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Couture Sewing Techniques, Revised and Updated Paperback – January 19, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

From the workrooms of world fashion, including Dior, Chanel, and Givenchy, the secrets of couture craft are detailed, enabling home sewers to refine their skills. Shaeffer, author of many sewing titles, focuses on the fine construction techniques of haute couture and reviews hand stitching, making pleats or finished pockets, shaping a perfect fit, producing flawless finishing, and creating beautiful embellishments and closures. Special attention is given to creating couture jackets, coats, and evening wear. Photographs of fashions and drawings of techniques accompany the text. Not for beginning sewers, this title is for libraries serving those interested in studying and re-creating the art and science of haute couture. (Glossary, bibliography, sources of supply, index, and metric conversion chart not seen.)-Judith Yankielun Lind, Roseland Free P.L., N.J.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Claire Shaeffer is an internationally respected author, lecturer, college instructor and columnist. Her innovative sewing techniques and easy-to-read instructions have guided readers and students through many sewing facets of the garment industry. She wrote the celebrated Couture Sewing Techniques for Taunton Press and has authored and starred in a multitude of successful videos on couture sewing. 


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (January 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561584975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561584970
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Claire Shaeffer is a respected author, lecturer, college instructor and columnist. She frequently contributes articles to sewing magazines, and has authored many books, including Sew Any Patch Pocket, Couture Sewing Techniques, Sew Any Fabric and The Complete Book of Sewing Shortcuts. Claire Shaeffer makes her home in Palm Springs, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

387 of 389 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is truly a wonderful book for those ready to step beyond "speed sewing" and rotary cutting to creating beautiful garments with exquisit finishing. I've been sewing for 40 years and never knew how different couture sewing techniques are from those the rest of us commonly use. As precisely used in this text the word "haute couture" only applies to those 20 or so designer houses in France who meet certain strict standards regulated by the government. Fascinating!
This is a book to read and study, lots of carefully detailed text and good photographs of haute couture designs and finishing techniques. Did you know there are at least five different hand basting stitches and even more permanent hand sewing stitches for garment construction? Did you know couture houses don't use paper patterns? That their seam allowances are usually at least one inch wide? That most of their basting is done from the RIGHT side of the garment? That most seam edges are finished by hand -- even into the curve clips? That most garments are constructed entirely by hand? That steaming, shrinking and molding garment sections by pressing are as important to the shaping process as the sewing? And I'm not just talking about pressing seams open here. Wow! And I thought I knew how to sew.
While other books may use "couture" in their titles this book means it. While I've said this isn't for the fainthearted anyone who sews clothing will find some new and accessible technique here. Grab it, keep it near your sewing machine and if you only add one new technique with each project your skill, pride and satisfaction in your work will grow immensely.
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174 of 175 people found the following review helpful By N. Mentor on January 23, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Firstly I'd like rebut the comment given by the person who said that the techniques were unnecessary, outdated and could easily be found in the internet. I purchased this book because I couldn't find any website that spoke to the techniques found in this book in any straight-forward detail (The pictures are invaluable). Do a search for "couture sewing" and you'll find sites by ready-to-wear vendors incorrectly labeling their garments 'couture' or fashion schools offering classes.

As to the "outdated" comment, a lot of the garments shown are by the designers when they were alive. So you'll see a Dior or Chanel garment designed by THE Dior and Chanel, not the later designers working for their respective houses. Granted the designs might be considered 'dated' to some, but art doesn't go out of style; and the techniques used in the garment assembly can easily be applied to the latest runway fashions seen today. All you need is a little imagination.

Most people don't have the time to sew every stitch on the garment by hand. Note, though, that this is a book on haute couture technique where handsewing comprises 95% of the work done in couture houses. There IS something to be said for the control provided by handsewing. Most of the mistakes I've done on garments may not have taken place had I sewn by hand because of fabric unintentionally caught up in seams, etc. Also some fabrics are very unforgiving, and cannot withstand repeated machine-sewing/ seam ripping. A little time spent on planning from muslin to garment goes a long way. I find this book user- friendly; easy to read and refer to while working (though it would have been nice if it were spiral-bound). There is an adequate index/glossary in the back and the few unknown terms can be Googled for clarity.
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150 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Susan Bischoff on June 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Though there are wonderful pictures of couture garments, this is a how-to book. It is filled with detailed instruction and many easy to follow diagrams. "Haute Couture" is defined, and the chapter "Inside the World of Haute Couture" will be of interest to anyone who loves sewing or clothing. Then she goes on to discuss many couture techniques and applies them to a number of garments that any intermediate sewer could duplicate. This is how you get from intermediate to advanced! The best book I've found for information on women's tailoring, and it includes my favorite reference when someone asks me how to make bound buttonholes. If you want to take your sewing to the next level, get this book in your library.
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to take the next step toward creating exquisite, professional garments. It will transform your sewing from finished to "professionally finished". It is accessible even to beginners who have reached the level of creating a basic garment.

The book is clearly written and walks you step-by-step through the most simple hem to complicated padding techniques, frequently using drawings to help visualize the instructions.

Shaeffer includes background information and uses for each technique, as well as beautiful color photos of dresses and suits from Schiaparelli, Givenchy, Dior and others as examples. The book is a beautiful piece of publishing on its own, using fine paper, endpapers and backing, making owning the book as pleasureable as working with it.

As a student in fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York City, I have found Couture Sewing Techniques to be the book I turn to most often as a resource for sewing my designs. I couldn't recommend it more highly
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