Bouclé fabrics are our absolute favorites. The beautiful woven fabric with different colored threads and thicknesses are typical for Chanel-Style jackets. That's why we often use these fabrics and we can not get enough of it! Do you want to know everything about Bouclé fabrics? In this blog we have some tips and tricks for cutting and sewing Boucle fabrics without problems or frustrations.
Sewing Bouclé fabrics is a challenge
It is one of the biggest challenges of a seamstress; to sew those lovely but very loose, supple, loose, soft, unstructured, weak and unmanageable fabrics. Why? The fabrics can be loose or tightly woven. Between the two, loosely woven Bouclé is harder to sew. To work successfully with the fabric it is necessary to adjust your hand- and machine-sewing techniques to better accommodate the fabric. We are talking here more about the loose woven version of the fabric because the rigid variant is rarely used for clothing. This stiff version of the bouclé fabric is better suited for furniture upholstery or to make a nice pillow. It may be that you bought it by accident, and you can indeed make it a jacket, but the jacket will not be so nice and wearable. And probably only suitable for occasional clothing such as evening wear.
Loose woven Bouclé fabrics, as our example, are very unmanageable but also very suitable for our purpose: the beautiful Chanel cardigan jacket.
Coco Chanel worked a lot with those fabrics because she new it would be worth it and the heavenly feeling of wearing the comfortable jacket would be the best in Couture: luxurious but comfortable as well.
We now know, especially from Claire Shaeffer's books, that the inside of the Chanel jacket kept a lot of secrets. She reinforced the fabrics in many places with special interfacings and even accentuated the curves (the skirt) to prevent wrinkles and darts.
Tips & tricks:
You will need a lot of interfacing. Interfacing can be fusible or sew-in. We also love to work with heavy weight cottons. But make sure they will not shrink.
Hems should be overlocked, there is a tendency for some of these fabrics to fray and ravel badly
Closures of all types can be used.
Bound-buttonholes will be the most beautiful option if you need to sew buttonholes. Interfacing them and work carefully. Use little stitching here.
Bounded buttonholes are the best choice
All types of closures can be used. Bound buttonholes are the best option if you need to sew buttonholes. Use small stitching here. How to make a hand-tied knot [hole] is also explained in detail on the sewing patterns and in the books of Claire Shaeffer. And most sewing books with instructions often have clear explanations for this sewing technique, with accompanying photos or drawings.
It is quite a job, but worth it, bounded buttonholes look much better on a Bouclé jacket than normal buttonholes.
Do you want to avoid buttonholes? Then use snaps on the back of the fabric and possibly a decorative button on the front. It is less 'couture-worthy' but sometimes a great alternative for very loose-threaded Bouclé fabric.
Once you get to work with Bouclé fabrics, it will not be that difficult anymore or frustrating. Buy some extra fabric for testing and practice, but soon you will love to work with it.
Just make sure you think before you sew. Interfacing or extra interfacing should be done in first place, It is too late when you already have sewn the lining on the fabrics. Also iron and pres a lot fusible interfacing on the fabrics. It will look better in the end and the garment will keep its shape.
Good luck !