| This is an update to the review of the "Ease Makes it Fit!" class of mysewingclasses.com, hosted on seeitsewit.com. 6/20/06
I wrote my initial review about 2/3 of the way through the multiweek class. At the time I still hoped the content would improve as we got to the more advanced lessons. It didn't. The technical issues recurred, and seem to be perennial, if the personal messages I have received from other students are any indication. Though they say that they are working on the technical problems.
I want to "say something nice" and it is a little difficult. I would be saying that they truly want students to be happy, or they wouldn't offer the money-back guarantee. Except, so far I have tried in vain through email, phone, and PM, to even get a response to my inquiries. (Edit July 13, 2006-- I've given up on getting my money back. The new refund policies are more restrictive, and I truly wish they had not been so liberal before. I wouldn't have taken this class and wasted my time. I've decided that if I combine the class material and the free material I have benefitted from I will call it close enough to even to surrender. I need to move on. I wouldn't blackball this site, but I personally will never use it again.)
The advice I would give to those looking to take classes on this site is that there is probably a much greater chance of a good experience if you are taking a class that has hands-on work involved. If on Mon-Wed-Fri you are told to modify a design and sew it up, then you'll be busy and learning all week. You would be able to post pictures and discuss results with other students, all adding to the experience. In the case of a more theoretical course like this, the pace is so slow as to be torture, and the "discussions" don't include interactions with the teacher. There were probably two dozen students who never posted anything, except at the beginning when they introduced themselves and talked about their hopes for the class. (Unmet, IMO.) It is still true that Heather is a good writer, and an expert in sewing.
The few exercises that could have been valuable really required something you might not have - a closet of clothes that fit you well, in different styles and fabrics, from which to chart your preferences. There were no suggestions on how to improvise if you don't have this. Maybe it could have been listed as a prerequisite!
I did pipe up with my frustration, expressing that I had hoped I'd be learning to fine-tune the fit of clothes regarding ease. I was told that EVERY lesson had to do with fit, but that we weren't really studying specific garments. I think this is exactly what was wrong. It is in the specifics that the problems arise. What a waste. Fortunately, I'm taking a much better class here on PatternReview. It's restoring my joy.
Here is the original review dated 4/25/06
I'm a little reluctant to write a negative review, especially on a class from someone I have admired so much. Heather Claus is very skilled, a good writer, and very generous with her knowledge. The free classes offered on her website are great. Yet this class on ease is not at all what I expected. I can't bring myself to give this a thumbs down, but what a disappointment. This was my first paid class at this website. I've taken well over a dozen paid online courses, and before this, I had only encountered one dud.
What are my beefs? Some are merely technical and can be fixed: unreliable website, slow loading, etc. And the feeling nobody is monitoring the forums, as questions go unanswered. A bigger problem is with the pace and content. There are 26 "lessons." Three times a week they post a single page (or two) of material that is just not special and not nearly enough content to feel you're gaining knowledge. The discussion questions don't foster much interaction. How many times would you be willing to read a tiny amount of material that literally insults your intelligence, and then answer, in writing, "What is your experience with this?" I feel like I'm in fourth grade, with a lazy teacher who keeps leaving the room.
Now, the class isn't over yet, but we're more than a month into it. Anyone who would be motivated to pay for a course specifically on ease should have known this stuff before. Utterly bored with the basics, I'd been very anxious to see the most recent lessons - when we finally get to the practical stuff. Then they finally were posted, and I was again shocked at how limited the information was that they contained. I thought I'd be learning how to adjust my patterns' ease, relating to fit. This has never even been touched, and we are at lesson 16.