Brief Bouclé Basics: Part 1

Brief Bouclé Basics: Part 1

I sometimes forget when working with this favorite of mine that not everyone is familiar with this amazing fabric. So if you are in this category, or perhaps you have even bought some yardage but have not yet found the courage to cut into it, let me give you some guidance and I bet it will soon be your favorite fabric as well.

What is Bouclé:

boucle fabric closeup

The word Bouclé is derived from the French word to curl and is the name given to a fabric that is loosely woven using yarns (usually at least 5) with loops and curls and is a single color or combination of several shades. It has cotton or wool as its base and can include fancy yarns, lurex threads, trims, ribbons, sequins, and cellophane. It has a wonderful texture with a varying amount of loft. It is versatile and can be used for your top, dress, jacket, skirt, pants, and suit -a perfect pick for day or evening attire.

Most often when I travel I include a Bouclé dress or jacket which has been folded up into a small bag and I can easily pull it out and put it on with no need to iron -wrinkle-free! And I know I will always feel comfortable and elegant wearing a garment that has a luxurious feel.

Techniques to Use:

  • Shrinkage is not usually an issue but if you want to preshrink, lay towels over a large table, place the Bouclé on top, hover with the iron about 1” above the fabric using lots of steam, and leave (overnight) to cool and dry.
  • Bouclé drapes beautifully but needs careful handling to avoid stretching when laying it out. It is best to use a cutting table that allows the whole fabric to be laid out and cut in a single layer.
  • Use shears with a micro-serrated blade or a cutting blade and mat.
  • Bouclé will ravel easily so use a wide (1-2”) seam allowance. Serging the edges can help. Consider quilting the Bouclé to the lining (my preference is silk charmeuse). This will keep the Bouclé from sagging but will require the side seams to be hand-stitched.
  • Use a #75 machine needle and a 3.25mm stitch length and make sure you have a balanced stitch. Always do a sample first.
  • Use good quality thread. I suggest Mettler or Gutterman.

And remember not all Bouclé is created equal! Quality varies and the price will reflect the quality!

boucle close up black and white

I am always happy to answer your questions.

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