Recently we made a red silk blouse with the sewing pattern Butterick B6710. Later we made a pink silk cupro silk blouse. And made of stretch silk: a white blouse from chain fabric. Silk is a very nice fabric to work with and to wear. But we do have some tips to make the sewing project easier.
Guestwriter: by Elena Tran
Cotton fabric is the king of affordable textiles and the beloved child of fashion designers. It feels comfortable in all seasons, easy to sew, and widely available. There is some confusion about which fabric is best, which cotton can be used for shirts, dresses and even face masks. I wanted to dive into this topic and get the answers for you.
Summery fabrics are for sale by the online fabric stores. We love these beautiful fabrics whith there outstanding prints! The term 'inkjet print' is becoming increasingly common. On the website of TST Stoffen / Stoffenbestellen we notice a lot of beautiful 'inkjet prints' on fabrics such as Chiffon, Punta di Roma, silk and viscose satin.
But what is an inkjet print different from a 'normal print'?
Jackets are always nice to wear because they are so versatile. You can wear them when you need to look businesslike or representative, or just casual in everyday life. Whether you wear a top, a t-shirt or a neat blouse underneath, a jacket is always a great idea and a real classic. Timeless, classic and trendy!
Gobelin fabric is a fabric which is probably not an option if you think about making clothes. In fabric stores, the Gobelin is stored between decorative and upholstery fabrics and in online fabric stores they are often categorized with interior fabrics. Is it such a good idea to use Gobelin fabric if you want to make a jacket, for example? We answer this question, but first we will tell you everything about Gobelin as a fabric type.
Panné velvet is a very cheap fabric. If something is really cheap, most people think: this fabric is probably not such a great quality. But this is unjustified. Velours de panne is ideal for women's clothing, skirts, nightwear and party wear.
Sewing your own wardrobe is great fun and environmentally conscious. Especially if you recycle, up-cycled or repair clothes yourself. But how do you know fabrics have been produced environmentally-friendly? After all, you need fabrics, linings and interfacing fabrics to create your own clothes and you actually know very little about them. Wool always looks 'environmentally conscious' and neoprene, for example, not at all. But is that really so? We have made a list of The Best Sustainable Fabrics!
When looking for fabrics for a sewing project, I always check whether the relevant (online) store also has so-called 'chain' fabrics. I love them!
Chain, straps or cables
By 'chain' fabrics I mean fabrics that have a design print of chains, cables and / or belts. Often this is also combined with flowers, fringes or bits of horse bridles. The fabric often has no more than three shades and, despite the busy design, still looks calm and balanced. It does not consist of panels, which is often the case with digitally printed tricot fabrics, but the pattern does repeat itself. This is hardly visible.
Colors and shades
The colors are usually based on black, brown or beige. The shades are often coordinated but can also contain bright colors such as red or blue. The shade of gold predominates so that the fabric always has a luxurious look. I love them because of the luxurious glamorous look and the resemblance to 'Hermès' style.
Which search terms can you best use?
If you are looking for the fabric, it is often difficult because the design does not really has a name.
Most fabric stores use different names.
Let's create a 'chains' outfit!
You can of course make anything you want from chains fabrics, but pay attention to the type of fabric. It is quite different what the fabric is.
Below are some ideas:
Pay particular attention to whether the fabric has a stretch content or not and check the sewing pattern carefully to notice if these are recommended fabrics. You can make anything from leftovers fabrics: toiletry bags, glasses cases, laptop sleeves and bags.
Finally, I have some styling tips. The fabric is often busy with design and it is therefore better to adjust the rest of your outfit accordingly. You don't want it all to look 'over-done', to look like a hippy or look like a clown.
Therefore, pay attention to the following:
Read more: Dressing up or dressing down
Chains fabrics are beautiful! But sometimes hard to find at the fabric stores. If you spot a fabric, let us know, we will publish the link or your self-made clothes!
Guestwriter: Elena Tran, BaudekinStudio
The Fabrics to Use as Linings
The purpose of a lining is to cover the construction details of the inside of the garment, any unfinished seams and also to extend the life of your clothes. Historically, lining were mostly used for warmth. You see lots of painting depicting fur linings to provide warmth to the wearer. In the 1900s, the wool lining was featured on men’s country clothing and it was intended for keeping warm during shooting and hunting pastime.
Contrasting lining on women’s clothing first gained popularity in the 1930s and it is still a favorite today. Let’s explore the fabrics used for lining the garments today.
Polyester lining is the most common man-made fabric you will find in the stores. It is produced from petroleum oil and it can almost mimic the properties of cotton, silk or linen with minimal cost. Maintenance is easy. Throw it in the washing machine and voila.
However, if you place polyester and silk side by side, you will immediately feel the difference between the two. Polyester fabric almost sticks to the body when you sweat and I don’t like how it feels and how difficult it is for a novice to cut and sew this slippery fabric. In addition, let’s not forget that this synthetic fabric is not biodegradable and the discarded clothes will linger in landfills for generations. Because polyester is so cheap to purchase, customers feel that it is expendable and discard clothes or fabric without second thought. On the plus side, polyester fabric can also be produced from recycled plastic bottles, although this technology is still in its infancy.
Rayon is also referred to as viscose, viscose rayon, or artificial silk, can also be used as lining and it is widely available in the neighborhood fabric stores. It is a man-made fiber regenerated from cellulose (a.k.a. wood from trees). Technically, rayon is called an artificial fiber because wood chips need a bit of chemical help to convert them into yarn. After the production process is complete, we end up with a beautiful silky fabric and it is a common lining material in Haute couture clothing because it costs less. It feels nice and I would almost go for it. Rayon is very soft to the touch and it absorbs moisture well. But on the minus side (and a big one for me), production of rayon is not the best ecological choice as it releases carbon into the atmosphere, salt into the water supplies and it cuts the much needed trees.
Dressmakers rarely think of natural fabrics for lining because it may prove expensive. But if you are making clothes for yourself, let me encourage you to go for silk lining. Silk is produced from the protein secreted by the larvae of the silk moth as they lay in their cocoons. The only concerning part is that the cocoons are cooked with the insects still inside to begin the silk production process. However, I like the fact that the silk moth is cultivated specifically for silk production and the process of silk manufacturing is sustainable and eco-friendly. For some of you price is a factor when shopping for lining fabric. I consider that a good thing. The fact that silk is an expensive fabric makes us more careful about the quantity we purchase. Buy only the amount of material that you need for your garment, eliminate the waste, recycle the remnants into other projects and always think long term slow fashion.
There is another reason why silk is perfect to use as a lining. It feels warm in winter and cool in summer. The best silk lining choices are silk habotai and silk charmeuse because they are light enough and they are available in many shades of colours. The lining fabric can match the fashion fabric or you can choose a contrasting fabric for your design. The lining fabric can also be used as a trim on cuffs and collars for a special effect. This technique was used by Chanel, as well as by another famous designer, Madeleine Vionnet. Great designers like Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga were adamant about using the best fabrics as linings. Chanel went as far as using the expensive fabrics that the matching tops were made from as linings on her skirts and jackets.
As for the lining construction, there are rules that you learn as you sew different pieces. For example, when cutting the lining for a jacket, you design the lining slightly bigger that the garment to allow for ease of movement. That’s why you often see a small pleat in the center back of the jacket lining. Another trick is to attach the lining to the skirt by means of a thread chain. You can also quilt the lining and the main garment together. Chanel used this technique to support the loosely-woven tweed fabric on her skirts and jackets.
When you are making your own bespoke clothes, I encourage you to use the best lining material you can find. You will have a better sewing experience, more satisfaction from wearing a quality garment and you will enjoy the feeling of silk next to your skin.
BibliographyClive Hallett, Amanda Johnston. Fabric for fashion: The complete guide. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2017.
Smithsonian. Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Art. New York: DK Publishing, 2012.
If 'sustainability' is important for you, then you probably know that 'CUPRO' silk or simply CUPRO, is a good choice in terms of fabrics. Cupro is also often seen as a cheap alternative to silk. This is only partly true. Indeed, the fabric is cheaper than silk, but it is much more than just an alternative or a cheap lining fabric.
Lining fabric - Cupro
In many stores, cupro silk is stored with the lining fabrics and at online fabric stores this fabric is also often categorized under 'lining fabrics'. Cupro is a silk-like fabric with a lovely, soft, delicate and luxurious 'touch'. It is made from a cellulose fiber produced by treating cotton cellulose with cuprammonium salt. This is where it gets its name: Cuprammonium rayon is the reference to the production process; the cellulose has undergone to become 'cupro'. Cellulose is therefore used as a raw material for cupro, usually the cotton fibers that are too short to be spun. Due to the fineness of the fibers, Cupro has a silky grip and a lovely shine.
It is very easy to drape and it drapes smoothly. It is also anti-allergenic and anti-static. Cupro is often referred to as a 'silk-like' fabric, but it has a completely different basis.
Silk versus CUPRO
Real silk is very popular, but expensive and not durable. In addition, 'vegan' people do not buy silks because it not animal-friendly. Silkworms are bred and kept in captivity. After the caterpillars have spun a cocoon, they are boiled to release the silk threads. Not a very pleasant idea and animal friendly, no matter how small a caterpillar is ...
There is also silk that is produced in a different way, where the caterpillars are given time to finish their cocoons and have left as a butterfly. This is called: Áhimsa silk. Ahisma silk is more difficult to weave and dye. There are other types of silk that differ in the production process and final properties.
CUPRO is suitable for:
Cupro is extremely suitable as a lining material. But cupro can also be used to create blouses, tops, dresses, gala clothes and even jumpsuits. Cupro gives a luxurious look because it always shiny and looks a bit more luxurious than satin. Cupro shines less 'hard' than satin and therefore has that chic look. It is more subtle and looks more 'couture' than satin.
The fabric is nice and comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, the fabric is sensitive to creases and stains.
Sometimes cupro is also mixed with other fabrics such as viscose. Like the mix: 55% Cupro 45% Viscose. Just like cupro, this fabric is suitable for making blouses, dresses, gala clothes, etc. The shine is slightly less excessive and the fabric looks more like chiffon than silk.
Washing and maintenance
Like silk clothing, it is advisable to wash Cupro as little as possible. It is better to air-dry it outside and only wash it when it is really necessary. If you are going to do it yourself: wash it with handwarm or cold water and do not use the dryer. Just hang up after washing and let it air dry. Even better: bring it to the dry cleaner ... Please note when ironing: do not iron higher than the medium temperature. Rather iron a little longer than too hot!
Where is CUPRO for sale?
As we said, you can sometimes find CUPRO silk between the fabric rolls in the lining fabric department. It should have a label on it. Online it is more difficult to buy, but luckily Böttger Fabric Shop sells Cupro silk in many colors. The price is not expensive and the colors are really beautiful. The photos are our favorite colors. But to be honest it is difficult to make a choice because all colors are simply very beautiful.
Chanel-Style jacket with CUPRO lining
We have already worked with CUPRO a few times and made our Chanel-style jackets with a CUPRO lining. We really liked the fanric. It folds nicely, sews well and does not slip out from under the scissors or presser foot during cutting and sewing. The fabric is also nice to combine with Bouclé because Cupro silk falls smoothly but not overly, so as is sometimes the case with a silk-look fabric or real silk. If the Bouclé is woven very loosely, as the outer fabric for the Chanel-Style jacket, we do recommend that the cupro side be reinforced with an iron-on nonwoven interfacing on pattern parts where this is necessary.
Cupro is very similar to real silk, but is a great budget alternative. It is also more sustainable.
Cupro cuts and sews very nicely and wears very pleasantly.
Can we come up with a negative comment? No actually not...
It is all in the Haute couture books: designer-samples are always made of Muslin before a garment is ready to be made from the real fabric. The fabrics used for a test model is 'Muslin'. But what is 'muslin' fabric and why is it so important to make a test model?
Haute couture Claire Shaeffer's sewing patterns (for example V9099, V8991 and V8804) always have instructions: "Make a muslin toile to fine tune the fit before cutting the fashion fabric. This also helps to preserve teh pristine quality of the fabric and design; and it reduces the temptation to try on the jacket frequently during its construction."
In the couture world, using muslin fabric is a normal routine because the final fabric is often very expensive. Muslin is an inexpensive fabric, feels soft, and cuting and sewing is very easy. When the test-model is really perfect, then the muslin sample is used as the basic pattern.
In the hobby sewing world, this extra work is often skipped. That's a shame, because once you are used to make a sample with muslin fabric first, you know it is really necessary. It may avoid a lot of frustrations because, for example, the model is incorrect or does not fit properly. You have your garment completely 'finished' and it is disappointing. You are disappointed that you have messed up the beautiful fabricbecause you will probably jnever wear the garment. If you made a sample of muslin first, you could have save yourself a lot of time and money. Just make it a routine and you won't regret it.
Muslin or canvas
Muslin is a light and soft, transparent fabric, woven in a plain weave, from lightly twisted yarn, creating a recognizable crinkled structure. Often this fabric is also called 'hydrophilic'. This is because the fabric is soft and absorbs water. As a result, the fabric is often used for burp patches, diapers and baby clothes.
But the fabric is mainly used to make test-samples of garments by seamstresses from Haute couture to the hobby sewing world. The fabric is usually plain, but there may also be a print (one-colored) on it. It is also a great advantage the fabric is always in the cheaper price range.
If the design requires a firmer fabric, the sample will be made of canvas. This is an easy fabric, 100% cotton, inexpensive and a pleasure to work with. The fabric is only firmer and does not drape smoothly, like muslin does.
Muslin is therefore ideal as 'exercise' material. To make a sample of a Chanel-style jacket, but also, for example, to practice if you have to perform a sewing technique that you have never done before. Think of tied buttonholes, pleats, welt pockets or folding techniques. Or maybe you just want to try out buttonholes before you make them in real life on the garment piece you are working on.
As 'practice' material we bought a black muslin with a white print. We made a shirt and practiced with the collar and buttonholes. We doubted the fit of the shirt but it turned out to be good. Of course, you don't have to take a sample of muslin from a garment off and use it again as a basic pattern. Especially not if the pattern turns out to be correct and fits perfectly. It is a nice soft fabric and ideal to wear at home as 'home wear'.
Are you going to make a Chanel-style jacket? We advise you to first buy a few yards of muslin fabric and make a test-sample of the jacket. Instead of sewing, you can also thread roughly by hand. Sometimes a sewing machine have a 'baste' stitch, or you choose the longest regular stitch.
Don't tink of working with muslin fabric as a waste of materials and time: but above all it is very wise and educational. Now it turns out that the sample fits well with a few adjustments, you can put your scissors in the (expensive) Bouclé fabric and the (silk) lining. And the result will be perfect because you already know the pitfalls of the sewing pattern and you have adapted the shape.
It is very wise to buy a few yards of muslin fabric. You can use it as test pieces to practice sewing techniques or to make a test sample of a sewing pattern. Muslin is a nice soft fabric and never expensive. It is well worth the investment in time and money!
Chanel jackets or Chanel-Style jackets are usually made of Bouclé fabrics and silk linings. You have to be careful with the jacket because it is impossible to wash and dry it like your other clothes. How do you take care of Bouclé fabrics? And how do you clean it? We will help you.
Cleaning Tweeds and Bouclé fabrics:
Tweed is a woolen fabric used for clothing, upholstery and various types of cases and equipment. It is a tough fabric that is moisture resistant because it is closely woven, but the tight weave of the fabric can allow dirt or stains to become embedded. Care needs to be taken with cleaning techniques to keep your tweed looking its best. When in doubt, bring the tweed item to a dry cleaner for professional attention.
What are you wearing underneath?
Try to limit yourself to clothing made of cotton fabrics. Fabrics as polyester and synthetics can be sweaty and give off to the jackets above. A simple blouse or cotton underwear guarantees more limitation of smelly odors. Be careful with deodorants as some can easily ruin the silk lining. Treat a Bouclé jacket as a woolen outdoor-coat. Do not wash or dry clean it too often and hang it outside regularly in the fresh air (shade!).
Maintaining Tweeds and Bouclé Garments:
Store tweed clothing and upholstery fabric in a cool dry place. Moths are attracted to wool. Put tweed items in a cedar chest or other cool dry receptacle, where moths cannot eat them. You can also buy moth deterrents at home improvement stores. Follow the instructions on the packaging to apply it.
Washing a woolen jacket:
Wool is a warm and durable fabric, and a wool coat or jacket will give you years of wear if you care for it properly. It is necessary to wash a wool coat a couple of times each season, but you do need to take special care to avoid piling, shrinking, and distorting the fabric. While it may be possible to wash some wool coats in the machine, it’s usually safer to wash by hand. Another key to cleaning a wool coat is to avoid putting it in the dryer, because this will lead to shrinkage.
Read the care label:
You should always read a garment’s care label before washing it, because the care label will tell you exactly how to proceed. Check the care label for:
You spent a lot of time creating your Chanel-style jacket. Therefore, spend time on maintenance. Preferably take it to the dry cleaner for a dry clean. But you can also do a lot to prevent the jacket from getting dirty or smelling like sweat.
If you want to create a Chanel-style jacket and you are searching on the Internet (and on this website!), you will notice: the real vintage Chanel couture jackets often had buttons made out of fabrics. You will notice these buttons on modern Chanel jackets as well. You immediately want such beautiful and matching buttons too. And that's possible!
Fabric buttons are still 'Haute couture' beautiful!
Coco Chanel started making handmade buttons, mainly from Tweeds and Bouclé fabrics. She used fabrics because buttons were expensive. But also because the fabric buttons gave more 'couture' appearance to the clothing. The buttons and the jackets were perfectly matching and everyone knew about the making process: a time-consuming and dedicated job.
Coco Chanel started her career as a hat maker. Because of this, she knew many sewing techniques and she could handle different types of materials. She also had an eye for details, which gave the jackets something extra's, but they were never 'over the top'.
Her motto: "Simplicity is the key of elegance"
The authentic Chanel vintage fabric buttons are real treasure and not easy to buy. This is mainly because Tweeds and Bouclé are not durable fabrics and the buttons had to endure a lot.
If you are looking for fabric buttons in 'Chanel-style', Baudekin Studio is a great webshop.
Sometimes it is possible to find fabric buttons at a market, in a fabric store, or even in thrift stores. But you have to be very lucky that they will match with the fabric. Baudekin Studio has a few fabric buttons in its range. Affordable and above all: very beautiful.
The buttons are easy to match with many fabrics in terms of color and composition. Especially the black and white Bouclé buttons, can be used with almost any Bouclé fabric. But the colored fabric buttons also turned out to be a great option for a Chanel-Style jacket. This is mainly because Bouclé fabrics are often woven from multiple colored threads. Most of the times, there is always a color to match with the threads.
The example above: which color fits better with the dark green/black/blue/yellow Chanel-style jacket? The green or the yellow? Or both?
Chic couture clothing
Fabric buttons are also often the best choice for couture outfits. The example below shows it perfectly: a bridal cape or evening dress bolero with fabric buttons. The buttons make the cape extra beautiful and it is also much more convenient to match your jewelry. Are you going for gold or silver? If the buttons of evening wear are exactly the same as the fabric: go ahead and make your own choice.
Tips & Tricks: how to choose the perfect buttons
for your DIY Chanel Style jacket
If you think about 'velvet' you immediately think about: soft, chic, luxury, classic and 'red-carpet' wear. And that's right. Velvet is a beautiful fabric that gives extra dimension to color and shape due to its shine. But what exactly is velvet and why does it have so many different names?
Velvet as a type of fabric
Velvet or 'cotton velvet' is woven in with a specific technique and the threads are cut or shaved deeply. This creates a 'whiff' in the fabric. A 'nap' or a 'pile' in the fabric means that the direction and the light determine the color. The color may appear darker or lighter. When sewing velvet, the thread direction is very important. You can also feel the whiff if you run your hand over it.
The nap down: the fabric appears lighter in color.
The nap up: the fabric appears darker in color.
Velvet only comes in solid/uni colors. Sometimes there is a pattern or design in it, but it is just one color. The fabric feels thick and is a winter fabric.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Velvet:
A big advantage of velvet fabric: it always looks beautiful: chic, luxurious, classic and timeless. The fabric is strong, not very expensive and easily available.
The disadvantage of velvet is that the fabric is not durable. It wears out very quickly. The fabric is also not sustainable in the production process, there is a lot of residual waste and the production process is expensive.
And even more important: the fabric is not easy to cut and sew. It quickly slips out from under your presser foot of the sewing machine and the same goes for cutting. Tip: us more pins so the fabric will not slip while cutting.
More tips for this, see read our blog: How to handle difficult fabrics!
Because of the nap, you also have to pay close attention to the cutting schedule and you often need more fabric than usual. This makes it relatively expensive.
Is corduroy a velvet fabric too?
Corduroy is often categorized: velvet. However, corduroy is not a velvet fabric. It has a slightly different composition. In addition, corduroy is also ribbed due to the weaving technique used. The ribbies are the main characteristic of corduroy. Nevertheless, corduroy looks just like velvet: luxurious, warm, chic and timeless.
Although corduroy is often seen as a bit more robust and casual. Unfortunately, the fabric often wears out very quickly, especially if you wear corduroy trousers or a jacket.
Velor or velvet de panne
Velor is woven or knitted. If the fabric is knitted then the fabric is heavier and is not velvet. However, woven velor is made in the same way as velvet and is therefore also considered velvet. Woven velor is thicker than velvet. This velvet is also often used for interior and as curtain fabric.
Velor de panne is wrinkled, the nap does not have a specific direction and the fabric is light and very elastic. Velor de panne is also often referred to as stretch velvet. Terms such as Lycra velvet or Lycra velvet are also used. Velours de panne is a cheap type of fabric and ideal for Cosplay, events or evening wear, especially when the clothes have to be tight and elastic. It looks a bit cheaper than real velvet but it is cheaper. It is also better suited for tight, figure-shaping clothing.
Silk velvet or velvet with a design
There are also variations in terms of raw materials and designs. For instance: Velvet is based on cotoon material. But it can have a big amount of silk as well. Silk velvet is very expensive and not easy to buy.
Velvet with design is rare too. These fabrics are worth looking for. They are beautiful fabrics for special clothes, or for Cosplay costumes, LARP and Haute couture.
We have found for you: Lycra velours with flowers
Let's create something beautiful! We will certainly do the same!
You sometimes hear the term 'Ottoman' in the sewing world. Is Ottoman a type of fabric or a characteristic of a fabric? Or is it a design? To make it even more confusing, it's all three. Don't panic, we'll explain it to you.
Ottoman as a (type of) fabric
Ottoman is a fabric that is ribbed in structure. It has to do with a certain way of weaving, which creates ridges. So you can speak of a ripple pattern IN the fabric. The fabric can be woven or cotton. In both cases it is called: an Ottoman fabric. The ridges can vary in thickness. But due to the way of weaving, the fabric is strong and dense in structure. The fabric is often confused with 'Texture'. Texture is an inexpensive, strong fabric that is often used for decoration, costume and event decoration. Especially because the fabric is cheap and very strong. However, no ridge is visible in Texture.
Ottoman as a fabric characteristic
On some fabric online shops, all fabrics that are ribbed fall under the category 'Ottoman'. However, this is incorrect. For instance: A plicé fabric is a pleated/ribbed fabric. This means that the fabric is pleated or folded and therefore extremely stretchable in one direction. And: Corduroy is sometimes called 'Ottoman' as well. However, this is not correct either. Corduroy, or ribbed velvet, is a woven fabric with a ribbed structure and nap. This type of fabric is nevertheless not an Ottoman because Ottoman fabrics never have a nap. You can usually use Ottoman fabric in all thread directions. With a corduroy, the nap and thread direction are essential when you are going to cut or sew the fabric.
Ottoman as design
The name Ottoman comes from the French 'Ottoman', a weaving art from Turkey. The name has everything to do with the Ottoman Empire in which the art of weaving was invented and became a trademark all over the world. Weaving became a real art by using the striking patterns and colors that are now seen as typically 'Turkish'. The weaving was not only done with strong cotton but also with silk. These were very expensive fabrics. Nowadays, these designs are also made with silk-like fabrics, making them a little less pricey.
Ottoman designs were mainly used as decoration, furniture fabric, shawls, coats, clothing and ceremonial clothing. You often see Ottoman design in the tiles of bathrooms, bathhouses and saunas. The typical colors are often blue, turquoise and white as main colors, and pink, yellow, green and purple as additional colors. The structures are repetitive and often have ornaments or geometric designs. See our blog: All about design of fabrics.
Ottoman & Chanel
As far as we know, Chanel has never been keen of Ottoman as a type of fabric. The only stripes in the fabric that we have come across are the tweeds and specifically: the Herringbone tweed. This fabric was much loved by Coco Chanel and it is still at the Chanel fashion house today.
Maybe we will create a Chanel-style jacket in an Ottoman fabric? Yes, why not. The stripes of fabric are beautiful, strong and above all comfortable. We will come back to this later!
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 !
Couture Chanel jackets are very often made of Bouclé fabrics. Bouclé fabrics are woven fabrics, always unique in terms of composition and in terms of colors and yarns. The name Bouclé actually refers to both the yarn and the fabric made from the yarns. But what exactly is Bouclé fabric?
How to describe bouclé fabric? Bouclé is both a yarn and a fabric made from it. The yarn is made from a length of loops of similar size which can range from tiny circlets to large curls. The definition is not easy. If you try to find bouclé in stores or on the internet in fabric-online-shops, it is often named differently.
Sometimes it is categorized under:
In other languages the fabric is mostly called Bouclé as well but sometimes it is better to search for "Chanel fabrics" because the fabric is mostly used for Chanel Couture, jackets and skirts. On google "Chanel fabrics" are even more searched than "Bouclé fabrics".
"Chanel fabrics" are protected by proprietary rights. Most fabric stores do incorporate the association of the name Chanel into it. Sometimes you can find Bouclé fabrics under names such as: Channel, Chanellook, Chanella, Chanelli, Chanello. This is because the customer often searches under 'Chanel' and still ends up with the relevant fabrics. And for the very simple reasons that the seamstresses who want to make a Cahnel-style jacket often search under the name 'Chanel' and hopes she will find the type find the type of fabric which is typical for the jacket.
Bouclé fabric is characterized by it's curly, knotted appearance that is created by it's open, woven weave; with fancy yarn, lurex threads, trims, ribbons, sequins in various colours.
The fabric is original from the era of French 1950s fashion trends. Most Couture Houses loved the fabric because of its fashion appearance and a feeling of freedom which Coco Chanel used for designing her famous cardigan jackets and skirts.
In modern Couture the fabric is even used in dresses, trousers and coats. It is always quite expensive because it is even a challenge and demands couture sewing techniques and a lot of working-hours to create the garments. On the catwalks the couture, based on Bouclé fabrics, are the real show-stoppers, even in Spring Collections. The bouclé is a statement of pure couture and luxury tailoring.
Bouclé fabric are soft, airy and elastic, existing of various threads, such as wool or cotton, including metallized fibres and sequins. Mostly gold or silver accents. Tweed boucle is all about soft ànd bold colours, as well as the classic combination of black and white. Comfy, elegant and always luxurious.
Bouclé fabrics are very supple and often loosely woven. However, they can also be very stiff, especially if they are actually fabrics designed for furniture upholstery and furniture upholstery. So pay attention to the texture. Too flexible and loosely woven fabric is very difficult to process (like our example below). Too stiff or solid is easier to work with but not nice to wear and not comfortable at all.
Unless, for example, it is used for the creation of an open-front jacket or occasional clothing such as festive clothing, gala jackets or other luxury jackets.
Pay particular attention, if you buy Bouclé fabric that you buy enough fabric because you will have to cut everything so that the loose threads do not disturb the pattern and sizes. In other words: buy extra fabric; cut the pattern with a few centimeters seam extra and keep in mind that there will be a lot of waste of fabric.
Bouclé fabric is also very suitable for the beautiful fringes. You can have them nicely fringed but also completely un tied and crochet or even knit. Braiding is also often done. It is a perfect and beautiful idea if you use the same fabric and make creative fringes with it.
Bouclé fabrics are famous and beloved because of their beautiful structure with loose threads, loops and sometimes gold or silver threads added. Therefore uni-colors are not very common but they are out there on the market. Mostly bouclé fabrics are fabrics which do not have prints or patterns (almost impossible) but sometimes they have a squared pattern or a simple pattern of the woven threads. Sometimes the fabrics have a woven pattern or a kind of rhythm of recurring colors.
Bouclé fabrics are very nice and creative fabric to make great combinations with a beautiful lining, buttons and the fringes.
Tips & tricks:
If you really want to buy a 100% Silk fabric but you are not sure about the fabric you want to buy in a store or on a market, here some help to recognize it.
Do a Touch test.
This is a quick spot test that one can do especially before buying a silk fabric. The idea is to rub the silk with your hands. If you feel warmth on rubbing it, go buy it! It’s real. With artificial or synthetic silk, it is impossible to experience warmth on rubbing. One more thing, real silk sounds like walking on fresh snow. It crisps. Think about crisping a piece of tin paper. Aluminum foil; now you know.
Perform a Ring Test.
If the silk that you are planning to buy is not very heavy, this test is perfect! Genuine silk can be easily threaded and pulled through a wedding ring because silk is naturally flexible and smooth. On the other hand, artificial silks would scrunch up and would be impossible to pull through.
Consider the price.
Of course, real silk is almost ten times costlier than the synthetic ones. Sometimes the synthetic silk is priced much higher and looks like silk to an untrained eye but mostly low price is a very good indication of its poor quality. The reason you should know the secrets to recognize a real Silk. It happens to us more than once. You think you buy a real Silk, but it isn't....
The Lustre of the material.
Silk is especially known for its lustre. The lustre is usually because of the combination of threads which gives a particular sheen to the material. The colour on the surface appears to change as the angle of the light changes. Artificial silks, however, gives a white sheen no matter what the angle of light falling on it.
Look at the Weave.
Hand woven silk boasts of uniqueness. There are minor variations in the evenness of the texture which is quite noticeable. But fret not! These are natural and expected. These imperfections are what lend distinction to the product. Machine woven silks look perfect. They are flawlessly even in texture and hence… lacks character! Synthetic fibers look perfect too even though sometimes slight imperfections are deliberately included so that they could pass off as real silk.
Note that Dupion silk looks a bit "messy". But that is correct. Look at Dupion characteristics to understand the difference.
Perform a Burn Test, if possible...
This is perhaps the best and most definitive test to find genuine silk. You can take a few threads from the material and burn it with a flame. Genuine silk burns with smell of burnt hair. When you burn the edge of real silk fabric, the flame is invisible and it will stop burning as soon as the flame is removed. The ash produced hence, is black, crispy and brittle. It turns to powder when twisted in fingers.With the artificial silk, it is quite the opposite. When synthetic silk is burnt, there is a flame and smell of plastic. No ash is produced. Needless to say, you might need to exercise caution with this step. You don’t want to end up setting fire to the silk shop or a marketplace.
If you really need to know, consider a Chemical Test. If you have a lab with necessary chemicals on the standby, ready for some experimentation, what’s stopping you? Or maybe you know a chemical student who wants to do the test for you ? For starters, you need: Mix all the below and dip a small piece of silk that you want to test into the solution. Real silk dissolves in a few minutes while artificial silk would not dissolve.
Remember that Old is Gold.
The older the silk gets, the more beautiful it becomes. With the fake silk, it is quite the opposite. The fake silk tends to fade with time. But again, it is a better idea to buy a genuine silk rather than end up with a fake one.Now that you are armed with some really good tips for the next silk shopping spree, sleep easy. You are going to get the silk fabric you so rightly deserve.