When I first started with Sew What's New, I knew nothing about fabrics other than the ones that were covering my own tushie so I have spent a lot of time learning about fabrics and their uses. I have in essence become a fabric nerd and I am not even close to knowing it all. Want proof? Ask me to pronounce "matelasse". It isn't pretty.
I think the fabric that gets the worst rap is rayon. A lot of people think it's like polyester, a synthetic fabric. I am happy to report that it is not a synthetic at all as it is a produced of wood fiber.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the subject...
Rayon is a very versatile fiber and has the same comfort properties as natural fibers. It can imitate the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton and linen. The fibers are easily dyed in a wide range of colors. Rayon fabrics are soft, smooth, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent, but they do not insulate body heat, making them ideal for use in hot and humid climates. The highest quality Hawaiian shirts produced between the 1930s and the 1950s that are most sought after by collectors are all made of rayon.
In other words, Rayon is wonderful for warm weather clothing but also great for linings for coats and jackets. I also find it has a great drape and when mixed with other fibers such as cotton or polyester, it adds a softness that only rayon can produce. You can find rayon in home decor fabrics, dress making fabrics and even some trims! Also, if you are concerned about Mother Earth, nothing is more biodegradable than rayon. It actually degrades faster than cotton
What I find interesting that some companies are producing a "synthetic rayon" that while it looks like rayon, it is missing that certain rayon "feel".
How can you tell if the fabric you are purchasing is rayon? It's easy! Simply burn an edge. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. Have a cup of water present just in case. Take a strip of the fabric and hold a lighter to an edge. Let burn for at most a second and inspect the burnt edge. Rayon burns much like cotton. It burns rather quickly and leaves a crumpling ash. I find that rayon, unlike cotton, smells like burnt paper whereas cotton smells more organic like burning leaves. Or just ask us. We like to burn things.
Here at Sew What's New, we have hundreds of yards of all different types of rayon in all types of colors and prints. It is my personal favorite. Check out our Etsy, Artfire shops or stop in to see some amazing rayon that I just know you will love for all your projects.