Couture Techniques Autumn 16 Term Theme!

We loved watching everyone come up with designs inspired by LEGO last term, it was so inspiring, teachers were bowled over by all the amazing outcomes. See the results of our competition on the blog term time & summer holiday winners! 

This term’s theme is a little different, rather than a design challenge we want to put our student’s attention to detail to the test and encourage a little bit of finesse to their making skills,  we are taking inspiration from Haute Couture techniques!

What is Haute Couture?


As you might have guessed Haute Couture is French! Haute means “high” or “elegant.” Couture means “sewing.” But, not any old designer can be Haute Couture, there are strict regulations. (Technical bit!) They must belong to the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture in Paris, they must show collections of 35 separate outfits for day and evening wear twice a year  and employ 15 or more people.

Who is Haute Couture?


You’ll have definitely heard of some couture designers Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Pierre Cardin. Watch this amazing video from Chanel to find out more!

Often these design houses have their ready to wear range that we see on the catwalk (still too expensive for many of us!). Then they also have their Haute Couture range where each piece is made from scratch for each extra special customer. It usually takes from 100 – 400 hours to make each piece, with 3 fittings and almost all the work is done by hand not machine! The items cost between £20,000 to over £100,000 for 1 garment! Workers often specialize in one area, such as feathers, fabric, buttons, shoes, etc. They train and stay with the couture houses for years and years!


Many designers these days lend out their creations to celebrities to wear on the red carpet, this enhances their brand and even though they are not selling the pieces the recognition is priceless. There are only 2,000 women in the world right now who buy couture clothes; 60% of them are American and only 200 buy them regularly!  Haute Couture is a £1 billion industry.

Little Hands Couture


How on earth can we do that at Little Hands I hear you asking?! Well we’re not going to spend 100’s of hours on pieces but we can use couture techniques to make our clothes look extra special. Adding lace is a couture technique, bound button holes or welt pockets, adding a bias binding trim! It’s all about that little extra detail that makes your garment look extra special!

There will be prizes at the end of term for people who take on the couture challenge, our competitions are never based on natural ability or ‘prettiness’ we give prizes to those people who really push the boat out and challenge themselves! It’s a competition against yourself not the others around you.  Even a six year old can have a go at being a couturier for a day!



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