Viscose Fabric, Your Questions Answered

Viscose (also known as Rayon) is a plant based fabric made from reconstituted cellulose. In practise this means that viscose fabric is made from wood pulp.

Viscose is not new, having been produced now for over 100 years. It was originally known as artificial silk. It is a very versatile fabric and can be combined with other fibres such as elastane (or lycra), silk and cotton to produce a range of fabrics with different qualities. 

Some Of Our Current Viscose Fabric Faves

Is Viscose Fabric Breathable?

Viscose is a breathable fabric. As viscose is made from cellulose fibres that absorb moisture making the fabric highly breathable. This ability to absorb moisture (and not to repel moisture (like Polyester)) can be an issue as excessive moisture will make the fabric feel damp.  

Which Is Better Viscose Or Cotton?

Viscose is 100% cellulose, cotton is mostly (around 90%) cellulose. The reason that cotton and viscose have such a different feel to each other is that cotton has staple fibres; these are natural and short in length. Viscose fabric is made from constructed long fibres – similar to silk. The length of these fibres is what can give viscose a shiny finish with a soft handfeel. 

Is Viscose Fabric Sustainable?

Assuming the wood pulp, that the cellulose comes from, is from a sustainable source then yes, viscose is sustainable. As viscose fabric is made from a natural source, the fabric is biodegradable, like cotton. Nylon, polyester and other petroleum based synthetic fabrics are not sustainable or biodegradable.

However! It is worth noting that viscose can be produced using high concentrations of chemicals. More recently, a manufactured method called the Lyocell process is being more commonly used. This process produces little in the way of chemical waste. This makes viscose more environmentally friendly than before.

If you want to understand more about working with shiny fabrics read our blog post ‘5 Best Ways to Sew Slippery Fabric For Dressmaking’.

Is Viscose Fabric Good For Hot Weather?

Viscose great for wearing in hot weather. This fabric is made from renewable plant cellulose fibres and is breathable and absorbent. What this means is that viscose is a lightweight material that feels cool and drapes well.