It all started back in March when we went to SewExpo and found this wool. At first I was enchanted by the pattern (who doesn’t love a good herringbone?) but a closer inspection showed a whole rainbow of colors woven in. They meld into gray at a distance, but I loved the pops of color. The wool was a bit thick for a dress, so a coat it was to be.
MelodyBut how to make the coat really shine? I immediately thought of passementerie. I’d first read about it a couple of years ago, and ever since, I’ve been itching to try it on something. Passementerie is an embellishment that’s almost like “drawing” on the fabric. It usually involves some combination of bias tubes, rattail cord, lace, beads, and sequins; it can be very luxurious, but, since it all has to be applied by hand, it’s very time-consuming!
MelodyI knew I wanted to use purple for the passementerie — but it had to be just the right kind of purple. Closer to blue than to red, and with a hint of black in it. After some looking, I found a silk taffeta that was just right! Then I cut it into strips and made a lot of bias tubing. Often bias tubing is made from more flexible fibers, but I liked the crispness that the taffeta lent to the project.
MelodyI sculpted the tubes into twists and turns, letting them dance across the coat before catching them with my needle and thread. Some of the tubes I tied into ball buttons, attaching them down the front opening. It was easy enough to build a passementerie bit with loops just long enough to embrace the buttons!
For the lining, I found a soft, fluid shirting. It’s a delicious shade of cool silver gray, just right to harmonize with the wool and the purple passementerie. Interestingly enough, I have no idea what kind of fiber it is, since the bolt was silent on this point. However, the hand is fabulous, and it’s a very well-behaved textile. I have a feeling that it’s some kind of silk blend.
MelodyThe verdict? Yes, it’s worthwhile to use mystery fibers sometimes, and yes, passementerie is very labor intensive (and I can now say this from experience!) But would I do it again? In a heartbeat. It’s so gorgeous, it’s worth all the effort!