Rayon is another name for viscose and is a man-made fiber made from natural raw material (cellulose, for example, is extracted from wood). Certain operations such as pressing, soaking in caustic soda, mature and again mixed with carbon disulfide creates a thick, viscous liquid viscose. The viscose is solidified and formed into wire. This rayon thread is also known as continuous side because there is no end to the wire. The properties are similar to those of cotton, with the additional advantage that the fabric softer and smoother and silky to the touch. Previously it was therefore called "artificial silk". In wet conditions, the strength of viscose / rayon only half of the dry strength (wet viscose therefore not rub or wring). Rayon is a versatile fiber and has the same comfort properties as natural fibers. It can imitate the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton and linen. The fibers are easily dyed in a wide range of colors. Rayon fabrics are soft, smooth, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent, however they do not insulate body heat which makes them ideal for use in hot and humid climates. The biggest drawback of viscose / rayon is the little wrinkle resilience.
By breeding and special weaving techniques the wrinkle resilience of viscose may be improved, for example mixing it with a polyester. Rayon fibers added to a woven texture give it a slight sheen and a softer drape. Common blends include wool/rayon, silk/rayon and linen/rayon. However, completely wrinkle free fabric in which a significant percentage was viscose has never been processed. When rayon was first introduced to the fashion market, it was drapery and colorful, but could not be washed and had a crisp hand that was unappealing to some. This has changed as rayon comes in many incarnations now and most are washable. Soft rayon challis, a plain weave, is familiar to many for skirts, blouses and dresses.