Love to learn…sewing with viscose

Scout Tee

Part of why I am enjoying this venture into sewing so much is that I love learning new things. Pretty much all my sewing at the moment is journeying into unknown territory – everything is new to me! I am also a bit of a perfectionist – I am quite happy to dive into projects that challenge me, I just need to be armed with as much information as possible before I set off! This make was no exception. I decided to use up the remainder of my lining fabric from my sequin party top because there was actually enough to make up a whole other top – so this top is effectively free, right?! I also decided to stick with the same pattern – the Scout Tee from Grainline. So what’s to learn?

Scout Tee by Grainline

When using this fabric before I found it much harder to work with than the sequin fabric, which in comparison was a breeze to sew up. The material is viscose (also known as rayon) and I decided that I would find out a little more about it’s properties before I sewed with it again. There’s an interesting article here all about the history of this fabric – it was initially manufactured to be like silk! Not sure I’d go that far, but it does have a lovely drape and soft texture. Its known as a semi-synthetic material as it’s made from wood pulp but manufactured using chemicals to get the resultant fibres. These can then be woven or knit into various different fabrics, even making materials like velvet and taffeta. There are lots of pros to working with viscose – its affordable, comes in numerous vibrant colours and shades as it takes dye really well. As I’ve already mentioned it has a superb drape which I love – it’s also breathable and very absorbent making it very comfortable to wear especially in warmer months. I have used this fabric on more than one occasion, I think I was drawn to it because it looked like a light floaty cotton. However my experience with using this material – while not disastrous (see sorbetto #2 and my Davie dress) hasn’t been plain sailing and my end result, while wearable, left a little something to be desired when looking up close!

Split hem detail


So, enough background (I am a bit of an information geek) – and on to the sewing…

  • First things first – with this fabric it is very important to wash it first as it has a tendency to shrink in the first wash. A bit soul destroying when you’ve put time and effort in to your garment only to have it shrink on you!
  • Next- fairly obvious after the washing is that it frays like crazy!! I mean really frays. Because of this I decided to use french seams throughout for this top – a first for me and again I relished the idea of a challenge! French seams are a good way of enclosing all those raw edges and I followed Jen’s tutorial over on the Grainline Studio website. I love the finish this gave my top – looks so clean and tidy!

  • Another tip from a great article over on Indiesew was that viscose has a tendency to ‘grow’ and stretch out of shape after its been cut which can make matching up the fabric edges a little challenging. I was really careful when I handled it to try and minimise this – and I staystitched the neckline to stop it from stretching out as a precaution.
  • Finally – I pinned like crazy! Pins had a habit of falling out if I so much as sneezed near this top it was so slippery. But when I skimped on pins the fabric inevitably shifted and the resultant seam would have to be redone…

Pins Pins Pins!!

Knowledge is power! I am so much happier with the finish of this top. Really simple tips, but it made a big difference.

Pattern Details

I made no alterations to the fit of this top and made a straight size 2 – however I did decided to change it up a bit! I added 2 inches to the length and made the sleeves 3/4 length (tutorial here). I also decided to make a split hem. However I was pretty certain that hemming around that curve would be a nightmare, so I decided to try using bias binding to get a neat finish and it worked! Pretty on the inside! Yay!

Scout Tee, hem detail

This has become a real wardrobe staple and I love how versatile this pattern is. I can see many more scout tees in my wardrobe in the future. And as for viscose – well I can safely say that I am won over. I love it – I can see plenty of that in my future wardrobe too!

How about you – do you like working with viscose or avoid it? Anyone got more tips for working with this fabric…


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