Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review │ Claire Shaeffer : Couture Sewing


Claire Shaeffer is a sewing legend; I've only ever heard good things about her. I really enjoyed this book. It only has six chapters, I really wish it were longer. Not that I'm ever going to get to the level of sewing couture, I just wanted to read this book because it was written by Claire, and I knew I could learn a lot from her. 


I was very surprised to learn how much hand sewing is done in haute couture. I always thought they use nothing by high-end sewing equipment. "The edges of many couture designs are finished by hand", Claire writes, and " the greatest advantage hand sewing offers is control. You can add a little ease anywhere with very little effort".
Not only does she talk about the importance of sewing by hand, there is an appendix at the end of the book that shows you how to do many different kinds of stitches by hand.


Each chapter provides techniques to help you achieve a professional look when making garments. Chapter one covers buttonholes, two - pockets, three - hems, four - sleeves, and five - trousers. You may have guessed it - a lot of buttonholes in couture are made by hand! I seriously feel like Claire has given me permission to start using my hands again. Last weekend I had to replace the zipper on my husband's cargo shorts because the old one was broken. I hand stitched one side entirely by hand to prevent the stitches from showing on the fly.


There are plenty of pictures throughout to show you how to do each step. This woman is brilliant!


The book comes with a DVD which offers an in-depth tailoring workshop. I think any sewist can greatly benefit from this book. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of her books.

Happy sewing!

6 comments:

  1. Having been fortunate to take classes from Claire, I can tell you the depth of her knowledge is incredible. This is a woman who sews now, knows how to sew, has been in many couture workrooms, shows and exhibits around the world and can tell you the difference in how Valentino and Chanel do their mitered corners. I can't say enough how impressed I was with her skills and experience. This book is wonderful and for anyone seeking a couture level of skill, belongs on the book shelf. Agree with you completely about all.

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    1. I'd love to take one of her classes as well. She's really good.

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  2. Neat review! I think it's awesome you are hand sewing mire. You might just get to couture level!! :-)

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    1. Ha, ha, that would be the day! Thanks.

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  3. She's written the instructions for a few Vogue patterns too; I have Vogue 8333 with regular instructions and "couture" instructions; and they are worth their weight in gold!

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