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4.6 out of 5 stars41
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 20 May 1998
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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on 4 February 2003
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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on 8 April 1997
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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on 21 August 2006
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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on 17 January 2000
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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on 2 January 2010
As detailed in previous reviews above, this book is absolutely first class. I have treated myself to it for Christmas hoping that I would be browsing through a book that would teach me the finer techniques of dressmaking. I was not disappointed. The author is drawing on years of experience in the fashion industry which really is priceless. It is a brilliant and informative book, detailing the history of haute couture and how exacting the standards are for high end fashion. I havent yet got onto the actual sewing techniques but couldnt resist having a sneaky peek! Wow! The drawings look very concise and easy to understand and I would imagine that applying such techniques to my future creations will make them look and feel very special. An excellent and well thought out book that I would recommend to anyone interested in clothing construction.
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on 6 July 2009
I bought this book after reading the previous reviews and I'm glad I did. Lots of great information, photos and illustrations of garments and construction techniques which really help readers visualise the subject theme. Not a book I feel for beginners but a must for those with experience and a love of clothing construction.
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on 20 July 2010
This book is really the business if you want to take your sewing to the next level. I hand sew a lot and was really interested in all the hints and tips. It tells and shows you how to do the really interesting, special touches that make a truly classy garment. Most impressed with the immaculately cut jacket sleeves, and how to do them, plus the emphasis on hand sewing and the importance of every stitch and thread. Gives details on the choice of needle, waxing the thread, shrinking to ease instead of using a dart, pockets, buttonholes, all kinds of useful stuff to help you make a top quality garment. All the information about couture ateliers was also fascinating. Inspiring book, recommended.
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on 14 February 2010
This is a brilliant book for anyone who wants their home dressmaking projects to have the edge. It's very clearly laid out and well organized. It would suit anyone from a keen amateur like me, who wants to be proud of things they make and not consign them to the back of the wardrobe, right through to the fashion student embarking on a career in the industry.
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on 22 April 2004
Not for the beginner! There are some excellent high level sewing tips and'how to' bits in this book. Buy it, and take your sewing to a whole newlevel
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