With clarity and a profound respect for technique and application, Claire Shaeffer brings one into an haute-couture atelier, where the realm of possibility has no boundaries. She imparts the secrets of hand-work that allow a garment to become weightless, a wisp of dimension for the wearer. She pays homage to the gods of the craft and bows to the church of haute couture.
-- Ralph Rucci, designer
The world of haute couture is a place where only a privileged few can ever hope to reside, right? Wrong. Fashion historian Claire B. Shaeffer opened the door to this exclusive realm in her authoritative guide to the techniques that define couture sewing. And now, the industry bible, Couture Sewing Techniques, has been revised and updated throughout — with new photos and a chapter on specialty fabrics.
No one can unravel couture garment construction the way Shaeffer can, from the art of hand sewing to mastering edge finishes, from classic closures to shaping a garment for a perfect fit. Readers learn all the basics — and more importantly: how to apply the techniques — on skirts and sleeves, pockets and jackets, evening gowns, and more. Gorgeous photos, clear illustrations, and concise language combine to make this the most complete couture-sewing course available.
About the Author
A renowned expert on the history of fashion, Claire B. Shaeffer is also an acclaimed couture designer who teaches twice-yearly workshops to a select few. She is the author of many titles on couture sewing, including the comprehensive course Couture Sewing Techniques. She is a frequent contributor to Threads magazine, and she lives in Palm Springs, California.
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Table Of Contents
Inside the World of Haute Couture
The Art of Hand Sewing
Shaping the Garment: Seams, Darts, and Pressing Techniques
Edge Finishes: Hems, Facings, and Bindings
Applying Couture Techniques
Skirts & Pants
Blouses & Dresses
Jackets & Coats
Designing with Fabric
Selected Glossary of Terms
Metric Conversion Chart
If you can sew, you can sew couture. Very few techniques are difficult, but they require time and patience. This edition, like the original, describes couture techniques as practiced in the ateliers of the haute couture. They are not adapted for home-sewers because I feel strongly that grasping the principles used in the haute couture will help you better understand garment construction and fitting, and in turn, help you to solve many problems you encounter.
My focus is on the craftsmanship, even though elements like draping and design, proportion and balance, fit and fabric are equally important. I’ve concentrated on classic couture techniques that can be applied to a variety of designs and fabrics and also offer the most value to the greatest number of readers.
The book itself is divided into two sections. The first five chapters introduce you to the world of haute couture, how it differs from expensive ready-to-wear, basic couture skills, and essential techniques. My instincts as a teacher compel me to suggest that you read these chapters first.
The last seven chapters focus on the application of these techniques to garments. The new chapter—Chapter Eleven: Designing with Fabric—describes particular details I’ve seen on specific fabrics.
Many of the photographs in the first edition were no longer available so I’ve selected new ones from various museums; and I’ve included photographs of some garments in my vintage collection.
The measurements used throughout the book are only guidelines; I suggest that you always purchase extra fabric so you can make samples before sewing the actual garment. This allows you to fine-tune the dimensions and practice your skills.
No matter what your sewing expertise, this book will expand your horizons. Most importantly, it is a practical guide for learning the craft of haute couture, and it will also provide new ideas for applying the techniques which you already know.
While some techniques are less suitable for beginners, most will be of value to the average home-sewer; they are easy to duplicate and can be applied to many designs and fabrics.
I find sewing by hand extremely rewarding. The pleasure of both making and wearing beautifully constructed garments far exceeds the time and effort required to complete them. I hope this book will help you develop these same skills and perfect old ones, and in turn, reward you with years of pleasure—and a closet full of beautifully made garments.
Video Author Claire B. Shaeffer ISBN 978-1-60085-835-2 Publication Year 2011 Pages 256 Photo 200 Drawings 275 Video Download No Other Formats 71322 Cover PDF eBook
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