What is Viscose fabric?

What is viscose fabric

Introduction – What is Viscose Fabric

Viscose fabric is a semi-synthetic fiber derived from wood pulp (cellulose). Often referred to as rayon, it’s known for its drape, softness, and luster, resembling silk. Versatile and breathable, viscose is popular for clothing like dresses, blouses, and skirts.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of viscose fabric, exploring its history, identification, types, applications, advantages, disadvantages, common misconceptions, and answering frequently asked questions.

History of Viscose Fabric

The history of viscose fabric is a testament to human ingenuity in the realm of textiles:

Early Developments:

Viscose’s origins can be traced back to the mid-19th century when French chemist Hilaire de Chardonnet invented the first synthetic fibre, known as “artificial silk” or “Chardonnet silk.” However, it was not widely adopted due to its flammability.

The Discovery of Viscose:

In the late 19th century, British inventors Charles Cross, Edward Bevan, and Clayton Beadle made significant advancements in the development of viscose. They discovered a process to create a more stable and non-flammable fibre from cellulose, leading to the birth of viscose rayon.

Growth in Popularity:

Viscose rayon quickly gained popularity due to its silk-like appearance and affordability. It became a staple in the fashion industry, contributing to the expansion of clothing choices for people worldwide.

How do you identify a Viscose fabric

Identifying viscose fabric is crucial when purchasing or caring for textiles. Here are key characteristics to look for:

Softness: Viscose fabric is exceptionally soft to the touch, often compared to the texture of silk.

Drapability: It has excellent drapability, meaning it hangs gracefully and flows smoothly, making it suitable for flowy garments.

Breathability: Viscose is highly breathable, allowing air to circulate, making it comfortable in warm weather.

Sheen: It often has a subtle sheen that adds an elegant touch to clothing.

Absorbency: Viscose can absorb moisture, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on its intended use.

Weight: Viscose fabrics come in a range of weights, from lightweight for summer clothing to heavier blends for cooler seasons.

What are the different types of Viscose fabric

Viscose fabric comes in various types, each with its unique characteristics and applications:

Regular Viscose: This is the standard viscose fabric, known for its softness, drape, and breathability. It is used in a wide range of clothing items.

Viscose Challis: A lightweight, soft, and often printed viscose fabric commonly used for dresses, blouses, and scarves.

Viscose Twill: Viscose twill has a diagonal weave pattern, providing durability and a subtle texture. It is used for trousers, skirts, and suits.

Viscose Crepe: Viscose crepe has a textured, pebbly surface and is often used for flowy dresses, blouses, and eveningwear.

Modal: A type of viscose made from beechwood pulp, modal is exceptionally soft and has moisture-wicking properties, making it ideal for activewear and undergarments.

Viscose fabric is often blended with other fibres to enhance its properties and improve its performance in various applications. Some of the most popular blends of viscose fabric include:

#1. Viscose/Elastane (Viscose/Spandex):


This blend combines the softness and drape of viscose with the stretch and recovery of elastane (spandex). It’s commonly used in activewear, leggings, and form-fitting clothing to provide comfort and flexibility. Here are some examples – 

Leggings – These provide comfort, stretch, and style for everyday wear or workouts.

T-Shirts – Soft and stretchy T-shirts offer a perfect fit with added flexibility.

Activewear Sets – Sets comprising leggings and matching tops for exercise and athleisure.

Brand Recommendation: Lululemon is known for its high-quality activewear, including leggings made from viscose/spandex blends.

#2. Viscose/Polyester:


Blending viscose with polyester adds durability, wrinkle resistance, and colour retention to the fabric. This blend is often used for workwear, dresses, and suiting.

Office Wear – Blouses and dresses suitable for professional attire with enhanced durability and wrinkle resistance.

 Evening Dresses – Elegant gowns with improved colour retention and luxurious drape.

Casual Tops – Everyday tops that are easy to care for and maintain their shape.

Brand Recommendation:  Ann Taylor  offers a range of workwear and dresses with viscose/polyester blends for a polished look.

#3. Viscose/Cotton:


Combining viscose with cotton results in a fabric that combines the softness and breathability of cotton with the drape and sheen of viscose. It’s used in a wide range of clothing, from casual wear to summer dresses.

Sundresses – Lightweight and breathable dresses perfect for summer outings.

Trousers – Comfortable, soft trousers suitable for both casual and semi-formal occasions.

T-Shirts – Soft and breathable T-shirts ideal for everyday wear.

Brand Recommendation: H&M provides a variety of clothing items made from viscose/cotton blends, including sundresses and casual tops.

#4. Viscose/Wool:


Blending viscose with wool creates a fabric that is warmer and has better insulation properties. It’s often used for winter clothing, suits, and outerwear.

Winter Coats – Warm and stylish coats that provide insulation against cold weather.

Sweaters – Soft and cozy sweaters perfect for fall and winter.

Tailored Suits – Suits with added warmth and a refined appearance.

Brand Recommendation: Banana Republic offers a selection of wool-blend outerwear and knitwear, including coats and sweaters.

#5. Viscose/Linen:


This blend combines the moisture-wicking and breathable properties of linen with the softness and drape of viscose. It’s suitable for warm-weather clothing like shirts, dresses, and blouses.

Summer Dresses – Lightweight and breathable dresses perfect for hot weather.

Blouses – Cool and comfortable blouses suitable for casual or semi-formal occasions.

Beach Cover-ups – Flowy cover-ups ideal for a day at the beach.

Brand Recommendation: Zara offers a variety of summer dresses and linen-blend clothing items.

#6. Viscose/Tencel (Lyocell):


Tencel, a type of lyocell, is a sustainable fibre made from wood pulp like viscose. Blending these two fibres enhances the sustainability of the fabric while maintaining its softness and moisture-wicking properties. It’s used in a variety of clothing items, including sustainable fashion.

Sustainable Fashion – Dresses and tops made from eco-friendly materials.

Casual Jumpsuits – Comfortable and environmentally conscious jumpsuits.

Bedding – Soft and sustainable bed linens.

Brand Recommendation: Eileen Fisher is known for its sustainable fashion, including clothing made from viscose/Tencel blends.

#7. Viscose/Silk:


Combining viscose with silk creates a luxurious fabric that has the softness, sheen, and drape of silk with added affordability. It’s used in eveningwear, lingerie, and high-end fashion.

Evening Gowns – Luxurious gowns with a silky feel, perfect for special occasions.

Lingerie – Silky and sensual lingerie for a touch of luxury.

 Robes – Soft and elegant robes for lounging in style.

 Brand Recommendation: Natori offers a range of silk-blend lingerie and nightwear.

#8. Viscose/Bamboo:


Bamboo viscose is derived from bamboo pulp and, when blended with regular viscose, enhances the fabric’s natural and eco-friendly qualities. It’s often used in activewear, loungewear, and undergarments.

Yoga Pants – Comfortable and moisture-wicking yoga pants for workouts.

Lounge Sets – Soft and eco-friendly lounge sets for relaxation.

Underwear – Bamboo-blend underwear for comfort and breathability.

Brand Recommendation: Boody specializes in sustainable bamboo viscose clothing, including activewear and undergarme9. nts.

#9. Viscose/Acetate:


Viscose/acetate blends are commonly used for linings in clothing items like suits, jackets, and skirts. The combination offers a smooth and slippery surface that aids in easy garment movement.

Suit Linings – Smooth and slippery linings for suits and jackets.

Evening Skirts – Flowy and elegant skirts with a sleek inner lining.

Cocktail Dresses – Dresses with a comfortable and slip-resistant interior.

Brand Recommendation:- Brooks Brothers offers a range of quality suit linings and eveningwear.

#10. Viscose/Nylon:


Blending viscose with nylon adds strength, durability, and elasticity to the fabric. This blend is suitable for activewear, hosiery, and garments that require stretch and recovery.

Hosiery – Durable and stretchy hosiery for everyday use.

Active Leggings – Leggings with added stretch and durability for workouts.

Shapewear – Shapewear garments that provide support and flexibility.

Brand Recommendation: SPANX is well-known for its shapewear and hosiery, often made from nylon-blend fabrics.

These blends of viscose fabric offer a wide range of properties to meet different needs, making them popular choices for various types of clothing and textile applications. The choice of blend depends on the desired characteristics and performance requirements of the final product.

These examples showcase the versatility and wide range of applications for viscose fabric blends, catering to various fashion and lifestyle needs. Brand recommendations are based on their expertise in the respective categories and materials used in their products.

What kind of products are possible with different blends of viscose:

5 different examples of garments made from Viscose fabric

#1. Summer Dresses: 

Viscose’s lightweight and breathable nature make it perfect for summer dresses that offer comfort and style.

#2. Blouses:

Viscose blouses have a soft drape and elegant sheen, making them a popular choice for both casual and formal wear.

#3. Trousers:

Viscose twill or crepe is often used for trousers, offering a comfortable fit and a polished appearance.

#4. Scarves:

Viscose challis or crepe is frequently used to create lightweight and stylish scarves.

#5. Lingerie:

Modal, a type of viscose, is used for lingerie due to its exceptional softness and moisture-wicking properties.

What are the advantages of Viscose fabric

Viscose fabric offers several advantages, which contribute to its popularity:

Silk-Like Feel: It mimics the luxurious feel of silk at a more affordable price point.

Breathability: Viscose is highly breathable, making it comfortable to wear in warm weather.

Drapability: It has excellent drapability, creating a soft and flowing look in clothing.

Absorbency: Viscose can absorb moisture, keeping the wearer comfortable.

Versatility: It comes in various types and weights, suitable for a wide range of clothing and accessories.

Affordability: Viscose provides a cost-effective alternative to natural silk.

What are the disadvantages of Viscose fabric

Despite its advantages, viscose fabric has some drawbacks:

Wrinkles: Viscose is prone to wrinkling and may require frequent ironing or steaming to maintain a polished appearance.

Shrinkage: It can shrink when exposed to heat or moisture, which can affect the fit of garments.

Durability: Viscose may not be as durable as some other fabrics and can be more susceptible to wear and tear.

Moisture Absorption: While moisture absorption can be an advantage, it can also lead to extended drying times after washing.

Environmental Concerns: The production of viscose involves chemical processes, which can have environmental impacts if not managed responsibly.

What are the common misconceptions about Viscose fabrics

There are several common misconceptions about viscose fabrics:

Natural vs. Synthetic: Viscose is often mistakenly categorized as a synthetic fabric when it is, in fact, a semi-synthetic fibre made from natural cellulose sources.

Fragility: While viscose can be delicate, not all types are fragile. Some variations, such as viscose twill, are more durable and resistant to wrinkles.

Sustainability: Viscose is often considered an eco-friendly choice due to its plant-based origin, but environmental concerns can arise if the production process is not sustainable or certified.

Allergic Reactions: Viscose is generally hypoallergenic and suitable for those with sensitive skin, but individual reactions may vary.

Commonly Asked Questions on Viscose fabric and their answers

Is viscose fabric the same as rayon?

Yes, viscose fabric is often referred to as rayon. Rayon is a more generic term, while viscose typically refers to the type of rayon made from wood pulp.

Can viscose fabric shrink?

Yes, viscose fabric can shrink when exposed to heat or moisture. It’s essential to follow care instructions to prevent excessive shrinkage.

Is viscose eco-friendly?

Viscose can be eco-friendly if produced using sustainable practices. Look for certifications like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or Tencel, which indicate responsible sourcing and production.

Does viscose fabric wrinkle easily?

Yes, viscose fabric is prone to wrinkling. To reduce wrinkles, consider steaming or ironing with a low-temperature setting.

Is viscose fabric breathable?

Yes, viscose fabric is highly breathable and comfortable to wear in warm weather.

Can I machine wash viscose clothing?

It’s best to follow the care instructions on the garment. Many viscose garments can be machine-washed on a gentle cycle, but some may require hand-washing.

Does viscose fabric have a sheen?

Yes, viscose fabric often has a subtle sheen that adds to its elegant appearance.

Is modal fabric the same as viscose?

Modal is a type of viscose made from beechwood pulp. It is known for its exceptional softness and moisture-wicking properties.

Can viscose fabric be used for activewear?

Modal, a type of viscose, is commonly used for activewear due to its moisture-wicking properties and softness.

What types of dyes are suitable for viscose fabric?

Viscose fabric accepts a wide range of dyes, making it suitable for achieving vibrant and long-lasting colors. Reactive dyes are commonly used for viscose.


In conclusion, viscose fabric, with its softness, drapability, and breathability, has earned its place as a beloved textile in the world of fashion and textiles. Its rich history, versatility, and affordability make it a favourite choice for various garments and accessories. However, it’s essential to be aware of its care requirements and potential drawbacks, such as wrinkling and shrinkage.

Hula Global, a renowned garment manufacturer, has a long-standing history of producing high-quality garments made from viscose fabric. With a commitment to craftsmanship and attention to detail, Hula Global ensures that their viscose creations meet the highest standards of excellence. So, whether you’re in search of a comfortable summer dress or an elegant blouse, you can trust Hula Global to deliver style and comfort through their viscose creations.

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