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Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Today I’m exploring the difference between rayon and viscose, and between challis and poplin.  In all the pictures, the rayon challis fabric is on the left and the viscose poplin fabric is on the right.

So what exactly is the difference between rayon challis and viscose poplin?  That was a question in my mind, for quite some time.  But since sewing with and wearing both fabrics, and doing some extra research, I think I have some answers.

First of all, we have to split each of these fabrics into two parts.  Rayon and challis, viscose and poplin.  You see, the first word refers to the material the fabric is made from, and the second word basically refers to the weave of each of them.

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

So what is the difference between rayon and viscose?  For the home sewist, practically nothing.  They are basically the same thing, and since we’re not scientists, the tiny differences don’t really matter.  The only difference I could find is that viscose is usually made from bamboo while rayon can be from a wider variety of “plant matter and wood pulp, usually bamboo” and the two are processed the same way.  For cutting, sewing and wearing, rayon and viscose are essentially the same thing.  In fact I’ve even seen some fabric suppliers use the words interchangeably.  So the answer to the first part of the question is…there is not really any difference.

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Now what is the difference between challis and poplin?  Here the simple home sewist can differentiate a little bit.  Challis and poplin both refer to the weave of the fabric. Interestingly, challis can be made from wool, rayon, cotton, silk or manufactured blends.  Challis usually has a plain weave (each weft yarn passes alternately over and under each warp thread) but can occasionally be found with a twill (diagonal) weave.  Poplin has a very tight plain weave and originally had silk warm and wool weft threads.  Both challis and poplin should be sewn with a new or fine needle.

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Technical specifics for rayon challis vs viscose poplin:

Rayon Challis:

weight: 0-3.5 oz per yard

opacity: translucent

care: machine wash, tumble dry

width: 44” – 58”

drape: soft liquid

Viscose Poplin:  

weight: 120 gsm (3.5 oz per yard)

opacity: opaque

care: wash warm, dry flat, or dry clean

width: 58”

drape: very fluid

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Here you can see challis and poplin held up to the light.

Really you have to wear both of them to be able to feel the difference yourself.  It’s very, very subtle, and both are super nice fabrics!  For me, the rayon challis feels a little lighter with a little more drape.  The viscose poplin feels slightly softer, and doesn’t conform to the body quite as much.

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Here is a comparison of the plain fabric so you can see the drape side by side.

But there are a few differences, so I thought you might appreciate knowing everything I know!  Leave a comment, did I miss anything in this comparison of rayon challis vs. viscose poplin?

Pattern Used: Phoenix Blouse by Hey June Patterns

Fabrics Used:

Rayon Challis from CaliFabrics (review and thoughts on wearing rayon challis in the fall here)

Viscose Poplin fabric from Blackbird Fabrics.  Sold out, but can be found here.  

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

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Phoenix Blouse with 3 changes

In my last post I mentioned that one reason I didn’t mind sewing a Phoenix Blouse for Aria was that I was sewing 2 at a time.  And of course the other one was for me!  Ever since I sewed up my wearable muslin Phoenix Blouse, I’ve been wanting more.

Phoenix Blouse sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Having sewed a muslin, I knew there were just three changes I wanted to make.  Two I’ll definitely make again, and the other I won’t!

The first thing I wanted to do was to try the Phoenix Blouse with the flutter sleeves from the Amalfi Dress, just like on Aria’s blouse.  It is such a feminine touch!  And I absolutely adore wearing these sleeves.  They swoop and swish and flow and twirl with movement all their own!  I’ll definitely be adding these sleeves to a Phoenix Blouse again.

Phoenix Blouse sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The 2nd change I make was to eliminate the slit in the front yoke.  I think I just wanted to see if it would still slip over my head without the slit.  It does, obviously.  It also raises the neckline a little for modesty reasons (think bending over and chasing little kids all day!)  Also, this fabric is quite busy, so I thought eliminating the slit would help simplify the blouse a little.

While I love this blouse due to the sleeves and the fabric, I probably won’t eliminate the slit again.  It just seems to take away from the style lines somewhat.

Phoenix Blouse sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The final change was to take in the side seams a little bit.  I did this for Aria on her blouse, and it creates such a nice silhouette while still staying true to the boho feel of the blouse.  It’s still very loose and comfortable to wear, but has a bit of shaping.  This is a change I’ll be making again in the future.

Phoenix Blouse sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

This fabric is a poly crepe I got from Indiesew.  It’s currently sold out, but they carry very, very nice quality fabric, so I always keep an eye on what they have in stock.  If you’re specifically looking for poly crepe, here is a pretty selection.

Phoenix Blouse sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Poly crepe is worth looking into, it’s inexpensive, lightweight, and oh the drape!  Poly crepe has a slight pebbled texture to it.  The one I got from Indiesew is slightly shiny on one side.  It washes well, and is easy to iron.  As the name suggests, it is polyester, so does not breathe as well as natural fibers.

Phoenix Blouse sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

I have been wearing this Phoenix Blouse with both this black skirt and this brown one.  What color would you wear on bottom with this blouse?  And also, have I convinced you it’s the Summer of the Phoenix Blouse yet?  (If not, stay tuned…)

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The Summer of the Phoenix Blouse {part 2}

Phoenix Blouse sewed and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

A while back, I promised this was going to be the summer of the Phoenix Blouse.  So it’s about time for another post about the Phoenix Blouse, don’t you think?  Don’t worry, I’ll make up for it with 2 posts about it this week, okay?

Phoenix Blouse sewed and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

When Aria saw the Phoenix Blouse I sewed for myself, she “needed” one.  And I get it, I “need” a few more myself!  After trying on my Phoenix Blouse, she had some exact requests for her Phoenix Blouse.  She wanted the Amalfi Dress sleeves and for the Phoenix Blouse to be a little more fitted.  These were easy adjustments to make!

To make Aria’s Phoenix Blouse more fitted, we simply basted the sides of the size 6.  Then she tried it on inside out.  I pinned the sides to the amount of fitted-ness that she requested, and then I sewed up the side seams.  

Phoenix Blouse sewed and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The Phoenix Blouse is made to have the sleeves from the Amalfi Dress fit, so that was an easy adjustment too.  Both patterns are designed by Hey June Patterns, and she deliberately made these two patterns work together.  We just used the size 6 sleeves from the Amalfi Dress pattern, and lengthened them a little so they hit right at Aria’s elbow after hemming.  

Phoenix Blouse sewed and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Just like on my blouse, we used layers of blue lace on the front yoke.  It creates such a cute boho look! 

The fabric is rayon challis from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  You can find it right here.  It’s perfectly soft and drapey and also cool to wear in hot weather.  Aria has gotten many, many compliments while wearing her new Phoenix Blouse.

Phoenix Blouse sewed and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

To go with her new blouse, Aria requested a new skirt.  She settled on a Runway Skirt made from black stretch sateen with black rayon challis godets.  

Because we were using woven fabric (and the Runway Skirt is designed for knit fabric) we decided to go up a size from where Aria was on the measurement chart.  This was a mistake because we ended up taking the skirt in at every seam (after these photos were taken.)  Next time we sew a woven Runway Skirt, we’ll just stick with the regular size.  The skirt is not designed with negative ease, so making it with woven fabric, or even stretch woven fabric is not an issue as there is a zipper in the back.  Lesson learned!

Phoenix Blouse sewed and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

While Aria can and does sew her own clothes, recently we’ve come to an agreement.  If she cuts out the fabric, I’ll sew it up for her…especially if I’m making two of the same pattern like I was this time.  But more on that in the next post…

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