Saturday, November 29, 2014

Top 5 Craftsy class picks for up to $19 during Black Friday Sale

I try not to write too many Craftsy promotion posts, but this is the sale you can't miss. It's the Black Friday Sale, readers, and it lasts only until Monday! The sale I was waiting for myself to purchase a few new classes for less than a half of the initial price.

It seems only a few sewing classes were added since in the past three months. However, those few classes that were added are really good. Here are my picks:

Fitting Essentials: Customize Your Dress Form with Judy Jackson

This is probably the class that everyone was waiting for. It starts with choosing correct dress form, comparing different options available on the market, as well choosing the right size.

This class addresses many aspects of fitting that lack in other classes. Take measuring for example. Judy Jackson takes depth measurements that are crucial for proper dimensions of the final dress form. I use depth dimensions when drafting my patterns a lot, but it is the first time I see someone use it on Craftsy or in any other instruction format.

Two lessons are dedicated to the dress cover, choosing appropriate fabric, altering the pattern, cutting and fitting. Judy goes into detail about padding as well. She discusses the process for all dress form types: studio, adjustable and the foam. In the final lesson, the padded dress form is compared to the model and finishing touches are added to the cover.

It is a very good class definitely worth taking if you don't have a professional who can help you create your dress form.

Creating Any Size: Pattern Grading for Sewers with Kathleen Cheetham

How often do we stumble upon adorable vintage patterns, which are unfortunately not available in our size? Happened to me a lot. Luckily though, there is now a Craftsy course that teaches you how to grade patterns, that is create replica of a garment that is in exact proportion to the original.

Grading is a discipline of it's own, and this class is only an introduction to grading. Don't expect wonders, but it will help you understand the basic principles and grade up or down simple patterns.

The technique which Kathleen Cheetham is using for the class is cut and spread technique, and it is a foundation for advance grading. Suggested reading in class materials helps find resources that will advance your grading skills.

The presentation of grading techniques starts with multi-size patterns. Kathleen works with a bodice pattern in size range 14-24 and grades it down to size 12. The next project is a multi-size pattern for pants, which are graded two sizes up. She demonstrates how to grade crotch, fly and darts, as well as pocket and waistband.  

Single-size pattern grading is demonstrated on a skirt, which is graded up two sizes using slash and spread technique.

In the following lesson a single-size blouse is graded down one size. There is more detail in this style than in previous projects shown in the class. The blouse has more darts in bust, torso and shoulder area. Kathleen shows how to true seams and match notches, as well as how to grade facings and a collar.

Final lesson is dedicated to sleeve grading, and pattern stacking, which is a way to check if the patterns were graded correctly.

Overall, it is a great foundation class that is worth taking if you want to get acquainted with basic grading techniques, grade simple projects and, at some point, learn more about it.

Sew Better Bags: the Weekend Duffel with Betz White

I am not a bag sewer, but a nice duffel bag is something I have been looking for for a while. I like the design, with the only thing I'd potentially change is go for wider straps and use a different material, maybe adding leather for contrast details. The pattern is available for download from the class page. The class itself is very thorough without being too overwhelming.  By the way, Betz White also teaches two other classes Fab Felt Holiday Crafts and Project Upcycle, but those were rather weak in comparison.

Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know with Sally Melville

If you don't like knitting ignore this class. I finally picked a knitting essentials class as I can hold knitting needles again, yay. I stopped knitting eight years ago, when my first daughter was born and I got arthritis. As much as enjoyed knitting before I could not do it anymore because of the constant nagging pain. Sewing was somewhat easier in comparison, because there is no continuous strain to joints - I could take breaks from hand sewing. Now, in Cyprus, by some miracle, or because of climate change, the pain almost disappeared... What a difference it makes... In any case I am back to knitting and I am very excited about it.

As for the class, it covers gauge making, casting on, bind offs, selvages and tails, increases and decreases, seaming, picking up and knitting. Shortly, all the essential elements for a successful knitting project.  For me, it's what I was lacking in my knitting. I can knit all the intricate patterns, but I was usually off the size, the seaming was rather rough, and adding necklines by picking up and knitting didn't look good at all. With only a few lessons from this class I feel my knitting is already improving a lot and I can start making more fitted projects.

Miniature French Deserts: Macarons, Madeleines and More with Colette Christian.

Reviewing a baking class on a couture blog is probably not something you would expect. But, readers, macarons are extremely good for your sewing moral, so go sign up for it!

Two lessons are dedicated to macarons, starting with a 'basic french macaron' and, then, customizing macarons and filling them...

I bought this class for Macarons, but the true discovery were the amazing Lemon Tartlets.  Colette teaches how to make a sweet tart dough, tasty lemon curd, Italian merengue and then shows how to caramelize the merengue. This is such a yummy treat, readers, I will be making those tartlets over and over again. Besides, I have to use up lemons I regularly get from our neighbour's lemon grove.

You will also learn how to make Mocha and Citrus Madeleines and, finally, a Classic opera Cake. I haven't tried making it yet - I have never tried it actually - so there is very little I can say about it, except that the lessons cover in detail everything you need to know to create this elaborate cake.

That was it.  I hope this review will be helpful for those of you who were considering purchasing these classes. For the previous sale favorites, check out my posts from September and August.


  1. Thanks for the heads-up re. the sale. I need the pattern grading course.. :)

  2. Thanks for posting, I've signed up for a few of the sewing classes, I'm resisting the macaron class as it's entirely too risky for my waistline!

  3. I have just bought 2 classes but you have made me think I need the dress form one too!

  4. Thank you for bringing these to my attention. I've just purchased two and bookmarked two more if I like the style of learning. Can't wait for the Christmas break to tuck into them!

  5. You are an enabler! I trust your judgement so I signed up for the fit your dress form class. Just what I needed.

  6. I bought three classes in this most recent sale, including the embroidery class you recommended not long ago, and I'm looking forward to working my way through them.

  7. The duffel bag looks awesome!

  8. Very nice blog :)

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