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4.7 out of 5 stars52
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 June 2011
I am an advanced beginner seamstress and want to improve the finish of the clothes I make for myself. That is the main reason I bought this book, but I never expected it to be such a joy to read. I went through it from cover to cover yesterday (and there is a LOT of reading in there) and found every page to be informative and well written. I have learned so much about couture clothing and general design in just 24 hours! I'm really excited about trying out some of the techniques Claire highlights. I've already used some of her Vogue patterns which include couture and non-couture techniques, and I always shied away from the couture options because they seemed so intimidating. That won't be the case any more!

I'm sure this book will always be a valuable addition to my reference library as well as a joy to read in itself. Anyone who has even a passing interest in improving their skills should get themselves a copy as soon as they possibly can.
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on 21 May 2011
If you only ever purchase one advanced sewing book then this is the one for you. I have been working with fabrics for over 50 years and this book is just fantastic. I never owned a copy of the previous book but if it is anything like this Revised and Updated version, then I have missed out on an excellent purchase. The book is clearly written and assumes that you have passed the basic sewing mark. Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs and line drawings. A must buy for all sewers who aim for perfection.
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on 13 June 2013
I love reading sewing books as much as I love to sew and adding this book to my library is a great addition. The photos and illustrations are very helpful in combination with the written instructions. The instructions are well written in detail, which are lacking in commercial pattern instructions. By reading the first two chapters and in specially the Art of Hand Sewing, one learns the importance of using these stitches which cannot be done with a sewing machine. In the end, your garment will have that quality of professionalism and fit. In comparison to other general sewing books, this one shows details for fitting, shaping with pressing and using interfacings, and design alternatives. It includes all outer garments with chapters on Edge Finishing, Closures, and Pockets. I will read through a section or two of this book before I start a new garment, even before I choose the pattern or fabric. This enables me that start with confidence in the project to see it completed. I am an avid sewer, I prefer sewing my own clothes, and I highly recommend this book to all.
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on 29 October 2011
I could not decide between this book and Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques by Lynda Maynard and ended up buying both. It's a lovely looking book, but I couldn't help being irritated by the vast amount of information that is totally irrelevant (unless you're interested in the history of couture!) and also by the way that it reads. The same subject is frequently spread over several pages with bits of other stuff in the middle...in the manner of the women's magazines my mother used to read in the 60's where the 'story' was interspersed with advertisements. The 'stuff' in between is often the actual informative content, so then you're flipping back to read that! This, in my opinion makes it difficult to find what you're looking for. The photographic illustrations are OK, but don't really show anything in detail and are pretty much all of vintage clothing. The diagrams are too few and far between, tiny and, frankly, poor, with much of the instruction relying solely on written description, which I found very confusing at times, especially with nothing visual to back them up. To be honest, it hasn't taught me much and annoyed me into the bargain. Lynda Maynard's book is far more user friendly and up-to-date with lots of diagrams and photographs that actually relate to what is going on in the text! Very disappointed on the whole!
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on 19 October 2011
I really like this book - I have many books on sewing, but couture is so much more, and what a relief to read that couture is 80 per cent basting, ironing and pressing - I thought I must be doing it all wrong (and nobody else takes this long)! Schaeffer begins this book with a message of hope to all 'can't doers' - "if you can sew, you can sew couture." I found the pictures and examples of actual garments truly inspiring and the clarity of explaination throughout a great unraveller of the mystery that accompanies couture techniques. With this finally honed guidance, the only thing stopping you will be your imagination (...and maybe the kids, the housework, your employer..). Make the time to take the time and craft a garment you'll be proud of forever.
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on 7 July 2011
I'd heard great things about this book and its author so took the plunge and purchased recently.

I don't usually buy books on a whim and prefer to get them second hand or from the library - in this case I'm very glad I bought my own copy.

Divided into easy to find sections, it contains both written descriptive parts as well as a large quantity of how-to's. Unlike some sewing books/guides, it is heavier on the description than illustration, although the latter are good too. The most fascinating and special part of this book is the shots of vintage couture garments, many from Claire Schaeffer's collection.

It has now become my first go-to book, before looking online for help with a technique I'll go to this because the advice contained here is guaranteed of great quality. I'm very interested in couture techniques and do most of my sewing by hand - this book has taught me much of what I know.

An excellent book, well worth the cover price.
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on 11 April 2015
A wonderfully concise and informative insight into the mystery that is couture. She explains in detail how to create a couture garment from start to finish and is essential reading for any fashion student or seamstress. You do have to have a basic and working knowledge of sewing as this is not a beginners book; this is written to push your sewing to the next level.
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on 27 July 2011
I have bought this book, as an advanced guide-on the strength of previous reviews on Amazon site. It was a disappointment. There are only two techniques, I have not encountered elsewhere, and I am only a hobby "seamstress". The total let down are the diagrams: absolutely minuscule. The book has a big-and totally irrelevant- section on history, aimed clearly at an American reader.
Perhaps useful for students of fashion (GCSE level?), but of very limited use, for someone, who looks for inspiration and clear illustrations of some new techniques.
Not recommended.
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on 31 March 2014
I highly recumbent this book as a resource for not only beginners but also experienced seamstresses who will find complete information on techniques, good diagrams and many details on the "how-to" of sewing.
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on 20 May 2015
good, detailed instructions. Not for the beginner who needs step by step instructions, but for the sewer who wants to improve his/her techniques. Highly recommended.
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