[Review] Mastering Construction – Zippers & Waistbands (Craftsy class)

Post 89

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.

Craftsy Sewing classes.png

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:

  1. Foundation Techniques
  2. Zippers & Waistbands
  3. Facings & Linings
  4. Collars & Closures
  5. Sleeves

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)

Waistband.png

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.

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.

Class materials.png

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.

Fly Front.png

 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.

Summary

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?

 

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14 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this Alex. I’ve only ever done the free Craftsy classes and did consider buying one a while ago but after reading what seemed like more negative reviews than positive, I wasn’t so sure about spending money on it. Especially as I was going to a dressmaking class already but I’ve had to stop that so I think I might give one a whirl. This sounds like a good one! I get the emails so will pay more attention next time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve done the first bra class and have just bought the third. Excellent. In have been making bras for years but finally feel as though I have the fit right. I can also recommend the shirt making. I have loads of classes that I’ve bought but finding time to watch is a problem!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this review, Alex. Some Craftsy classes are great indeed. I really enjoyed “Mastering zipper techniques” a free class by Sunni Standing. I often refer back to this one. I also loved “My first sweater” by Amy Ross. As I am French, I wanted to learn the English knitting terminology and this class was just perfect for that. Plus, the finished cardigan I made is lovely. One class that was very disappointing though was “Sew the perfect fit” by Lynda Maynard. Not only was it boring, but it was incomplete. At the end, the instructor did not present any finished garments showing the results of all these alterations – some students commented about this flaw too. As you said, it is a good thing to wait for their sales as there are many. Can’t wait to see your pink culottes now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Alex! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and also enjoyed watching you on the Sewing Bee! Thanks for this great post! I’m totally addicted to Craftsy! I must have at least 50 classes, mostly sewing, and some knitting (and a few cooking 😛)!!! I only get them on special though, usually $20, so I find it’s really a good deal for the amount of information I get. I have Sara’s class, watched most of it and used some techniques (like the Burrito method). I really like her teaching style and her other classes are also great. I recently watched a few lessons on sheers, she offers very good tips as well, but I haven’t yet tackled these tricky fabrics. One of my favourite teachers on Craftsy is Alison Smith, she’s truly wonderful and she is based in UK, so a plus for you! She also has great books published. Her tailoring classes are awesome! I have almost all her classes and really enjoy all of them and I think you would too! Angd another great teacher for pattern drafting is Suzy Furrer, if you ever decide to master making your own patterns.

    Always a pleasure to read you and happy sewing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Alex! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and also enjoyed watching you on the Sewing Bee! Thanks for this great post! I’m totally addicted to Craftsy! I must have at least 50 classes, mostly sewing, and some knitting (and a few cooking 😛)!!! I only get them on special though, usually $20, so I find it’s really a good deal for the amount of information I get. I have Sara’s class, watched most of it and used some techniques (like the Burrito method). I really like her teaching style and her other classes are also great. I recently watched a few lessons on sheers, she offers very good tips as well, but I haven’t yet tackled these tricky fabrics. One of my favourite teachers on Craftsy is Alison Smith, she’s truly wonderful and she is based in UK, so a plus for you! She also has great books published. Her tailoring classes are awesome! I have almost all her classes and really enjoy all of them and I think you would too! And another great teacher for pattern drafting is Suzy Furrer, if you ever decide to master making your own patterns.

    Always a pleasure to read you and happy sewing! 🙂

    Like

    1. I love it, I think it’s a really good concept. I do recommend reading the reviews carefully before you buy, because people talk about what is and isn’t included, so it’s good to gauge if what you want to know will be covered, to avoid disappointment. And definitely wait for the sales!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh I have this class too and I was very annoyed that it doesnt *cover installing zippers – you have to buy a separate class. IMO closures and waistbands go together.

    Like

    1. I wasn’t that bothered about zippers, though I did learn how to do a lapped zipper, which almost killed me when I was making my wedding dress. It was the front fly bit that attracted me, but the waistbands are very good too. I have the linings one and it’s very very good. I’m making a lined jacket for my MIL, and the pattern doesn’t have a lining, so it’s been very helpful. Have you taken the Collars & Closures one? Is it any good? I like Sara a lot, so I might fork out for more of her classes. Did you see the sheers one? Yumm!

      Like

      1. Bras were on my no no list until I made my Birkin jeans ~ realised that i can sew anything. So I am not putting them off any longer. Good bras are so expensive so I dont buy them but I ‘d like to sexy up my lingerie drawer which atm just has black and beige cotton knickers and bras! Am waiting for July 4th sale😀

        Liked by 1 person

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