How to Hem Rayon Fabric (Sewing With Rayon Tips and Guide)

The nice thing about some fabrics is that they don't need to be hemmed. This feature helps save you a lot of time and makes your sewing projects go a lot faster. But unfortunately, not all fabrics have that quality and each one needs to be hemmed in their own way.

The most important factor when hemming rayon is to hang it up for at least 24 hours before you begin the task. Rayon changes and hanging it up before hemming will show you how much the potential hemline has dropped.

To learn more about hemming rayon, just continue to read our article. It explores the topic so you get the information you need to handle this delicate fabric with care and in a proper manner. Knowing what to do makes any sewing project move smoothly and easier.

Is Rayon Difficult To Sew?


It can be as it is a lightweight fabric that may not stay still when you are sewing. Also, rayon has some stretch to it, so it may not measure the way you want. To keep rayon in place while you sew, you should always stay stitch the material around the neckline or curves.

You may find that rayon blends are much easier to sew with. That is because they have a heavier weight to them, are not as slippery in most cases, and do not stretch on you when you are not looking.

Then rayon has a tendency to not bounce back when stretched. That means you should carefully choose your patterns and find those that provide excellent drape and are a bit on the loose-fitting side of things.

Each fabric has its own little nuances and rayon certainly has its share. Once you learn what those nuances are, you can make adjustments to your sewing style to accommodate those differences.

Does Rayon Fray?

All unfinished edges will fray over time but it will depend a lot on if your rayon material is a knit or woven fabric. Knits tend to fray a lot less than woven materials do so if you are working with a knit rayon material, you do not have to sew the hem right away.

That is a good thing as that factor allows you to delay your hemming task until you hang up the fabric for more than 24 hours. Once that period is over, you should be able to see where you need to make a few alterations in the location of the hemline.

The main issue you have to deal with is the shrink factor that rayon has. If you do not pre-wash you may find that hemline a little higher than where you last thought it was. This is one of those nuances you have to watch out for. Pre-washing is a must before you hem or even start sewing this fabric.

The fraying is actually the least of your worries unless you are working with woven rayon fabric.

Can You Cut Rayon Without it Fraying?


Generally, you can cut rayon without it fraying on you. If the material is a knit, you may be able to postpone hemming for years before any fraying takes place. The one factor you have to watch out for is how thick the fabric is.

If it is really thin, you may see a lot of fraying take place. The type of rayon fabric you are working on will also determine if any fraying will take place as you cut. The key to cutting this material is to use a rotary cutter and an actual cutting board.

Those tools should help prevent or cut down on the amount of fraying that takes place as you work. Another nuance would be that after you cut you may have to deal with curling edges.

That is another topic for another day. Rayon does have its surprises and when you expect one nuance to appear another one does instead. Just be careful when you cut and if it is a woven material expect to see more fraying as you make your cuts.

How do You Keep Rayon From Fraying?

If you do see some fraying there are several tricks you can do to stop the material from unraveling on you. Of course, with knit rayon, you don't have to use any of these tricks unless you want an extra layer of protection.

Coating the edge with nail polish will hold those loose threads together. But this method does not work on all fabrics and should be applied to densely woven lightweight materials.

Another option is burning the edges of the fabric but this may not work on rayon as it is not a true synthetic material. Pinking shears may help top the fraying on woven rayon fabric.

Or you can always sew in a stitch line to prevent those loose threads from fraying too much. Once that line is in place you will have to cut odd the frayed edge to make it smooth again.

Another no-sew method would be to use fabric tape to hold the threads together. For rayon ribbons, nail polish or glue will do the trick and keep your ribbon looking nice.

Can You Hem Rayon?


Yes, you can and you can even use a universal needle to do the job if you want. But a sharp ballpoint needle is the one that is recommended, a 75/11 or 80/11, as those needles make the hemming job easier.

Then you should avoid using cotton thread and turn to a polyester thread or a poly blend. Those latter threads work a lot better than cotton when used on rayon materials. Using the right materials will help you do a better job.

The problem you will have to deal with and overcome will be the way rayon stretches out as you work. You may have thought you have sewn a hemline in the right spot, But sometimes when you are working on another part of the dress, etc., you look back and see that the rayon material suddenly grew longer.

That factor is what makes sewing with rayon hard. It shapeshifts on you even when you are still in the room. When that happens you have to go back and redo your work. That is not a comforting thought.

How To Hem Rayon Pants

This can be tricky and for the reason we just mentioned. One person sewed her hemline on one pant leg right where she wanted it and by the time she has finished the other pant leg, the first one grew about 1 1/2 inches.

In hemming rayon, you should use a baste stitch to get the hemline where you want it. Then once you have both sides basted, you need to place the pants on a long flat surface and check to see if the legs match up.

If you have lots of extra fabric in the hem you may want to do another baste line to keep the loose fabric from getting caught in the presser foot. Once that is done, stitch about 1 inch from the edge so that the pant legs remain flat.

Sew over your starting point to hold that end of the thread in place. Then cut off any excess material that you basted closed to keep out of your way. Duck-billed scissors may be the best tool to use here.

Hem Tape on Rayon


There are different tapes you can use but you should make sure that the rayon fabric has completed all of its stretching or growing before you apply the tape. One good product to use would be a thin nylon tape that needs to be sewn on with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

Or you can use one of the many fusible hemming tapes on the market. With many for lightweight fabrics, you can pick and try till you find the perfect one for your rayon project.

Just follow the instructions on the package to make sure you apply the hem tape correctly and again, make sure to hang your rayon up at least 24 hours prior to hemming. This is a crucial step when it comes to hemming this fabric.

Once you have the rayon material at its real length you can hem away and cut off the excess fabric without worry. Or if you want, you can try to make your hem using normal fabric. That should add some stiffness to the material and make it a little easier to sew.

Best Seam Finish For Rayon

In this situation, you have a choice. If you do not have a serger then it is best to use an overcast or a zig-zag stitch to finish your seams. It may seem like a little work but it is two of the ways to come out with well-finished seams.

Another option you have is to turn to the French seam style. If you are not sure what a French seam is, it is an application that closes the seam allowance on the inside of the fabric you are working on.

Then one tip when using the French seam is that it works best on a straight seam design. It can be applied to a curved seam but you will need a smaller seam allowance to make it look good and be effective.

If you really want to use this technique on a curved seam, make sure to practice on scrap material before attempting it on the real project. There is no real reason to skip this step as it will help you get the curve just right.

Sewing With Rayon Tips

Getting tips for hard to sew fabrics like rayon is essential. These little pieces of advice go along way in making your rayon sewing project move smoothly and faster. Pick the ones that help you the most:

1. Use a blindstitch foot #5 to do a blind stitch and make your hem look like a professional did it.

2. If you need to press the fabric before continuing in your project, use the right heat setting for rayon and possibly a pressing cloth.

3. Always use a brand new universal or ballpoint needle when sewing with rayon. That is when the needle is at its sharpest and best.

4. To avoid having the rayon material or layers shift on you, use a walking foot #50.

5. Pinning rayon can be a problem so use the pins that are fine-tipped. Larger or thicker pins can snag the fabrics or leave holes in it. Superfine #20 pins should do the trick.

6. To help cut this slippery fabric always use a very sharp rotary cutter and a cutting board.

7. The smaller the needle the better. The two we mentioned above, 75/11 and 80/11 are good but 65/9 should be better. Stock up because you will want sharp needles at all times. Old and large needles will leave holes in the fabric.

8. Forget the lesser quality rayon fabrics that save you a few dollars. Go with top quality rayon material so you avoid snags and other issues that come with this fabric.

9. If you are not experienced with working with rayon, do not take on large projects. Start small and build your confidence as well as your expertise.

10. Pre-wash your fabric so all the shrink is removed. Some people do this step twice to make sure all the shrink is gone.

Some Final Words

Rayon may be a difficult fabric to sew but the end results may make the effort worth the hassle. Rayon looks good, is a nice fabric to keep you cool and it is not totally synthetic.

Take your time as well as this fabric is known to have many sewers pulling their hair out in frustration.

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