Let's Talk Rayon

By now you may be thinking "why do I need a history lesson in fabric?" But how many times have you ordered clothing online, only to be disappointed when it arrived because it didn't feel the way it looked?  Guilty!

To avoid this situation, I've started this 4-part blog series to discuss the most popular fabrics used in clothing and give you an idea on what a certain article of clothing will feel like based on the fabric used.  Last week I talked about polyester. You can read that blog post here.  In this blog post I'm going to talk about rayon. 

It seems like every country song today is singing about a beautiful girl with long tan legs, wearing cowgirl boots, and a sundress. Well, odds are, that girl is wearing rayon! That's the image I have in my head when I think of rayon: light, airy, summertime. That's because rayon is known for its soft and comfortable features. It's breathable and lightweight, making it great for summer dresses and tops.  It drapes well, offers breathability, and is highly absorbent with no static.

Rayon is susceptible to shrinkage, so carefully read care labels to either wash in cold water, hand wash and hang to dry! Ironing can also cause damage. Always read the label!  

Rayon can take on different characteristics and feel differently depending on the way its processed. For example, the below dress and romper are both made with 100% rayon, yet the dress has a linen feel and the romper is silky-smooth:


Notice how in both of these photos the fabric flows from the models' bodies. It also has a soft crinkle to it that gives the fabric a light, airy look. 

Rayon can also be blended with other fibers to achieve different looks and textures.  The most common blend is cotton rayon, which typically blends a higher content of cotton fibers to rayon in order to create a garment with a natural cotton or linen feel. Rayon adds moisture-absorbing qualities, and this blend tends to be lightweight and breathable, like this multi-color leopard top below:


Spandex can also be blended with rayon to create a stretchy and unique material. Because of rayon’s moisture-wicking properties, a spandex rayon blend is popular for sportswear. A popular blend of 95% rayon and 5% spandex can create a ribbed or stretchy cotton feel that is lightweight and wrinkle resistant. Rayon spandex is soft and supple and can form to body curves while offering breathability. Ironing temperatures should be set low to avoid melting or fusing fibers that can result in tears or brittleness. The below top is an example of a 95% rayon and 5% spandex blend: 




So, is rayon comfortable?  Yes, very comfortable! Rayon has very thin fibers with allows it to breathe more than other fabrics and gives it a lightness that prevents it from sticking to your body in hot weather.  It is a great fabric for summer attire!

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