Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: Couture Sewing -- The Couture Cardigan Jacket

This is one of the best sewing books! I'm fascinated by the classic Chanel jacket because of it's iconic status and exquisite craftsmanship. I'm not one for designer labels, but I want a similar jacket for the quality. As a home sewer, it's one of those garments that done well, will be a source of pride for years to come. This book will help you get there.

Three cheers for a book dedicated to the subject. I was wondering why this hadn't happened before. However, it is worth the wait! I love getting a sneak peak into Shaeffer's personal collection. The garment index makes interesting reading.

On to the making of the jacket. Shaeffer starts at the beginning -- with suggested fabrics and a good pattern. Of course there is a section on the famous trims. There's a detailed resources section in the back of the book; you'll know where to go for what.

The book assumes you can manage diagnosing and correcting any fit issues on your own. You'll do this with a toile. In terms of construction, this book breaks down a very daunting process into digestible chunks starting with the quilting. This is still advanced stuff and obviously includes tailoring. Please bone up on your hand stitches.  There are chapters on buttonholes, the three-piece sleeve, edge finishing, hand-set sleeves, patch pockets and finishing.

Perhaps my favorite chapter is "What Makes Chanel's Cardigan Jacket Different." I love it for the historical perspective. It helps ground you as you think about what you want your finished jacket to look like.

In the DVD, you're walked through each step of the construction process. The DVD and the book can stand alone as complete instructional tools. Together, they are awesome. I will say that based on the reviews, I'd decided not to purchase Couture Sewing:  Tailoring Techniques. After watching the DVD that accompanies this book, I will purchase Couture Sewing:  Tailoring Techniques for the DVD. If the DVD instruction is as good as it is on this DVD, it's worth the purchase.

If you want to make your own Chanel-style cardigan jacket, this book is a must. As other reviewers have mentioned, the techniques here are specific to construction a Chanel-style jacket, but they will help make you a better sewer as you apply them to other projects. This is a great addition to any sewing library.

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