Monday, March 29, 2010

Sarong Fabrics: Rayon, Cotton, Polyester or Silk: PART 1 RAYON

We know that having a breathable sarong or clothing fabric in the hotter temperatures is very important. We couldn't agree more. You want to feel relaxed and comfortable in your sarong and clothes from 1 World Sarongs. So let's take a look at our sarong fabric options.

What are the fabric choices for sarongs you may ask? Sarongs come in basically four different fabrics; rayon sarongs, cotton sarongs, polyester sarongs and silk sarongs. We often hear the question, "What is the difference between a rayon sarong, cotton sarong, polyester sarong or a silk sarong?". Before I answer, let me give you a little background about 1 World Sarongs. We are proud to be the #1 supplier of sarongs on the internet. We've had the pleasure of adorning tens of thousands of customers with our beautiful sarongs and clothing over the last ten years while maintaining a 99.9% customer satisfaction rating. We've sold hundreds of thousands of sarongs around the globe; from Papua New Guinea to Puerto Rico, from Hawaii to Mexico. We've shipped our sarongs and clothing pretty much everywhere in the world. Even Alaska! Why would you need a sarong in Alaska is a question we are still trying to figure out?

First, let's take a look at the most popular sarong fabric today, "rayon". Rayon was the first man made fabric invented back in the late 1800's and since has quickly become one of the most popular and versatile fabrics in the world today. Its lasting popularity is due to six main characteristics; touch-ability, breath-ability, drape-ability, dye-ability, durability and cost-ability. Currently, rayon is produced all over the planet from Germany to China and comes from various sources in a variety of forms. For our purpose we are focusing on the rayon made from cellulostic materials or in simple terms “plants and trees”. That's because the vast number of sarongs that are produced in the world are made in Indonesia (population 300 million), where rayon is easily acquired (usually from India).
Sample of Rayon fabric view up close 
It's also where sarongs are the most universal form of clothing and utilized as an all around garment by both men, women and children. Traditionally, Indonesians wore cotton sarongs over the last few centuries. Especially since cotton was grown in Indonesia and it was long lasting and durable. However, with the since rayon has become more available in the market it has become the first choice when manufacturing sarongs and clothing (although most of the higher end batik and machine print batik patterned sarongs are still made from either cotton or silk). Rayon sarongs are less expensive than cotton or silk sarongs, thus making them more attractive for local markets as well as export to overseas destinations. You can find rayon sarongs anywhere from Jamaica to Hawaii, and most are made in Indonesia. But the real reason is that rayon is an amazing fabric that is extremely breathable, has a flowey drape and is durable. Making the perfect fabric for sarongs and summer clothing. Let's listen to what Dr. Smith has to say.

According to Joyce A. Smith Ph.D. at the Ohio State University (see attached document pg 2) …"Rayon's cellulosic base contributes many properties similar to those of cotton or other natural cellulosic fibers. Rayon is moisture absorbent (more so than cotton), breathable, comfortable to wear, and easily dyed in vivid colors. It does not build up static electricity, nor will it pill unless the fabric is made from short, low-twist yarns. Rayon is comfortable, soft to the skin, and has moderate dry strength and abrasion resistance." (

On a more personal note, I've worn rayon sarongs many times in Indonesia and here in the States. I can tell you that rayon is really comfortable and surprisingly breathable. You won't want to put anything else on but your rayon sarong when staying in the hot temps. Especially after coming out of the pool or after a cool shower. Rayon sarongs are extremely nice to wear. Make sure to go for the #1 heavy weight rayon or the "Pertama" collection as we call it. These Pertama sarongs are really smooth to the touch and top quality.

On an environmental note…one of the biggest rayon manufacturers is making rayon more green by recycling the chemicals it uses to make the rayon and using fast growing and renewable resources:

Watch this YouTube video:

An interesting quote about the impact of Lenzing's rayon on the environment:
"Rayon, modal and lyocell are produced from renewable cellulosic plants such as beech trees, pine trees and bamboo. All three fibers are biodegradable. Specifically, Lenzing Viscose and Lenzing Modal are produced from sustainably harvested beech trees and Tencel from sustainably harvested eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus grows quickly and without irrigation, pesticides, fertilizers or genetic manipulation; it can also be planted on marginal land that cannot be used for food crops. The fiber yield per acre from the trees used in the Lenzing fibers is up to ten times higher than that of cotton. Also, cotton needs up to 20 times more water."

Ultimately, the environmental impact has a lot to do with how we wash our sarongs and clothing. How much water we use, the amount of detergent and the amount of fabric softeners etc.
I think we can say that rayon is a great fabric for sarongs or any clothing for the hotter temps. It is breathable, silky and durable. We've had some of our sarongs over 10 years and they are in great condition with the colors still bright and vivid.

Some people believe cotton is a more breathable fabric than rayon and that rayon feels more like a polyester plastic fabric… but that is far from the truth. In part 2 of Sarongs from Rayon, Cotton, Poly or Silk we'll explore cotton as a fabric choice for sarongs.

By the way I have a picture of me wearing a sarong at Uluwatu temple on the beautiful island of Bali. That day was pretty windy but we had a great time just walking around. The other picture is of me getting a lesson in how to tie a sarong from a local Balinese shop clerk up in Ubud. That was fun!
Ok, up next … Cotton Sarongs.

1 World Sarongs

1 World Sarongs

Check out our huge selection of Rayon Sarongs at

Friday, December 11, 2009


Hi Kim,

Thanks very much for your question about tying a sarong as a sarong dress.

When sizing a sarong for being tied as a sarong dress we’ll need to consider the width rather than the length. Sarongs have a width of approximately 44 inches and 66 inches in length. The width of a sarong is the key factor when tying a sarong as a sarong dress. The wider the bust area and the larger the diameter of one’s neck the more material or wider the sarong will need to be. For the average woman 44 inches is sufficient for creating the sarong dress with a neck knot tie. Alternately, for larger body types, we can tie the sarong around the bust area without going around the neck. It’s almost the same to tie a sarong as a sarong skirt on the hip. Making a knot in front to have a strapless sarong dress. See the image below or check out our link here:

The key is to have fun with it and be creative. Sarongs can be a girl’s best friend so give them a whirl and tie one on.

Sometimes you can even incorporate a sarong tie / buckle. These are handy to keep your sarong tied on. Click on this link to see the available selection:

Hope that helps!


From: Kim Y

Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 7:23 AM
Subject: question...

I found your site and would like to order a couple sarongs but am unsure of size and would appreciate your help. The sarongs would be gifts for women who would likely wear them as a dress rather than simply a long skirt. They are about a size 12.

If I correctly read your information, a regular sized sarong might not work well for a dress? If not what size would I order?

Thanks very much.

Sarah Q. "Kim"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Family News


We are very thankful for all of your support. In fact this is our 9th holiday season and at the same time it’s our 1st holiday season with our newest addition. We are thrilled to announce the birth of our little baby Olivia. She is a gorgeous baby girl and was born September 12th 2009 weighing in at a healthy 7 lbs. Olivia is such a sweet darling and is already speaking...her first word was “Aloha”. We think she may even want to join the 1 World Sarongs family biz too…she timed her arrival perfectly…born on a Saturday morning in just a short hours and then she had us back to work by Monday afternoon! We didn’t miss a work day! LOL! Anyway...we are very happy to share the news of our little darling with you.

So cheers to you for being our customer and giving us the opportunity to be of service to you and helping us to provide a living to our families.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

1 World Sarongs Featured in First Magazine

Wow what a surprise when First magazine called us and said they wanted to
feature our sarongs in their August 2009 issue.

We have been featured in other magazines before but we were surprised and
quite pleased to see a full spread on page 6 featuring one of our most
beautiful sarongs.

As you can imagine this was delightful and made an instant hit of pretty our
Turquoise sarong with beaded fringe, embroidery and sequins!

Who knows...maybe Vogue or Cosmo next???


Monday, July 20, 2009


How to care for your sarongs is a question we hear quite often.

So, I asked Nancy J., who is one of our long time 1 World Sarongs customers (8 years) and has bought literally hundreds if not thousands of sarongs from us and therefore an expert in caring for sarongs. Nancy turns our sarongs into beautiful outfits. She's an independent seamstress / fashion designer who creates marvelous caftans / ponchos from our sarongs to sell to specialty boutiques in New Mexico.

Nancy called to place an order the other day(knowing we're getting our delivery and to get first dibs), as she does every few months, so I figured this was the perfect time to pick her brain and ask about how she cares for her sarongs.

So here's what she said:

  1. Unfold your sarong and shake it out a little
  2. Load into your washer machine (Nancy does up to eight sarongs at a time)
  3. Set your washer to cold water rinse - with medium water level - NO need for detergent
  4. When washer is finished take sarongs and shake out a little and separate them
  5. Load into dryer with a fabric softener - delicate setting - for 30 minutes
  6. After 30 minutes clean the lint filter and then run dryer for another 10 minutes
  7. Take sarongs out of dryer and spread them out on a bed or flat surface (Nancy folds them in half)
  8. Then run your hands over them to get any wrinkles out

Make sure to take your sarongs out of the dryer right away so they don't wrinkle.

If you do decide to iron your sarongs make sure you set your iron on a very low setting.

Note, this is for the care of rayon sarongs and of course cotton or silk or poly should be handled differently. (We'll cover those at another time)

The advantage to washing this way is the dryer will set the colors of your sarongs so you don't have to worry about the colors running.

Wasn't that simple?

Ok, you got us...that was eight steps ;-) just checking to see if your paying attention :-P

This method applies to our lovely clothing too. So just use the same methods to care for your sundresses and other items from 1 World Sarongs.

Have an idea on how to care for your sarongs / clothing?

A different method?

A better way to do it?

Why not leave us your comments or suggestions?

Hope you're having a wonderful summer,