A knowledge base for sewing and working with rayons.
We like to say “it’s not your mother’s rayon”! Our grandmothers remember when rayon was first introduced to the fashion market. It was drapey and colorful, but could not be washed and had a crisp hand that was unappealing to some. Not so anymore. Rayon comes in many incarnations now and most are washable. Soft rayon challis, a plain weave, is familiar to many for skirts, blouses and dresses. Rayon crepe is generally imported from Europe. The high twist yarns add a bit of subtle texture and depth to the fabrication. Viscose is often indicative of a European origin and refers to the method used to create the rayon fibers. Our customers like the viscose crepes that come from mills in Germany and France and offer not only fine designs, but a wonderfully drapey hand for dresses and skirts.
Rayon fibers added to a woven texture give it a slight sheen and a softer drape. Common blends include wool/rayon, silk/rayon and linen/rayon.
Rayon knits are very soft and drapey and have more staying power than cotton knits. The finest and most common fabrication is from Europe–a blend of viscose and elastane.
Lyocell (Trade Name Tencel) is relatively new in terms of fibers and refers to a cellulose based fiber that is processed in an eco friendly manner using biodegradable chemical washes. The fabrics that are created are very soft and full-bodied. Sometimes Tencel is blended with cotton or traditional rayon to achieve a different hand.
Bamboo is one of the newest fabrications on the market. Produced from the cellulose of the bamboo plant, which is plentiful, this fiber is considered green in that it is sustainable and can be produced without chemical washes and finishes. It offers natural anti-microbial features that enhance the comfort for the wearer. Today most manufacturers are referring to the fiber as bamboo rayon as there is some controversy as to whether this is indeed a new fiber or simply a new method for producing rayon.
SeaCell is made from seaweed and produced using the Lyocell method. It is of great interest in the garment industry due to the qualities it offers to the health of the wearer. Amino acids, minerals and vitamins are transferred from the seaweed through the perspiration to the body of the wearer supporting the immune system and increasing metabolism.