Posted on

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

Affiliate links are used in this post.  If you click on one of our links, we may make a few extra pennies at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for supporting our small sewing endeavors in this way.

Posted on

Key Largo Tops for Summer

Key Largo Top sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Summer of the Phoenix {Blouse} programming to bring you these Key Largo Tops. With as much as we love the Key Largo Top pattern by Hey June Patterns it was bound to happen!

Key Largo Top sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

It came about because Aria wanted (and needed) some new tops for nicer occasions. And because she tried on this Key Largo Top of mine and fell in love with the pattern and the fabric substrate, but not the color. So after searching for hours online for the *perfect* viscose poplin, she settled on this one from Blackbird Fabrics.

Key Largo Top sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Aria and I have a deal; if she will cut out and prepare the pattern pieces for sewing, I will sew together the garment for her. It came about not because she can’t sew her own complex garments (as shown here and quite a few other posts on this blog) but because her school workload is so heavy that she just doesn’t have the time. And so if she takes care of my least favorite parts, I’ll sew the rest.

Key Largo Top sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Since Aria is as tall as I am (6 feet) I make some of the same adjustments for her on this pattern as I do for myself. That means a 1” wide shoulder adjustment, and 2” to the length. However, because she’s tried on my Key Largo Top, she also felt like it was a little tight across the back of the shoulders, so we made a broad back adjustment of about 3/4”. (In a tit for tat, I tried on HER Key Largo Top and think I could also use a little bit of a broad back adjustment too!)

Key Largo Top sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

And of course Aria requested the ruffle sleeve version, it’s just so feminine and fun to wear! Except that her ruffle had to be longer than mine because her arms are longer than mine. (Not admitting that this might mean she’s still growing…)

This Key Largo Top matches perfectly with MY beautiful Gabriola maxi skirt in the swishy-est, most feminine, elegant fabric ever. My Gabriola Maxi skirt that I’ve never worn. (To read that sad story, head over the CaliFabrics blog!)

Key Largo Top sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Because I was sewing one (basically) white Key Largo Top and because that is a huge hole in my wardrobe, I grabbed some vintage shirting fabric from my stash and sewed up a plain white Key Largo Top for myself.

Key Largo Top sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

This fabric is a little stiff, but I’m hopeful it will soften with repeated washings like many vintage fabrics do. I added the lace ruffle to the sleeves because without it I felt like the shirt was looking a little bit like scrubs. Not that there’s anything wrong with scrubs, but it wasn’t my intended look.

Key Largo Top sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

As I was making this, I realized that up until this one, I’ve never made the Key Largo Top exactly as the pattern is written.  This means that the front is cut on the bias and there’s that cute front hem tie feature!  If it wasn’t the Summer of the Phoenix {Blouse} I’d whip up a couple more of these…I think that feeling is the mark of a successful garment sew, don’t you?

Oh, and speaking of the Summer of the Phoenix {Blouse} stay tuned…we’ll be right back on track very soon!

Affiliate links are used in this post to products we use and love and highly recommend.  If you click through one of our affiliate links, we make made a few pennies at no additional cost to you.  Thanks for supporting our small business.