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Taking it up a couple of notches

Posted by rosefolly (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 11, 11 at 19:53

I've been a competent intermediate level sewer for several years now. I take classes now and then at a local community college: draping, fit, pattern grading, tailoring, the like. But I am still pretty much unsatisfied with my performance. I want to make wonderful clothes, not merely adequate ones.

After some thought, I've decided that I am willing to travel to take classes from exceptional teachers. I'm looking at Susan Khalje's classes, Linda Maynard's classes, and possibly Claire Schaeffer, who I understand offers a yearly class in Palm Springs. Has anyone taken some of these classes? Can you recommend these or other couture-level sewing teachers?

Please share your experiences and recommendations with me.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Taking it up a couple of notches

"I am still pretty much unsatisfied with my performance. I want to make wonderful clothes, not merely adequate ones."

What part of your "performance" are you not satisfied with?

RE: Taking it up a couple of notches

I'd really like to be sewing at the couture level. I'm not. My recent garments don't look home made, but they don't have the level of polish I would like.

My goal is to sew clothes I cannot afford to buy.


RE: Taking it up a couple of notches

The key to the "hand-made in Paris" look on the outside is a lot of hand detailing, seam basting, lining, interlining, interfacing, hand finishing seams, and meticulous pressing at every stage of construction on the inside.

If you don't have it, find a copy of the 1970s Vogue Sewing Book. It shows how to do things like graded seams, rolled collar seams, rolled hems, floating linings, corded buttonholes, and all the other expen$ive detailing.

And sew a lot of clothes. My SIL was a couture-level seamstress, and she made 2 or 3 items a week. She learned from her mom, who had learned in Paris from her landlady who had been a seamstress for one of the smaller design houses.

When I want to make a couture-level item, I make a couple of them in less expensive fabrics of the same weight before making the real thing. That way I have the fit perfected and the bugs worked out of the construction process.

RE: Taking it up a couple of notches has reviews of sewing classes, as well as patterns (and machines and stores and everything else for garment sewing). I didn't find a ton when searching on "couture" in the class reviews, but you could try by name.

RE: Taking it up a couple of notches

Thanks, that is an excellent suggestion and I will follow up.

RE: Taking it up a couple of notches

Check out Kenneth King.

I took a wonderful moulage class from him years ago at our community college. He is a multitalented expert as well as an excellent teacher. He generously shares his knowledge. He wants you to understand and learn. I think he is great.

At your level of sewing I think you would really appreciate what he has to offer.

I have his "Designer Techniques" book. His instructions and illustrations are thorough and clear.

Here is a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kenneth King

RE: Taking it up a couple of notches

Several years ago, I attended a presentation given by Claire Schaeffer and I thought it was fantastic.

RE: Taking it up a couple of notches

Deb3, thanks. I actually have taken a couple of classes from Kenneth D. King. I took them a bit early in my sewing education and with weaker skills only got part of the benefit I would get now, I think. Nonetheless, the classes were inspirational. (I think it possible that you may live near me. He's in NY now, but for many years taught near SF.)

Soonergrandmom, thanks also. I have the idea that Claire Schaeffer must be a wonderful teacher, and I hope to take a class with her someday.


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