Thursday, January 17, 2008

Couture sewing...or not?

As I look over some great sewing blogs and beautiful sewing reviews, techniques of couture sewing are often mentioned. The sewing is both impeccable and beautiful, however, I wonder if I'm an anomaly in not being exactly gung-ho about couture sewing techniques.

For example, I have the book, "Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring". It's a great, little, handy dandy book that takes a sewer from the traditional, yet time consuming, methods to the easiest and quickest way to achieve "tailored" results. While I greatly admire the traditional techniques and want my garments to have that RTW look, they have to be *fast*.

For example, on the Vogue OOP dress I just made, I was thinking about doing a handpicked zipper with seed beads. That really would have looked beautiful IMO, but then I couldn't find the right color seed beads. And I'm a sucker for a perfectly topstitched centered zipper. So the centered zipper won out. And my perfectly straight stitching lines are admired as much as any handpicked zipper with seed beads would be with a lot less work and fuss. (Okay, maybe not as much if there had been seed beads ;) .)

There is a Vogue retro jacket pattern in my stash right now. The wool and lining was purchased during PR Weekend 2006. I can't wait to make it up, but there are a lot of couture techniques in the instructions used like padstitching and such. Truthfully, I can't be bothered. I'll look at my tailoring book and find the quickest method to achieve the same results.

I guess my feelings on this are mostly because of time. I don't have a lot of time to sew because my kids are always here, there, and everywhere. If I'm going to make something, I need to get it done as quickly as possible or it may never get done. Spending two months on one outfit doesn't excite me. And that's exactly how long it would take with my schedule if I used couture sewing techniques.

Another thing is, is that I have never been that picky on how my garments look on the inside. Areas like the hems, sleeve hems, dress side seams--anything that can be potentially seen from the outside, well, yes I'm concerned about those. But any other area can be finished in the quickest, easiest method possible. I've been known to finish the lower 8-12" of a garment in a professional method, but forget it above that point. No one's going to see it but me. For example, from the slit of a dress down would be finished nicely, but the area above that is my easiest and quickest method of choice.

For me, couture sewing is not a viable option most of the time. But I do think it's interesting how there seems to be a resurgence. For years we've always been looking for something easier and quicker, only to go back to methods of the past. But for me, it's couture...not ;) . Most of the time anyway.

8 comments:

kasizzle said...

I do love the "art" of sewing and am happy to take my time to do it right. But as far as couture techniques, I believe I am in the same boat as you. These techniques also take alot of concentration, which gets thrown off every time you have top stop and take care of the kids' needs.
Also a problem, no quality fabric stores around here and I'm leary of mail order...

Robin said...

I found your blog through Patternreview and love it. I have to say that I'm not a fan of taking two months to make a garment either (nor a fan of hand sewing) so I agree.

Tamara said...

It is funny that you mention this. A couple of nights ago I read a book on couture sewings. After I finished the book I realized that couture was not the route for me. While I like my garments to be nicely made I am not willing to put in the time with a lot of the couture techniques. I did learn a lot to enhance my skills but I do not see couture sewing in my near (or anytime)future.

Kat said...

Thank you, ladies, for letting me know I'm not alone :) .

Karen said...

You're definitely not alone on this one. I just got a copy of "Easy, Easier, Easiest," and while my inner purist thinks couture is a wonderful thing, my outer realist knows I only have so much time to sew and I'd like to wear my work before I'm too old. I try to only cut corners where I won't notice them, but there are just levels of sewing that couture demands that don't have a time or a place in my life.

Though that seed-bead hand-picked zipper does sound nice . . .

Cennetta said...

I guess I'm in the middle of the road on this one. I love the easy, easier, and easiest sewing methods as well as some couture techniques. I like you do not want to spend two months making any garment. For a formal garment, I spend two weeks max, 4 to 5 hours intervals. It's very gratifying when I can whip up two knit tops in less than three hours using the sewing machine only.

Amy said...

Yeah, I have to say that I definitely agree. I have bought Claire Sheiffer's Vogue patterns with every intention of making at least one couture outfit. I have read the instructions, put them back into the envelope and there they have stayed. I just don't have the time to spend THAT long on one garment.

Nancy said...

I really enjoy reading your blog and wonder if you would consider adding the gadget that allows someone to follow by email subscription? It makes it so easy when the posts come right to your inbox, and that way, nothing gets missed. (I must tuck away that tip about the seed beads over the handpicked zipper. I have not done that kind of zipper for 30 years).