Friday, September 14, 2012

Sewing Class: My Craftsy Habit… a review and a WIP

Have you been over to Craftsy yet? It’s kind of amazing! They host online classes by industry gurus on all manner of crafty subjects… sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, baking, candy-making, cheese-making, paper-crafting, gardening and all sorts of other things. Hours of video footage as you are walked with much hand-holding through a project. If you get stuck or want feedback, you can upload pictures and ask questions. It’s really wonderful! They also have smaller project-based educational units called “workshops” where you can ask questions, and they host a platform to buy and sell indie patterns. I sell my sewing patterns there (Shop Indie Patterns'>here!), and I’ve found it to be a marvelous space to be creative and learn. I think the concept is remarkable, and I can't imagine an easier or more affordable way for a virtual shut-in like myself to get this sort of expert tutelage. Did I mention that they guarantee your satisfaction? Love it or your money back. To date, I have signed up for 3 paid classes and 3 free classes, and I think they are fabulous.
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In fact, I think Craftsy is so very fabulous that I decided to become a Craftsy affiliate. I was already in the process of compiling this post when I learned that being an affiliate was even a possibility, and (in case it isn’t obvious) blogging just for the sake of it doesn’t pay. At all. But if, after doing your research, you decide a Craftsy class is right for you too, signing up via the link at the end of this post will be a way to support this blog without spending an extra dime of your hard-earned money. For love or money, I would never recommend a product or service that I didn’t feel was both a good value and something I would purchase myself. I say what I mean, and I have integrity. I am very glad to have the opportunity to take Craftsy classes myself, for my own personal and professional benefit, and I hope that no one will think less of me or my humble blog for taking a rare opportunity to be (potentially) paid for making a recommendation I would surely make anyway. OK, back to the fun stuff…
I recently finished watching all the lessons for the Sew Retro Perfect Bombshell Dress with Gretchen Hirsch (of Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing blog fame). I am not really into retro styling, prominent tattoo art or very short bangs, but I think Gretchen is both very accessible as an instructor and incredibly talented as a sewist. I have learned so much taking her classes, and I look forward to completing my own dress. It really does inspire confidence to see the instructors actually doing each step as you go, talking you through the particularly challenging parts and assuring you that you can always try again if it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time. Gretchen re-did parts of the garment she was making (right in the videos!) when she didn’t feel it was up to par, and it was reassuring to see that even these amazingly talented people sometimes have to get out the seam ripper. I also really love perusing the completed projects uploaded by other class participants… very inspiring when it comes to fabric choice or design details!
Thus far, I have made an initial muslin of the bodice from the original included Burdastyle pattern (the white one). After fitting it on both myself and my mannequin (still unnamed), I made some changes to the bra cup pieces to get better fit with more coverage, and to eliminate the sweetheart in favor of a curved center front (I’m not as retro as some). I also let out the sides since the first muslin was tighter than I thought would be comfortable. My second muslin of the bodice (the red one) with all the changes was really confidence building, and I am looking forward to getting into construction of the actual dress. I am considering eliminating the center front seams and reorienting the grain, but haven’t fully figured that one out yet.
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Material-wise, I was hoping to stash-dive for some navy cotton I knew I had tucked away, but it turned up less fabulous than I was imagining when I had it in hand again. Plan B is to find something sateeny but not pricey. I do not want to spend much, but neither do I want to invest a lot of time into this project only to have the materials disappoint. I have since located a few options acceptable to both my wallet and my aesthetic sensibilities, but I haven't decided completely yet. I'll keep you posted. I had hoped to finish this during the warmer months of 2012, so I had better get my act together very soon or find a nice cardigan to go with it :)
I am also signed up for Online Couture Dress Class'>The Couture Dress with amazing instructor Susan Khalje and Online Sewing Class'>Jean-ius! with long-time Threads editor and contributor Kenneth King. I have watched bits of each, and am really looking forward to learning more. My talented mother-in-law took a quilting class (Quilting Quickly, I think?) and had only good things to say. And my sewing blogger + real-life friend Jodi over at SewFearless has said she got a lot out of the class Online Machine Quilting Class'>Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine, and I know my mother-in-law liked that one too. They (wisely) offer some free short classes on varying topics, so you can get a feel for what they offer and how the classes work.
If you are thinking about signing up for a paid class, be patient and I'm sure you can get your class for half off or more. For example, this weekend (9/14/12-9/17/12) Craftsy is having an Endless Summer sale and all classes are $19.99 or less (the best prices I’ve seen yet). Often, even if they are not hosting a sale, if you purchase a class, they'll offer you the option of buying a second class for a lower price. Since you always have access to the online classes and can watch them as many times as you want, you can sign up when the price is low and view the material when you actually have time. I signed up for my first class in April this year (when life was truly insane), and I have been enjoying the videos as time permits.
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