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What is your favorite couture technique?

VictoriaNorth | Posted in General Sewing Info on

The latest issue of Threads is our special couture issue. What is your favorite couture technique?


  1. woodruff | | #1

    I actually love pad stitching by hand. It is so satisfying to see that lapel roll develop as you work.

  2. ShannonG4d | | #2

    Underlining.  You can change the character of almost any fabric with the right underlining.

    1. gailete | | #4

      I have only underlined something once and I LOVE the feel of that skirt. I feel like I'm going around knowing this secret that my skirt was made with 'couture' techniques. I can't explain it really, but I always feel special when wearing the outfit. Considering the fashion fabric was a 10 yard chunk I picked up at a yard sale for $1 I feel even happier wearing it.

      Anyhow since I haven't used many couture techniques, I will have to say that underlining is my favorite just because of how I feel when wearing that skirt. Hoping to learn and start using many more couture techniques!


    2. Ceeayche | | #7

      I agree:  underlining!  It gives a wonderful couture finish to everything from curtains to clothing! 


      1. Ralphetta | | #8

        As a beginner I discovered underlining and fell in love with it. It made the cheap fabrics I had to use hang and drape much better and I never had to worry about facings or hems showing.

      2. MaryinColorado | | #14

        Underlining and using flesh colored lining and inside pockets on white and lightweight fabrics.  Mary

        1. busybee | | #15

          Is there any one fabric that you use( I mean any one of you use mostly) for underlining ? I have Kenneth King's new book ( via PR) and he almost exclusively uses cotton flannel. Thats a new one for me - what do you all think ? I need to be prepared to take the time to carry out this technique and not be hasty in wanting to be finished as it is certainly of tremendous benefit.

          1. starzoe | | #16

            I take it that he uses cotton flannel underlining for jackets and coats. I have used everything from sheeting to chamois. There is an artificial fabric now for the chamois, I doubt if anyone could afford the real. It is wonderfully warm for cold climates. I have even bought coats from thrift stores to use the real chamois.

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #17

            My experience has been with cotton broadcloth, and cotton sheeting. Underlining changes the hand and weight of the fabric, so you should sample whatever works to give you the right look and feel for your project. Even broadcloth comes in different weights. It all depends on what your fabric is made of and what will work with it. Cotton Flannel has the benefit of sticking easier to the fabric when you are working with it, but it may be thicker than what you want. Cathy

          3. sewingkmulkey | | #18

            I agree with Starzoe that using cotton flannel is primarily for heavy jackets and coats.  My favorite underling is silk organza - it's simply fabulous IMHO!


          4. gailete | | #19

            My only time that I used underlining, but plan to again, I used batiste as the underlining to a summer cotton skirt. Nice and cool and no need for a slip. I love the feel of wearing that skirt.

            Underlining also depends on how you plan to clean the garment. You don't want to use something that isn't compatible with the fashion fabric.


          5. Ocrafty1 | | #20

            I only used flannel as an underlining once. It was in a satin capelet for a winter dance. The flannel was soft enough to allow the satin to drape, and also gave the capelet some added warmth.


  3. sewelegant | | #3

    I always liked doing the hand picked zipper and it made me feel so elegant.

  4. Tatsy | | #5

    Bound buttonholes. They are so sturdy and look so clean when finished, and they are a lot more forgiving of strange or stretchy fabric than zigzagged ones.

  5. WandaJ | | #6

    Handsewing, including pickstitching zippers, slipstitching hems and I too love the bound buttonholes, and the underlining and linings. I would love to learn how to properly pad stitch and see the roll in the lapel form. I too like beading some things but not a lot of it. I'm sure there are more techniques that will clique when others post. I have been buying couture technique books for over 5 years now, starting with Roberta Carr and Claire Schaefer, as well as Kenneth King, and Susan Khalje's Bridal Technique book.

    There's so much out there that I try to think through my sewing before I even cut out a pattern. Either I make notes on the pattern about what extra to do where, or I make a list on a separate sheet of paper that is to accompany my instructions. After a while I sometimes find I don't even need the pattern guidelines. My friends that know this about me say I'm nuts and to that I let them know that is why they like my garments :-}

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #10

      Wanda, I have to agree with you about the handsewing.  Nothing says couture like the hand finishing that goes into a finely sewn garment.  From the padded lapel, to the anchoring stitches that hold the interfacing invisibly in place along a fold line.  The proper handstitches used effectively to help a garment maintain it's shape for years.  So often these stitches are not taught in favour of quicker machine methods or iron on interfacings.  Cathy

  6. User avater
    SarahbelleSews | | #9

    the classic Chanel set-in sleeve. The method was taught to me (and other classmates) when I was a Textiles major at the University of Texas by a seamstress who worked in Chanel's atelier. (and was a friend of one of UT's profs. -- it is 'who you know') The method involves scores of tiny silk pins, and NO bating stitches. Labor-intensive, and not quick, but the results are stunning.

  7. judyhouston | | #11

    1/ I love french seams

    2/ I just perfected a pants pattern and I love adding a lining. I join them at the crotch seam. 

  8. Ckbklady | | #12

    My favorite couture technique is the insertion of a light chain rope into jacket hems, a la Chanel. I love how it directs the drape of the garment.

    :) Mary

  9. meg | | #13

    I'm very fond of underlining (in lieu of lining, especially) and Hong Kong finished seams.

  10. moira | | #21

    I used to love hand-picking zips, but now I almost always use concealed ones. Beading is tremendously rewarding and I love listening to the radio while I'm doing it. Almost any hand stitching work. . . but I'm interested in how many have said interlining is the big one for them. I haven't done a lot of that, but clearly it's something to consider more widely.

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