Does Lyocell (Tencel) Fabric Stretch or Shrink?

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Lyocell fabric is made using a process that involves making cellulose fibers from wood pulp by dissolving it in an amine oxide solution and extracting its solution to make lyocell. This fabric has a couple of important advantages: it has the ability to insulate without adding bulk and the clothes that are made with this fabric are generally resistant to moisture. Lyocell fabrics are also hypoallergenic, which makes them popular among people who suffer from allergies. As an added bonus, it is usually easier to dye lyocell fabric than traditional wool materials, since this material doesn’t have any additional substances mixed in with the cellulose.

Lyocell, also known as Tencel fabric, possesses a degree of stretchiness while maintaining its shape exceptionally well. What’s advantageous about Lyocell is its shape-retention quality. Although it has some stretch, Lyocell doesn’t significantly shrink after washing. It may experience an initial 3% shrinkage in the first wash but tends to resist further shrinkage. In rare instances, minimal shrinkage might occur in washing machines or dryers, but this rate is considerably lower compared to fabrics like Cotton, Wool, Silk, and Linen. Typically, you can anticipate up to a 3% shrinkage only in the initial washes, making it advisable to pre-wash before sewing. Lyocell can be safely laundered with hot or regular water.

Let’s now discuss the Lyocell (Tencel) fabric in detail and also discuss its types as well.

What Is Lyocell Fabric Made Of?

Lyocell fabric is made from cellulose derived from trees. This article will explain what lyocell fabric is, as well as why lyocell is more sustainable than other types of cotton and rayon.

Lyocell fabric is created using a process that involves treating a liquid solution through which tiny cellulose fibers are spun into yarns. This fabric is also sometimes known as Tencel, EcoCell, or Lenzitex. The lyocell production process can be broken into two separate parts:

  1. Extraction of cellulose from the rest of the tree material by dissolving it in amine oxide solution.
  2. Spinning of the cellulose fibers into yarns

The separation stage varies depending on the type of lyocell that is being produced. For example, lyocell that is created from cotton is not as environmentally friendly as it could be because the cellulose fibers are then bundled and sold as a commodity.

The spinning stage is where the majority of lyocell has been derived from trees. In this stage, the cellulose fibers are combined with water in order to create a viscous solution. This mixture is then spun into yarns, which can be used for clothes or other products.

Is Lyocell Fabric Stretchy?

Yes, Lyocell does stretch to some extent but the good thing is that it does not loose it shape at all. However, once this fabric is woven or knitted, the stretch in the material reduces dramatically. This can be a benefit for some clothes because it will allow them to maintain their shape and size longer than other types of fabrics. Lyocell also has an added benefit in that it doesn’t cause allergic reactions like wool might. The stretch makes this fabric comfortable for activewear, however, lyocell may not be the best choice for people who are highly physically active.

Due to the production process involved in creating lyocell, the environmental impact of this fabric is dependent on what type of wood pulp is used to create it. Lyocell is made from trees that have been sustainably grown and harvested and will have a minimum negative impact on the environment.

Is Lyocell Stretchy In Jeans? 

Lyocell is stretchy to some extent but it is not stretchy like nylon, spandex etc. However, it is certainly more stretchy than traditionally jeans fabric. However, it is also more comfortable to wear than denim due to its breathability and softness and ability of stretchy without losing its shape. Lyocell jeans are manufactured in a variety of different styles, including regular, slim, and relaxed, but this Lyocell is usually used in slim fit jeans due to slight stretch offered by lyocell without loosing its shape which is curial for jeans.

While Tencel can still stretch a bit if it is sitting on a hanger or dryer. This will allow a certain amount of giving in the fabric, which could be helpful for those who like their jeans to have some extra room in them.

Does Lyocell Fabric Shrink?

Lyocell fabric will shrink if it is exposed to high heat water. High heat will cause lyocell to shrink as much as 5%. This could make the garment that you are washing look baggier than it did when you bought it, so lyocell clothing should be washed at lower temperatures.

Lyocell has the same tendency to shrink as cotton and rayon do. Since this fabric is so versatile, however, most people don’t notice that their clothes are shrinking at all.

Inconvenience Of Lyocell

The inconvenience of lyocell lies in the fact that it is difficult to produce, and the production process is energy intensive. This fabric requires a lot of natural resources to create and there are many different types of chemicals that go into the production process, which can be harmful to animals and people. As stated before, this fabric isn’t as common as other types of cotton or rayon because it isn’t as easy to produce.

What is the difference between Lyocell And Tencel?

Lyocell is a plant-based fabric made from cellulose. It is typically made from bamboo wood, which makes it a bit more environmentally friendly than other types of rayon.

Tencel is a man-made fabric that is created by treating cellulose with amine oxide in order to produce the fibers needed for production. It has a similar structure to rayon but doesn’t use any harmful chemicals or solvents in its production process.

Is Lyocell A Good Fabric?

As far as lyocell fabrics go, Tencel has a number of advantages because it is highly durable, it is often hypoallergenic, and it doesn’t have any noticeable shrinkage when it gets wet. On the other hand, there are a couple of downsides to this fabric:

Tencel clothing is generally more expensive than similar fabrics that are made from cotton or rayon. This is because lyocell isn’t as easy to produce as these two other types of materials. Although this fabric can be used for a variety of different applications, it may not be as versatile as cotton or rayon.

Lyocell can be decorated or printed using any type of dye as it is highly absorbent fabric. In addition to being more expensive than other types of cotton and rayon, lyocell is also considerably sustainable than these two fibers.

Although Tencel is claimed to be more sustainable than other types of cotton and rayon, it will always have a negative impact on the environment. The production of lyocell doesn’t involve any toxins entering the environment, but some researchers claim that the pollution released during the production process could eventually become a major problem for millions of people if Tencel continues to be produced.

The downside of lyocell is that it needs trees in order to be produced. Like other cellulose fabrics, the production process for lyocell requires a great deal of energy, and it is an added strain on the environment. While this fabric does have some advantages that make it more sustainable than other types of cellulose, it will always be less sustainable than cotton and other plant-based materials.

Types Of Lyocell Fabric

Tencel is the most popular lyocell fabric, but there are a few other types of lyocell that can be used for clothes and other types of material. Some of these types include:

  1. Lenzitex
  2. Ecocell
  3. Rayon
  4. Lyocell spandex fabric
  5. Cotton lyocell fabric
  6. Lyocell twill fabric
  7. Lyocell linen fabric
  8. Bamboo Lyocell Fabric
  9. Lyocell linen blend fabric
  10. Lyocell fabric wrinkle


This type of lyocell is derived from trees, which means that this fabric is a little sturdier than Tencel. It generally has a small amount of stretch to it because the wood pulp fibers in Lenzitex are longer than those in Tencel.


This fabric is made from recycled materials and with the ratio of 1/4 sustainable raw materials and 3/4 of recycled material. While it has the same properties as Lenzitex, this lyocell is more environmentally-friendly because the cellulose fibers are already available.


The cellulose fibers in rayon are already used as a source of raw material for other types of products such as soy, bamboo etc, so there is less pollution created when these fibers are released during the production process. Production of rayon doesn’t involve a great deal of additional energy, which means that this material doesn’t require as much effort to create as lyocell. Because it is less sustainable than Tencel and Lenzitex, Rayon is generally more expensive than these types of fabrics.

Lyocell Spandex Fabric

This is a fabric made from a blend of lyocell, cotton, and spandex. The blend allows the fabric to stretch without wearing out and without losing its shape. The feel of this fabric is very similar to that of other types of rayon but is considered better for its ability to stretch.

Cotton Lyocell Fabric

This is a material that contains lyocell with a cotton core, making it a little more environmentally friendly than other types of rayon. The feel of this fabric is very similar to that of Tencel. It is considered more durable, however, and because it uses less energy to make than most other types of rayon, it is considered more sustainable.

Lyocell Twill Fabric

This type of fabric was created by using a twill weave with lyocell fibers. This material is often considered to be more durable than most other types of rayon, however, it is also a more expensive fabric.

Bamboo Lyocell Fabric

Bamboo fabric is a type of lyocell manufactured from bamboo fibers, which makes it very environmentally friendly. While this fabric is almost entirely made from organic material, it can be difficult to dye and may have some natural coloring.

Lyocell Linen Blend Fabric

This type of lyocell material uses small percentages of lyocell mixed with other types of cotton and fibers. The result is a material that is slightly more environmentally friendly than other types of rayon.

Lyocell Linen Fabric

This type of lyocell material uses small percentages of lyocell mixed with other types of cotton and fibers. The result is a material that is slightly more environmentally friendly than other types of rayon and less expensive as well.

Lyocell Fabric Wrinkle

This type of lyocell fabric uses a fast-drying cotton yarn, which allows it to resist wrinkles. The result is a fabric that looks and feels very similar to other types of cotton.

The production process for lyocell involves using amine oxides and an alkaline solution to treat the cellulose which becomes the fibers. The cellulose comes from bamboo, hemp, or trees in the pine family but can be made from any cellulose-containing plant material. The resulting “viscose”, as it is termed, is then woven, knit, or knitted into cloth on a conventional mechanical loom or on a jacquard machine.

Lyocell Fabric Pros And Cons


  • It is lightweight and cool to wear, with a natural feel and drape.
  • It can be made more waterproof by adding more polymer to the cellulose during the spinning stage. In this case, the lyocell will be shiny, have a lower drape and become slightly less soft.
  • Lyocell fabrics are probably best suited to leisure wear (especially swimwear), underwear, pajamas, nightwear as well as trouser linings or jackets.
  • The fabric’s luxurious appearance offers a variety of advantages over traditional fibers, such as cotton. Lyocell is always soft, smooth, and wrinkle-free. 
  • The fabric is much stronger than natural fibers and doesn’t lose its shape because lyocell fabrics are not affected by UV light, they do not yellow with age and they can be washed at high temperatures without any shrinkage or loss of color.
  • Furthermore, only some of the lyocell fibers are cut, so the fabric doesn’t look or feel ‘broken’.
  • Lyocell fibers are resistant to heat and water treatment. These characteristics make lyocell fabrics better for humid areas than cotton or other types of rayon.


  • Lyocell is quite expensive compared to other fabrics due to high production cost.
  • Due to the lyocell fibers being very shiny and semi-transparent, the fabric is not very resistant to dirt stains.
  • The fiber is ‘struck’ by sunlight and this can cause a yellow discoloration in the fabric with time.
  • Many lyocell fabrics have an anti-yellowing finish, but be aware that this will often also reduce their cooling properties (and therefore their popularity) as well.

What Does Lyocell Feel Like?

The feeling of lyocell fabric is somewhat similar to that of cotton. Tencel itself has been described as feeling remarkably soft and warm. However, some people choose to wear Tencel clothing in summer, since this type of fabric does not produce any unpleasant feelings when the wearer is hot and sweaty.

Is Lyocell A Sustainable Fabric?

Lyocell is considered to be a very sustainable fabric, however, there are some concerns about this material and its production. If a large number of trees are used to make lyocell, this could decrease the amount of genetic diversity that is available in the environment. Losing this diversity could have an effect on local plants and animals in addition to affecting the overall quality of life for humans living in the area.

Is Lyocell More Environmentally Friendly Than Cotton?

Lyocell is not as environmentally friendly as cotton because it can’t be reused. The fact that this fabric cannot be recycled due to the way that it was created also makes it more energy intensive to produce than other types of fabric. Tencel is less sustainable than other types of cotton because it cannot be reused once it has been used and its production process uses a greater amount of energy than other fabrics do.

Is Lyocell Safe?

Lyocell has a similar structure to Tencel, but it is less durable and less stretchable than this other type of fabric. Although lyocell is more environmentally friendly than most types of cotton and rayon, it will always have an overall negative impact on the environment.

A number of businesses have reported that their employees suffer from allergic reactions that are caused by wearing lyocell clothing.

Is Lyocell Fabric Breathable?

Due to the fact that lyocell has stretch to it, this fabric is as breathable like cotton. However, lyocell is more environmentally friendly than other types of rayon, and this type of fabric may also be a little more environmentally friendly than cotton as well.

Is Lyocell Good For Hot Weather?

Lyocell fabric is relatively cool because it does absorb water 50% more quickly as compared to cotton and releases it in atmosphere. If you are outside on a hot day, you will have less of a chance of getting sweaty while wearing this type of fabric.

Due to the fact that lyocell is often used more for evening dresses and other types of casual clothing, this fabric is best suited to both cooler and warmer temperatures. The shiny, somewhat translucent nature of lyocell makes it a popular choice for evening wear and those who like their garments to be less revealing than cotton allows.

Is Lyocell A Great Fabric For Women With Sensitive Skin?

Lyocell is hypoallergenic. Since this fabric does not contain any lanolin, no one who has sensitive skin should have an issue with it. However, some people who have worn lyocell clothing have reported that they have had allergic reactions when they wear this fabric.

FAQ about Lyocell Fabric

Is Lyocell Light Weight?

Though lyocell is not as lightweight as silk or rayon, it is often considered to be much lighter than cotton. The fact that this material has stretch to it also makes it heavy than other fabrics.

Is Lyocell a good fabric for Yoga and Working out?

Tencel (Lyocell) is also great for exercise and yoga because it can be worn comfortably on its own or with another layer of clothing. It resembles cotton or rayon, but it is not as comfy as these other fabrics. In addition to being comfortable, lyocell is also highly durable, meaning that you don’t have to worry about breaking down parts of your clothing when you are working out.

Are Tencel (Lyocell) shirts wrinkle-free?

The lyocell fibers are cut in such a way that this material is never able to wrinkle. Lyocell is considered to be wrinkle-free because the fibers will not separate or break apart as they are being pulled while they are in the process of being manufactured.

Is Lyocell garment washable?

Although lyocell garments are washable in the traditional sense, they can still get a bit dingy when you first use them. Depending on the type of lyocell used for production, this fabric may fade a bit faster than cotton or other types of rayon, so it’s not quite as durable.

Can Lyocell be dyed?

Yes, Lyocell can be dyed. Due to the fact that lyocell garments are quite durable as other types of cotton and rayon, they can be dyed using different patterns or colors. In addition to being more expensive than cotton and other types of rayon, it is also considerably less sustainable than these two fabrics.

Can Lyocell fabric be recycled?

Lyocell can be recycled, but it will take more time for this fiber to degrade than other types of rayon. Tencel can be recycled, but this type of fabric is a relatively new production method. It may not have the durability that cotton and rayon do, so it may be less recyclable than these two types of fabrics.

Will Lyocell fabric shrink?

Although lyocell is the most environmentally friendly type of cotton or rayon, it will still diminish in size with washing. This fiber can shrink up to 5% in size when washed for the first time. Generally, it will shrink only 2-3% at the first wash. And, It doesn’t shrink as easily as traditional cotton does, because lyocell is a particularly resistant to shrinkage.

Will Lyocell shrink more than Cotton or Rayon?

It is the fact that lyocell doesn’t expand like most other types of fibers and it also does not shrink more than these other types of wool, cotton, or other types of silk.

What makes Lyocell fabric unique?

Lyocell is a cellulose-based fiber produced by spinning the purified cellulose polymer. The production process begins with harvesting trees, which are then turned into wood fiber. The wood fiber is then pressed through an extrusion process and dissolved in amine oxide solution and spin to make the threads of the fabric.

Is Lyocell good for hot weather? 

Some people wear Lyocell in hot weathers as it absorbs water 50% more quickly then cotton or any other fabric. Moreover, it releases back the moisture in environment. That’s why Lyocell fabric don’t look damp as some fabrics start looking damp in hot climate. By being able to stretch and expand to a certain degree, just like cotton and other fabrics, Lyocell you can wear it in warm weather. However, lyocell might not be best suited for the very hot weather as cotton do.

Is Lyocell the Same as Rayon?

Lyocell fabric is often confused with rayon, as lyocell is a type of rayon. But these two types of fabric are not the same completely. The main difference between them is that how they are produced. The solvents produced in manufacturing the Lyocell are all reusable and could recycled, however that is not the case for rayon. Lyocell can also be dyed in a variety of colors, whereas most types of rayon cannot be dyed at all.

Is Lyocell bad for the environment? 

Most types of rayon and cotton are not environmentally friendly. Lyocell fabric is slightly more sustainable than other similar types of rayon, but there are still many important concerns surrounding the production of this type of fabric, such as intense energy usage, usage of chemicals etc.

Is Lyocell the same as Tencel? 

Yes, Lyocell is the same as the Tencel. Basically, the fabric was named lyocell when it was first made but in 1980s the Tencel was registered as the trademark manufacturer for Lyocell.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of Lyocell? 

There are a lot of benefits to wearing this material, including the fact that it is soft, durable, and easy to clean. Those who want to throw their clothes in the washing machine will find that most types of lyocell can handle this treatment. There are also a few drawbacks to wearing lyocell, though. Due to factors like the lack of giving in this fabric, it isn’t as comfortable as other fabrics like cotton or spandex and it also has usually a high price tag.

Final Thoughts

So, this is the end of the article and I hope you find it great to read the whole. Lyocell basically can be used for various purposes because of it is soft, stretchy, light weight and breathable and has very less shrinking ratio. Also, it can be worn in both climates but it is best to use in humid climates. However, as a wrap up I can say that,

Lyocell has many uses because it’s an excellent fiber for clothing and various other products made from wood pulp. Lyocell can be used for creating sachets, which are small pouches filled with herbs that you place in your closets or drawers to help keep your clothing fresh. Other uses include rugs and throws as well as curtains, tablecloths, bedsheets and napkins.



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.

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