Satin Cord / Rattail / Rat Tail - Frequently Asked Questions

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Satin Cord

About The Satin Cord Store

The Satin Cord Store carries the largest selection of satin cord in the world! We are crafters who have used satin cord in various crafts for many years and we appreciate its beauty and versatility.

What kinds of satin cord do you carry?

We carry both rayon and nylon satin cord.

What is the difference?

Rayon is a high-quality satin cord manufactured in the US. It has a shiny look and a silky feel.

Nylon satin cord is imported. It has a little more bulk than the rayon cord and the weave is slightly coarser.

But which one is really satin?

They both are. Satin is not a fabric type - it refers to the way a fabric is woven to produce a shiny side and a matte side. For satin cord, the shiny part is on the outside of the cord. The original satin, woven in Asia, was made from silk. Now all types of satin, including satin cords are are made from both natural and synthetic fibers.

What is Rattail?

Rattail(R) is a registered trademark of the manufacturer of the rayon satin cord. If you are specifically looking for Rattail, then you would be looking for the rayon satin cord.

Rayon Satin Cord

What is the fabric content of rayon satin cord?

It is a rayon/cotton blend. Rayon is a natural fabric made from wood pulp.

How many sizes does it come in?

Rayon satin cord comes in 3 sizes, designated as Size #0 Petite, Size #1 Lightweight and Size #2 Heavyweight.

What are the real sizes and why don't you just call them 1mm, 2mm, etc.

Cord width can vary slightly from one roll to the next, and for that reason, the manufacturer does not designate exact sizes. IN GENERAL, the #0 Petite cord runs between around 1mm and 1.3mm, the #1 Lightweight runs between around 1.5 - 1.8mm and the #2 heavyweight is slightly over 2mm. For the rayon specialty colors, they are designated as #2 Heavyweight, but there is a little more size variation from one color to the next.

I'm not familiar with millimeters. How do these numbers relate to inches?

The #0 petite cord is around 1/32 of an inch, or roughly the size of a piece of spaghetti. The #1 lightweight is around 1/16 of an inch and is very roughly the size of the plastic ink shaft inside a ballpoint pen. The #2 heavyweight is around 1/8" and could be roughly compared to the width of linguine.

Do all the sizes come in all the colors?

Mostly. The combo (variegated colors) only come in sizes #1 and #2. The Specialty colors only come in #2. There are a few discontinued colors that we can no longer get in #0, like aqua, shrimp and mauve. The 42 standard colors come in all sizes.

What are the rayon satin cord (rattail) specialty colors?

The specialty colors are a batch of colors that we were able to obtain from a supplier who discontinued carrying the cord. Some of the specialty colors have limited quantities and when they're gone, they're gone.

Are the colors consistent for rayon satin cord?

Yes. All of our rayon satin cord is created at the same US factory. There may be just a tiny variation by dye lot, but it is minimal and the color is far more consistent than that of our nylon satin cord.

Is the rayon satin cord (rattail) durable?

Yes, for the purpose for which it was designed. It is meant to have a delicate look and a soft feel against your skin. If you have a bail with a sharp edge, any satin cord can snag.

Does it fray?

Because the threads from which the cord is woven are tiny, the satin cord could snag if used with a pendant or bail with a rough edge. It is possible to unweave the ends if you would like a fringe at the end.

What do most people use rayon satin cord ( rattail ) for?

Necklaces mostly. Also for bridal veils, ties for bridal invitations, Kumihimo, Chinese Knotting, Scrapbooking, and fabric trim - the list is endless.

Does rayon satin cord ( rattail ) work for Kumihimo?

It sure does! Rayon satin cord (rattail) has a shine that looks great in kumihimo braids. In fact, from 10' or so, it can look like bead crochet.

What size should I use for Kumihimo?

The #0 petite size will make a braid about the size of a pencil. The #1 braid would be slightly larger and the #2 size would make a braid about the size of your little finger.

Can I mix two or more different sizes of satin cord for Kumihimo?

Absolutely! Using different sizes of satin cord will give your braid an interesting texture.

What about Chinese Knotting?

The #2 heavyweight is great for Chinese Knotting - since it is such a pretty cord, it makes a beautiful knot. The two smaller sizes aren't ideal for Chinese Knotting because the knots would be too small to be decorative. Rayon satin cord does not like to be overworked, but it makes beautiful knots if you have had a little practice with knotting and can get the knot right on the first try or 2.

Can I melt it to seal it?

No. Rayon satin cord contains both rayon and cotton, which are both natural fibers. It will burn if it comes in contact with a flame.

How can I seal the ends?

Seal rayon satin cord With a tiny drop of Fray Check, GS Hypo Cement, Super Glue, Clear Nail Polish, you get the idea. If you use to much of a watery substance like Super Glue, it could wick into the cord and darken it somewhat.

Can I wash rayon satin cord?

Yes. Rayon satin cord can be hand-washed in a mild detergent with cool or luke-warm water. Lay straight to dry.

How can I straighten rayon satin cord that has become kinked or wrinkled?

Dampen the satin cord thoroughly and then lay it out straight to dry. Run your fingers along the cord to straighten it.

Can the rayon satin cord be dyed?

Yes, with dyes designed to be used with rayon, like the Procion dyes carried by www.dharmatrading.com .

If I plan to dye the satin cord, should I buy white?

No. White satin cord has been dyed white and the dye would react with the dye you are using. If you plan to dye the cord, buy Ivory, which is actually the cord in its natural, undyed state.

Nylon Satin Cord
Our nylon satin cord comes from several manufacturers, so size, texture, color and fabric content can vary from one roll to the next.

What is the fabric content?

Some of the cord is 100% nylon, some of the cord may have a cotton core. Fabric content can vary from one roll to the next.

I bought some colors from you a while back that I can't find on your website any more. In fact, there are a few on your sample card that I can't find either.

Occasionally, our suppliers will change a color (sometimes drastically), or stop carrying a color altogether. We have pared our more recent sample cards down to the core colors that we are (reasonably) sure we will be able to get in the future. We also occasionally get one-time batches of specialty colors in limited quantities. We list them on the website, but when they're gone, they're gone.

How many sizes does nylon satin cord come in?

Nylon satin cord comes in 4 sizes, designated as 1mm, 2mm, 3mm and 4mm. These sizes are approximate and can vary from one roll to the next.

I'm not familiar with millimeters. How do these numbers relate to inches?

The 1mm satin cord is between around 1/32 of an inch and 1/16th of an inch, or roughly the size of a piece of angel hair spaghetti. The 2mm satin cord is between 1/16 and 1/8th of an inch of an inch and is very roughly the size of the plastic ink shaft inside a ballpoint pen. The 3mm satin cord is around 3/16th of an inch (or a little over 1/8"). The 4mm satin cord is a little under 1/4 inch.

What is the most popular satin cord size?

The 2mm nylon satin cord is the standard size that most people use.

Do all the sizes come in all the colors?

The 2mm size comes in all of the core colors. The 3mm size comes in black, white and ivory. The 4mm comes in black only. The 1mm size comes in our 12 most popular colors.

Is the nylon durable?

Yes is is - it will hold up well for Chinese knotting practice, necklaces, drawstrings, and many other uses.

Does it fray?

Because the threads from which the cord is woven are tiny, the cord could snag if used with a pendant or bail with a rough edge. However, it does not snag easily. It is possible to unweave the ends if you would like a fringe at the end.

Can nylon satin cord ends be heat-sealed?

Yes. Just wisp the end of the cord gently and quickly through the flame. If you hold it in the flame too long, you will end up with a big blob and a mess.

What size nylon satin cord should I use for Chinese knotting?

If you're just learning, the 3mm nylon satin cord is great for practicing. It's always easier to try something out that is a little larger, and it makes it easier to see the loops in the knots. For standard Chinese knotting, the 2mm is used. In her Ornamental Knots for Beaded Jewellery book, Suzen Millodot uses the 1mm nylon satin cord for a few projects.

What size nylon satin cord should be used for kumihimo?

The 2mm nylon satin cord will make a round 8-strand braid that is around the thickness of a little finger. The 1mm nylon satin cord will make a round 8-strang braid that is around the size of a pencil.

Can the nylon satin cord be dyed?

Yes, with dyes designed to be used with silk, like the fiber reactive dyes from www.dharmatrading.com .

If I plan to dye the satin cord, should I buy white?

That can vary by manufacturer. Some types of nylon satin cord do not take color well. We do have some 250-yard spools of nylon satin cord that do take dyes well. Please call us

Can I wash nylon satin cord?

Much of the nylon satin cord can be machine-washed in cold water, but please wash a test piece first. Also, pre-wash any pieces that you will be sewing into items that may be washed.

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