a fabulous new couture sewing book!

Yay! We finally got our hands on the new edition of this gorgeous book by Claire Shaeffer (Revised & Updated Couture Sewing Techniques). So far, we’ve only got through the first bit — there’s a lot to absorb! It’s directed towards sewing couture for adults, not for dolls, but I’m learning all sorts of things.

What makes true haute couture different from high end, luxury ready-to-wear (like the sorts of garments you find in a really nice department store or designer boutique?) You can usually tell by looking at the price tag — haute couture can range from $8,000 for simple day dresses to $500,000 for an evening gown! But you’re purchasing more than a dress: couture is “strong, innovative design” (p. 9), made from extraordinarily luxurious fabrics (which can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars a yard!), stitched into a truly custom-fitted garment. Houses give each client multiple, precise fittings, and also go to incredible lengths to translate the proportions of the original design to the client’s figure perfectly.

True haute couture is also largely hand-sewn (whereas luxury ready-to-wear is usually machine stitched). The advantages of hand sewing? The seamstress can control the fabric more accurately, reach tinier spaces, and shape the piece as she works. Hand stitching is also less likely to damage the fabric, if it needs to be removed. But I’m getting ahead of myself! I’ve only skimmed that chapter — and there are some new hand stitches, as well as new ways to use familiar ones. I know it’ll take me some time to digest it all, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted. =)

Melinda

PS– If you want to read this book for yourself, you can find it online at http://www.threadsmagazine.com or on Amazon.

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