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Sewing With Viscose Fabrics

Sewing with viscose fabrics

This guide to sewing with viscose fabrics has been sponsored by Dream Fabrics, who sell a big range of low cost dressmaking fabrics, including viscose fabrics.

What is viscose fabric?

Viscose fabric is made from cellulose (a wood pulp) and chemicals, so it is a semi synthetic fabric. It’s known as a lower cost and more durable alternative to silk. You may also find it combined with other fibres such as cotton, polyester, bamboo and elastane.

What is the difference between viscose fabrics and rayon fabrics?

You may see viscose fabrics referred to as rayon fabrics, the terms are often used interchangeably.  However, although made from the same materials there is a difference between them. Rayons have a short fibre structure whereas viscose materials have a long fibre structure.

What is the difference between rayon fabrics and viscose fabrics?
Floral viscose fabric from Dream Fabrics

What can you sew with viscose fabrics?

Viscose is a soft lightweight fabric that has great drape, making it ideal for dresses, skirts and blouses. It’s breathable too meaning it is perfect for summer garments. Because of it’s lightweight, and absorbent properties viscose is also a good choice for athletic wear as well. Because it is absorbent it holds dye well, retaining the vibrancy of colour after multiple washes.

Tips for handling viscose fabric

Use a sharp needle with a fine point (size 60 or 70 works well) and fine pins to avoid runs in the fabric.

Using a rotary cutter to cut out instead of scissors will stop the fabric moving about too much as you cut. You might find pattern weights help keep the fabric still when cutting.

Pre-wash viscose fabrics before use as it may shrink. Viscose is best handwashed or machine washed at a low temperature like 30 or 40 degrees, it is fragile when wet. It is best air dried rather than tumble dried as high heat could make it shrink.

Use your walking foot when stitching to help avoid the fabric stretching, causing wavy seams. A slow speed and short stitch are best for sewing viscose, like with other delicate fabrics.

Iron viscose from the back of the fabric at a low temperature. You could use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric from the heat. Steam, or a damp cloth, will help remove the wrinkles.

You can use starch when sewing with viscose materials to make it stiffer and easier to handle.

How to make a maxi skirt with pockets
Free maxi dress pattern

Free projects you could make with viscose fabrics

Our free maxi skirt pattern would look great made in a viscose fabric.

The Etti Cami is a great beginner sewing pattern

The Vixen Slip dress is perfect for a formal event.

The Sabina gathered skirt with a ruffle hem is a great free pattern from Rumana.

The Tilda blouse would be a great addition to your summer wardrobe.


Find viscose fabrics from £2.50 a metre at Dream Fabrics.