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Why doesn't Superior Threads sell Rayon thread?

Posted: 9 February 2012 at 12:01 a.m.
Rainbows trilobal Polyester ThreadWhy Doesn’t Superior Sell Rayon Thread?  Occasionally we are asked why we do not have any rayon thread.  After all, rayon is the most commonly used thread in the embroidery industry, is relatively inexpensive, and has a beautiful sheen.  The answer is because rayon is weak and usually is not colorfast.

What is Rayon? Unlike cotton thread which is made from a natural source and unlike polyester which is made from man-made polymers, rayon (commonly referred to as viscose rayon) is a mixture of nature and manufacturing.  The textbook definition of rayon is "a manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose."
The major source of cellulose required in the creation of rayon is wood pulp, which is produced from timber. After the bark has been removed, the wood is chipped into very small pieces, boiled under pressure, chemically treated, washed, and then dried.  The final product is a hybrid material called viscose rayon.

Colorfastness    A few years ago I angered a competitor when I made the statement that rayon usually is not colorfast.  They responded that their rayon thread was indeed colorfast because it will not fade in cold water.  It is important to make sure you understand what is meant by a company’s claim of colorfastness.  The definition is obviously not the same for everyone.  To most, it is the ability to be washed and worn without the color fading or running.  Does washing include bleach or brightening agents?  Test it before you use it.

Where is Rayon Made?  Rayon is no longer made in the US. In 2004, the last of the U.S. based rayon production facilities were closed due to EPA regulations.  Rayon producing countries include China, India, and some European countries.

If not rayon, then what?  Because we cannot take the chance of our thread fading or running or bleeding, we do not use, sell, or recommend rayon thread.  The better choice is trilobal polyester. Trilobal poly has the same high sheen as rayon or silk but is stronger and is colorfast.  It costs more than rayon, but the quality and benefits are well worth it.  Our trilobal polyester threads include Highlights, Nature Colors, Living Colors and  Art Studio Colors.

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  • 1. Dee (12 February 2012 at 8:06 p.m.)

    I heard long ago, when I first started embroidering, not to use rayon. It does not last and after while breaks, shreds and disappears. I like polyester. Nice to work with and has shine and looks outstanding.

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