Friday, 25 October 2013

Exploring Craftsy

The other evening I was wanging around on t'internet, as I often do, and thought I'd have a butchers at what Craftsy was all about as I kept hearing about it on Twitter and other people's blogs.  If you're not familiar with the site, Craftsy offers a wide range of  video tutorials and courses across a range of creative topics, from weaving to jewellery making, cooking and cake decorating to knitting and quilting.  Naturally, it has a number of courses on sewing.

I took a look around and was quite intrigued by the concept but was unsure whether I could justify the cost of what was on offer.  After all, YouTube has a wealth of free tutorials and for more personalised tuition I have my local sewing and craft centre, which offers great courses like the 4 week beginners course I recently completed.  After clicking around a bit I left it there.

A day or so later I received an email from Craftsy offering me a discount on a course I had been looking at.  I admit that their marketing worked and I decided to take another look.  The course was about creating your own pattern and sewing an A-Line skirt, and after my A-line skirt pattern fiasco  I thought perhaps that could be a way forward.  As the course was so heavily discounted (I paid just £7.50 which I think was around 75% off) I decided to take the plunge and bought it.

I haven't yet watched the whole course but from what I have seen so far I am impressed.  For such a small amount of money I've got unlimited access to 11 HD video tutorials which is around 4 hours in total.  The course covers everything from taking accurate measurements to teaching you how to adapt the basic skirt pattern to add different finishes and details.  The platform itself is very easy to use and has additional features like the ability to make personal notes on the videos and you can even ask the tutor questions directly and interact with other 'students'.  You can see the course details here.  I'll let you know how I get on with it when I start the project.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Little Lessons

Today I learned another little lesson.  *sigh*.  I thought I'd make the most of having a day off work to do some stitching.  The boy had a day off and wanted to go guitar shopping to choose the birthday present I had promised him, so I took a day too.   I planned to sew in the afternoon.  

I had my two new Simplicity patterns (pajamas and A-line skirt) all lined up and the fabric for the PJs all washed and ready to rock.  (I should say I know you can make PJ bottoms without a pattern but I wanted to ease myself into the world of commercial patterns gently with an item that is supposedly easy to do.)  Sew anyway...*snarf*...I had planned to be a bit of a smarty pants and trace the pattern onto tracing paper so I could reuse it in different sizes if I ever needed to.  I measured my dimensions, sussed out the size I needed, whipped out the pattern and tracing paper and....realised I had ordered the wrong pattern sizes for both garments.  GGNAHHAH!  I am usually a UK 10 on top and a 10-12 on my bottom half depending on the cut and material (more often a 12 than a 10 if I'm honest!).  So I figured a pattern going up to a Medium would be fine.  Well it's not - my measurements showed I needed a Large.    So another little sewing lesson learned - sewing patterns don't size up in the same way as garments from high street shops.  Having a little google around confirmed that this is a well known fact amongst you sewists.  Why didn't anyone tell meeeeee?!

Luckily I ordered the patterns on Amazon using Prime so back in the post they go tomorrow for a refund.  And I didn't do any sewing.  Bah, humbug.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

More Makes

Good job I don't have kids as I would be a terrible, negligent parent.  Only a few posts in and I virtually abandoned my poor baby blog!  Life got in the way over the last couple of weeks - the obligatory autumn illness, the boy's birthday and such.  It did not, I'm glad to say, stop me sewing!

First up, the apron I made in Week 3 of the sewing course.  It's a kind of cute, vintage style pinny and we also made matching polka dot head scarves - very funny.  

Guess who found the 'effects' options in iPhoto!
I think it was the hardest thing we made so I'm surprised we didn't do this in the final week. The pleats especially were super tricky to do!  It ties round the waist and is reversible - the same the other side just without the pocket.

Week 4 (the final week - booo!) was left open for the class to decide what we wanted to make.  We settled on little bags/purses as we all wanted to learn how to sew a zip.  

This is the first one I made in class and I mainly wanted to show you this because of their funky polka dot table covering!  We were allowed to bust out the fancy fabrics for these - oooo, pretty!

I made a second, smaller one while I was there (brown one below) and then another one when I got home (you can never have enough small purses to put things in, right?!) that I made flat-bottomed so that it stands up.  

They are all lined with complementary material.

I think of the four weeks, these little bags are the things I am most pleased with in terms of the finished items.  They are also a great little make as it takes such little fabric - you can practically make them out of scraps.

So, the four week course flew by.  I was toying with the idea of signing up to the six week dressmaking course that starts this month but I decided I wanted a little more sewing experience under my belt first as I would get frustrated trying to do something so much more advanced.  There is another four week course starting in January on a similar level to the one I just completed but making different things so I think I will join that one instead.

In between times I will keep my sew on.  I have just yesterday ordered my first pattern (eeek!).  On the advice of Tilly I am going to have a stab at the McCalls 5248 pattern for some PJ bottoms.  I will show and tell once complete.  

Bon weekend, folks, when it gets here!