Can You Stretch Viscose? (How to Stretch Viscose Fabric)

When fabrics shrink, the natural inclination is to try and stretch them. But not all fabrics are the same and you can ruin your favorite clothing items by trying to stretch non-stretchable fabrics. Make sure you know the characteristics of the fabric you want to stretch back to normal size.

Can you stretch Viscose? The answer to this question depends on who you talk to. Those that say you can stretch Viscose material tell you to use some baby shampoo, some water, and a bowl to soak the fabric. Then use your hands to stretch the blouse, etc, back to original size.

To learn more about how to stretch viscose materials just continue to read our article. It explores the issue so you do not have to. Get all the information you need to stretch your viscose material back to where you want it.

Stretching Viscose

If you have shrunk your favorite viscose sweater there is a possibility that you can stretch it back to its original size. The steps are simple and it only takes a little time to get the job done.

  • Step 1: Mix a tablespoon of baby shampoo or hair conditioner with a quart of water.
  • Step 2: Place your clothing item in the bowl and only let it soak for a few minutes.
  • Step 3: Remove the item from the bowl and gently get rid of the excess water. You do not want to twist the fabric or wring it hard.
  • Step 4: Lay the blouse or other garment on a flat surface and again gently use your hands to stretch the material.
  • Step 5: Hang the item upon a non-metal hanger. If it is still not back to its original size use a steamer to relax the fibers and use your hands again to stretch the material.

The way to avoid shrinking viscose fabric is to not wash it in your washing machine. Use cold water when you hand wash or just take the easy way out and send the item off to the dry cleaners.

Can You Stretch Viscose When Wet?

Yes, you can and that is the best way to get the blouse or dress back to its original size. Of course, you should not wring or twist the material when there is still too much water absorbed into the fibers.

The key to stretching viscose is to know if it is a knit or a woven fabric. Knits have some stretch to them already but the woven variety is more firm and does not stretch that well.

If the fabric is a blend then it may stretch even better than you hoped for as long as the blended fabric has some or a lot of stretch to it. Lycra and spandex are two fabrics viscose can be blended with and get that stretch you want.

If the fabric comes with a loose weave you may find that easier to stretch than if you owned a viscose sweater with a tight weave.

Does Ironing Stretch Viscose?


It is possible to stretch your viscose dress, shirt, or blouse with your iron. When you go to iron, the common instructions are for you to lift the iron up off the fabric instead of sliding it out of the way. The latter action can cause some stretch to take place.

The heat of the iron can be a factor as well. That is why some experts say do not go higher than medium heat when ironing this cloth. Others say that you should only use a rayon or silk setting on your iron to avoid stretching, burning, or other damage caused by heat and the iron.

Smooth strokes are needed as well. The smoother the stroke the less likely you will damage your blouse, etc When the label says do not iron, then do not iron. You will only be taking a big chance that you won’t harm your viscose clothing.

How Much Does Viscose Stretch?

There is no set in stone number that can be given for the amount of stretch you will get out of a piece of viscose clothing. If the sweater shrinks 3 to 5% then it may be possible to get 3 to 5% stretch out of the fabric. But that result may not be constant.

If the viscose shrinks 25% it will be difficult to get the fabric back to its original size. Then the amount of stretch will depend if the viscose material is a knit or a weave. The latter does not stretch that much at all.

Also, you will get more stretch out of viscose if it is blended with elastane, lycra, spandex, and other very stretchable fabrics. Check the label on the garment before you try to stretch it. The information there may save you a lot of trouble and time.

Is 95 Viscose And 5 Elastane Stretchy?


Yes, this combination of fabrics is perfect if you want to be comfortable and stretch as you go about your day. Not only do you get the soft feel of viscose, but you also get the stretch of elastane. You can bend with ease when you wear clothing made from these two materials.

Plus, you are not losing any breathing capability. Your body should remain comfortable all day long. When it comes time to clean the garment, you should be able to use your washing machine. The elastane should make the viscose a washable fabric.

To be on the safe side check the cleaning instructions when you buy the blouse or dress. Those instructions should tell you how to launder those items and if it is safe to use your machines.

Even spandex blended with viscose should provide you with enough stretch and comfort to help you get through your day without any embarrassing moments.

Does Viscose Stretch When Worn?

This may be one of the viscose’s best characteristics. It is not supposed to stretch out of shape when you wear it. Nor should it stretch over time either. Of course, a lot depends on the construction style of the fabric.

You may find that a viscose knit may stretch some while you wear it but that is because knits do have some stretch to them when they are created. If you have a tight weave do not expect the viscose fabric to stretch while you wear it.

That factor is for when you are wearing 100% viscose and no spandex, lycra or elastane blend is included. You really shouldn’t have to worry about the fabric stretching when you are wearing it.

The biggest worry will be having the fabric shrink on you when it gets wet or washed the wrong way.

How To Stretch Viscose Clothing


Stretching viscose will take some time as the process is simple. It is just time-consuming. The first thing you have to do is get your materials ready. You can use a hair conditioner if you want and only a tablespoon is needed.

Mix that chemical with about a quart of water but you may want to increase the amount of both items if the clothing item is larger than normal. Next, you need to soak the garment for about 5 minutes. You do not want to go too much longer than that as the water will weaken the fibers.

After you have it soaked, place the garment on a flat surface, and use your hands to get rid of the excess water. Do not twist or wring the item as those actions will also damage the fibers.

Once the excess water is out, lay the item out flat and use your hands to stretch the fabric. You may want to use weights or clips to hold the blouse, etc., in place while you do this step.

When you are finished and think the item is back to its full size, hang it on a non-metal hanger to dry.

How To Stretch Viscose Dress

One of the easier methods to use to stretch a viscose dress is to use a steamer. The steam will help loosen the fibers and you should be able to pull the fabric in the direction you want without too much trouble.

The steam should moisten the dress and allow you enough time to get the dress back into the right shape. But you have to do the stretching while the fabric is wet. If you wait till it is dry, then you may damage the item and ruin a nice dress.

The key is to be gentle. As you know viscose is a very weak and fragile fabric. Too much stress, too much moisture, and too much heat can ruin it. If you do not want to risk it, you can choose to buy a new viscose dress and save yourself a lot of frustration

Stretching Viscose Pants


All of the depends factors that have been mentioned already will apply to viscose pants. The characteristics of the fabric only change if the pants are made from a viscose blend. If the pants are 100% viscose then you have to be extra careful when trying to stretch the pants back to their original size.

If the pants are made with elastane, lycra, or spandex blends then stretching the fabric will go a lot easier. You may need to adjust the amount of water and baby shampoo you use when trying to stretch viscose pants.

Pants are usually larger than a dress or a blouse and will take more water to soak them into shape before you can stretch the fabric. Just because they are pants doesn’t mean you can be rougher on the fabric.

You still need to be gentle and make sure you do not damage the fibers.

How To Stretch Viscose Shirt

One of the keys to stretching a viscose shirt is to make sure you use the right restraints. You do not want to have the shirt move when you move because that will defeat the purpose of stretching it.

Get good fabric clips or clothespins that will hold the fabric still without damaging it. Or use some rounded weights to hold the fabric in place while you work. The same 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo or hair conditioner and quart of water should do the trick.

Do not soak the shirt for too long or you risk damaging the fibers and ruining the garment. Once you have gently removed the excess water, pull gently on the fabric in the direction you need it to stretch.

Once you are done, hang it up and do not use metal hangers. The metal may rust and leave rust stains n the shirt.

Viscose vs Polyester Stretch


These two fabrics have the same characteristics. They are not very stretchy when they are 100% pure. Both have to have a stretchable fabric blended with them for the material to have any real stretch.

Even though viscose is made with natural materials those materials do not provide any real stretch to the fabric. Most likely the chemical process that is used removes any hope viscose had of being able to stretch.

If you want to see some differences between the two fabrics check the absorbency rates. Viscose beats polyester hands down when it comes to absorbing moisture.

Some Final Words

Usually, when you think of viscose fabric, the stretch is not an attribute that one thinks about. That is because viscose is not really a stretchy type fabric unless it is given stretch through blending it with top stretching fabrics like spandex.

If the viscose blouse, shirt, or dress does shrink, it may be best to buy a new one to replace the shrunken one. There is no guarantee that the stretching methods mentioned above will produce the results you want to see.

When the stretch is important, go with a blend to make sure you get the movement you need all day.

Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Add Your Reply