If there is one thing this crafting journey has shown me, it is that I am a theory person. I like to read up thoroughly before I dive in to something. Encountering challenges I don’t feel I have properly prepared for tends to lead to panic and/or a self-critical downward spiral of drama and doom. Just ask my driving instructor (sigh, will I ever pass the bloody thing??) Anyhoo, luckily when it comes to sewing and other crafts, the internet is a goldmine of resources for theory-lovers like me.
Craftsy is a great example – a huge and ever-growing collection of distance learning courses for the craft enthusiast, each one designed by an expert in their field. Craftsy courses usually include a series of video tutorials plus a range of support materials, practice exercises and an interactive community where you can share experiences and ask questions. I’ve signed up for a couple of courses, to specifically target sewing skills I want to improve:
1. Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper, with Suzy Furrer
What? In this course you learn to properly measure yourself and then use those measurements to create a “moulage” (think perfectly-fitting, skintight you-suit) and a “sloper” (think perfectly-fitting but slightly less skintight you-suit, more like something you could wear).
Why? I’ve worn the last project I made a few times now and although I was initially happy with the fit, I’ve been noticing a few issues. Firstly the neckline gapes. This kinda goes away if I tug the sleeves out but within a few minutes it’s back. Secondly there are creases around my lower back area I just can’t explain. The bodice seemed fine when I tried it on, and feels comfy to wear. But when I took photos of the finished item I was horrified to see a whole bunch of wrinkles back there. I can live with both of these issues, and the dress will definitely get a lot of wear notwithstanding. But at the same time, isn’t the whole joy of sewing your own clothes to get items which fit you beautifully?? Some initial internet research has indicated that I may have a “hollow chest” and/or a “sway back”, which need adjusting for. This is in addition to the lengthened body and FBA issues I already knew about (it would seem I am oddly shaped in all kinds of ways). Now, having just discovered the exciting world of indie pattern companies I am not at all ready to give them up/start drafting my wardrobe (although having a go might be fun). BUT I’m hoping that this course will help me to become more aware of how my body differs from the standard used by pattern companies, adjust patterns with more confidence and ultimately get better fitting results.
2. Start Free-Motion Quilting with Elizabeth Dackson
What? A straightforward, start-from-the-beginning guide to free-motion quilting.
Why? I have had a go at free-motion quilting and I like it, but I’m not very good. My stitch length tend to be a little irregular, I can only do the one pattern (a basic swirly stipple) and my attempts at writing have turned out a little bit, well, nursery school. I’m hoping that this course will help me troubleshoot some of my issues, improve the quality of what I can already do and teach me a whole bunch of new skills and tricks.
3. Mastering Zipper Techniques with Sunni Standing
What? A mini course on how to properly insert slot seam, invisible and lapped zips. This one is a FREEBIE too!!
Why? Zips are not my friend. Bumps at the end, misaligned seams, mismatched tops etc. Whenever I see “zip” on a pattern my heart sinks a little. And I have never even attempted an invisible or lapped zip. I’m hoping this course will help me to get over my zip phobia and move onto bigger and better (zipped) projects.
There are SO many more Craftsy courses I’d like to sign up for, but I’m limiting myself to just these three for now. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on with them.