Saturday, November 06, 2010

Book Review: Koos Couture Collage Inspiration & Techniques

by Linda Chang Teufel

I placed this book on my nightstand a week ago after seeing Shams beautiful rendition of this Vogue pattern:

Several years ago, a friend of mine gifted me with this book after we attended the Worcester Sewing Expo.  I'd been feening for the book but with three small children didn't really have the funds to purchase it.  I know that I carted it around for awhile and read it from cover to cover.  I don't even know if it overtly influenced my sewing at the time though it was a very inspirational read.

So how did it end up back on my nightstand?  Well Shams' wonderful coat reminded me that the book was in my sewing library and when I picked it up to mention in a comment, the awesome photography and amazing use of fabric just smacked me in the face.  I HAD to spend some time with this book again.

The book is not only a history of Koos background as a designer but there are sections on how a home sewist can use his techniques to make their own Koos inspired garments.  Now some of these collage techniques are very involved...however, there are some simplier and yet just as dramatic techniques showcased in the book.  There are instructions on how he uses bias tape in the actual design and how to finish seams.  How to select the fabrics used to make collages, how to make fabric lace, as well as, how to put it all together to make one of his renowned fabric collages.

I know this style of garment is not presently in style.  But as home sewists we can draw inspiration from a variety of sources to implement our own personal style.  And while some of Koos more elaborate designs wouldn't be suitable for my daily professional attire, his love of fabric, some of his silhouettes and certainly the passion for what he makes are more than appreciated by me.

This book is eye candy to my soul.  It is encouraging to my inner creative muse and it is fueling some different creative connections.  I know that many of us purchase technique driven sewing books...and rightfully so since we want to improve our sewing skills.  However, if you are looking for a book to jumpstart your creativity, to lead you down different paths of inspiration, please consider looking into this book.  As Shams interpretation of the pattern has shown, this is a very wearable look that can be achieved by quite a few of us by editing our fabric choices and making decisions that work for our everyday lives.  I highly recommend adding this book to your sewing library if you are looking to branch out and explore different creative avenues!

...more later! 


  1. I don't normally go for Wearable Art, it's just not me, you know? But, Shams' coat was so gorgeous, so well done and understated that I want to make one for myself!

  2. Thanks for the shout out, Carolyn! And thanks, Gigi for your compliment. Coming from you, that means a lot!

    This book is also on my wish list. Koos, for those who aren't familiar with his work, was the designer behind Bill Cosby's wild sweaters in the 80s. I think he's in his early 70s now, but it seems to me that he's at the top of his creative game.

    Thanks so much for the review of this book! I will now buy it sooner, rather than later. :)

  3. I am always intrigued by how someone made something. I can appreciate what Koos does, even if his particular style is not something that I would wear. One can always learn something from everyone.

  4. Interesting-looking book with a good supplies list.

    I'm not really interested in Wearable Art and it seems to me that if it's not done with the highest level of skill and taste nothing screams "Home Sewer" more loudly.

    Did I miss the link to the coat by Shams?

  5. It's a fabulous book. Well worth the inspirational and technical details.

    I agree with Annonymous that wearable art can scream home sewn - or worse wearing a bed quilt - but not with the kind of work Shams is doing. We're all capable of that with time and practice.

  6. Thanks for the pointer to Shams' version of the coat - I got this pattern a couple of weeks ago, just for the "how did they do that" factor.

  7. I use a lot of books as inspiration. While it is very rare that I copy a technique verbatim, I certainly can get inspired by work that isn't my style or even genre of art.

  8. I dare say that I get most inspired by looks that aren't my style or looks that don't fit in my current lifestyle. I feel like they broaden my mind and set my imagination free, and that’s the true trigger towards inspiration, right?

  9. Thank you for the nice review of my Koos book. You can see his new creations on facebook too. Keep sewing.


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