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the Savoir-faire

Whether it be for Haute Couture or Ready-to-Wear, the Métiers d'Art bring together an impressive number of complementary and extremely demanding specialties. To come to grasp with all these know-hows, here is a little alphabet book detailing each trade, technique, tool dedicated to each of these unique savoir-faire. As well as the Maison d'art linked to it inside le19M.

Assembler

Block maker

Clicker

Closer

Colourist

Cork artisan

Costume jeweller

Couturier

Cutter

Embroiderer

Embroidery pattern designer

Fabric embossers

Finisher

Finisher

Florist

Founder

Goldsmith

Hatter

Metal enameller

Milliner

Model maker

Modeller

Pattern maker

Pleater

Plumassier

Processor

Shoemaker

Straw stitcher

Textile ennobler

Weaver

Also known as the ouvrier du pied (a role specific to shoemaking), the assembler shapes the shoe’s upper on a last after inserting stiffeners that he or she has specially crafted. The assembler then carries out all the necessary stitchwork, makes the sole and applies the finishing touches – which require a set of irons, used while hot.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the assembler métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

A block maker’s work could be likened to sculpture. These experts work from a drawing or model to develop a wooden form by hand, which will be used to make hats or shoes.

Taking a large piece of linden, hornbeam or beechwood, the block maker inscribes as many aesthetic and technical details as possible to assist the artisan who will create an object from that carefully carved shape. The block maker specialised in the art of shoemaking must remember the anatomical indications revealed by an analysis to understand the foot’s requirements in terms of compression, support and space. The block maker must also ensure that the fitting slipper is suitable, in the event that adjustments – which will be made on the last – are necessary. In hat-making, the shapes are covered with felt or straw, and molded by the hatter to give the hat the final shape.

Taken together, the blocks made in an artistic studio are a valuable heritage and reflect a wealth of creativity. Their preservation is all the more important considering that there are only two artisanal block makers in France today. (*)


(*) Source: INMA

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the block maker métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The clicker (a role specific to the shoemaking trade) draws a pattern directly on the last.

Based on this drawing, he or she creates a two-dimensional pattern for each of the inserts making up the top of the shoe and the lining – together forming the upper. Whether in paper or digital format, the pattern can be used for machine cutting. Cutting by hand must be done cleanly and precisely. The clicker must consider the material’s reaction and follow the pattern’s lines with the greatest accuracy. 

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The closer (a role specific to the shoemaking trade) prepares all the elements of the shoe’s upper by trimming them – this process is called parage – and stiffening them through the addition of various pieces (counters, side linings, etc.). He or she then assembles the shoe by stitching together the different parts using a sewing machine reserved for leatherwork.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the closer métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Working from a sample provided by the client, the colourist develops formulas to create bespoke shades. These colours will then be applied to the chosen material (fabric, leather, plastic, etc.), taking into account and respecting the natural properties of that material.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the colourist métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

An artisan specialized in the art of shoemaking, the cork artisan (a role specific to the shoemaking trade) makes platforms, wedges and foot orthoses from pieces of cork. This meticulous work determines not only the shoe’s aesthetic, but also its stability.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the cork artisan métier by visiting the INMA website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

From assembling and closing the links of a chain or a belt, to setting a crystal or a pearl as a cab-ochon: with each meticulous movement, the costume jeweller relies on a set of patiently acquired skills.

To make bejewelled adornments and fashion accessories, the costume jeweller can choose from a wide range of high-quality materials: brass, silver, tin, rhinestones, crystal, faux pearls, glass, enamel, paper, recycled materials, and more.
Some of the costume jeweller’s techniques have become specialities in their own right.
The work of the processor precedes or supplements that of the costume jeweller: he or she trans-forms a metal’s surface through a variety of techniques: polishing-brightening, gold plating, setting and enamelling. The resin decorator works with a natural or synthetic polymer to embellish part of the jewellery. The resulting effect may look like enamelling, but it doesn’t use the same savoir-faire. 

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the costume jeweller métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers de la bijouterie website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The couturier is both an artisan and an interpreter, who translates the abstract idea of a garment into a tangible, bespoke piece.

These experts are a crucial link in the design chain, carrying the sketch through to the completed product. Their contribution is essential: they bring the actual garment to life and finish off the work carried out by other important artisans and creatives: stylists, modellers, pattern-makers and cutters.
The couturier flou analyses the pattern carefully before developing a step-by-step strategy to make the garment, working with a flat-stitching machine, a picoteuse or an overcasting machine to create pleats, ribs, gatherings, and more.
The couturier flou may also work on a wooden mannequin to set the drape, curve the hemline or ensure that the fabric falls perfectly.

Pour en savoir plus sur la filière et les offres d'emplois découvrez le site Savoir pour faire.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the couturier métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Cutters are experts who cut soft materials (leathers or fabrics) into pieces that will be used to cre-ate fashion or leather goods items.

They know all about different fabric types, can determine wheth-er a material is prone to bleed, fade or stain, and can identify the tiniest imperfections. They fade ennobling effects on the fabrics with steam to prevent shrinking, or back the fabrics with thermofoil or organza.
Working from a pattern, cutters use a variety of tools depending on the material and purpose of the item to be created: hand or electric scissors, cutting irons, a die cutter or a pre-configured machine. 
Once the fabric has been cut, the cutter will position it based on the pattern, working in the direction of the lengthwise grain and ensuring the embroideries are joined meticulously.
When making shoes, the pattern maker-cutter carries out a specific exercise: the model is de-signed on the block according to the proportions set out in the sketch. 
Over the last ten years, digital technology has become a part of this artisanal process.
The cutter’s art marries creativity with adaptability. It is the reserve of small runs of luxury products or even bespoke items. This savoir-faire can only be learned in a workshop under the mentorship  of a skilled, experienced cutter.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the cutter métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Complex stitching, a wealth of materials, and many hours of expert handiwork go into the precious pieces of embroidery, making them especially valuable and, understandably, expensive. 

To create flat or raised patterns, and bring an idea to life, embroiderers can choose from a wide range of threads (cotton, silk, wool, linen) and materials that enhance their designs: shimmering beads, pearls, sequins, metallic threads, and any other material – be it innovative or borrowed from an unexpected field outside of the world of artistic crafts.
Before work commences on the final embroidery, a sampler produces a small prototype interpreting the client’s artistic instructions. 
The other specialities of the embroidery trade are classified according to the tools used.
The needle embroiderer works with a needle to create decorative patterns on a fabric. Working on the reverse of the loom, the crochet embroiderer adds shimmering beads and pearls to the mate-rial’s surface using a Lunéville crochet. For more voluminous pieces with intricate textures, a hand-guided machine embroiderer can work with several threads at the same time. Atelier Montex is the only studio that masters the use of the Cornely machine.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the embroiderer métier by visiting Observatoire des métiers and INMA websites.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Embroidery pattern designers work by hand or with the help of a computer to sketch the technical drawing that will be used to make the embroidery on tracing paper.

They then apply that drawing and all the applicable chart legends to the fabric using a technique called piquage (pricking): the em-broidery design is marked by tiny holes in the tracing paper. The next step is called ponçage: the tracing paper is positioned over the fabric and a pigmented powder (the poncif) is applied on those layers, meticulously reproducing the embroidery design on the fabric. The embroiderer now has a perfect base to work with. 

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Fabric embossers are artisans who create raised decorative elements through a hot rolling pro-cess.

The fabric is compressed between an engraved copper plate and a counterweight. The pressure combined with heat produces the decorative embossed effect.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the fabric embossers métier by visiting the INMA website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The finisher (a role specific to the shoemaking trade) is the last person involved in the shoe-making process. He or she removes the last onto which the shoe was mounted, crafts the thin inner sole that will support the foot, and ultimately refreshes, cleans, waxes and burnishes the shoe to ensure no thread or piece of lining is amiss.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the finisher métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website. 

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Finishers do all the handiwork required to complete garments and perfect the finest details.

They use pinpoint stitching to fold over a piece’s lining, flatten seams to ensure a garment and its lining come together as one, finish the flounce along a French or Italian hem, place buttons (with or without a tail, embroidered clip, and embroidered or machine-made buttonholes), apply an anti-slip patch, embroider seams, and more.
Each garment requires bespoke treatment and, as with the cutter, this trade is only learned in a workshop under expert guidance.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Also called a parurier floral in French, the florist makes artificial flowers through a meticulous se-ries of technical steps.

After the fabrics are dyed and processed, the florist uses a die cutter to cut out the petals to be shaped. They are softened with a damp blotter, then worked into the desired shape and volume using a hot metal ball soaked in wax. The florist uses special pliers for the fin-ishing steps, referred to as “boulé retouché”, “frisotté” (frizzy) and “plissé” (pleated).
Assembly is also done by hand, on a brass stem. The petals are arranged one by one around the central stamen. The glue dries several hours before the final finishing touches: leaves are arranged around the flower and the brass stem is coated with tissue paper or gutta (a thick, colourless sub-stance used for outlining).
Florists work mainly with fabrics, but they can also use other materials, such as feathers, horsehair or paper.
There are only two major Maisons d’art specialised in this discipline still active in France today: Lé-geron (owned by Lemarié since 2019) and Lemarié.

Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the florist métier by visiting INMA and Observatoire des métiers websites. 

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Founders make sculptures, jewels or decorative objects using moulds they have made themselves.

These moulds can be fashioned from plaster for gravity casting, or silicone if the founder works by centrifugation. Metals are generally the founder’s preferred material, but some studios have devel-oped savoir-faire allowing them to mould resin as well.
The moulding work is followed by finishing processes: deburring (to smooth out the unevenness characteristic of manual work), buffing, and chemical or electrolytic treatments.
In France, around 300 artisans are masters in artistic foundry. The École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the École Boulle, together with specialised secondary schools training pupils in indus-trial foundry provide access to this savoir-faire. 

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the founder métier by visiting the INMA website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Goldsmiths are masters of metal work who apply their savoir-faire to tableware and interior decoration.

They create pieces from silver, solid gold or silver-plated metal, using two techniques. Cold metal working allows them to rework a melted object and to practise brazing (using a soldering iron to add metal), hammering and shaping. Hot metal working, on the other hand, involves a technique called cire perdue (lost wax) – this complex process allows goldsmiths to obtain an impeccable finish that reproduces the original model as closely as possible. The initial model is set in a mould before wax is injected, which reflects the finest details of the model’s imprint. The new wax model is then inserted into a plaster mould, which is placed in a heat chamber. The wax melts away and is replaced with molten metal. 
Once it has cooled down, the freshly created metal piece is buffed by the goldsmith and set with stones.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the goldsmith métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers de la bijouterie website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The hatter makes a series of very precise artisanal movements and techniques give the hat its final shape.

Working on a block made of wood or aluminium, the hatter creates the models designed by the development studio and artistic direction in one piece. 
Once this is done, the hatter hands the piece over to the milliner (*). 
Although the savoir-faire nurtured in the Maisons d’art offers limitless creative possibilities, hat-making has become a rarity. In France today, there are only about 10 professional hatters, between 200 and 300 milliners, as well as some 100 hat maker-retailers, and less than ten mass production manufacturers. (**) 


(*) See definition further down, under M
(**) Source: INMA

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the hatter métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The enameller creates decorative effects on the surface of metal, stones, rock crystal and even pearls.

To achieve the desired shade, the enameller works on cold material with a needle before drying the product in a forced-air oven. The final result can be opaque or translucent, and the enameller can also work glitter or pearls into the material to enhance the textures.
Drawing on their scientific knowledge of colours and resins, enamellers can also produce pearls through a thermoforming process.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

As a hat making specialist, the milliner creates hats and head accessories.

The milliner fashions pieces from various elements from the shape to embellishments and decorations. Many techniques are masters such as stretching fabrics, draping turban ... The milliner can also work in close collaboration with a hatter for the ornamentation and decoration of a creation molded by the latter.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the milliner métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The model maker is an artisan d’art working with metal to create a prototype by hand from a drawing developed by the creative department.

Made of tin, brass or wax, the model involves various tech-nical processes. The model maker may apply cutting and stamping techniques (the latter involves shaping a metal sheet). He or she also has jewelling expertise: they can create a cavity to hold a gem stone, and faux grains (a type of round claw) to create the illusion of a traditional setting. Jew-ellery techniques are also applied to create textures by hammering, guilloching (engraving criss-cross lines), milling, and more. An enmeshing process allows the model maker to form a kind of jigsaw puzzle by developing all the elements to be welded together later on. 

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the model maker métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers de la bijouterie website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

At once geometrician and textile sculptor, the modeller brings volume and life to the drawings pre-pared by stylists.

Working from sketches developed in couture houses, the modeller creates a toile (canvas) on a dress form mannequin if the model is asymmetrical, or a half-toile if the model is symmetrical. This stage is called draping, or moulage in French, and the toile is a preparatory, 3D version of the garment made in a fabric with the same weight as that of the final model.

Working on the toile, the modeller expertly positions the different cuts and folds, ensures the fabric is level, and refines details like the collar, pockets and cuffs. As the final step, the modeller marks all the necessary indications on the toile to ensure the final product perfectly matches the stylist’s design.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the modeller métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

A highly skilled technician specialised in placement, the pattern maker works closely with the modellist.

He or she transcribes onto a paper pattern the volumes of the toile developed by the modellist, after checking each detail – from the seams through to lining up any motifs. The pattern maker can fine-tune these details by hand or working with specialised ready-to-wear software. He or she marks the pattern with all the information necessary to create the end product: pleats, darts, materials, proportions, and more.
The pattern maker can also work on standardising the piece for ready-to-wear by meticulously implementing all the necessary adjustments to adapt the prototype worn by a model to the sizes sold in-store. As such, the pattern maker ensures that the item is comfortable in the full range of available sizes.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the pattern maker métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The pleater shapes fabrics to create a vast array of pleat styles: sunburst pleats, accordion pleats, scale pleats, peacock pleats, flower pleats, and more.

The pleater uses a handmade paper mould, also called a métier, which resembles an oversized, intricate piece of origami. Turning even the coarsest fabric into a delicate sculpture, the pleater positions the fabric between the two cardboard layers of the mould before placing it in a vapour oven for a few hours in order to set the pleats in every single fibre of the fabric. 

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the pleater métier by visiting the INMA website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The plumassier turns the feathers of edible birds (ostrich, pheasant, rooster, turkey, goose, etc.) into accessories and costume elements.

Working for haute couture houses, luxury ready-to-wear brands and the entertainment industry, a plumassier works this fragile material into marquetry, woven fabrics, furs, braids and more, creating all sorts of trompe-l’oeil effects in the process. Today, France has only four ateliers dedicated to the art of featherwork, including in particular Lemarié (a haute couture specialist) and Légeron, owned by Lemarié since 2019. 

Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the plumassier métier by visiting INMA and Observatoire des métiers websites.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Processors are textile artisans working by hand.

Drawing on their exceptional savoir-faire, they can transform the feel, surface, appearance, and even original properties of a fabric to create a new one entirely. The end fabric is then used to design luxury clothing and accessories. Processors can also work on costume jewellery; in this discipline, the artisans ply their art on metals (silver, tin and brass) instead of textiles.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the processor métier by visiting the INMA website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

To create bespoke shoes, several stages of shoemaking requires a specific speciality. 

The last maker takes the measurements of the foot and then sculpts the shape of the shoe on a wooden form. Then, the cork artisan can create a platform or compensation if necessary. 
The model of the shoe is then drawn on the form, then patronized by the closer. The clicker takes over by selecting and cutting the finest materials, the assembler (also known as the ouvrier du pied), cut, sew, assemble and fit pieces of leather by hand.
Finally, the finisher work on the shoe to ensure the end product is equally perfect and comfortable (check the corresponding entries in this lexicon).

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the shoemaker métier by visiting INMA website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

The straw stitcher uses a machine to sew in spiral ribbons of straw, raffia, hemp and other natural fibres, creating an endless array of shapes to be used by hat makers. 

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the straw stitcher métier by visiting the Observatoire des métiers website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Textile ennoblers transform raw materials to give fabrics their unique shades and textures.

Upon request, they can pleat, smock, fray, emboss, crumple, and produce moiré, glazed or satin effects to create exceptional fabrics.
The different specialities of the textile ennobler’s craft all have their own entries in this glossary: embosser, processor, pleater and colourist).

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the textile ennobler métier by visiting the INMA website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :

Working on a manually operated loom, known as a backstrap loom, the weaver creates fabrics interweaving warp and weft threads.

Under the client’s artistic direction, the weaver carries out material research, drawing and sampling; he or she then replicates the designs on manufacturing looms. The weaver’s art is all about patience: depending on the type of fibre used, he or she can weave between 30 centimetres and ten metres of fabric in ten hours, with an average daily output of four metres. The weaver’s savoir-faire is the reserve of haute couture, high-end interior design, and even bespoke designs.

Learn more about the industry and career opportunities by visiting the Savoir pour faire website.
Learn more about the educational programs dedicated to the weaver métier by visiting the INMA website.

This craft is practiced at le19M by the following Maison d'arts :