All About Rayon Challis Fabric

All About Rayon Challis Fabric

LA Finch Fabrics stocks a regular supply of high quality rayon challis from the garment district. It is available in a wide range of solid colors and prints. Rayon challis fabric is great for home apparel sewing, but it does require special knowledge and care. Read on to learn all about rayon challis.

What is Rayon Challis Fabric?

Rayon is the fiber content of the fabric. Challis refers to the type of fabric. Rayon is a man-made, semi-synthetic fiber created with cellulose (plant fibers). Challis is a lightweight, woven fabric with a matte face.

Putting the two together to create rayon challis fabric results in a thin, lightweight woven material that is soft and drapes well. It is also breathable and ideal for hot temperatures.

How to Wash Rayon Challis

Like all woven fabrics, the cut edges of rayon challis should be serged, pinked, or zig-zagged before washing to prevent fraying. 

Rayon becomes weaker when exposed to hot water, so wash on cold and dry on low heat. Taking the garment out of the dryer early and hang drying the rest of the way will also prolong the life of your item.

How to Cut Rayon Challis

Because it is so lightweight, the biggest challenge with rayon challis comes with cutting it. It can shift easily or become off-grain. Whenever possible, use a large cutting mat and rotary cutter. Straighten the grain before placing your pattern piece on the fabric.

Carefully check that all vertical straight lines of the pattern are lining up with vertical grain lines. Use a lot of pattern weights to make sure the pattern does not shift while cutting.

Cut in a single layer. After cutting, handle the fabric gently and do not hang it on anything, keep it flat until you are ready to sew.

How to Sew Rayon Challis

Use a fresh, sharp needle to sew rayon challis, in a size 70/10. Test stitches on scraps. You will likely need a short stitch for best results.

Staystitch any curved edges. Rayon challis grows and stretches out unless it is staystitched.

Be careful seam ripping. It is a delicate fabric and holes appear easily if the seam ripper goes awry.

Always finish your seam allowances. Rayon challis frays easily. French seams or serged seams are ideal.

Foxy Patterns Madison Blouse in rayon challis

Foxy Patterns Madison Blouse
Hunter green rayon challis

Interfacing Rayon Challis

Always use the lightest interfacing you can with rayon challis, in order to maintain the fluid drape. Button plackets, cuffs, and collars are areas where you made need interfacing to reinforce the fabric. Test first to see how your interfacing changes the structure of your fabric.

Always use a press cloth when ironing rayon challis to prevent shine.

How to Care for a Rayon Challis Garment

After sewing, your rayon challis garment should be washed on cold or delicate. You may want to use a garment bag to protect it in the wash cycle. Removing it from the dryer promptly will help reduce wrinkles.


Even though it can be a high maintenance fabric to sew, rayon challis is an incredible fabric to wear. The colors and prints are vibrant, the drape is unmatched, and the comfort is high.

pattern recommendations for rayon challis

Suggested patterns for rayon challis:

Paradise Patterns Hallon or Smultron Dress

Love Notions Rhapsody or Ballad Blouse

Chalk and Notch Marcel or Orchid Dress

Pattern Emporium Free Spirit Skirt

McCall's 7969 dress

Vogue 9311 dress

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