I used to work in design at St. John Knits—a brand where women’s suits were king. Or, queen, rather. Boucle fabric weaves, in particular, were a favorite of businesswomen all over the world. Now, when I see the nubby fabric, I think of ladylike skirtsuits and blazers with pretty gold buttons and precisely frayed edges.
While the tactile textile makes me instantly envision the likes of Jackie O with white gloves and a string of pearls, the fabric is surprisingly versatile. It can be fancied up for the office or it can simply give your weekend wear a luxe feel. Make an upscale impression in a structured tweed jacket or herringbone topper; get cozy in a waterfall cardigan or zippered coat; and go super-feminine in a speckled pencil skirt or cocktail-worthy dress. Believe it or not, it can even create a sporty effect, particularly when you mix it with a contrasting fabric like leather or canvas.
Tips for sewing with boucle fabric? I’ve got three for you.
1) Steam, don’t press, the boucle if you want it to keeps its wonderful 3-D texture.
2) In the same vein, you’ll want to avoid iron-on interfacing and stick to the sew-on kind. Or, better yet, go without any at all to get a softer result.
3) An exposed zipper might be one step to help prevent snagging any loops while closing, but an even smarter step would be to bind your edges with an alternate fabric. Or, for a playful and particularly festive option, buy a matching frayed trim and go sans closures or simply sew on some elegantly hidden hook-and-eyes.