It’s been awhile since I did a Fabric Friday. I’ve decided to rotate my Friday posts out and I have some fun ideas for Fridays around here. But I do love talking about fabric, so I’ll be featuring a Fabric Friday every month. Today I thought we could take a closer look a woven rayon fabrics. I love the drapey look of them, which reminds me of silk, yet they are fairly easy to sew with. I mean, it’s not quilting cotton by any stretch but as compares with other harder to handle fabrics, they are pretty nice.
Rayon. This is such a misunderstood fiber. When I still owned my store, the minute I would mention “rayon” the customer was turned off. I don’t know why, but I do believe that rayon and polyester have flipped roles in a lot of people’s minds these days. Polyester has a place, but I’m telling you, it’s plastic. It is plastic. Polyester doesn’t breath well and it is purely synthetic, unless mixed with other natural fibers. Rayon is not the same thing. Rayon is a cellulosic fiber and it’s roots are based in nature – tree pulp. Rayon, lyocell, acetate, triacetate, viscose*, modal and bamboo are all made from regenerated cellulose. These are considered semi-synthetics. Rayon is the oldest manufactured fiber. It was known as “artificial silk” when it first appear on the market in 1889 and it gained popularity as it was economical, comfortable to wear, breathable and versatile.
*Viscose is technically a process that rayon goes through to become a fiber/fabric, however the fabric is usually referred to as rayon in the U.S. and viscose in the United Kingdom.
Rayon is the fiber type here and then there are weaves that rayon fibers can be woven into to create different fabric types. Rayon Challis is one such fabric. It’s your basic plain weave. Rayon Challis is very drapey. It’s a thin fabric. Rayon usually has a cold touch to it, which warms up immediately with your body heat and it’s soft to wear – feels wonderful, honestly. Rayon Challis makes great dresses and tops, or even flowy skirts. Also think pajamas. This fabric would make lovely pajamas.
I had a couple of other types of rayon wovens that I thought I would show you too. They are very similar to rayon challis except the weave is just a bit different, however the characteristics stay the same – cold to the touch (warms up immediately though) comfortable, light and flowy, drapey, etc. The dotted fabric is rayon sateen. It has a satin weave as opposed to a plain weave and so one side has a sheen to it and the other side is dull. also have a couple of pieces of rayon twill (pictured below), which has a twill weave instead of a plain weave. Kind of like denim and gabardine but not stiff or thick – it’s got the same hand as the rayon challis and sateen. There are other types of rayon wovens out there too. Rayon poplin, rayon batiste and rayon voile + more – just don’t let the rayon bit turn you off! Rayon is a pretty wonderful fabric. I use Bemberg Rayon lining for most lining projects. It’s 100% rayon fabric that feels wonderful to the skin and has longevity even though it’s marvelously light and thin.
Do you have rayon wovens in your stash? Anyone have any of that cold rayon from the 40s? Gosh how I would love some of that!
Hot Spots to find rayon wovens:
Rayons are fairly easy to locate – I see them at Joann and Hancock these days, but here are a couple online sources too.
Bemberg Lining – Vogue Fabrics