Easy One-Seam Boucle Fabric Shawl




Introduction: Easy One-Seam Boucle Fabric Shawl

Boucle is fabric woven from novelty yarns. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boucle) The finished fabric has dimension that imparts a handmade look to the finished shawl.  The fabric also lends a more dressy look to the finished piece.  I chose a high contrast pattern, but you can find more subtle patterns and lighter weights. For this shawl, I used a wool/acrylic/poly fabric. The shawl construction is based on simple shawl patterns from South America.

What you need:

* basic sewing skills
* approx 2 yards of boucle fabric at least 46" wide (more if sizing up); prewashed
* sewing machine capable of doing zigzag stitch
* good quality sewing thread, ball-headed pins, scissors, tape measure

The sizing is women's small-medium.  Information on sizing up is given at the end.

My fabric had a decent looking selvedge that I used for the front edge saving some time finishing the edge.  You can choose to fold the selvedge under and topstitch, or use ready made bias tape to cover it, or you can choose to fringe it.  The other three edges of each piece have one inch of fringe.

Step 1: Measure and Cut Fabric

You will be cutting TWO (2) pieces.  The dimensions for each piece allow for 1" of fringe on THREE sides (fourth side is selvedge)

Piece ONE will be 23 " W by 28.5" L
Piece TWO will be 23" W by 50.5" L

Your fabric, like mine, may have a clear design that allows you to follow it as a guide while cutting.  If not you can use pins to mark the cutting lines.

Open the fabric to a single layer with right side up.

Use the drawing below as a guide to laying out and cutting.  Notice each piece uses a selvedge as one of its edges.

Step 2: Zigzag Stitch Raw Edges

The CUT edges of each piece are finished by sewing zigzag stitches 1” from the raw edges and then removing the threads between the stitches and cut edge to create fringe.  My fabric had a RIGHT side and WRONG side but I had to look closely to determine the difference.  To help me prevent an error later, I used white thread on the RIGHT side and black thread in the bobbin for the WRONG side.

Using a zigzag stitch wide enough to span several threads of your fabric, stitch 1” from raw edges.Start at a point that borders the selvedge so that you will end at the other end which borders the selvedge.

As you approach a corner, stop 1” from the front edge with the needle down (or stop and put the needle down).Raise your pressure foot and pivot the fabric to align the next edge.This leaves the 1” border completely free of stitching.Repeat for next corner.

Complete the above for both piece ONE and piece TWO

Step 3: Fringe

Once the 3 raw edges of each piece have been stabilized with zigzag stitching, the fringe can be done.  The fringe is done on same edges that have the zigzag stitching.

Starting with one or two threads at the cut edge, pull them away/out of the fabric.  Work with just a few threads at a time so that the threads do not tangle and pull.  If you have threads that are fatter, or have nubs, that are hard to remove, try starting from the middle of the edge.  Pull up a thread from the middle and work it out of each side by gathering and sliding the thread.

It is not necessary to go all the way to the zigzag.  It is better to leave one or two threads to accommodate uneven stitching line.

This sounds more complicated then it is.  I had some stubborn threads and was able to complete all the fringe in about 10 minutes.  Working slowly and easing them out worked nicely.

Now you have two pieces of fabric with fringe on three edges.

Step 4: THE Seam

THE SEAM will join piece ONE and TWO into a V shape.  Lay piece TWO flat with the right side up.   Position piece ONE (right side up) so that a fringed edge overlaps the selvedge of piece TWO by 1/4" to 1/2".  Use the line of zigzag stitches as a guide NOT the fringe edge.   The selvedge edges of piece ONE and piece TWO create a V as shown in the drawing below.  (Blue line)

Pin piece ONE onto piece TWO along the orange line.  Start at the outside edge, line up the pieces and put in a couple of pins (use ball head pins so that they do not get lost in the fabric)  Next position the inside corner formed by the intersection of the selvedge edges.  Measure from the inside corner to the outside edge for each side.  They should measure approx 27" and be nearly identical in length.  Pin the inside corner and the remaining seam line (shown in orange in the drawing).

Zigzag stitch from the inside corner to the outside edge following the same line of stitches used to stabilize in Step TWO.

The inside corner can be stabilized by sewing a 1-2" diagonal line of stitches across the corner.

Snip off any threads hanging from the ends of the stitching line.

Step 5: DONE!

A quick and easy shawl without knitting, crocheting or fleece.  The boucle looks great as a wrap for a chilly office, as an extra layer over your coat, or as a casual wrap for everyday.

TIPS for sizing up or down:

The lengths of piece ONE and piece TWO are derived from the desired finished width of the straight front pieces.  In this instructible, the finished width was 23" (22" plus 1" of fringe)

The total length of needed is 3.5 times the width
Piece TWO is  (total length divided by 2) plus (width divided by 2)
Piece ONE is total length minus Piece TWO

If desired width is 25" (24" plus 1" of fringe), then

* total length = 25 X 3.5 = 87.5 inches
* piece TWO = (87.5 / 2) + (25 / 2) =  43.75 + 12.5 = 56.25 inches
* piece ONE = 87.5 - 56.25 =  31.25 inches

NOTE: Sizing up may require more than 2 yards of fabric and/or a fabric width greater than 60 inches.

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    13 years ago on Introduction

    Very clever!  I love shawls.  Easy is always best.  I bet it took longer to describe than to do the whole thing!


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks b1russell!  You know of what you speak, it did take longer to write up than to construct.  Easy IS always best...and that does not always mean fleece when one is sewing.


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    And when I think what i paid for one like this . . .