Tuesday, June 7, 2011

10+ tips to succeed in an online sewing class

Now, I have to confess – I took the Little Black Dress class before. I had three different fabrics from my stash to choose from and the same number of patterns, and… it didn’t work, I just could not decide which pattern to choose and so on.. than my daughter got sick, then I got sick, then I started a different project, and then the class was over.

So this time, I knew I need to change my attitude, be focused and organized and make it work! I also drafted a set of rules I will try to follow for the duration of the class and after it. Here they are! Maybe, dear readers, you will benefit from those as well (I hope so!)

before the class…

  • Make the class your main sewing priority! There should be no other significant projects or deadlines that could interfere with your learning process.
  • Set a timeline with significant dates and milestones and make it easily accessible.
  • Organize course materials – save them on your computer, online or mobile devices out for easy reference (try to be environmentally conscious and reduce printing to a minimum)
  • Shop and prepare all necessary supplies well in advance – you won’t have to stop the project because you are missing a zipper, do not have sufficient fabric or require special sewing needles for your project.
  • If the class covers the process of making a garment, choose a pattern and fabric and try not to change your mind when the course starts.
  • Post any pre-class questions on the class board early enough so you don’t have to wait for a last minute answer.

during the class…

  • Become an active member of the class - participate in class discussions and chats
  • Start a binder for samples of techniques or fabric swatches you tried out for the first time in this class. Add sheets for your notes and keep the binder for the future reference
  • Carefully read other participant’s comments and posts to learn from their experience and challenges, ask them questions if something is unclear
  • Take work-in-progress images and upload them to a dedicated album on the web, a CD-Rom or your hard drive.
  • To maximise your learning, do post questions about the project on other sewing forums to find different solutions to one problem

after the class

  • Harness the power of social media and share your experience on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or other forums – you will be surprised what an interesting exchange of ideas and resources it will most likely trigger
  • If possible, stay in touch with your classmates, check their blogs and follow them on twitter – their future work may provide inspiration to yourself, and you will know whom to ask if you need some advice or help with something. Also, chances are, your classmates worked on slightly different projects during the class (different fabric choices, different hem treatment, different sewing techniques) – you may end up sewing a project similar to theirs and will know where to look for information.

A tip for iPhone, iPad owners:

Save the pdfs from the class on Google Docs and install Adobe Reader Pro app on your mobile device. This great application allows you to download PDF documents from Google Docs and view them on your iPhone, or iPad. I often read my course materials while commuting  to work.


  1. i never took an online course. i guess it's time for a change. the passion that you put in it really stand out to make me want to try! thanks for the tips!

  2. I've never taken an online class. Maybe I should. You have given some really good tips/advice to consider. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Where are some good places to take an online sewing course?

  4. Hi Meri, I take online classes on Patternreview.com. I like their format, which combines PDF lessons, message board and multi-party chats. Some even offer video tutorials as well. In addition, students can upload images of their work-in-progress for critiques. I am sure there are more classes available on the web, but all I found so far was video tutorials, which are, unfortunately not so interactive. I lust like learning in a group and getting feedback.

  5. Thank you, I am going to try one, love your blog. I really feel like I am learning and being inspired!

  6. The couture dress class on craftsy.com is incredible. Look on Frabjous Couture for the 50% off link.



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