I do not do a lot of sewing anymore. The children are grownup and gone and I really don't need any more clothes. "Need." of course, rarely factors in the purchase of either fabric or clothes. But on the few occasions when I want to make something special, usually a jacket these days, I have two books on couture sewing which I refer to.
- Claire B. Shaeffer, Couture Sewing Techniques (published by Taunton Press). It is available here.
- Roberta Carr, Couture: The Art of Fine Sewing (published by Palmer&Pletsch). It is available here.
I like the Shaeffer book the most. The book is in two parts. In the first part she explains basic techniques, beginning with hand sewing (whether temporary or permanent) and ending with closures. In the second part she discusses garments -- skirts, pants, blouses, dresses, jackets and evening wear -- and parts of garments -- sleeves, pockets. I personally have found her extensive explanations of setting in sleeves and sleeve heads one of the most valuable parts of the book. I also have used her information on making patch pockets and set-in pockets. I avoid all other kinds of pockets. I have made welt pockets but making them was so agonizing, I did it only once. And I always go through her chapter on jackets and coats before I make a jacket. Invariably I find something I missed before or something I have forgotten.
Carr's book is much more user-friendly than Shaeffer's but it does not have the depth. It consists primarily of relatively short "tips." Many of them I have liked but I much prefer the in-depth approach of Shaeffer's book.
Also invaluable is my subscription to Threads Magazine (published by Taunton Press). Before we moved to South Carolina I owned all the issues published to that date. In the effort to cut down on what we had to move, I went through them all and cut out only those articles I thought I might have a use for. A part of me still wishes I hadn't done that. Go here to get more information about the magazine.
A book which I have not seen is Bridal Couture: Fine Sewing Techniques for Wedding Gowns and Evening Wear by Susan Khalje. It is available here. The book has received excellent reviews. I was also very impressed by Susan when when she was interviewed on the Sew Forth Now podcast. Go here to listen.
Related Post: Weaving and Couture Sewing