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tencel–what is it?

eauinaz | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I bought some fabric marked ‘tencel’ at a bargain table at JoAnn’s. It felt like the tencel I’d used before, so I just assumed it was rayon. But—when I went home and did the burn test, it was polyester.
Is tencel a more generic term? I always thought it was rayon, but maybe I’m wrong.


  1. CarolFresia | | #1

    Tencel is a cellulose fiber (wood-pulp based), and is a sub-class of rayon, I believe. So if your fabric burned like polyester, then my guess is that it was mislabeled.

    BTW, I don't burn things to test them, although I've always wanted to. I'm just afraid I'll set my house on fire. What I do instead is a trial by water--I just wash anything mysterious and see what happens. The less the fabric changes, the more synthetic it is, usually.


    1. eauinaz | | #2

      The burn test as described in Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Guide is really easy and I think foolproof. Of course I only use a small scrap of fabric and do it either over my stainless steel kitchen sink or a metal pie plate.

  2. HeartFire | | #3

    Tencel is essentially the same ar Rayon, it is made via a 'reformulation' of the process of rayon. Rayon is made in a very very environmentaly polluting manner, and is no longer manufactured in the USA because of how polluting it is, (although it is made in Canada) Tencel is manufactured in a way that recaptures the chemicals and reuses them. That is why esp. at first it was much more expensive than rayon. Rayon and tencel are made from wood pulp - scrap wood for the most part, that is treated with chemicals to breakdown the fibers into smaller fibers that are then spun out and processed some more. (I did a report on Tencel for my Textiles class - I love the drape and feel of it, but then I like rayon too.)

    1. bcool | | #4

      JUDY,  I've had some Tensel items that I loved.  Then some that wrinkled like crazy.  NOT travel suitable as I was led to believe.  What's the difference?  brenda

      1. HeartFire | | #5

        I don't know that I can answer that, like any fabric, tencel may have different finishes applied to it or anti-wrinkle treatments, different weaves may respond differently, rayon will generally wrinkle, but they often fall out easily. The other thing is that a couple of yrs ago, they again re-formulated the way it is made so that the fibers were even stronger and held color dyes better. perhaps this is the difference in the fabrics.

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