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Sandra_M._Brown | Posted in The Archives on

Good morning, Everyone! I hope those of you who are experienced in haute couture-quality sewing and tailoring techniques can help me with a query. Also, I hope that we can generate interest in an on-going discussion of haute couture techniques.

I am making a silk charmeuse jacket with a lining. When I make unlined garments, I always overcast or Hong Kong finish the seams. However, I was told by an instructor, who is not a tailor but worked in the industrial sewing area, that when there is a lining, there is no need to finish either the fabric or the lining seams unless there is a raveling problem. The idea was that the seams would not be seen, so why bother. On the other hand, if the HK method were applied to both sets of seams, wouldn’t that create too much bulk?

Can anyone give me some feedback as to how they have handled or would handle this in an haute couture-quality garment?


  1. Ghillie_C | | #1

    I am no big expert, but in my studies I have been surprised at how many edges are left unfinished in the insides of high quality garments, the overiding argument being that YOU MUST NOT create bulk. If you are going to trim back the seams, grading them, or snipping into them round curves, how can you possibly finish them?

    Also to my mind there is no such thing as an unlined couture jacket and very few unlined couture dresses.



    1. Karen_Vesk | | #2

      *If the fabric of the jacket is to be charmeuse, I think the Hong Kong finishes would create a line in the fabric and the lining when pressed. Even a serger seam or machine overcast will show through light-weight fabric with a sheen (particularly when your dry-cleaner, with his vacuum-iron gets hold of it). If you really feel the urge to finish the edges of a lined item, may I suggest hand-overcasting - that will not show.

      1. Frances_Campbell | | #3

        *I am no big expert either but I am interested in the idea of more discussion on Couture techniques.I have found some truly fabulous fabric which is crying out to be transformed into a pair of tailored pants. I would be interested in any pointers for Couture techniques on side pockets ...

        1. Shannon_Gifford | | #4

          *Did anyone else download the couture sewing skirt material from the Charles Kleibacker class? I did, and it is amazing. I would love to do a challenge with someone to motivate me (and that someone) to work through this project.

          1. Lynn_Price | | #5

            *Where could I find the Charles Kleibacker material to download? Sounds very interesting. Thanks

          2. Audrey_Young | | #6
          3. Ghillie_C | | #7

            *I was mystified by the Kleibacker material. It looks to me as though only part of the pattern was downloading. Does the skirt only have one main pattern piece? Are other folk seeing more than that?Cheers,Ghillie

          4. Sandra_M._Brown | | #8

            *My thanks to everyone who has responded thus far.Sharon: I had never heard of the Kleibacker website until your post. I checked it out briefly, and it looks like something I'd like to follow. Thanks for the info.Frances: What did you want to know about the side pockets? Maybe we can help.

          5. Margery_Lang | | #9

            *Getting back to the original garment, I have a rotary cutting wheel which has a pinking blade on it. Regardless of the fraying factor I always run it along each seam allowance on both the garment and the lining as I go. This stops any fraying and also leaves no marks on the finished outside of the garment.Would love to continue the couture discussion.Cheers Margery

          6. Sandra_M._Brown | | #10

            *Hi, Margery! Yes, I hope we can keep the thread going on the couture discussion as well. There is so much to learn. With regard to the rotary pinking blade: what a great idea! I had not thought about that. I will have to give it a try. Thanks.Ghillie: I was so intrigued with the Kleibacker techniques that I printed the entire workshop. Did you notice that there are no side seams to this design? Thus, there is only one pattern piece. The fabric is cut on a double layer without a fold. The CB seam is on the straight of grain and the CF is on the bias. Look at what is called Pattern View - Skirt Pattern-Flats View. The last picture shows the skirt from the side. There is no seam, only a side pleat and the welt pocket detail. Hope this helps to clarify. If not, let's talk about it again.Does anyone else have opinions on this skirt and his techniques?

          7. Shannon_Gifford | | #11

            *I was totally blown away by reading some of the techniques; they are so logical. For instance, basting the bias seam together before even cutting it out is a stroke of genius. I'm definitely planning to go through the whole workbook (I printed mine out, too) in a week or so. The project will likely take a couple of weeks to finish. Is anyone else up to doing this project? If so, I'd be interested in a "sew-along" challenge.

          8. Sandra_M._Brown | | #12

            *Is anyone aware of any other projects by Mr. Kleibacker? I'd like to see how he handles some other projects. The man should have written a book a long time ago.I have had to put my "book" away for a while because I have several spring projects that I have to finish. I am finishing up a cinnamon knit dress with black piping. I must start my lightweight coat. It will be made from tan poplin. I want to put a nice, jazzy looking lining in it because the tan fabric is rather "blah", if you know what I mean. I picked that color because I needed a neutral for its versatility, but the inside doesn't have to be neutral. I also have to finish a blue embroidered silk jacket and pants set, a black gabardine suit, and a black knit skirt and top. Of course, I am trying to incorporate as many couture techniques as I can. I have held off on finishing some of these because my goal is to lose a certain amount of weight by May 31. I am almost half way there and I did not want the garments to be too big before I even got to wear them.Once that is done, Shannon, I plan to take on the skirt project. However, by then, you will probably be wearing yours. :-D By the way, did you notice the certificate at the back? Don't forget to take a picture of your project and send the photograph and the certificate. He will sign it and return it, a nice little souvenir after all that hard work.

          9. william_stewart | | #13

            *Ladies, please get your hands on a copy of Claire Schaeffer's (sp ?) COUTURE TECHNIQUES. The info in it is worth a mint and the pictures will really give you pause for thought. The coverage of couture is exhaustive and well worth the prioce of abt $ 30.00. It is ( or was) available through THREADS.

          10. Sandra_M._Brown | | #14

            *Hello, Bill. Yes, I am aware of Claire B. Shaeffer's book, "Couture Sewing Techniques". It is like a bible to me. I also like her "High-Fashion Sewing Secrets from the World's Best Designers" and "Couture: The Art of Fine Sewing" by Roberta C. Carr. There are many wonderful books out there to help both the rank amateur and the experienced amateur learn more about couture techniques and sew a better garment with more satisfaction with the results. We are also trying to do a little of that here. I've read many of your helpful suggestions on various posts, too.

          11. Glencora_Shapiro | | #15

            *I just downloaded all the couture material. Dumb question: how do I make the pattern blown up to the correct size?

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