Polyester Vs. Rayon

Regarding the nominal value, Rayon and polyester can be perceived as somewhat similar fabrics. After all, both contribute to the manufacturing of lightweight garments. But how to comprehend the right one for your next apparel project? You may wonder what the difference is between polyester vs. Rayon.

Both Rayon and Polyester have their unique characteristics as fabric materials. Polyester is a synthetic, petroleum-based fabric without any breathability trait, and it can make the wearer feel sweaty during hot days and won’t drape. Meanwhile, Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric made by processing chemicals with plant material. This fabric material is breathable and recommended for summer. Plus, rayon-made clothes can drape.

Both fabric materials have unique properties, so choosing the right one for your next project is crucial. In this blog, explore what makes these fabrics unique from one another and why to use them. So, let’s start.

Polyester Vs. Rayon: What’s The Difference?

Polyester and Rayon have always been the preferred fabric choices for tailors and garment manufacturers.

You can use both materials, from bedding to clothing, in almost every place due to their versatile nature. Even though they come with comparable characteristics and may be utilized for much-alike projects, both have distinct properties.


Polyester is a complete synthetic fabric material that’s best suited for outerwear. This is the ideal fabric choice for making rain-proof garments.

Rayon entered the apparel industry as a simulation of silk due to its smooth, sleek drape. Both these materials are lightweight and stand as popular choices for summer clothing items. However, polyester can make you feel sweaty and less comfy during hot weather.

Polyester and Rayon have their unique competence owing to their opposing fibers. Despite that, people often confuse them with one another, and things can get confusing when determining which of them to use for a specific project.

To let you quickly determine and understand the differences between these two fabric materials, here is an in-depth comparison table:

Polyester Rayon
Ideal for cold weather and similar environmentIdeal for hot weather and similar environment
Shrink resistant propertyVulnerable to shrinkage
Tear-resistant properties, making it an ideal wear for rough and challenging situations.It can get torn easily, similar to the tear property of cotton
Withstands stretching and shrinking when washedSusceptible to stretching and shrinking when washed
Produced to last for a more extended periodProduced to simulate silk
Cannot withstand higher temperatureCan withstand higher temperature
Moisture resistance, minimal absorption of moistureGreat moisture absorption
Synthetic fiberSemi-synthetic fiber
Sturdy, durable materialDelicate fabric material, which requires special attention
Wrinkle resistanceProne to wrinkles
Not-so-good drapeExcellent drape
Not-so-smooth touch and feelHighly smooth in touch and feel
Need excessive work to change its colorEasy to dye
Not so breathableExcellent breathability
Cheaper than most fabrics, including RayonCan be costlier

Rayon: What Exactly Is It?

Rayon is an excellent artificial semi-synthetic fabric material produced out of viscose. The work ‘Rayon’ was officially given and labeled by the apparel industry. Rayon is one of the few partially synthetic fibers among all the available artificial fibers. This fabric is composed of wood pulp, a naturally-occurring cellulose-like raw material.


Rayon is a breathable, convenient, and soft-in-touch fabric material. Also, it has the best absorption rate among all the other cellulose-based fabrics. Manufacturers can use it to make summer wear outfits thanks to its moisture-absorbent property. Although it drapes well, it is susceptible to tearing and shrinkage, just like any other natural fabric.

Rayon Types:

There are four significant types of Rayon in the market:

  • High-tenacity modulus rayon
  • Cuprammonium rayon
  • Regular Rayon
  • High wet modulus rayon

Polyester: What Exactly Is It?


Polyester is one of the market’s most widely used elements for making synthetic textile fibers, and it is nothing but polymer with artificial resin units that ester groups correlate. The term ‘polyester’ is the abbreviated version of a synthetic artificial polymer, an explicit material typically classified under the type referred to as PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate.

Polyester Types:

Polyester has two major types:

  • PCDT or Poly-1, 4-cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate
  • PET or Polyethylene terephthalate

What Are The Differences Between Polyester And Rayon?

Irrespective of the fact that these fabric materials are utilized in the textile industry, and for somewhat similar projects, both come with distinctive features. One can categorize the differences between polyester vs. Rayon as follows:


1. Texture & Luster

Polyester is a bit sturdier and feels rigid, while Rayon has a soft, smooth, and silkier touch and feel.

Polyester has an artificial glaze regarding the fabric’s luster to the naked eye. Hence, it will make the outfit look shinier. Meanwhile, Rayon features a subtle radiance and visually appeals to lustrous elements like silk.

2. Type & Climate

There’s nothing complex to remember regarding their fabric type. Rayon is a semi-synthetic type of fabric, whereas polyester is an utterly synthetic type of fabric.

Rayon is best suited for summer wear outfits, and it is ideal for wearing rayon clothing items in warm climates. On the other hand, polyester is best suited for cold climatic conditions.

3. Resilience

Polyester Vs. Rayon

In terms of resilience, Rayon is flexible when draped, whereas polyester is a bit stiffer when draped. Plus, you can hang in smaller pleats with Rayon. The rigid nature of polyester helps in retaining its shape, unlike Rayon. Plus, polyester is more robust and more durable than Rayon.

4. Washing

You can always wash and wear polyester clothes without fearing shrinkage or stretching. However, rayon clothes stretch and shrink every time you wash them. Thus, you’ll have to iron the rayon clothes every time you wash them, which isn’t necessary for polyester clothes.

5. Usability

Clothes made of polyester are water-resistant, enabling them to dry off faster. Due to this property, polyester is widely preferred for manufacturing outdoor clothing that can resist harsh weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Rayon can resist high temperatures, making it the ideal fabric choice for high-heat environments and situations.

Polyester is also used to manufacture hiking and backpacking equipment like tents and sleeping bags. That’s because of its excellent insulating nature and easy cleaning, washing, and drying.

Polyester Vs. Rayon Cost

Price is always crucial when deciding on textile project fabric material. What’s best for your wallet is best for you. You’ll always want to save a little more, no matter how much you earn.


Thus, in terms of price, polyester is the clear winner. Although Rayon is considered not-so-expensive to produce, the cost of Rayon can sometimes surpass twice or thrice the price of polyester.

Polyester Vs. Rayon: Which One To Choose

Polyester and Rayon are two different materials, and both have unique, excellent properties, along with some drawbacks. Choosing Rayon and polyester depends on the type of garment you will work on and what you intend to achieve out of the project.

Most of the time, the choice will narrow down to your personalized need and preference. Polyester is considered an easy-to-maintain fabric, a characteristic ideal for individuals leading a busy lifestyle. Rayon is a silkier material that needs extra care and attention. This is ideal for someone with a less active lifestyle which is more focused on looking aesthetic and stylish. 

One more thing to consider while deciding between Rayon and polyester is budget. Polyester is more durable and cheaper than Rayon, and Polyester-made apparel will last for a prolonged period while withstanding any wear and tear for regular use. Meanwhile, Rayon is a costlier fabric material that needs tender care and is prone to wear and tear.

If you’re on a tight budget for this project and not ready to replace garments so often, the best choice would be polyester. It can withstand any abuse from time to time, ensuring the best return on investment.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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