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Care of Rayon broadcloth

Tenny68 | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hi,

I am new to this list but have a question about the care of rayon fabric that I hope someone can answer.

I know that it us traditional to dryclean rayon but I am interested in whether anyone has washed solid colored rayon fabric. What was you experience with washing? Did the fabric become stretchy? Did it shrink a great deal? Was the color changed? Did it make sewing more difficult? Was the texture changed? How?

I have a piece of liliac rayon broadcloth (?) that I would really love to be able to wash when my dress is constructed.

Thanks for any help in this area. I seem to remember there was an article about it either in Threads or one of the other sewing magizines I receive but have been unable to locate the article.

Genny

Replies

  1. KarenW | | #1

    Genny, I wash most of the rayons I sew with.  Disclaimer -- I wash a swatch FIRST to see how it will behave, shrink, etc.  Some will come out of the washer (and dryer) with a different, stiffer feel than when they went in but then relax upon ironing.   I think the reason rayon has been "traditionally" drycleaned is because if rayon fabrics were not preshrunk prior to making ready to wear, the rtw garment's shape/size/fit could be affected by laundering - manufacturers are playing it safe.  After testing washing a few 6" swatches (I generally start w/warm water, gentle agitation, tumble dry low) in different methods you decide you don't like the results, then you can opt to dryclean to pretreat and to clean your finished garment.

    Karen

  2. CarolFresia | | #2

    Karen's spot on--you can wash rayon, but it's important to test a swatch. Rayons vary a lot, and some come out of the wash pretty much the same way they went in (maybe a little smaller). Others do weird dye things, shrink a lot, get pilly....etc. You'll want to know what your fabric does before you start cutting and sewing.

    Carol

  3. BebeS | | #3

    Genny, my personal experience with rayon fabrics is quite varied. I always wash and dry my fabric before I make the garment just as I would when the garment is completed.

    Yes, rayon usually shrinks, in width and in length. I have had a 45-inch width to shrink 2-4 inches, and as much as 4 or so inches per yard in length. It usually washes well, though, and comes out of the dryer in good shape - no ironing usually! Just buy a little extra fabric and prewash and dry it; you should be okay with it. Don't guarantee it but it has generally worked well for me. I have been sewing over 50 years, including professional dressmaking for over 35 years, so I've had much experience with various fabrics. Good luck.

    1. Tenny68 | | #4

      Hi,

      Thanks to Bebe, Karen and Carol for your expert advice. I too have washed rayon before construction and had it shrink a great deal and become stretchy in the process. I guess I was gun shy after my experience.

      However I tested a sample yesterday and while it became smaller it didn't loose it's luster or become stretchy as with my last experience with washing rayon. I wonder if it is the weave and thread count that makes it more stable or less stabe.

      Thanks again, now on to preparing the yardage for construction!

      Genny

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