Pattern making with Shannon Gifford is excellent. This class was my first attempt at understanding how a pattern went together and how to begin from "scratch". The lessons were so complete I rarely had a question to post on the boards. Most of my comments were only make sure I was on the right track. Shannon includes little mini slopers to play with. I had an absolute blast cutting the little slopers out and rotating the darts and seeing the magic that would happen with them. But I won't give to much away in case someone wants to see the ending. :-)
The information in this class is not only useful for creating your own patterns but also for altering exisiting ones. I do admit that given this is my first introduction to pattern making and I haven't gotten the concepts in my hands and brain fully the very cool exercises of looking at a constructed garment and being able to guess at how the pattern it was made escaped me a bit. I was very impressed with my classmates though and their responses. After reading them I understood a bit better how the designer achieved the effects of the garments the class was discussing.
My only suggestion is that a person have a bit of sewing experience under thier belt before jumping into pattern making. I love that I am starting to build this skill in my sewing education but can see that if I were a very new sewist this class would be frustrating and discouraging. Though there are many, many illustrations to go with the lessons there is nothing like knowing first hand why those little marks and triangles are on a pattern and how to manipulate them just a bit before joining the fun that is Pattern Making.
Oh and I almost forgot the best part. Ms. Grifford is extremely encouraging and knowledgable. She has taken a potentially difficult subject and made it approachable and easy to learn. I have looked through her other classes to see what else I can take from her, just becuase I enjoyed her as an instructor so much. I was thoroughly impressed with her kindness, encouragment and cheeriness.