Is Viscose Fabric Stretchy? (Top 6 Ways To Stretch It)

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While making different items from viscose fabric many people must wonder did viscose fabric stretch. The simple answer to that question is that sometimes viscose fabric stretches but unlike the other fabrics viscose stretch is very small. On average, viscose can only stretch up to 2%. Viscose is a type of rayon fabric made from wood cellulose fibres. It can be made to be elastic, but not always. Generally, it is not stretchable.

Viscose fabric is not inherently stretchy. It is made from cellulose fibres that are derived from wood pulp and treated with chemicals to make them soft and flexible. Viscose fabric has a smooth, silky feel and drapes well, but it does not have the stretch and recovery properties of synthetic stretch fabrics like spandex or elastane. Here, I will be discussing the way viscose fabric is made and how much stretchability it has. Read the full blog to get your answer about how we can stretch viscose fabric from different methods.  

What is Viscose Fabric?

The name “viscose” refers to a form of cellulosic fibre fabric that is manufactured on a commercial scale and is produced from wood pulp. The word “rayon” was coined for this material in the late 19th century when it was initially introduced. However, with time rayon’s family extended and was categorized, they named it viscose.

As viscose fabric is classified as a man-made cellulosic fibre fabric, along with other types of cellulose-based fibres like rayon and modal. The wood pulp used to create viscose is dissolved in a chemical solution and then extruded through tiny slots to create the fibres. Yarn is spun first from fibres before they are used to make cloth through weaving or knitting.

Viscose is also made into various weaves, including twill, satin, Jersey, etc. That’s why, viscose fabric is widely used in clothes, bedding, and other home textiles because of its luxuriously smooth texture and fluid drape. It may be dyed to a broad variety of colours and is used as a more affordable substitute for natural fibres like silk and cotton.

Viscose fabric is lightweight, absorbent, and airy—perfect for summertime wear. However, it may shrink more easily than other materials and is very durable compared to other synthetic fabrics. It may also hold up well after being frequently but properly washed.

Does Viscose Fabric Stretch?

Viscose fabric is not naturally stretchable. As it is fabricated from wood pulp cellulose fibres that have been chemically treated to increase their fluidity. Although it is lightweight and durable but certainly not stretchy. Unlike synthetic stretch fabrics like spandex and elastane, viscose does not have the same degree of stretch and rebound as other fabrics.

However, some viscose fabrics may have a slight degree of stretching due to the addition of stretchy fibres during the production of viscose or the application of the stretch finish. In addition, the weave pattern of viscose also has an effect on the elasticity of the material as well. Even then, viscose usually does not stretch more than 2%.

Still, this is useful for viscose items like leggings and dresses that benefit from a bit of stretch for comfort and fit. Be aware that these textiles may not have the same level of stretch and recovery as a dedicated stretch fabric, and that they may potentially shrink or lose their shape with time.

What is Viscose Fibre Made of?

Viscose fabric is classified as a man-made cellulosic fiber, along with other types of cellulose-based fibers like rayon and modal. These fibers are made from natural materials, but they are chemically processed and treated to give them specific properties and characteristics.

The process for manufacturing viscose involves several steps given below:

Sourcing Wooden Pulp

The wood pulp used to make viscose is typically sourced from trees like pine, spruce, or eucalyptus. The wood is first debarked and then ground into a pulp using mechanical or chemical methods.

Dissolving The Wooden Pulp

The wood pulp is then dissolved in a chemical solution to create a viscous liquid known as “pulp liquor.” This solution contains a high percentage of cellulose and is typically made using a combination of sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide.

Extruding The Fibres

After dissolving the wooden pulp, fibres are extruded. The pulping liquor is then passed through small holes, or “spinnerets,” to create thin fibres. The fibres are then cooled and solidified as they are drawn out of the spinnerets.

Spinning The Fibres

The fibres are then spun into yarn using a spinning process similar to that used for natural fibres like cotton or wool. The yarn can be spun into various thicknesses and textures depending on the desired properties of the final fabric.

Weaving Or Knitting The Fabric

The yarn is then woven or knitted into the fabric using traditional textile manufacturing techniques. The fabric is then treated with chemicals to give it specific properties and characteristics, such as softness, drape, or absorbency.

Finishing The Fabric

The fabric may also be subjected to additional processes, such as washing, dyeing, printing, or finishing, to give it a specific appearance or performance. Once the fabric is finished, it is ready for use in a wide range of products, including clothing, bedding, and other household textiles.

Viscose is pretty famous due to its strong drape, texture, colour, and versatility with a high moisture-wicking ability and is breathable. Because it can resist creasing and wrinkling through a steamer or clothesline when dried, it’s possible to extend its life compared to other textiles like cotton. The flexibility allows for easy use making viscose fabric great for many applications, including clothing, household items, industrial belts, silk alternatives, and so on.

Top 6 Ways to Stretch Viscose Fibre

Viscose fabric is not inherently stretchy. Although, viscose fabric has a smooth, silky feel and drapes well, but it does not have the stretch and recovery properties of synthetic stretch fabrics like spandex or elastane. However, under certain circumstances, viscose can stretch up to 2%.

You can stretch the viscose by following methods:

Soak The Fabric

It may be possible to relax the fabric’s fibres and make it more flexible by soaking the fabric in water or a solution designed for stretching fabric. After the cloth has been saturated, stretch it out carefully in the direction that you would like to stretch it, but don’t try to force it. It is recommended that the cloth be laid down flat to dry while being smoothed out in order to maintain its stretched form.

Wash The Fabric

Fabrics that are difficult to stretch could occasionally benefit from being washed and dried in order to relax the fibres and make stretching them easier. This is because washing and drying tend to make fibres more flexible. If you want to maintain the quality of your viscose clothing for as long as possible, you should wash it in lukewarm water using a gentle detergent, and you should never wring it out or twist it.

Apply Heat

Heating the cloth will assist relax the fibres, which will allow for easier stretching. Heat can also help the fabric retain its shape. It could be helpful to use a steam iron or hair dryer set to a low heat setting in order to gradually warm the fabric. While the fabric is still warm, it should be stretched, and then afterwards it should be set flat in the stretched position so that it can cool.

Add A Stretchy Panel

You might want to think about sewing in a stretchy panel if the cloth isn’t stretchy enough to create a comfortable fit or to hold its shape. Cutouts can be made in strategic locations along the seams of the garment and then fitted with pieces of stretch fabric (such as spandex or elastane) that match the overall color scheme or pattern of the garment. It can assist the garment in stretching and providing better support for the wearer.

Using A Fabric Stretcher

To successfully stretch fabric, you will need to make use of a fabric stretcher, which is a specialized piece of equipment that was developed just for this purpose. In its most basic form, it consists of two parallel bars that are connected by tension rods. Fabric can be lengthened or shortened with the help of a fabric stretcher by merely being draped over the bars and having the tension rods adjusted accordingly. When stretched in this manner, viscose can be safer on end while still producing satisfactory results.

Stretched Fabric By Hand

Another technique you can use to stretch the viscose fabric is to stretch by hand. Place the fabric so that it is flat on a surface that is level, and when you want to stretch it, pull on the corners or the edges. Never tug on the cloth with too much force or in an uneven manner, as this could cause the fabric to rip or for the contour of the item to be altered.

Wearing The Viscose Garments

The viscose garment can be stretched out over time by just wearing it and moving about in it while you wear it. It is possible and this method will be most beneficial to aesthetic articles that are frequently worn, stretched, and moved about a great deal.


First mist the fabric, then put the iron’s temperature on the lowest setting so that won’t damage the fabric. Before deciding what temperature to set your iron at, be sure to consult the fabric’s label or care instructions, so it would not cause any damage. Now, place the iron on the fabric and stretch it gently in the direction you want to increase the size. Be sure to use even, gentle pressure and avoid pulling too hard, as this could cause the fabric to tear or become misshapen.

Tumble Dry Viscose

This is another technique where you will be required to tumble dry your viscose fabric in your appliance for an extended period of time in order to make it soft and moldable again. After that, you can stretch the viscose fabric like any other fabric. It is recommended to consult the care label first if it is safe to tumble dry and what should be the temperature.

What is Viscose Bamboo Fabric?

Viscose bamboo fabric is a type of fabric that is made from bamboo cellulose fibres. Bamboo is a fast-growing, sustainable plant that is known for its strength, durability, and environmental benefits. The process for making viscose bamboo fabric is similar to that of making regular viscose fabric, except that the cellulose fibres are derived from bamboo rather than wood pulp.

Viscose bamboo fabric is known for its soft, silky feel and good drape, which makes it a popular choice for clothing, bedding, and other household textiles. It is also highly absorbent and breathable, making it suitable for warm-weather clothing.

Viscose bamboo fabric is often marketed as a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to regular viscose, as it is made from a renewable resource and requires fewer chemicals to produce. However, it is worth noting that the production of viscose bamboo fabric does still involve the use of chemicals, and it may not be as eco-friendly as some other natural fibres like cotton or linen.

Is Viscose Summer Fabric?

Viscose fabric is often considered a summer fabric due to its lightweight, breathable, and absorbent properties. It is a popular choice for warm-weather clothing, as it helps to keep the skin cool and dry by wicking moisture away from the body. Viscose fabric is also known for its good drape and flow, which can make it comfortable and flattering to wear in the heat.

The viscose fabric is considered summer fabric due to the following reasons.

  • Lightweight: Viscose fabric is lightweight and has a good drape, which makes it comfortable to wear in warm weather. It is also less bulky than some other types of fabrics, which can make it easier to pack and carry when traveling.
  • Breathable: Viscose fabric is highly absorbent and breathable, which means it can help to keep the skin cool and dry by wicking moisture away from the body. This can be especially helpful in hot, humid weather.
  • Highly-Absorbent: Viscose fabric is known for its ability to absorb moisture, which can help to keep the skin dry and comfortable in warm weather. It is also quick-drying, which can make it a convenient choice for activities like swimming or exercising.
  • Comfortable: Viscose fabric is soft, smooth, and silky, which makes it comfortable to wear against the skin. It is also less prone to irritation than some other types of fabrics, which can make it a good choice for people with sensitive skin.
  • Versatile: Viscose fabric is available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and styles, which makes it a versatile choice for summer clothing. It is also easy to dye, which allows for a wide range of color options.

However, keep in mind, that personal preferences and comfort levels will be different for everyone, and what is suitable for one person may not be suitable for another. It’s important to consider your own comfort and needs when choosing viscose clothing for summer wear.

Is Viscose Breathable?

Yes, viscose fabric is regarded to be more breathable than other types of fabric due to its high level of absorbency and its capacity to wick sweat away from the body. As a result, it can be helpful in keeping the skin from overheating in situations where there is a lot of heat and humidity. Viscose is a type of fabric that is known for its pliability, drape, and flow, all of which contribute to the greater ventilation that the fabric provides.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that the breathability of a given fabric will depend on the unique characteristics that it possesses as well as the manufacturing process that it goes through. The permeability of a viscose fabric can be affected by a variety of design elements, including its weight, thickness, and weave.

For example, the weight and shape of each viscose fibre directly affect how much moisture it can hold. The heavier and more rounded these fibres are, the heavier their weight when exposed to humidity from degrading cellulose, leading to a higher rate at which they can absorb moisture. The breathability of fabric may also be reduced if additional fibres or finishes, such as those used to promote stretch or wrinkle resistance, are incorporated into its construction.

Viscose fabric is extremely breathable, making it a popular choice for usage in a variety of applications, including summer clothing. However, it is always a good idea to examine the care instructions or label for a particular fabric in order to establish its specific qualities and determine whether or not it is suitable for a given usage.

How to Clean Viscose Fabric?

Viscose fabric is a delicate, absorbent fabric that requires special care to keep it looking its best. Here are some tips for cleaning viscose fabric:

Check The Care Label

Before cleaning viscose fabric, be sure to check the care label or instructions for the specific fabric. This will give you information on the best way to care for the fabric and will help you avoid damaging it.

Use A Gentle Detergent

Viscose fabric is prone to shrinkage and dye loss, so it’s important to use a gentle detergent when washing it. Avoid using harsh or abrasive detergents, because they will damage the viscose fabric, and opt for a mild, pH-neutral detergent instead.

Wash On Gentle Cycle

Viscose fabric is a pretty tough fabric and you can easily wash it by machine washing on a gentle cycle. However, it is sensitive to heat, so avoid using hot water, as this can cause the fabric to shrink or fade. Use lukewarm water and a gentle detergent instead.

Dry The Fabric Gently

After washing the viscose fabric, be sure to dry it gently. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can cause it to lose its shape or become misshapen. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water and lay the fabric flat to dry, smoothing it out to maintain its shape.

Avoid Heat And Direct Sunlight

Viscose fabric is sensitive to heat and can be damaged by high temperatures. Avoid drying the fabric in direct sunlight or using a hot iron on it, as this can cause the fabric to shrink or fade.

FAQ about Viscose Fabric Stretchy or Not

How to Care for Viscose Fabric?

Synthetic fabric is susceptible to direct sunlight and heat. Do not expose your viscose garment to these elements. Hand or Machine wash gently (30 degrees Celsius), do not soak. Do not use bleaching agents or strong detergents; do not wring out the garment. Hang it in the shade to dry naturally, removing any excess water by gently patting it with a towel before laying it flat on a drying rack for drying.

Does Viscose Fibre Shrinks?

Yes, viscose fibre is a shrinkable fabric. However, it does not shrink as much as cotton because it is synthetic. But viscose fibre can still shrink and expand when exposed to heat or water. The shrinking phenomenon happens in a particular manner, which is why you will find it familiar with the wrinkle effect of cotton. The normal fabric shrinks during the drying process. However, there is no ironing effect on the fabric. So after the drying process, the fabric will be shrunken and wrinkled just like cotton.

Is Viscose Fabric Absorbent?

In the case of viscose fibre, it is very easy to be absorbed water. In the case of water, when washing a viscose fabric by any means such as by hand or machine, the Viscose will absorb up to 30% of its weight. As far as size is concerned, it can easily be absorbed, which is seen in a wet cloth. However, the absorption will slow down if you dry it a little. The way of drying can also influence how much the viscose fibre would be able to absorb water.

Does Viscose have an Odour?

Viscose has no smell when it’s being produced and stored properly. However, it does have an odour once you open the package. It is said that viscose breathable fabrics have better airflow than regular Viscose. This article says that the combination of cellulose and acrylic fibres in the fabric creates a breathable fabric.

What is Viscose Acetate Fabric?

Viscose acetate fabric is a type of fabric made from a cellulose-based fibre called viscose. Viscose acetate is a modified form of viscose that is made by reacting viscose with acetic acid. This process creates a fabric that is similar to silk in its appearance and drape, but that is more durable and easier to care for.
Viscose acetate fabric is known for its soft, smooth, and silky feel, as well as its good drape and flow. It is often used to make clothing, bedding, and home decor items, as well as a variety of other household and personal care products.

Does the Viscose Stretch when Washed?

Yes, when Viscose is washed and dried at a higher temperature than usual, the fabric can stretch up to 2%, which creates a gentle springiness in the fabric.

How to Reduce Yellowing in Viscose Fabrics?

Yellowing can occur in viscose fabrics over time due to a variety of factors, such as exposure to light, heat, or moisture. To help prevent yellowing, store viscose fabrics in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat. Avoid storing the fabric in damp or humid conditions, as this can cause yellowing and other types of damage.
Also, as viscose fabrics are sensitive to heat and can be damaged by high temperatures. Avoid washing viscose fabrics in hot water and avoid drying them in direct sunlight or using a hot iron on them.

Can you Wash a Viscose Sweater?

Yes, you may safely machine wash your viscose sweater and hand wash your viscose dress or pants. There should be no problem if the garment is completely dry before putting it on after washing. Under normal wear conditions, any kind of cleaning will not cause any problems to the fabric. 

Does 100% Percent Viscose Material Stretch?

100% viscose fabric does stretch but in a limited capacity. 100% viscose material may have some stretch, but the specific amount of stretch will depend on the characteristics of the specific fabric. Viscose fabric is a kind of natural fibre with a high proportion of regenerating fibres, which means that the fabric tends to be more flexible. It can only stretch to a certain extent.

What are the Disadvantages of Viscose Fabric?

Viscose fabric is pretty vulnerable to shrinkage and heat. That is the disadvantage of viscose. Also, viscose is a synthetic material and synthetic fabrics have been accused of causing rashes and discomfort in some cases. Synthetic fabrics have also been accused of being slippery on the skin and lacking breathability though this can be corrected by increasing the amount of yarn used or adding cotton to absorb moisture.

Final Thoughts

To summarise, viscose fabric on average is a soft and drapey fabric that has good stretch and recovery. However, the amount of stretch in a viscose fabric can vary depending on several factors, including the thickness and weight of the fabric, the way it is woven or knitted, and the presence of other fibres or finishes.



I have been working as a seamstress since I was 12 years old, and I would be happy to teach you what I know. I, along with the rest of my team, investigate numerous sewing, quilting, embroidery, and fabric related how-to guides, and present our findings to you.

1 thought on “Is Viscose Fabric Stretchy? (Top 6 Ways To Stretch It)”

  1. What a great article! Years ago I bought my DIL a viscose scarf that she loved. I told her I would machine embroider something beautiful on it. I want to buy some test fabric but couldn’t find anyone knowledgeable about what stabilizer to use. Can you advise please?

    Thanks for the valuable information!


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