A Lovely Boucle

Last fall, FabricMart put their boucles on sale for incredible prices.  They were so lovely. I stared at them for so long. Finally I decided while I wouldn’t wear suits, I do wear vests. So purchasing 1-1.5 yards for a vest was OK. I only bought 4. 4 different boucles.  Upon arrival, they were even more beautiful. That’s not always so.  Many, many times fabric look differently on-line than in person. Also, I can’t tell weight and texture until the fabric is in my hands. So I place my order, but kinda hold my breath and delay firm decisions until my purchases arrive.  I planned to sew these vests almost immediately. While yes I do have a nice collection, my vests are showing signs of wear and need replacing.  But while I planned to sew immediately, I didn’t. Life, you know. Plus I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. So I left them out where they were easily viewed. Petted on them from time to time… and waited. I was waiting for the muse to tell me.  She’s been silent. Very silent.   Until about 2 days ago.

I woke up dreaming of brown and pink swirls. Nothing crystal clear, but a definite impression of curves upon curves. In pink and brown. Curves sitting on my shoulder.  Being the owner of an embarrassingly large collection of embroidery designs, I immediately started searching for something my dream suggested. Well almost immediately. I am human and do normal human things upon rising from sleep. Eventually I found it. The design of my dreams.

Well that’s not going to fit on a shoulder and it’s entirely the wrong colors. I trimmed one of the motifs

and started working on colors. When I found a set I thought I liked. I tested it on my PE770.  Several tests later and I had something very nice. OK it wasn’t quite that easy. Took me a day of testing and editing. I reduced the design to 4 layers and 3 threads (one color is repeated).   I wanted to applique these designs rather than stitch them directly on the boucle. I was afraid the boucle was too loose to really support the design which could have been corrected by adding enough stabilizer to bullet proof the vest. Also, I wanted the design lifted above the fabric. I was concerned if I stitched directly on my boucle  the fabric would be flatted and the stitching disappear just sinking into the loosely woven yarns.  Since I never do true FSL, (which is an option) I decided to sandwich water-soluble stabilizer, tulle, and a water-soluble topper.  I stitched out the design and then it’s mirror.  Arranged in on my by now cut out front and stitched it down.

As I was finishing laboriously blanket stitching this in place (yes it is laborious even when done at the machine as I did), I decided next time I want to do something similar, I need to learn about Embird’s applique feature. Embird has an applique  process which should make this easy.

My fabric is cream, brown and pink. So lovely and I thought wonderful for spring.  I wanted to keep it light, soft and draping. At the same time, I know from experience that my vests that are most durable have the most interfacing; and the ones easiest to slip on and off have slick linings.  I chose a pink silk lining, then chose another. The silk had two black spots and a yellowish water stain (hopefully not water from something small and furry).  I placed the silk in a biz bucket and worked with the polyester-twill second choice.  I wanted to do something different. Not a structured vest.  Not lots of seams because boucle hellishly ravels and can easily change shape as it relaxes or is handled. I chose a pattern, then chose another and settled for 2188 because 1) it fit’s me and 2) it fit on the 1 yard x 3 inches of boucle on my cutting table.

I cut each piece, rolled it to move to the ironing board and fused bias stay tape to each and every edge.  That’s the point at which I appliqued my design onto my vest front. I cut my lining then stitched the shoulders of both lining and vest. I wanted to do different but not too different. What I’ve done is very similar to  Louise Cuttings AIM vest.  I placed right sides together; stitched, understitched and pressed the neckline first. Still RST, I stitched the front hems, side seams and armscyes.  The back hem was left open.  I turned the vest through the shoulders and the back hem.  What a pain.  Not only did I have to turn the vest through the shoulders, but then I had to poke out corners and try to press through the shoulders. Didn’t work exactly like I thought.  I’ve got some wonky corners and unintentionally, uneven hems. Thank God that’s a “thing” right now.   To finish I finished the back hem; placed each front under arm over its corresponding back underarm, tacked into place and then stitched a coordinating button on top.

The sides are free hanging.

I was going to make a front closure, but I like the way this hangs free.

I must confess, I understand why Channel did all that stitching. This boucle grows.   I steamed it into place. Let it cool while I was setting up the camera. By the time I took pics the back was already growing:

I may have to fix that in the future.

My only regret is that the lining does add weight and warmth. This won’t be a summer garment at all. Hopefully, with a little care, I will enjoy it for several years.


6 thoughts on “A Lovely Boucle

  1. I have that fabric too and am going to use it for a dress, however, you’re embroidered appliqués are amazing! Really like thus addition to your vest!

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