Book Review: Couture Crochet Workshop by Lily M. Chin

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on Apr 12, 2007 9:36 AM

Couture Crochet Workshop coverCouture Crochet Workshop: Mastering Fit, Fashion and Finesse
by Lily M. Chin
Interweave Press, 2007

Have you ever seen crochet fashions in a magazine or on the runway and said to yourself, “Gee I can do that?”

Well, Lily Chin has. Over the years, Chin has crocheted for such designers as Vera Wang, Isaac Mizrahi, and Ralph Lauren. In her newest book, Couture Crochet Workshop: Mastering Fit, Fashion and Finesse, she shares her vast knowledge and experience with others.

Chin starts off with a definition of couture. Most of what we call couture is really ready-to-wear -- it's designed for many people. True couture is specifically designed for one person and is very exclusive. For instance, did you know that only nine fashion houses in the world can use the label haute couture?  

While prices for couture and even high-end ready-to-wear can be in the stratosphere, Chin explains that the elements of couture, including fine finishing, details, and fashioning, are elements that crocheters can affordably add to their work.

Chin dedicates two chapters to discussing some finer points such as gauge, reading charts, and seaming (it is assumed that the reader has a basic knowledge of crochet). She also offers an interesting technique to close the gap that a turning chain can create.  

She then takes on the specifics of pattern planning, fit, and stitching, and presents 24 projects including jackets, skirts, wraps, hats, and even jewelry. My favorites are the Scallops and Some Half Shells Bolero, the Positive/Negative Twin Set, and the Skirting the Issue skirt.

This book is certainly a must-have for anyone who wishes to take their crocheting to the next level. I enjoyed reading about the elements of couture and how she adapts them to crochet. I also like how she doesn’t skimp on pattern writing and has multiple photos of most designs.

Even though I’m not a designer, I found the chapter on pattern planning and design helpful as well as interesting.

In the introduction, Chin states that she wants to empower and inspire other crocheters: "It is my goal to empower you with the knowledge and ability to adapt and even design from scratch your own ideas, and to fit your garments well.  I hope the designs in this book can function as a jumping-off point or inspiration for your own ideas and designs."

I’m glad to see crocheting getting the attention to detail and fit it deserves.

160 pages
Available at

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