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Sewing with Threads Podcast

A Couture Embellishment Guide | Episode 22

Video: Threads magazine

Embellishment expert and teacher Ellen W. Miller talks about writing Creating Couture Embellishment (Laurence King, 2017), a reference for garment embellishing techniques, in Episode 22 of Sewing With Threads.

Her 400-page book is based on a couture details class she taught at Boston School of Fashion. She shares her painstaking process of photographing and writing step-by-step instructions for a whopping 174 embellishment techniques. It took her well beyond her initial time frame of two years.

“I wanted to show them in all of their glory,” she says of the embellishments. “That guided my exploration into it.”

Ellen explains three ways to complete each technique in the book, and she talks about the one she found mentally challenging. She also notes which embellishments she left out and discusses another book idea she is considering. Among the techniques featured in the book are grommets and lacing, and manipulated tucks.


Ellen has shared some of the techniques in her book through her classes, on It’s Sew Easy TV, and in “Soutache Revival,” an article in Threads #202, April/May 2019.


Ellen, who as worked as a theater costumer, lately has been sewing knit fabrics. She tackled a knit shirt sewing challenge with other members of the Association of Sewing and Design Professional New England Chapter in 2019.

For storing embellished garments like those she made for her book, she recommends using acid-free tissue paper. One supplier is Uline.

Listen now


This episode of Sewing with Threads is sponsored by Bernina.

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  1. thevenot | | #1

    Excellent interview! Very informative, good teaching, good questions and wonderful to know that all of these techniques are gathered together in one book. This is the book I have been looking for and didn't know where to find.

  2. User avater
    MichealCoronado | | #2

    Thanks for this information.

  3. user-7287622 | | #3

    Thank you for your podcasts. It's evident Ellen is very creative and talented. It was very discouraging to hear how as an instructor she was never concerned about massive copyright violations until she became a published author.

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