|This class has been insanely popular and the talk of all the sewing blogs since Gretchen rolled it out a couple months ago. I can't believe no one has reviewed it here yet.
This is the first sewing class I've taken since high school Home Ec 35 years ago, and now I am utterly spoiled. This class is fantastic!
Gretchen, a well-known blogger and talented sewist with an interest in couture techniques, teaches how to create a 50's-style bombshell dress, aka the Shaheen Dream style. This is a strapless, form-fitting dress with a boned bustier top and wrap sarong-style skirt. The pattern used is from Burda (included in the cost of the course) but many other pattern suggestions are offered.
The course is made up of 15 video lessons. In addition to some basics that not all of us actually know about, like cutting out patterns that don't have seam allowances, many intermediate and advanced construction techniques are covered in this one project, in particular some features you would expect to find in a true vintage garment. I was surprised how much I learned: bodice fitting with a muslin, thread tracing, underlining, attachment of steel boning (it's actually very simple!), seam finishes, lapped zipper, hem finishes.
I never expected to have a wearable dress from the class, I was mostly looking for some instruction and perhaps inspiration. I mean, I'm a bit past the age for wearing sleeveless even, so there was no way I was going to go strapless. But this dress I've created by following the course is beautiful, fits me perfectly, and is nicely finished with all those lovely vintage features. So yes, I will wear it (with a little bitty bolero over the arms!)
Presentation/Presenter: I can not imagine a better teacher than Gretchen. Her instructions are succinct, accurate, and easy to follow. Each step is demonstrated with the garment she is working on or on a finished garment of the same style. Plenty of closeups of work at the machine help to illustrate exactly how to control the fabric. But the best part is Gretchen herself, who while explaining complex concepts remains down-to-earth, friendly, and funny. She even has little uh-oh moments which are quite humorous and serve as further instruction for the viewer.
The Craftsy administrators and Gretchen monitor the discussion board and respond quickly to questions and comments. And the discussion pages now contain all of the Q&A from previous students so it's likely you'll find the answers to most questions already posted there.
Platform: Craftsy is an interactive online platform with video lessons, downloadable pdf materials, and live course discussions. There are other courses available but I have not looked into them yet. I found Craftsy very easy to use from the initial registration right through to the end of the lessons. Ocassionally there was a delay between my posting a comment or photo - probably administrators reviewing it - and I couldn't tell whether it had been uploaded. That was my only very minor complaint about the entire experience.
Cost: Full price is $59, but Craftsy is usually running a special for $30 or $35 and many sewing blogs offer a discount code.
Summary: Take this class, you will love it!