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Couture Sewing Techniques [Hardcover]

Claire B. Shaeffer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Mar 1994
Couture designers use only the finest sewing techniques when making up garments in their workrooms. Nowadays the same techniques are available to anyone who is a keen dressmaker and who wants to create the elegance, detail and polish of couture clothes. This book is a source of many of the techniques used by the world's most famous designers, including Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior, Chanel, Givenchy and Balenciago. Containing a wealth of information and detailed techniques for hand stitching, shaping a perfect fit, finishing edges flawlessly, making beautiful fastenings, tailoring and finishing jackets and designing stunning eveningwear, the book covers each aspect with easy-to-follow drawings and finished results demonstrated.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press Inc; 2nd. Printing edition (31 Mar 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0942391888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0942391886
  • Product Dimensions: 26.3 x 20.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When I left for Paris in January of 1991 for a week of press previews of the haute couture collections, the Gulf War had just begun and the weather was brutally cold. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
177 of 177 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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122 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful book 4 Feb 2003
Format:Paperback
Having tried to find books for advanced home and hobby sewers in German (almost impossible), I came across this book, and have never regretted buying it a single second. And having aimed at perfecting my skills with regard to creating wardrobe, I was amazed about how little I have known so far. Why could I not find such book a lot earlier!!
Even while browsing through it, a lot of questions that I had always had were simply solved by reading instructions, and by the conciseness of the illustrations. My only - personal - problem is that the language is quite technical, and at worst, I have to read with a dictionary by my side, as my English is not so advanced on technical discussion level, but all of Ms Shaeffers instructions are self-explanatory and very precise.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone ready for a new challenge in spicing up their wardrobes. And yes, even if you 'only' use the odd trick here and there, your clothes will start looking different - much more professional - as you start paying more and more attention to little details, and learn to avoid mistakes by focusing on how something should really look like - not that I wasn't focused on what I was doing before, but this is like the difference between your first watercolours and your first picture in an exhibition.
Thank you, Ms Shaeffer, for taking the time to write this absolutely, truly, wonderful book, and keeping good traditions alive.
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80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I bought this book in my last year of college and although i have been a professional fashion designer for years now i still believe this to be a bible for anyone in the clothing industry. Not only will it inform of the tips and techniques used in couture, The book will also inspire you to gain more knowledge in bespoke/couture and as result your own work and designs will florish, Trully brilliant well done Mrs Shaeffer.

I must finish with a warning though, This book is not for beginners and will only confuse those who are starting out. As the saying goes learn to walk before learning to run this book is for those who can run and have been working in the fashion industry or at home for some years.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make your home sewing projects really special 17 Jan 2000
By Mezza
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book to anyone who takes sewing seriously & would like to improve their skills. Not only does it contain good illustrated techniques but it also includes a lot of interesting information about the history of couture clothing & its designers. Only one small grumble - I wish the section on trousers was longer & more detailed!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars wort to have it.
As everything what is to do with couture sewing it's must have for me, i wasnt dissapointed by this book, but its more for beginners than for more experienced fashion designer.
Published 8 months ago by dagmara
2.0 out of 5 stars disappoining
It is really hard to read it without proper pictures and examples of described operations, toooo long descriptions of very basic staff. Read more
Published 15 months ago by de
5.0 out of 5 stars learn the haute couture sewing technique
i ordered the book only cause of the interest in haute couture. working as a buyer, i need to identify the good quality and sewing techniques. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2011 by Runghissimo
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable & Eductional Read
Since finding the right dress, at the right price and the right size is a continual problem for me, I've decided to make my own and, if I am to invest time and effort, I want the... Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2011 by Dino
5.0 out of 5 stars Couture Sewing
I am delighted with this book. Having been sewing all my life it is really good to have confirmed that some of the techniques I have been using are correct! Read more
Published on 20 May 2011 by smep100
2.0 out of 5 stars Only slightly better than basic.
Not couture level at all, in fact, only slightly better than basic.
A beginner could get around everything in this book and anyone more advanced would do what I did, read it... Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2011 by Judy H
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't fault Amazon
Amazon is the best company on line I deal with
this last product was just what was needed as a gift
as always thanks for a great service
Published on 3 Feb 2011 by George T
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and clear
Really good book with loads of clear detail. good for the home sewer wanting details on better finishing and garment construction.
Published on 23 Jan 2011 by m14s4
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
This is an amazing book. While I'm not an expert dressmaker, the 'how to' sections of the book are written clearly and accessibly, and the sections on the history of couture are... Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2011 by Mini
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book!
This a beautiful and very instructive and complete book on couture sewing technique, an excellent reference book, really. Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2010 by Maana
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