After a fairly productive week of sewing, I had a beautiful pair of pink culottes to show you. Unfortunately, I wore them to work on Friday and managed to spill something down the front and they were no longer blog pictures worthy. So I am changing the tactic and bringing you the review of the class that gave me some very useful tips to make said culottes.
Disclaimer: This is not an affiliate post, I have purchased the class on my own, during a 50% sale. All images are screen shots from the actual class and remain property of Craftsy.
For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, Craftsy is an online learning platform, which offers paid (and a few free) pre-recorded classes on various subjects (sewing, knitting, cake making, photography, painting and many more). You will purchase the class as a one off payment and then you have access to it forever and can watch it in your own time for as many times as you want. They also have a money back guarantee, so if you really hate the class you purchased, you can get a refund.
As a word of warning, they are mostly aimed at the American market, so the instructors are mostly US based, so they will sometimes mention supplies and materials that you might not be familiar with (or call in a different way).
I have taken a few free classes in the past, just to see if I like the style and the way the content is presented, and then took the plunge with a few non-sewing related courses to begin with. My first fully paid course was a ‘Intro to Digital Photography’ that a sewing blogger recommended a while ago, I think it might have been Seamstress Erin. I really enjoyed it, then took a few more photography related ones, and finally a few weeks ago, took the plunge and bought my first sewing class.
My Craftsy top tips:
If you have time, watch the entire class before you start practicing. I downloaded on the Craftsy app and saved the entire class locally on my phone, so I watched it on the tube on my way home. This helped me identify the modules I can skip and where to find what I was really interested in.
You can also ask questions to the instructor (I haven’t yet for this one, but she seems pretty responsive) and read the questions others have asked and what the instructor responded. So I recommend using this facility to make sure you get your money’s worth.
Watch-out for sales! I usually put my favourite classes on a Wishlist and wait for them to go on sale (subscribe to their Newsletter to make sure you get wind of them). I got this one on a 50% sale.
MASTERING CONSTRUCTION – ZIPPERS & WAISTBANDS, with Sara Alm – £42.42 (as of Jun ’16)
This class is part of a series, Mastering construction, which consists of other courses:
- Foundation Techniques
- Zippers & Waistbands
- Facings & Linings
- Collars & Closures
They are all taught by Sara Alm. After graduating from the Apparel Arts patternmaking program in 2005, Sara has worked as a patternmaker, designer and sewing instructor at Apparel Arts. She is also the co-author of Famous Frocks book, which was also available in the UK.
Although the above order is the recommended one, there are no actual prerequisites, though I think it helps to take the zippers and waistband class before the facings & linings one. The foundation techniques was too basic for me, so I decided not to spend the money on it. I’ve got the sleeves one on my Wishlist.
Content of the class
The class covers the following topics:
- Zipper intro (types, shortening and prepping)
- Zipper installation (slot, invisible, lapped, exposed, lapped, window, separating)
- Front fly zipper (drafting, assembling, sewing, topstitching)
- Waistbands (types, cutting, stabilising, finishing, belt loops, closures, enclosing extensions and the waistband itself)
- Facings (drafting, facings with invisible zippers, slot and lapped zippers)
Method & Approach
The method is a mix of show & tell, where Sara explains a technique, shows some pre-made samples to exemplify and in some cases, executes the techniques on video. She works with miniature samples, which are available in the class materials section for download. They are miniature to make it easy to print on A4 home printers. So you can try out all the techniques shown in a small sample of your own. Please note the class works in imperial only, but there is a conversion chart available in the course materials.
These are the required materials. Most of them you should have in your sewing room already, and as for the zippers, you can easily shorten them if you haven’t got the exact lengths. As I mentioned, all the resources are US based, but none of the materials are hard to get in the UK or other countries.
What I loved
I’ve learned a few techniques that I didn’t know or at least consolidated some I had picked up randomly, especially the fly front zipper, which is the main reason I bought the class in the first place. I have successfully sewn a true fly front zipper (I didn’t know that the majority of flies in commercial patterns are mock-flies) in my culottes and I can honestly say that I now really get the logic of them.
What I missed
Sara only shows waistbands for skirts, albeit very comprehensively. I would have loved a bit more on waistbands for trousers, as I had a bit of trouble finishing the edges on mine, they just didn’t turn out as straight as I would have liked them.
Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate
Equipment you have to have: Sewing machine, home printer or option to print, materials as requested in the list above, if you want to practice your samples.
Sleep-inducing level: Not bad at all. Sara shows a lot of examples, although if you are not a complete beginner, the first 2 chapters can easily be skipped.
What it assumes you already know: How to use a sewing machine, grasp of basic sewing terms, although some are explained in the course.
Annoying Host Habits: Nothing, I really enjoyed how natural Sara felt in front of a camera. She is quite funny too!
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: A lot, so it’s worth watching, especially if you can get it on sale.
OVERALL: Highly Recommended
So how about you guys? Have you ever taken a Craftsy class? How did you find it? What classes are on your wish list?