Characteristics of Viscose Fabric

Viscose fabric is made from purified cellulose, produced from specially processed wood pulp and in its finished form, is very similar to cotton and silk. The raw material for viscose is cellulose which is broken down by machine or by chemicals and is then reformed into fibres The touch of viscose fabric is fine and soft and it is highly absorbent and very easy to dye.

Viscose has a very silky appearance and touch on the skin. It appears to breathe as a cotton fabric, and drapes like a silk, so any garment made with this fabric will give you the very best of both worlds. However, it can crease and wrinkle very easily, so tops and tunics should really be hung in the wardrobe and not folded into a drawer.

For travelling with favourite clothes made from viscose, it is always a good idea to have a suit carrier that will carry them without being folded in a suitcase.

What you can make with Viscose Fabric

As a relatively lightweight fabric, it is more suited to lighter weight garments such as blouses, shirts, and skirts with a lining, and you will find it used often in t-shirts and tunics.

Fashion clothing is often made from viscose, and the finer varieties can easily be mistaken from silk across a room, although the ease of dying complex patterns and colours into it, will tell you that the dress is made of viscose fabric.

Caring for Viscose Garments

It is not a good idea to machine wash viscose and preferable to hand wash in cool temperatures, or luke-warm water but don’t be tempted to wring or twist to remove the excess water as this will give it creases and could cause it to rip.

Some Viscose fabrics can be machine washed on the coolest and most delicate setting, but our advice is to switch off the spin function completely to avoid extreme creasing. Just hang wet items to dry naturally, which will also remove any slight creases as it dries.

Ironing viscose will need a steam iron, don’t try it without the steam setting, and chose a medium temperature. If you don’t have an iron with a steam function, then use a damp tea towel over the garment and iron that with a slightly hotter temperature, then lift and hang the garment to allow the water vapour to escape, leaving a perfectly ironed and crease-free item.

History of Viscose

The trade name for viscose is Rayon which became popular when it was made as a substitute for expensive silk. In 1894, Charles Cross, Edward Bevan, and Clayton Beadle set up a Patent for the very first artificial silk, which they named “viscose”.   This was then produced in America in 1910 by Avtex Fibres Inc. as a material that was softer than cotton and springier than silk.

The very first rayon fibre was invented by Georges Audemars in 1855, but it never progressed to any kind of commercial use, because his method was a hand process of dipping a needle into two chemicals and then carefully drawing out a thread.  This was far to too impractical to be done on a commercial scale.