Review of Craftsy Class “How to Sew with Lace”

posted in: Designing, Tips and Techniques | 18

This was my first and only Online Craftsy class. Previously I had tried on on-line training class and been very disappointed.

This time, thankfully, I was very pleased.

The instructor is Alison Smith who has just been interviewed by Rachel at House of Pinheiro.

Alison Smith
Alison Smith

She is from the North of England, and I found her very reassuring. Here is a highly competent seamstress who is also an effective teacher. She tells you succinctly what you need to know. There are no mistakes. The facts appear on the screen (eg stitch length), although they disappear a bit too fast.

The series covers all the aspects of sewing with lace and I learnt a great deal. Unlike many of the free tutorials that I have watched to date the timing is spot on. Not so fast you have to keep re-running it, or so slow that you go and make a cup of tea which the teacher laboriously films herself sewing a really long seam.

The lace making course covers everything from choosing the right lace, what to back it with, how to insert a zip, applique, putting an overlay on, hems and necklines. It is comprehensive and I found the tips useful as someone who is more or less a beginner with lace. If you are a complete expert artist, like Mary Funt, then this probably is not advanced enough. In fact Mary mentioned that it is a bit too machine-dependent, and that is probably true. It would be fun to mould lace with handstitching rather than trying to make it adapt so that it can be sewn up like most other fabrics, but I think there are two different issues here. For a day time skirt it is probably ideal to machine stitch it. For a wedding dress or a very nice cocktail dress the techniques would ideally be more advanced. Equally it depends on the cost of your ingredients. If it is a polyester or viscose or cotton lace that is a different ball game to using silk, or very expensive Chantilly laces.

I watched the episodes more or less back to front, absorbing the information as it is presented. Once you have bought the course you can rewatch it, something denied to those buying the Burda course I invested in.

There is a chance for a dialogue with Alison, but the reaction time is fairly sedate and I didn’t really have any penetrating questions.

Overall I thought it was a good course. Overall I thought it was expensive. Is it better than a book, to see someone actually doing the job rather than reading about it and trying for yourself? I suppose it is. I am much more familiar with learning from people in class rooms which is probably my prefered method of learning, which seems both highly personal and immediate. The course costs around £20, with say five hours of material. For £200 I can spend three hours a week for 10 to 12 weeks, with a tutor. And if I need to go back to check something I find books good enough.

I may try another one – sewing with sheers has been recommended by Gail. But I have signed up for more draping on the stand, starting in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait!

What is your prefered style of learning?

18 Responses

  1. Lyn

    That’s interesting Kate. I also prefer classroom training, but may try on-line as it can be fitted in around other things. I have been looking for a course on jacket making, but the ones I have found don’t fit with the dates I can do, so this may be a good alternative.

  2. mrsmole

    I have bought many Craftsy classes and enjoyed them all. Being in a class with over stimulated chatty women who want to talk about other things and pay little attention to the teacher drives me mad and drives me out the door. Having a “private” lesson that can be repeated and viewed when you want it makes more sense to me and my lifestyle. There are few classes in anything but quilting in my area so having these creative teachers available at any time on my TV/computer is a bonus! I’d rather spend $20 and sit in my own sewing room watching new techniques than spend a day in a room with 20-30 women who are there mainly to be social…just my views as an extreme introvert.

    • fabrickated

      Hilarious Mrs Mole. I have imagined you, since you kindly left this comment, sitting in a class quietly, introvertly, fuming in a class where the students are not serious about their craft. There are always one or two really annoying people in each class, but I find there are far more really amazing people that I just love to meet.

  3. Stephanie

    K, I am going to sock away this for future reference.

    I’m not sure how I feel. I think I need the discipline of an in-person class. I agree with Mrs. Mole, however, that the classmates can ruin it (in some cases improve it, but usually there’s at least one to spoil the broth and I’m also a strong introvert). On the other hand, I haven’t been very diligent about completing the Craftsy classes I’ve signed up for (painting classes, so maybe that’s the problem, as it’s tough to be inspired by someone else painting versus being in a studio or in nature; I do do very well in an art studio environment though). Maybe I just don’t have the discipline for most taught learning! Ha!

  4. DementedFairy

    I like Craftsy course [although I still have several to finish…] I like my own pace, not being held back by someone that didn’t get it [selfish, yep]. The knack is to pop the ones you fancy into your shopping cart, then leave it. After a while, they panic, and offer a discount. Also make sure you get their emails for the flash sales. Some courses then come in very very cheap indeed…

  5. Linda M

    i wish I could attend sewing classes but there are none in our area, therefore too much travel and time is involved. I have taken many Craftsy courses and the majority of them are good. Sometimes I don’t care for the instructor’s presentation or the substance of the class was not what I thought it would be. Most of them I have really enjoyed though. Thanks for your review of this one. I’ll have to keep it on my list!

  6. Anne

    I started learning from Craftsy classes and books before I found any direct classes. I do like the on line classes and books as I can refer to them when I want. I agree with Mrs Mole – and it can be frustrating when others are getting help and you’re not – that’s down to class size. However, I find a direct class very useful and once I have seen or tried something, I find that cements it better. There are a couple of things I couldn’t understand from books that were well explained at the right level for me in class.
    Good luck with your draping class. My pattern cutting starts again next week; I’m really looking forward to it.

  7. Susie

    Clearly, a private tutor who sits with me and tells me when I’m wrong would be ideal. However, I assume that would be out of my price range. I would like to take a college-level sewing or tailoring course, but I am in an area where I don’t think that is feasible, either. I have been very entertained by Craftsy — almost to entertained — I imposed a ban on on it, when I realized I would rather watch than sew! I do they think are well edited and focus on important points, and would recommend them highly (Burdastyle, no). Most of them have taught me few new tricks, but have helped spur on my confidence.

  8. Kim Hood

    I have bought a number of Craftsy classes whilst on sale. Some have been excellent, though others have been more basic than expected. In almost all cases I have learned something new and useful, or discovered a new tool/gizmo that I couldn’t do without (Frixion pens are a perfect example). I didn’t realise that Burda courses were a ‘once only’ watch. Makes Craftsy much more appealing.

    • Anne

      Yes, I hadn’t realised either that Burda classes were a one time only watch. I’ve watched one of the Craftsy classes in particular several times.

      • fabrickated

        Well maybe it was just the one I bought! But I agree going over the classes is good, and it means you can have them on in the background if you are doing something else. Like sewing.

  9. Alli

    Oh neat, for some reason, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to look to Craftsy for such specialized sewing information. I’m glad that you found that this one was good!

    I haven’t taken many in-person classes, but I think I prefer them over video courses. I’ve bought a couple of Craftsy classes and haven’t finished any of them because I get sleepy during info dumps with no hands-on practice. (I always watch them away from home because if I’m at home, I’d rather be sewing! hehehe) Also, even if there are problem students in physical classes, at least they’re entertaining! 😀

  10. Mary Funt

    I bought the Craftsy class mostly to see what information would be presented. It’s a good basic course if you don’t have much experience in working with lace. Like Kate mentioned, I wish the instructor had explored more hand work and working with higher end laces. It looked like she was using very inexpensive goods and the results showed. I have purchased other Craftsy classes. The most valuable were those taught by Suzy Furer covering moulage drafting. Craftsy has frequent sales and I always wait and get classes when they go on sale. I purchased one Burda class and thought it was a total waste.

  11. Hila

    I have come to love Craftsy classes and have bought quite a few. I am quite demanding of my money though in that I have returned classes that did not deliver. Online classes work best for me because time is such a prenium for me and like most other comments I dislike being slowed down by someone else not getting it… I am terrible like that. I really like that I can ask questions and get advice from them instructors who tend to be experts in their fields. I am not sure I would pay more for a physical class when there is something like Craftsy i can watch at any time.

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