Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Couture Sewing

FashionIsMyPassion | Posted in Teach Yourself To Sew on

Hello Threads Forum Members,

I’m new to my threads account online – and very happy to be here.

I’ve been learning how to embroider and hand quilt – and this has led me to an interest in couture sewing.

How would one do that?

Where would you learn it? Maybe from a book or DVD?

What kind of tools does one need to couture sew?

I’ve never done it and wonder if I would have the patience to.

They make such a big deal out of it in France – and is common among Fashion Designers in Europe.

But what about in America?

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions for “How to Couture Sew” and how to buy “Couture Sewing Tools.” I’m specifically looking for online resources, books I can buy, or other learning materials such as DVDs.

I’m hoping there are web sites that I have not yet found that will take me to my goal of sewing a garment by hand.

All the best to you!



  1. kate lamar | | #1

    couture sewing

    Lori;  Claire Shaeffer has two excellent books, "Couture Sewing Techniques" and "High Fashion Sewing Secrets."  Kenneth King is also another source.  Happy sewing!


  2. stillsuesew | | #2

    Kate has given you good advice with Claire Schaeffer's book.    You don't really need more than your usual tools, except for good pressing equipment - a pressing ham and a pressing roll and a point board.  In my experience there are many levels of sewing. Some people like to use simple patterns and techniques and just get something done.  Others like the challenge of spending perhaps weeks on something, doing lots of handwork and having a wonderful garment when done.   I've done both and they both have their place.  If you are just beginning to do garment sewing, I would first concentrate on getting the fit right and then move on the to more complicated things.  If you are sewing for someone else and charging for it,  you need to be able to figure your time properly so you can charge for it.  This will also take practice.   Have fun alog the way. 

    1. HelgaPataki | | #3

      My best works are my simplest works

      Hi, I enjoy really working with Easy Patterns for everyday use that I can wear to the office as well as to semi functional events.  But I put a lot of emphasis on my sewing techniques and put a lot of care and effort into creating a perfect piece.  I use extremely easy patterns with extremely few pieces and emphasize on the fabric used, concentrating on the weight, color and texture of that fabric versus the pattern, and suitability to my own personal style and movement.  Sometimes I alter the weight of the fabric required so I could look more of an average height and weight, and I also consider the length and alter that as well because I am below average stature.  I've sewed for years and can tailor, but I find that what ever I do, when I use natural fabrics, my sewing enhances and the look of that garment seems more top shelf than if the garment had a lot of trim and detail.  Natural fabrics, store and clean easier, and are easier to sew.  Have fun, I am sure whatever you choose will become you because it is you. 

      1. denise | | #4

        easy patterns

        i recentyly  did a course  on li e at a well known  site, with a coutre  seamstress  that also  contrubtes  to thresds

        i used  a pattern  that  now has  several bust sizes in envlope.  i have now decided  to use these  patterns  regularlythere ws  s great article  in threa last  year  called  slow sewing, this months  issue also  had a great  dress  featured on the front page

        i now put most of my zips in by hand and make bound buttonholes.

  3. JoFray | | #5

    Couture Sewing (post #35892)

    Claire Shaeffer's books on couture sewing are great, but her DVD instruction is even better.  She has a  2 disk video that you can obtain through Threads.  Go to the Threads home page, pull down "videos" and you will find Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Workship.  She makes couture sewing simple and clear.

  4. legrandchic | | #6

    Hello I teach couture sewing in live classes in Ontario, Canada in the italian tradition along with pattern drafting which is the basis of all sewing.  Without a pattern that fits you are dead in the water because no matter how beautiful the workmanship, fabric etc if the garment doesn't fit well you won't wear it.  I have just started video skype classes that are working out very well for the pattern drafting.  There are one week intensive classes for people who have to travel great distances available and the tuition includes all the materials.  The only thing the students have to purchase is the tool kit to draft the patterns.  This is the last tool kit you will ever purchase as it will help you create any pattern you desire once you have learned the technique.  Couture sewing doesn't have to be tedious and time consuming it is creative and precise with certain tried and true methods that are worth their weight in gold so to speak.  

    I call it fashion freedom;  you choose the style that suits your body in the colour/fabric that is your preference finish it the way you want and it will fit well too!  Just  look at the dress below to see some pretty good workmanship, it is fitted with no visible seams on the lace, it's all hand sewn and it didn't take long either!  Hope this helps. 

  5. cookbookcollector | | #7

    Couture has lots of hand stitching

    In a couture house workroom, a sewing machine might be used only for long seams.  Old fashioned hand sewing is a hallmark of the couture.  The word "couture" means "cut"; the shapes of the pattern pieces make a garment with distinctive fit or shape. 

    Sewing by hand may have become unpopular because it's slow.  I like it for the precision it gives me.  Lots of basting is needed. 

    Another feature of high fashion garments is a sophisticated approach to fit, closures, and maintaining the design features.  Claire Shaeffer often analyzes these items by providing photos and descriptions of the inside.  The zipper is often hidden.  There may be structures underneath to keep the shape of the neckline or bust.

    I think it's lots of fun to consider this type of sewing.  It can be a simple garment to begin.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All