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High Fashion Sewing Secrets from the World's Best Designers: A Step-By-Step Guide to Sewing Stylish Seams, Buttonholes, Pockets, Collars, Hems, And More (Rodale Sewing Book) Paperback – February 24, 2001

83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

If you want your notched collars to lie smoothly like Ellen Tracy's, your pants zippers to be as invisibly fused with the inseam pocket as Giorgio Armani's, and your topstitched facings to have the impeccable look of Chanel, this is the book to have. Home sewers need and want exactly the kind of painstaking construction tips that Claire B. Shaeffer provides. She not only tells you how to add designer details such as those mentioned above, but also how to copy any garment, alter a sleeve, change seams to darts or folds (or vice versa), and make a basic pattern. This is one of the best intermediate sewing guides on the market. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A surefire bible for any sewer who yearns to copy the high-priced couture garments seen at retail.” ―Victor Costa, Fashion Designer

“Serious sewing students have always looked to Claire Schaeffer's inside view of the industry as the link between ordinary home sewing and real professionalism. This book contains the information and techniques that we have been yearning for, asking for, and needing to evaluate the quality of our work.” ―Linda Lee, Owner of The Sewing Workshop, San Francisco, California


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Product Details

  • Series: Rodale Sewing Book
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (February 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579544150
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579544157
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.5 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,520 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

339 of 340 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book about 6 months ago and read it from cover to cover. I was fascinated, but I didn't want to write a review until I had actually tried some of the techniques.
Well, I've done the piped pockets, the bias cvered seams, and I'm working on the flounce collar (which happens to be fashionable again), and they look pretty good!!
But worth all the money, are the pages on manipulating patterns. With commercial patterns costing well over $10 today, this book enables you to play with what is already in your collection. Before this, I was a slave to the pattern companies, but now, I know how to make what I want. I eliminated a waist seam on a jumper for my daughter, and created an unusual skirt by combining two patterns.
My confidence in my ability to construct a garment, and have it look professional, has increased mani-fold.
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259 of 260 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The gimmick of the first two-thirds of this book is that the author shows various designer ready-to-wear garments with an interesting construction method or detail, and then she shows you, step-by-step and in detail, how to reproduce it. Where there is a trick or shortcut that reduces the time to do something without lowering the quality she uses it, but on the other hand she includes many labor-intensive methods where the quality would be improved by such methods. She covers facings, hem, pockets, trims, fasteners, and more. The book is not so comprehensive in the number of things it covers that it could replace a reference-style book, but where it covers something, it does so in detail (an you need to read closely sometimes). The illustrations are excellent--way above average for a sewing book. The really interesting thing about this book is the last third on patternmaking basics. She covers the three basic ways to copy a garment (measuring, tracing, and rub-off), and tells you how to check your copied pattern pieces against each other, how to true them, etc. She then goes into pattern modification techniques. I managed to copy a Land's End buttondown shirt with a certain amount of success following her instructions.
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217 of 223 people found the following review helpful By on August 24, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I have been sewing all of my life, and have studied under some of the most qualified teachers, but this book goes further than any other in its context and pictures. Claire shows some of the many techniques High Couture achieves its name. A must for any serious sewer, especially one who wants a beautiful finish as well as fit in her/his garments. It is a very technical book, which might be a bit frustrating for a beginner, but it will definitely inspire everyone. It has replaced my old Vogue sewing book of the early 60's. Bobbie Carr's book is also excellent, but this one is much more inclusive in its techniques. I think it is a must. Sharon O. Carte
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75 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Dale on February 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
As an experienced seamstress, I find this book to be very useful. It is a frequently used resource for those beautiful details sighted in some of the better RTW and designer lines. I now know how to make a professional looking inseam pocket with an invisible zipper located in the seam. And it looks great! The many pictures were very clearly illustrated, and the book is full of full-color photographs. I am a visual learner and without those pictures, I'd be lost.
Throughout the book, there are details and tips from such well known designers as Liz Clairborne, Coco Chanel, Geoffrey Beene, Galanos, and one of my favorites in casual wear - Calvin Klein. Each designer detail includes a description, a listing of tools & necessary supplies, many detailed pictures with step-by-step instructions, tips and hints along the way to help make the detail perfect, and finishing touches to make it look professional. I've constructed perfectly flat topstitched hems on my stretchy jersey knits, flawless bias-binding necklines, and learned the secrets of making my zippers look great. My favorite section includes fancy details like piped pockets, windowpane pockets, and bound buttonholes. I can definitely say that using this book has helped my work look ten times more professional.
My only qualm about this book was the section on patternmaking. This is not the book to buy if you want to learn how to draft patterns. There is basic information on the subject, but you will be left wanting for much more. It is a helpful section to look through before playing around to make changes to your own ready-made patterns as you'll gain some knowledge on how patterns are made, but there is so much more to know before you can draft your own.
I hope Claire Shaeffer comes out with another book as beautiful as this with MORE designer details. It is an extremely useful book in my library.
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67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
All sewing books I buy should be able to teach me at least 1 new-to-me technique before I rate them. This one is a winner. Worth its weight in gold for the information you get.'I rate myself an intermediate sewist with patternmaking skills. It is a must for intermediate and advanced sewing enthuasiasts and if you are a beginner then you will need this book to inspire and guide you to becoming an advanced sewist. My friend's daughter wanted a dress made with a cowl neckline. I had never made this style before and had no idea how to. I drafted the pattern, fitted the muslin, corrected the pattern and was raring to sew! I went through all of my sewing books looking for information on sewing cowls. I have just about all sewing books....Claire's book not only showed me how to sew this but also how to "stay" the cowl. It was the best piece of information ever. The neckline was perfect and I could see without the "stay" how the neckline kept misbehaving!
Another bit of information was on lining a wrap skirt....cutting the back lining on the cross grain....wonderful information. How would I ever have the know-how without the experience? Claire's books are winners.
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