Viscose (Rayon)

Description : Viscose is the generic name for rayon. Rayon is a very versatile fiber and is as comfortable as many natural fibers. It can imitate the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton or linen. Rayon fabrics are soft, smooth, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent. They are also relatively inexpensive. Furthermore, but they do not hold in body heat, making them ideal for use in hot and humid climates. On the down side, however, they have a tendency to fade and deteriorate when exposed to natural and artifical light for long periods of time, they wrinkle easily and shrink with washing, they are flammable, susceptible to mildew and susceptible to damage by a hot iron.
Fabrication : Viscose is made from wood pulp that is broken down using chemical products. Unfortunately, the chemicals used to make rayon include carbon disulfide, a toxic pollutant, and several other toxic by-products. Although often promoted as an "eco-fibre", in fact rayon is less "eco-healthy" than several other artificial fibres.
Subtypes : The viscose manufacturing process produces two products, rayon and cellophane. In addition, a "high wet modulus rayon", with better strength when wet, is also sometimes produced - this is also called "Modal". Also, rayon may also be produced in fibres of extra strength and reduced elongation - this is called "high tenacity rayon", and has about twice the strength but only two thirds of the stretch of regular rayon.
Dyes, color treatment and washing characteristics : Rayon fibers are easily dyed in a wide range of colors. Some forms of rayon can be machine washed - others require dry cleaning. For varieties of rayon that can be machine washed, use lukewarm or cool suds on a gentle cycle and rinse in lukewarm water. Do not wring or twist the fabric. Smooth or shake out the fabric and place on a hanger to draw. Rayon sweaters should be dried flat. Note that over time, machine washed rayon may take on a stiffer texture and the colors may run a bit - to be absolutely sure, it is better to dry clean.
Draping properties : Rayon fabrics drape luxuriously and they are non-static.
Cutting properties : Press the fabric while damp on the wrong side with a moderate iron. Use a press cloth if you must iron on the right side.
Sewing challenges : Rayon usually takes fusible interfacings well, however, stabilized pieces will behave differently than non stabilized pieces, which will tend to droop due to stretching over time. Hence when applying interfacing the a long piece on the straight grain, such as the button front of a shirt or blouse, use self fabric for interfacing.
Example creations : Diamond jersey shirt, Stretch knit mini, Satin outfit, Rayon-spandex knit tee, Teal pinafore,
Uses worldwide : Rayon is widely used for women's stockings and underwear, as well as blouses, dresses, jackets, lingerie, linings, scarves, suits, ties, hats and socks.
Origins and history : Viscose was invented in France in the last 1800s, but then patented in England in 1902. Originally used primarily for coatings, today viscose (rayon) is used in a wide variety of garments.
Wikipedia reference

Extra sewing tips for rayon : www.timmelfabrics.com

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