A Beginner’s Guide to Couture Techniques

couture jacket 268bWhile working on my jacket I have used lots of tips and tutorials online (and in print). Here is my list of the best resources for learning to sew couture techniques.

  • Susan Khalje’s Craftsy Couture Dress course. I made my Peacock Dress using this course, and used lots of the techniques again for this jacket. I would definitely recommend the course as it is full of lots of tips that can be applied to most projects; eg. use the stitch-lines not cutting lines for accuracy when sewing, and never baste in space (keep work flat so layers stay together and don’t bubble)underlining
  • Kenneth D King’s Couture Techniques. I borrowed this from the library but will buy my own copy when I have to return it. He covers lots of techniques and tips and has a great approach to sewing; save your perfectionism for when/where it counts (said much more eloquently  on this podcast)
  • Gertie (blog and book) cover lots of classic techniques in an accessible way.details
  • Seamstress: PoppyKettle I was googling for sleeve-head tips and discovered this new-to-me blog and ended up staying and reading lots of other posts.
  • BurdaStyle has a great article about making a couture Chanel jacket, and the discussions make an interesting read.
  • Linking from BurdaStyle is Frabjous Couture’s day-by-day account of her couture jacket course with Susan Khalje. The course sounds amazing, and again I kept clicking through to different posts on her blog.welt pockets b
  • Welt-pockets – Lastwear tutorial
  • Welt-pockets – Colletterie’s Sew-Along post
  • My archive of Threads magazines always has useful tips and tricks. The recent special issue about fitting has been referred to a lot over the past few weeks. I can’t work out whether my subscription entitles me to free Insider access or not.couture
  • Finally, it isn’t specifically a couture book but if one of the marks of a great couture garment is a great fit then I have to include the brilliant Fit for Real People.

Have you sewn using couture techniques? If so, what tips and resources do you recommend? If you haven’t, I hope these books and blogs give you some inspiration.

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5 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Couture Techniques

  1. I keep a copy of Lynda Maynard’s book “A Dressmaker’s Guide to Couture Sewing Techniques” on my shelf and I loved Claire Shaeffer’s book on the same subject. Most of what Claire teaches was covered in class (Fashion Design) or I picked up while working in the Fashion Industry but it is handy to have a reference and these are my two favorites. I never had the chance to really do menswear though we studied it, so when David Page Coffin put out his books on shirt making and trousers I bought those too. Back in the eighties (I am dating myself here) I used the Singer Sewing Reference Library to teach myself to sew before going to school because we needed a portfolio to get into the program. There are some neat little tricks in the Tailoring book on how to get a nice finish using fusible interfacings although couture methods are nicer still.

    The funny thing is that although I learned all those things at school the only place the knowledge is used is in my own little sewing room because very few people are willing to pay the kind of coin it takes to purchase a garment made with these techniques.

    Thanks for the tips and tricks. The jacket really is lovely.

    • Okay, compared with you I must still be a beginner! The best thing about having a blog is that I can show all of you the inner construction – real-life people don’t understand why I am so excited about sewing!

      • It’s true…our passion is hard to explain and you are quite right…having a blog is the best way to share all the little insider information. I love the Me Made May Calendar btw. Have you considered joining sewing.patternreview.com? It’s world wide and free. I really think that your skill and talent could help others along and who knows – perhaps some of the tips and tricks there may be of interest to you?

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