With so many fabrics available for making items using personal sewing machines like the Juki TL 2010Q, it is no wonder that knowing how to best use them can get a bit confusing. This is especially true with viscose and rayon, which are two commonly interchanged fabrics that caused many sewists confusion as to their similarities and differences.
Before you decide to work with either of these materials on your Juki sewing machine, learn a little bit about them and why they are so interchangeable.
What Is Viscose?
Viscose or viscose rayon is a smooth, shiny manufactured fabric that is popular for making clothing and many home furnishings such as bedsheets, drapes, and upholstery. It has become a preferred fabric, especially in blends because it does not crease or wrinkle as easily as other fabrics.
When blended with cotton, linen, and even jersey, its positive qualities are added to each of these base fabrics, making them a great choice for many items made with sewing machines. It is also very inexpensive and readily available at most fabric stores. The main negative with viscose is that it shrinks after washing, so it should always be pre-washed before use.
What Is Rayon?
Rayon is a manufactured synthetic fabric that is also popular for making clothing and home furnishings on your Juki sewing machine such as the Juki TL 2010Q. It was originally designed to be a less expensive version of real silk and has a smooth, shiny appearance that mimics silk.
Like viscose, rayon is also very crease and wrinkle resistant and adds this quality to other fabrics when blended. Rayon is slightly more expensive than viscose, so it is not used as much. Also like viscose, rayon must be pre-washed to prevent shrinkage.
What Is the Difference?
If you are thinking that viscose and rayon are practically the same thing, you would be correct. The only difference in the two is a slight variation in the manufacturing process. Both viscose and rayon are made from cellulose derived from various types of wood pulp.
To make viscose, the cellulose is dissolved in a chemical solution to form a thick, viscous liquid. This is eventually processed into fibers that are spun and woven to make the fabric. Rayon is made using the same process, except it begins with cellulose that has been purified then dissolved in a slightly different solution to produce the fibrous liquid.
Based on these two similar production processes, viscose is considered to be a manufactured, semi-synthetic fabric. Rayon is considered as a manufactured, regenerated fabric. Rayon was invented first with viscose following when a variation to the rayon process was developed, which is why many people refer to viscose as viscose rayon.
The name viscose is used mainly in Europe, where the process was developed. In the U.S., the fabric is simply called rayon.
So what is the difference between viscose and rayon as far as using it to make items with sewing machines like the Juki TL 2010Q? Not a lot. Both fabrics dye, wear, and are sewn the same on Juki sewing machines. The minor difference in the production process does not affect the use of these fabrics at all. So don't be confused about viscose and rayon and their names when you are shopping for material. Just remember they are practically the same thing!