Friday, 13 February 2015


Many moons ago I booked a course with the Couture expert, Claire Shaeffer. I'm so excited about it but apprehensive because of the expense just right now.  And for those of you who know my experiences you would truly understand why.  Here is Claires website if you are interested in learning a little about her.

I've often dreamt about having the opportunity to learn from people who are true experts, like Claire Shaeffer and Susan Khalje.  I admire both of these women for their experience and longevity in the industry.  I dont know them personally but I have read copious amounts about their studies over the years and that alone has whet my appetite to one day do a face to face course with them.

Well that day is almost here and come hell or high water I am committed to doing the course with Claire to the very best of my ability.  I could not believe it when I learnt that Claire was coming to Australia to do a once only course in the country town of Armadale. I have been told that Claire will be retiring after this so this is my one and only chance.  I know Armadale reasonably well as my sister-in-law completed her university course there and I have family members who lived around the area.  Not only that, it is quite a historical town and a refreshing break on the inland trip from Sydney to Brisbane.  I would love to share my taught skills with my daughter and even extended family if they are ever interested.  I do intend to do much more with my refined skills after this.

I have an eye for detail and I'm good at technical analysis.  I am very visual and I love fabulous quality. By quality I do not mean things that necessarily cost a lot of money however, a lot of the things that I do like do cost a lot of money.  I understand the processes, tools, techniques and products required to create them.  I admire them.  Again, not to be confused with wanting them, needing them or having to have them, I admire them. That admiration comes from my creative mind.

So I absolutely admire Claire for her commitment to the study of Haute Couture.  Her willingness to share what she has learnt from her privileged position of visiting the couture houses and discovering some of their techniques and tips. I have absolutely no doubt that there are plenty of skeletons in the closet of the designers and the couture houses but I don't care for that. Nobody can doubt the impact of the beautiful creations they have produced and still do produce.  Coco Chanel is a perfect example of this.  And WOW look at the Chanel range for 2015, just gorgeous.  Girls, our raglan sleeves are back! Along with a bit of midriff but I will be passing on that style.  I love they way they have manipulated the fabrics.

As I approach my course and gather my kit together, I can't help but reflect on where I've come. I remember sewing wedding dresses, 3 piece suits, childrens clothing, school clothing, curtains, covering couches, bed spreads, washing machine covers and pictures and many other projects. While living in Japan I created exclusive dolls clothes, issued with their own certificates, for professional collectors in America and other countries. I put one up on ebay once and could not cope with the demand that it created.  I had orders coming out of my ears but because of the items I was producing I could only create a few each week. The time and detail required for each little item was immense and I loved it all.  I can't put pictures of these items up as they belong to collectors now however, none of it excites me more nowadays than the long slow precise process of Haute Couture.

I'm happy to buy any piece of clothing but I will certainly never be buying a Haute Couture garment for myself. Why?  To start with I could never afford to buy one but I sure can afford it to learn the skills to make them for myself and others.  A true Haute Couture garment can sell from as little as a few thousand dollars to upwards of fifty thousand dollars.  I'm not prepared to mortgage my life for such an item but I respect that there are people in this world who can afford this luxury in their lives.  I do see equal value in being the creator and constructor.  I'm sure a big part of every designer is delivered with each garment when it is presented to the purchaser in each and every instance.  You can't put so much effort, love and creativity into something and just let it go and forget it.

My commitment this year, as I participate in the RTW 2015 fast, is to learn the ultimate of couture skills.  I hope those who appreciate what I do will enjoy the journey with me.

Hopefully my next post I can show you some great images of the Couture process.  In the meantime, I will share the fabrics I will use and the accessories I have found so far for my projects.  

Both of my Chanel Cardigan Jackets will be made out of Linton Tweeds.  I purchased this fabric some time ago waiting for this moment.  I cannot speak highly enough of Linton Tweed.  They have supplied Chanel with tweeds from the very beginning and their fabrics are truly beautiful.  One day perhaps I will visit the workshop and see the fabric being made. There are of course many other beautiful fabric stores and accessory suppliers and we have a few here in Melbourne, Australia too.  Searching for them is just part of the fun, especially the buttons and trims.  I have not settled on my trims as yet but I have time for that...

My next post, my toile!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hi Danielle. Lovely to see you on Google! How wonderful that you got to meet Claire! Looking forward to staying in touch. Olivia ��


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