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Wonders of Viscose

THE WONDER OF VISCOSE:

A Soft and lightweight luxury material that encompasses a silk substitute. Having a similar drape and smooth feel, the term “viscose” refers specifically to the solution of wood pulp that is turned into the fabric aka artificial silk. As viscose is made from renewable plants the majority of the time, it can easily be considered a sustainable and environmentally friendly option. However, the fast fashion industry has caused this material to be produced on a huge scale, so it is quite often manufactured cheaply using energy, water, and chemically-intensive processes.


CHARACTERISTICS OF VISCOSE:

1. Absorbent. Viscose rayon does not trap heat, but it also absorbs water and sweat nicely, making it great for t-shirts and athletic wear.

2. Lightweight. Viscose is extremely airy, which makes it nice for blouses and summer dresses.

3. Breathable. It’s a very light fabric that doesn’t stick to the body, so it’s optimal for warm-weather clothing.

4. Soft. While the material looks like silk, it feels like cotton.

5. Maintains Shape. The fabric is not elastic but can be blended with other textiles, such as spandex, to add stretch.

6. Dye fast. Viscose can hold dye without fading, even after long-term use and washes.



VISCOSE AND ENVIRONMENT:

When considering sustainability, viscose is not an environmentally friendly option, due to water waste in the production process, a saturation of chemicals, and the destruction of local ecosystems. Here are some things to consider before choosing to purchase viscose:


1. Deforestation. While the wood to make viscose can be sustainably harvested, it oftentimes does not come from sustainably-grown forests, wiping out large natural forests and negatively impacting local ecosystems.

2. Toxic chemicals. The production of viscose uses a high concentration of toxic chemicals that pollute the air and water. Sulfur, nitrous oxides, carbon, disulfide, and hydrogen sulfide are found in air emissions around viscose manufacturing sites. Although the chemicals can be reused across the production cycle, it is not a perfect process, and production for other types of rayon, like modal, Tencel, and lyocell, is cleaner.

3. Water waste. Viscose production uses a lot of water, both in watering the trees and in the process of turning those trees into the fabric.



As viscose is made from renewable plants the majority of the time, it can easily be considered a sustainable and environmentally friendly option. However, the fast fashion industry has caused this material to be produced on a huge scale, so it is quite often manufactured cheaply using energy, water, and chemically-intensive processes.


LYOCELL - A SUSTAINABLE VISCOSE FABRIC

Lyocell is the umbrella name for new viscose fabrics like Tencel, Newcell, and Excel. The “Cel” refers to cellulose fibers and “Ten” refers to tenacity. As a plant-based fiber, Tencel is often manufactured from the wood pulp of the eucalyptus tree which grows quickly in areas otherwise unsuitable for agriculture. Eucalyptus trees don’t need irrigation or pesticides to grow and their wood pulp can be turned into lyocell viscose without the use of toxic chemicals. So viscose fabric production is finally breaking away from its reputation of being heavily chemical dependent.



TYPES OF VISCOSE FABRIC:


1. Viscose twill

This viscose blend is a modern take on the classic fabric, which works well for a variety of dressmaking projects, including tops, flowing skirts, and loose-fitting bottoms. Twill refers to the type of weave, which is a pattern characterized by diagonal ridges. The fabric is generally perfect for any garment that requires a flowy drape.


2. Viscose crepe

If you are looking for another viscose blend that has a gorgeous drape, viscose crepe is a wonderful choice of material. This fabric has lots of weight and drape to it and is often used to design garments such as blouses or vintage-style tea dresses. One of the reasons why this blend is so popular is because it can help you achieve looks that are hard to do with natural fibers like cotton, even giving a slight stretch to the fabric despite it not being knitted.


3. Viscose lawn

Although drape fabrics can be slightly more difficult to work with as a beginner, viscose lawn would be the perfect choice of fabric to achieve that same finish, but without worrying about the fabric moving too much. It is soft and drapes beautifully but is not difficult to work with.

4. Viscose georgette

Viscose georgette is suitable for many different garments, including scarves, shirts, and dresses - and can even be used in furnishing projects for upholstery and decorative purposes. With a grainy feel, this material is woven in highly twisted yarns and is highly durable, but still drapes beautifully. The viscose blend is a much cheaper alternative to the 100% natural fabrics on the market but still provides a wonderful finish for any project you decide to take on.

5. Viscose marocain

With a soft and airy feel, viscose marocain has a crepe-like feel which is ideal for tops and trousers, as well as all types of summer dresses. It’s a medium-weight material which also has a lovely drape, with a slight creasing.


6. Viscose satin

If you would like to create a gorgeous, yet durable look, with your next dressmaking project, viscose satin would be the ideal choice of material for you. Viscose satin is a light-to-medium weight fabric that is perfect for any luxurious garments, such as blouses and dresses. Satin, in general, is such a beautiful fabric and this viscose blend allows you to enjoy the finish even more, as it’s easy to use and affordable.


7. Javanaise viscose

This type of viscose fabric is notable for its softness, amazing drape, and a very subtle sheen which makes it amazing as a dressmaking fabric. Javanaise refers to the type of weave as it has a spun weft and filament warp which provides the sheen. This beautiful viscose is incredibly cool and comfortable to wear, as it is so lightweight and looks fantastic due to its superb drape.

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