Those of you who take a strong interest in the world of fashion may already know a lot about viscose. If you don’t, no need to worry.
By the end of this article, you will have a greater knowledge of this versatile fabric, understanding if it is breathable and whether it’s a good summer fabric.
Viscose is a form of rayon, commonly used in the production of warm weather clothes, billowing tops, and summer staples.
With impressive color and a soft feel, it’s not a surprise to see the fabric used throughout the summer months, but does it offer enough breathability when things get hot?
This affordable fabric was once seen as a substitute for silk, giving us a luxury feel at a lower cost.
It is now used in a huge variety of garments, but as a result of its fragility and moisture retention, it might not always be the best choice.
To make better sense of these problems and understand the best uses of viscose, this article will take a deeper look at the fabric.
If you want to learn more about viscose, make sure you keep reading!
In A Rush? Find The Quick Answer Here!
If you don’t have time to read the entire article and simply want to know if viscose is breathable or not, here’s your answer.
You’ll be happy to hear that, yes, viscose is an excellent fabric when it comes to breathability.
Viscose is made from a unique wood pulp that is then woven or knitted into a super lightweight fabric. This fabric can absorb moisture to keep our skin cool when things get hotter outside.
The minuscule fibers of the fabric let water and air pass through.
Viscose blends also have the ability to improve the breathability of a wider range of fabrics, to help make the clothing more summer-friendly.
This great breathability makes viscose a solid choice when it comes to fabrics that are good for the summer.
What Is It?
There are three types of rayon. Viscose is one of those. The word rayon is used to describe any type of cloth produced from cellulose.
While the most common type of rayon is viscose, other fabrics such as lyocell and modal also make up part of this group.
Cellulose is interestingly a type of plant fiber. This plant fiber helps assist plants when standing stiff and tall and can be located in every plant.
While all plants contain cellulose, those that are considered to be more woody have a much higher content.
The main difference between different types of rayon is the chemicals used to treat cellulose. Viscose happens to be the most popular.
Typically, viscose is collected from a variety of trees. One of these is bamboo because it contains an extremely high level of cellulose.
Viscose, like the other two types of rayon, is classed as semisynthetic.
This is because although they are a natural material, they take quite a lot of time and processing to be turned into the usable fabrics we love so much.
It is this blend of manufactured and natural that gives viscose the price of a synthetic and the properties of natural fibers.
In terms of why viscose was created, it was designed to imitate the feel and appearance of silk.
Invented in the UK in the year 1894, the fabric only became a common sight in the US in the 20th century.
It became so popular because of the amazing job it does imitating the properties and feeling of more expensive, luxurious fibers.
How Viscose Is Made
The fabric is so affordable because of how readily available its cellulose base is. Viscose’s cellulose base comes from an incredibly large range of woody plants.
Due to the fact the fibers go through so much processing too, manufacturers can also easily use cheaper scraps, chips, or cast off pieces of wood.
No matter where the cellulose comes from, it first has to be thoroughly cleaned. After cleaning, the cellulose will also be bleached before the processing procedure begins.
Cleaning the cellulose helps to remove any impurities. Bleaching gets the fiber ready for printing and dyeing.
Once these processes are done, the cellulose moves through to the liquid process.
This process involves creating a chemical reaction within the cellulose. This reaction produces a sticky liquid that is pressed through a machine and spun into a yarn.
As the material is spun, chemicals are added into the mix to help solidify the yarn.
After this has been done, the yarn can be knitted or woven into the cloth.
When done correctly the end result of this process should be a pure cellulose fabric. At the end of the process, all chemicals should be gone.
Interestingly, by the end of the process, the viscose is still a plant-based substance.
Unfortunately, it isn’t classified as natural because it has to undergo chemical reactions to get to that point.
So, Is Viscose A Breathable Fabric?
Yes, viscose is a breathable fabric. There are two primary reasons why this fabric is breathable. The first of these is that it is super absorbent.
This is great because it means that the fabric pulls any sweat in and away from your skin, helping to keep you cooler as you go about your day-to-day.
The second reason viscose is breathable is because of the tiny spaces within the fibers.
These tiny fibers allow air to pass through each strand of fabric, again keeping us a lot cooler on hot summer days.
These small spaces within the fibers are known as nanopores. Nanopores are a fairly common trait amongst natural fibers.
All of this is great, but there are some downsides that also need to be taken into consideration. Just because viscose is breathable, it doesn’t mean it has no issues.
The biggest of these issues is actually in relation to how well the fabric absorbs moisture.
While the fabric is brilliant and keeps us cool by absorbing moisture from our skin, it also takes longer to dry.
Compared to other fabrics, viscose will cool you down a lot better, but it will also take a lot longer to dry. If the material gets too wet it may even start to feel clammy.
Due to the positive and negative properties viscose possesses, some manufacturers mix viscose with different fibers to create fabric blends.
These fabric blends can reduce garment costs further without sacrificing the feel, look, and positive properties of the fibers.
Are The Viscose Fabric Blends Breathable?
Viscose blends give us the best of both worlds. They are not only breathable but also really useful because they take the very best properties from different types of fibers and put them all in one fabric.
There are usually four common blends that contain viscose with each one offering something unique.
In terms of breathability, viscose works best in natural fibers, preserving and providing the fabric with breathability.
On the other hand, viscose significantly improves the breathability in blends with higher synthetic fiber content.
Two of the most popular viscose blends containing natural fiber are viscose/linen and viscose linen.
Adding the viscose fabric to these fibers helps lower the price of the fabric as well as make it a lot softer on your skin.
Common synthetic fiber blends are viscose/polyester and viscose/spandex.
With these fabrics, viscose improves breathability while polyester and spandex help wick moisture. This makes the fabrics feel drier.
Is Viscose Good Summer Material?
As far as hot weather garments go, viscose is an appealing option. Viscose lets air move freely through the fabric, trapping any sweat from your skin.
This helps keep our bodies cooler and takes the sweat off our skin by absorbing it into the fibers.
This is why many people choose viscose fabrics throughout the summer months.
Aside from these two main viscose properties, the fabric is also good for summer thanks to how lightweight it feels.
The lightweight nature of this fabric feels soft on our skin and stays cool in the heat.
Despite these positives, we still need to remember the negative properties this fabric has.
You should be mindful when the humidity is higher because too much sweat and moisture can weigh the fabric down, in turn making us feel uncomfortable due to the clammy feeling this creates.
Your viscose garments will also need to be dry-cleaned more if you want to keep them in good condition.
The more you sweat, the more likely it is for your clothes to stretch too.
While the fabric is a good summer choice, we recommend steering clear of viscose garments if you’re a serious sweater.
Garments Viscose Works Well For This Summer
Viscose was designed to mimic silk, so as you can imagine it has a wonderful drape. This drape makes it the perfect fabric for breezy, flowy summer pieces.
Billowy dresses and lightweight tops are two amazing viscose options.
While viscose itself isn’t the best choice for more structured pieces like trousers, it can still add a flow of air and stretchiness to these types of fabric.
Thanks to viscose offering comfort, coolness, and softness, the fabric also makes a stunning pair of pajamas. Easily dyed and printed, you can get viscose in a wide range of styles and colors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Viscose Sustainable?
There have been some concerns about the chemical pollution created in the manufacturing of viscose, but it is possible to make it sustainably.
If the cellulose is only sourced from forests and woody plants, the raw material will be completely sustainable.
Manufacturers can also make the process more sustainable by disposing of any chemicals correctly.
Is Viscose A Better Option Than Cotton?
In all honesty, choosing the better of the two fabrics comes down to personal preference. Viscose isn’t as durable as cotton, but it is a lot smoother on the skin and has a more lightweight feel.
On the other hand, cotton is 100% organic while viscose is semisynthetic.
Does Viscose Cause Sweating?
Viscose allows air to pass through the fibers in the fabrics making us feel cooler as we go about our day-to-day.
This is great because it actually prevents us from sweating. Having said that, on the hottest days of the year, viscose might absorb so much moisture that your fabrics will be drenched.
If the humidity is high too, this could actually make you feel quite clammy, causing you to sweat.
Breathability is arguably viscose’s best property.
The comfortable, soft, and most importantly affordable fabric, designed to mimic silk scores highly when it comes to allowing airflow and blending natural fibers with affordable synthetics.
Hopefully, now you’ve been through our guide you have a greater knowledge of what viscose is, why it is used, and what its best properties are.
Now you have a greater understanding of what to expect from viscose, you can start planning your summer wardrobe with fabrics that will help you look awesome while also staying cool.
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