Where have all the students gone?

Are in-person sewing classes going the way of the Dodo?  And if you are asking, “What’s a Dodo?” then you actually have the idea.  There are a tremendous number of learning opportunities online, from blogs, to webinars, to videos, to vlogs, to online sewing education providers… I think it’s marvelous.  I love the fact that I can sit down at my computer at any time of day or night and take a class on just about any sewing subject, often for a reasonable sum.

But the key words for me there are “at my computer.” My computer cannot look at terrible thread nest that just occurred at my sewing machine at 2am and help me figure out

a) how to fix it

and

b) how to avoid it happening again.

If I want to really improve my skills both rapidly and to an exceptional degree, there are three things I require. First, I need to learn the skill; second, I need to practice the skill; and third, I need feedback on my skill.  Computers, books, and teachers can all give me the first two, but the last one can only be found with a local human teacher.  Yes, it’s true that I do not need feedback on every skill I learn – many are relatively simple to learn by myself – but there are skills and troubleshooting that are much more efficient and effective when another experienced teacher can look at your work and help you out.

And what about our social needs?  I don’t know about you, but I find my interactions with friends decreasing each year.  I feel I don’t have time, and even when I find time, my friends don’t have time to get together.  But a sewing class allows you to get together with other like-minded people and enjoy your hobby together.  Awesome!

Although I love the online community and opportunities for learning, I am sad to see the decline in the number of students taking sewing classes in local dealerships and fabric shops. Is this really what we want? No more quilting bees? No more touching fabrics and looking closely at another person’s excellently sewn hem in order to learn from her (him)?

I’d love to hear your opinion. What do you look for in a sewing class?  Do you ever take in-person classes in your community?  Do you learn exclusively online?  How important is it to you to develop your skills to a high standard?  Do you just want to complete the project? What kinds of classes draw your attention?

I wish you a very beautiful new year full of sewing opportunities of all shapes, sizes, textures, and techniques!

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Craftsy: A great opportunity for excellent online learning

Read below to find out how to sign up for a free class!
What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.

Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Craftsy Class
Before filming even begins, hours and hours are spent determining what content will be covered in each class, and how to best teach specific techniques to the camera. Instructors work with an instructional designer to create an in-depth outline of each lesson, and decide how to best prepare props or “step-outs” that show what your project should like at different steps. Instead of a scripted class, instructors follow their outlines on camera to create an authentic and engaging teaching experience.

Most Craftsy classes are filmed in one of five Craftsy studios in Denver, CO, assuring that every part of the production process goes off without a hitch. They fly in instructors from all over the world to spend several days filming, then spend several weeks turning hours of footage into a two to three hour class experience that has been watched, rewatched, and reviewed by industry experts. The final result is an HD-quality video that takes you in-depth into specific topics in any given craft category- from cooking and fine art to sewing and knitting.

What IS the Craftsy experience?
Craftsy classes are designed to have all the benefits of an in-person class, with none of the drawbacks. Available online and on-demand, you always have world-class instructors at the tip of your fingers. You can retake the class as many times as you want, and the 30-second repeat feature allows you to watch the same section over and over again until you get every technique just right.

Watching a Craftsy class is like having a first-row seat with some of the best instructors in the world. Even better, classes have a 100% money-back guarantee.

Try online learning today with a free mini-class from Craftsy! Choose from 23 Free Craftsy Classes ranging from drawing and painting to sewing and quilting, from knitting to cake decorating and more.

Sewing and crafting classes online

Have you heard about Craftsy? If not, be sure to read on. If you have, I hope you’ve had a chance to take one of their wonderful, reasonably priced courses, especially since once you buy a course, you can watch the videos as many times as you want over any time frame. Learn in the comfort of your own home at your own speed. Not only that, but they have free classes you can download to try before you buy.  They also have apps for your tablets and handheld devices so you can learn anywhere.

My favorite way to watch video courses is to watch them all the way through first, then go to my sewing machine and try things out, referencing the video along the way. You may have a different style, which is why these courses are so wonderful; they fit everyone’s learning style in some fashion.

The downside to independent learning, of course, is the lack of social interaction, either with your fellow classmates or with a teacher from whom you would like feedback on that seam you just sewed. Craftsy and YouTube and other sites like this will never completely replace the classes offered by qualified teachers at your local dealerships and sewing machine shops, but they sure expand the range of who can learn and when, making them a fabulous resource!

Go ahead, jump in! The water’s fine! Sewing, cake decorating, knitting, and on and on and on…

Here is what Craftsy has to say about itself:

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.

Why should I take a class online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities anymore. Craftsy courses provide you the convenience of a world-class instructor in your home, whenever you want to learn. Online education, no matter what subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons.

With many online learning opportunities being on-demand, you are able to learn at your own pace, anytime. Online learning is a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty leaving the house. It also allows you to watch a troubling section over-and-over again, so you can see exactly how a technique is carried out, or refer back to your class for relevant concepts before beginning any new projects.

Hand Smocked Dress

My granddaughter finally grew into the dress I smocked for her when she was born, as I described in this post. I used a pre-pleated dress from Martha Pullen Company, which I hand-smocked and embellished the hem.

I think she really enhances the dress, but then again, I couldn’t be biased, could I?

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Favorite sewing projects

I have been thinking about designing a nice beginner – intermediate project for those of you reading and following my blog, as a thank you, but I am having a terrible time deciding what type of project would be best. I do know I would like to include a serger component, and my preference would be to incorporate machine embroidery as well, but sometimes I know I get carried away and try to include every technique I know into the same project. Does anyone else have that problem?

So, with that in mind, I have created this poll and I would greatly appreciate your input on what I should do, at at least what I should do FIRST. I do hope to create more projects as we go along.

Since I am still recovering from my horseback riding accident, mentioned in a previous post, the project itself won’t start for at least a week, so there’s plenty of time for your input.

You can choose more than one option, but if I left off your favorite idea, please leave it for me in a comment. Thanks! I am excited to see the poll results.

Fabric Storage Tutorial

I definitely need to get a handle on my fabric stash.  I recently started working on it and really liked a folding technique that I had heard about somewhere, although I don’t remember where.  It really saves on space and helps you be able to see all of your fabrics, up to about 4 yards.  My pieces that were longer than 4 yards I wrapped back on cardboard bolts.  For the medium to small pieces I first laid them on the table folded in half lengthwise.

  From there I folded the fabric again lengthwise in thirds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
I then took my 8.5″ rotary ruler, although a 6″ ruler would work equally well, and started wrapping the fabric around the ruler by rolling the ruler down the fabric.
After the first couple of wraps, I would tighten the fabric by sliding the ruler sideways back toward where I’d started wrapping.

When I reached the end of the folded fabric strip, I slid the ruler out and had a nicely wrapped piece of fabric.

 

I found that these fit beautifully in a low 7″ deep plastic box.

 

 

 

I can see my fabrics and when I take them out, they are nicely folded.  I found that this really did not take much time for each piece of fabric, making this method of storage very manageable.  You just do a bit at a time, and suddenly you have a whole lot of fabric you can see and use again.

 

What methods do you use to sort and use your fabric?

 

 

 

 

 

Kindle book update available

If you purchased the Kindle book Poppy Serger and Sewing Machine Cover when it first came out, the update is now available.  Go to Manage Your Kindle, find the book, and Update is one of the choices under the Actions menu.  Thank you for your support.

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