Today I’m talking about how to work with and how to care for rayon. For those who haven’t sewn with rayon yet, I hope you will find it easy to care for. It is a little more difficult to work with than plain weave cottons, but it is way easier than slippery silks, making it the perfect fabric for stepping up your handmade garment-making game.
There are many benefits to using rayon in your me-made clothes. It drapes like a dream and moves beautifully. It’s not terribly difficult to cut, sew, or press. It takes color well in the printing process. It’s not difficult to care for.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you work with and care for it—both before and after you sew. Following these recommendations will help you transform your favorite rayon fabric into a beautiful piece of clothing all your own. For most purposes, I use these methods on all rayons I use, but I encourage you to double check the manufacturer’s care instructions if you are using rayon from another company. Rayons are processed in different ways, which require different care methods.
In general, I always recommend pre-washing fabric before sewing it. Like with most fabrics, you will experience slight shrinkage in the wash, which should safeguard your handmade garment from shrinking after it’s made. With that in mind, rayon has a tendency to “grow” as you are working with it, meaning it can stretch out as you are sewing, pressing, and trying on your garment for fit. Depending on the style of garment I’m sewing, sometimes I don’t pre-wash rayon before I cut and sew it. The potential benefits to working with unwashed rayon are: 1. the fabric is stiffer and less drapey, making it easier to work with as you cut and sew, and 2. it’s less likely to stretch out of shape during the construction process. Of course, the potential downfall to not pre-shrinking your rayon is that it may shrink more than you expect after your first wash. I know some sewists feel very strongly about always pre-washing your fabric before you sew it. As I mentioned above, I encourage pre-washing and pre-wash very often. I just wanted to share that I don’t ALWAYS follow the “rules,” but if I break them, it’s for a specific reason. (Anyway, aren’t rules made for breaking??)
I recommend washing your Workroom Social rayon with like colors, in cold water, and either on gentle cycle or in a mesh bag. Finished garments should also receive special care in the wash. To keep your handmade items from rubbing against other clothes (especially rough items like jeans!), I always wash my rayon garments in a mesh bag. If you prefer, you can hand wash or dry clean Workroom Social rayon as well.
To dry, you can line dry or lay flat to dry. If you want to machine dry your handmade garment, dry on medium keeping it in the mesh bag. This will ensure it doesn’t get pulled or stretched in the dryer. Remove the bag from the dryer before the full cycle is done and hang it for a final air dry. The wrinkles should fall out fairly easily, and you can gently steam out any remaining wrinkles.
When pressing, press from the wrong side of the fabric. If you must press from the right side, we recommend using a press cloth. As I mentioned above, rayon has a tendency to grow as you’re working with it. This happens easily when it’s hot and when it’s wet. An important trick to pressing rayon, allow the fabric to cool and dry before moving it to help avoid any fabric stretch or distortion.
If you’ve never worked with rayon, I hope you’ll give it a try! I have a feeling you may fall in love with it just like I did. 🙂
Workroom Social’s Miramar collection is available now for pre-sale. Limited quantities of our 100% rayon fabrics are available until December 23, 2016. Pre-sale expect to ship February 15, 2017.