Does Rayon Stretch? (With Wear, Over Time, or When Wet..)

Stretching is always good. It helps your muscles limber up, gets you ready for yoga and other exercises and it helps your clothes fit a little better. Having a little stretch make sure you can walk comfortably, run when you need to and still keep you looking good.

Does Rayon Stretch? Rayon can stretch a little if it gets wet. A little water seems to relax the threads and fiber so that you can get a little extra length or width out of your rayon construction materials. But let’s make sure that we stress the word little here, It may not stretch a lot.

To find out more about the stretchy nature of rayon just continue to read our article. It explores the topic to make sure you get the information you need. Just a few minutes of your time and you will know more about rayon than ever before.

Does Rayon Stretch or Shrink?

It seems that rayon will react to humidity more than it would with just being splashed or soaked with normal water. If you live in a high humidity geographical zone, then when the humidity rises, the rayon fabric absorbs the moisture and stretches a bit.


When the humidity lowers, the rayon will return to its normal size. Some people call this the elevator effect as rayon curtains go up and down as the humidity rises or falls. There are other rayon fabrics, like high wet modulus rayon, that have been introduced to the fashion world.

Their strength is that they are not affected by moisture like regular or normal rayon is. Knitted rayon can stretch but that is not due to the humidity. Rather it is because of the construction process knitted rayon fabric goes through.

Also, because rayon can absorb water and its tensile strength is reduced, most rayon clothing and fabric are labeled ‘dry clean only.’ The washing machine can also damage clothing items if they are made from rayon fabric.

Does Rayon Stretch With Wear Over Time?

As far as we can see, rayon does not stretch when you wear it over time. It is a man-made fabric that is designed to hold its shape no matter what your activity is. This is also true if the fabric was woven into cloth on a loom. It is not stretchy which makes it a good material for blouses, dresses, and shirts.


The way rayon is made stretchy is for the manufacturer or seamstress to sew in some elastic fibers or sow the rayon fibers into a jersey fabric. Then it will stretch over time but not enough to really lose its shape.

Keep in mind that rayon is made from wood pulp and then chemically treated. Both ingredients resist stretching mostly, as mentioned humidity levels are an exception to this construction rule.

Rayon should hold its shape even if you wear the same clothes every week. The clothes will have the same good, tight fit as long as you do not gain any weight or change your body shape.

Does Rayon Stretch When Wet?

Actually rayon can do one of two things when wet. Depending on the type of fabric, rayon can either shrink or stretch. Even though it has the lowest elasticity capability of all-natural and semi-natural fibers, it is highly unlikely that rayon will stretch that much but it happens.


Knowing rayon’s complex nature may help you understand why rayon doesn’t stretch that much. It is what is called a manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber. That is because it is not totally made from natural ingredients and it is not totally made from synthetic ingredients.

It is a blend of synthetic and natural materials. Therefore, you will not see rayon stretch that much. Its construction is designed to stop the stretching and have your clothes last a lot longer.

Often, rayon may shrink when wet. So if you get that rayon on a blouse or dress on and it feels tight, it doesn’t mean you need to go on a diet. It may mean that the rayon fabric reduces its size due to being made wet. Rayon really should be dry cleaned to avoid this issue.

Does Rayon Stretch in Jeans?

You can add any kind of elastic fabric fiber to rayon and have it stretch somewhat and make it tougher. The same goes for rayon. It is possible to add elastic fibers to make the rayon stretch a little more and be more resilient.

What that means is that if you add rayon fibers to cotton jeans and a little spandex or stretch cotton, then the rayon will stretch when you wear those jeans. Most likely, the rayon is used to make sure the jeans do not stretch too far after repeated washings and wear.

You will find small amounts of rayon in denim these days because modern made denim and cotton are not made like they used to be made. The modern versions can stretch out of shape, become baggy looking, Rayon is needed to help the jeans keep their look and last you a long time.

Can You Stretch Rayon After it Shrinks?

The good news is that it is possible to stretch rayon out if it shrinks. The way rayon shrinks is if it has been machined washed in hot water or dried in a hot dryer. The best way to keep rayon clothing items looking their best and keep their original size, etc., is to hand wash or dry clean them.

But if by chance you made an error in cleaning and the rayon clothing has shrunk, then you can stretch the fabric out by following some simple steps. First, keep in mind that rayon is harder to stretch than cotton or wool.

  • Step one- put about 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo or conditioner in a large bowl of water.
  • Step two- place the shrunken rayon garment inside the bowl and let it soak for about 5 minutes.
  • Step three- remove the clothing item from the bowl and gently squeeze out the water.
  • Step four- begin the stretching process. If it remains stiff, you can use a steamer or the steam function of your iron to make it softer and easier to stretch. Do this while laying the clothing article on a towel and while it is drying.
  • Finally, steam it again if it is not totally back to the original size. One tip, do not wring or twist the clothing item while it is wet. Just gently shake it or squeeze it and smooth out wrinkles with your hand.

Does Polyester Rayon Blend Stretch?

Yes, it can. This goes back to the adding of stretchable fibers to rayon. When you do that, you can get rayon to stretch as you want it to. Having a rayon blouse or shirt blended with polyester won’t make it a weak clothing item.

Instead, the blend should be a lot tougher and can handle the wear and tear a lot better than 100% cotton shirts or other fabrics. What rayon brings to the blend is its shiny nature. It makes the colors stand out better as well, so you look your best all the time.

How to Stretch Rayon Clothing (Dress, Shirt, Pants)

Rayon is not impervious to stretching. It can and will shrink when it gets wet which is why you need to be careful when you clean your dress, shirt, or blouse. Too much water will shrink that rayon clothing item quite a way if you are not careful.

If you follow the procedure listed above, you may be able to get up to 4 inches in length back into your rayon shirt, dress or blouse. Just make sure that after the stretching process is complete, to air dry the article of clothing you are trying to stretch.

How much you can stretch rayon depends on the tightness of the weave. If your dress, blouse or shirt say dry clean only, then the process described above may not work

How Much Does Rayon Stretch?

How far you can stretch rayon will depend a lot on how it was made. If the weave is very tight, then it is highly unlikely that you can stretch the shirt or blouse very far. If the weave is a little loose then it is possible to stretch the rayon fabric several inches in length and width.

The only hindrance to this process is if you have to dry clean the article of clothing. If the garment already has a little play to it, then it is highly likely that the above process will work and you can wear your treasured item once again.

Does Rayon Stretch More Than Cotton?

Cotton can stretch well. It will stretch as you wear a shirt, blouse or pants. This is something rayon won’t or can’t do unless blended stretchable fibers are added to it. But cotton doesn’t stretch naturally, it has to be made to stretch.

There are several processes that help make cotton a stretchable material and once those processes are over, it should stretch more than rayon. Then if you add elastic or spandex to cotton, even a little, cotton should stretch even more.

Cotton shrinks when washed thus you need to pre-shrink it to make sure it doesn’t shrink too much and become too small to wear. As to if it stretches less than rayon is hard to say. It will depend on the fabric blend or if it is 100% cotton and so on.

Rayon is a tough fabric to stretch even with wear and tear so the answer would have to be no it doesn’t.

Which is Stretchier Rayon or Polyester?

Polyester is the stretchier of the two fabrics. Because of its make up, rayon is not a very stretchy fabric to use. It holds its shape unless it absorbs too much moisture or water. Then it may expand or shrink.

Also, polyester has a better memory than rayon. The former will return to its normal size faster and better than rayon will. Polyester is a naturally stretchy fabric, a characteristic that rayon does not possess.

If by chance polyester shrinks, you would need to have it blended with cotton to stretch it out a lot better. Polyester is not a very good fabric to have when it shrinks. Of course, that would also depend on how far you have to stretch your polyester clothing.

Is Rayon Stretchy Like Spandex?

Rayon is usually used to maintain the shape of the clothing item and to make sure it is nice and shiny. Rayon is a lot shinier than other fabrics which is why it is used more frequently in blends.

Spandex is the material you want if you want a lot of stretch to the outfit. For example, a sports jersey that needs to move with your body and in all directions your body moves. As well as keep you comfortable when you move.

Unfortunately for rayon, it doesn’t stretch as well as spandex does. It needs spandex added to its fibers to make the stretch work in rayon clothing items.

Some Final Words

In some ways yes rayon does stretch. But it usually takes a little humidity or a little help from elastic type fibers from other fabrics for it to stretch well and comfortably. Rayon is not made to stretch that much. Its main characteristics are to keep the item looking shiny and retain its shape.

But rayon can shrink if too much water is sent its way. Then you would have to follow the correct steps to stretch the fabric out again. It takes a little time to do but if you don‘t have the budget to buy new clothes, then you should be patient and stretch the items yourself.

But lacking great stretching ability doesn’t mean that rayon is a bad fabric to use. You just need to be careful about how you clean it and where you wear it.

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