review · sewing

{DVD review – Basics with Claire Shaeffer}

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VoguePatterns.com ran a Christmas competition back in 2010 & I was the {oh so lucky} winner of their first day prize which was this double DVD called Basics with Claire Shaeffer. Claire’s best-selling book, Couture Sewing Techniques has sold 75,000+ copies and this DVD Im sure will grow to sell just as many, if not more.

At first I was a little intimidated by the DVD because Claire Schaeffer really is a Couture Sewing expert & since at the time I had little to no experience with couture sewing techniques, I wondered if this DVD would just be way ahead of my skill level.

I did not watch this immediately – in fact, it took me some months before I finally watched Disc 1 but I was quickly irritated at myself for waiting so long because throughout the whole DVD are these  fantastic techniques that are the basics of all sewing – not just couture. Since I have no formal sewing training, a lot of what Claire discusses in the DVD, is important to know/learn/remember irrelevant of your skill level.

{Disc1} starts with the basics  – an introduction and essential tools, followed by some basic hand sewing techniques ie. beginnings & endings, basting stitches, permanent stitches, slipstitches, hemming stitches and machine stitches as well as focusing on darts {balancing darts to be specific} which i found terribly useful especially when sewing with wools & wool based fabrics.

{Disc2} goes into slightly more detail on how to make those bars & chains, marking techniques, shrinking and stretching techniques and pressing techniques (which I thought should have been on Disc1 but I understand why it is on Disc2 instead). Also covered on Disc2 is a section focussing on {BIAS}, how to & whys and then also a small discussion on {STAYS} for stabalising zipper areas, elastic casings etc. Terribly handy to know all round.

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Overall, I found this DVD extremely useful and informative not just by listening but also by watching how Claire not only makes some of these hand stitiches but more so by the things she does so instinctively ie. how she handles fabrics, how she sits, how she works off the table & not on her lap or in her other hand – all adding to the overall learning experience.

A few pennies dropped with regards to why couture is so expensive – the amount of hand sewing and hours that go into some of these exquisite gowns and garments is {MIND BLOWING} but so necessary. I love my Sapphy and I would run into a burning house to retrieve my sewing machine {REALLY, I WOULD}, but after watching this DVD I appreciate more the skill that goes into a couture garment, rather than just judging it by its price tag.

Ok, so things I didnt like about this DVD :

It is not MAC friendly {SNIFF SNIFF} and I therefore had to watch this on my smaller laptop as opposed to the vivid colour display of my MAC. Not a huge problem, just something I thought I would point out especially if there are folk out there wanting to purchase this & dont own a windows based PC. I would not like you to be disappointed on receiving this & it doesnt work.

So, would I recommend this – yes, I would absolutely recommend this DVD to any sewer, irrelevant of whether you are a beginner or not. If you are a beginner, I think you could benefit from learning skills the correct way from scratch and if you already sew, I think you could learn some more advanced techniques too.  The DVD runs for 180minutes in english & currently retails on AmazonUK for GBP30,22 and on AmazonUS for USD40,93. You may also purchase her Vogue Custom Couture Collection V8333 here or V8621 here {& both on sale} to put all your skills into practice 🙂

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me through the comments section. Thank you for stopping by x

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4 thoughts on “{DVD review – Basics with Claire Shaeffer}

  1. Nice thorough review! I was a (returned) newbie when I first watched these DVDs and was thrilled. Her book on Couture techniques was my first ‘sewing library’ purchase and is still one of my all time favourites.

  2. This is a great review and you are absolutely right~ Claire is true couture. I learned from watch her videos and Roberta Carr. Roberta Carr is no longer living. But if you ever get a hold of one of her videos~ old school couture! But, these ladies have a wealth of knowledge that just has you in awe.
    I would love to have a copy of this video in my library. Thanks for sharing! you truly have a gem.

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