Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Review: "Couture Sewing Techniques, Revised & Updated"

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 Schaeffer 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.

I thought about doing a comprehensive "review" of this book. But I don't think that's necessary. We ALL know that Claire B. Shaeffer's original "Couture Sewing Techniques" book is the go to source for REAL couture sewing! Not neat RTW finishing effects, but actual couture! So this book has just been re-vamp and it is a MUST HAVE for those of us that like to keep our sewing game "stepped up".

This book is divided into two parts:
Part One - "The Basics of Couture Sewing"
  • Chapter 1 - Inside the World of Haute Couture
  • Chapter 2 - The Art of Hand Sewing
  • Chapter 3 - Shaping the Garment
  • Chapter 4 - Edge Finishes
  • Chapter 5 - Closures

Part Two - "Applying Couture Techniques"
  • Chapter 6 - Skirts & Pants
  • Chapter 7 - Blouses & Dresses
  • Chapter 8 - Sleeves
  • Chapter 9 - Pockets
  • Chapter 10 - Jackets & Coats
  • Chapter 11 - Designing with Fabric
  • Chapter 12 - Special Occasions
I also purchased her DVD:


  1. Thanks for the review!

  2. Thanks for the review - I recently bought Lynda Maynard's Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques (which I think you also reviewed?) and have found it useful. Claire's book is probably my next purchase. Did you find the DVD useful as well? I'm still a novice sewer so I feel like a DVD would help me a lot. Have a great weekend!

  3. Got my new Threads yesterday and was just looking at the ad for this book (and coveting it). Thanks for the timely review!

  4. I also reviewed it today on my blog :-) I think it is a great improvement in comparison with the first previous edition: there is more content, it is better structured, and instructions are now clearly step-by-step. The DVD is a great addition to!

  5. I have been *waiting* for this book to be available! I think Claire Shaeffer is the best. Now, I have to figure out what to do with my older version!

  6. Anonymous2:56 AM

    Would love to take the step up in my sewing- better check it out.

  7. I too would love to take the step up in my sewing, but I probably need a little more time...

  8. Thanks for this review. I am definitely getting this book. Will you review or comment on the DVD? I saw it as well on Amazon but I would love to hear what you think before buying it. Love your blog. I'm a new follower.

  9. Erica, would you recommend purchasing this book in addition to the older version?

  10. Unless you already have the original, I'd just get the new version.

  11. Wow Erica I love your blog, what an inspiration you are! I have recently ordered some sewing patterns after not sewing for many years, I used to make all of my own clothes. I started to think about sewing again when I could not really find anything in the shops that I loved, and if I did the price was way too expensive.
    I am so glad I found your blog as it is a real inspiration to me after such a long break from dressmaking, I cannot wait for the patterns to arrive in the post!

    Your creations look amazing and you look very stylish in everything you have made, I particularly love your 40th birthday dress.

    Thankyou Erica, I will be visiting again!

  12. Thanks for sharing:). I'll ask more questions once I start my class:).

  13. Erica,I can see my the comments directed at you that you are inspring many people in the sewing field. I would just like to say thank you to you for all the time you take to share your creations with others as well as sewing books, etc. Thank you!!!

  14. Thanks for this review, Erica! Now I must have this book and the DVD!

  15. Thank you for the review. I'm buying this book.

  16. attractive stitching techniques thanks for updated info.