes in Turkey since we donate a percentage of our profits to local NGOs helping with quake relief efforts.
  • LENGTH: 36" (1 yard) & WIDTH: 58". 100% Polyester medium weight, tight woven Turkish dock fabric.
  • EVERY (1 qty) = 1 YARD. Each qty is cut in separate pieces as a continuous 1 yard of fabric each.
  • WATERPROOF FABRIC - for indoor & outdoor use. Very durable. Machine washable, dryer safe. NO FADING.
  • ADDS GREAT PERSPECTIVE - With vibrant colors & bold graphics. No dyes harming health of your family.
  • PRINTED - With state of the art digital printing technology. Proudly designed & printed in the USA.

This line of faux-Shantung fabric is available in over five neutral colors. The fabric features the traditional Shantung textured slubs or rubs, and is perfect for making many home décor items like toss cushions, curtains, bedding, and more.

  • This lightweight fabric is 100% polyester
  • Dry clean only
  • Available in 54” widths

Shantung Fabric Buying Guide

Shantung is a gorgeous fabric with a signature texture. While Shantung looks as though it would be costly, many lines are actually quite affordable, since the fabric is now often made using synthetic fibers like polyester. Shantung is a great fabric to use when you would like to save money on formal wear items or other garments. It’s also a great option for making classy, beautiful home décor items that are both luxurious and inexpensive.

Availability and Cost

Shantung fabric is available in many different widths. For those making home décor items or even formal wear that require a wider width fabric, there are lines available in wide widths which are more than double what some of the regular widths usually are. Even though Shantung fabric looks like it would be extremely expensive, it is often quite budget-friendly. Some Shantung lines made from polyester cost around or below five dollars a yard, while real silk can range up to thirty to thirty-five dollars per yard.

Caring for Shantung

Shantung fabrics differ from line to line. Shantung can be made with 100% silk, 100% polyester, a poly/cotton blend, or even from other fibers. Shantung is a great fabric that is extremely versatile. While the fabric might differ in composition, the care requirements are always the same. Most shantung fabrics are dry clean only.

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Shantung fabric has been around since the earliest of times and has played an important role in how the fabric is used for garments and clothing in the modern day. You can also sew the luxurious fabric to suit your preferences and taste.





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