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Class Reviews > Craftsy--Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric

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Posted by: Sharp

About Sharp star
Member since: 8/18/06
Reviews: 25 (classes: 7)
Skill level:Intermediate
Favored by: 2 people
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Posted on: 2/25/13 6:42 PM
Rating: starstarstar
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 22 people   
Web site/URL: photo
This Craftsy class is entitled Hand-embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Applique, Beading and Embroidery. Quite the mouthful, isn't it? :) The regular price is $49.99 and includes the project pattern.

As with all of Craftsy's classes this is an online video course with instructor interaction. The quality of video and sound is very good (I watch my classes in Google Chrome instead of IE or Foxfire.) For those not familiar with Craftsy, these are permanent classes once you sign up, so you can view them over and over, whenever you want. You can ask questions or post photos for critique and the instructor will help you out. You can leave yourself notes, have discussions, post projects, rewatch 30 second clips if you just missed something or want to rewatch a technique while in the middle of viewing a lesson, and there are downloads for necessary class information and resources. All in all, a well thought out format.

Now to this particular class.

First off this class is taught by Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin (for many of you, enough said--just go sign up). For those not familiar with Natalie and her company go to and be ready to be inspired and amazed (there will probably be drooling involved). Then go look at their workshop offerings--you'll probably choke a bit on the prices, but I'm sure they're worth every penny....I just will probably never have enough pennies. Needless to say, when this class was listed I signed up the day of and it is so worth it!

The class uses a Vogue Donna Karen jacket/coat pattern (#1263)for the project, but really you could just use the techniques to make something else if the jacket didn't appeal to you. In fact, you'll probably start thinking of many projects after viewing this class. (I've already got some t-shirt embellishing planned.) You'll also need medium weight cotton jersey, button craft thread, embroidery floss, createx paint and if wanted some beads for embellishments, if you intend to make this coat. Alabama Chanin has class kits that you can buy off their site, as well as, a discount code if you want to pick your own colors instead. You could also pick up supplies at local fabric stores if they carry such. As the code is a one time use thing, I'll probably pick up something locally to try the techniques on prior to ordering the good stuff (aka expensive) from Chanin.

Lessons include how to work with the knit fabric, tips on hand sewing (yes, you will be handsewing this garment in true Alabama Chanin fashion), laying out the pattern, stenciling, how to correctly work various hand sewing and embroidery stitches, the reverse applique process and some options, how to attach applique elements, beads and sequins for additional embellishment, constructing the coat including finishing details and a short section on repairing small holes in your jersey fabric should that ever occur.

Natalie is very pleasant (and very comfortable in front of the camera) and is so kind in answering questions (and I asked several and will probably ask even more as I actually make the coat). She clearly demonstrates each technique so that you can both see and hear her explanations for how to do something (she doesn't go too fast either so you don't have to keep rewatching it just to see it happen). I also really loved how she explained why certain tips and techniques were done the way they were and why things worked liked they did such as why the stitches and knots are larger than regular handwork usually is and why you "love your thread", etc. Maybe its just the little nerd in me coming out, but I love hearing scientific and historical explanations for things that I'm doing (I'm always wondering "why") and Natalie tells them in an engaging manner so you aren't bored. She definitely has a gift for teaching and I can imagine that her workshops are a blast to attend.

This is not a class where you take it and then think "oh, that's neat" but then never touch it again or maybe use it once. This is a class with many possible applications to future projects from home decor to all sorts of beautiful clothing. I could see having fun with a quick project of a little reverse applique on a portion of a t-shirt or something more involved like a new dress. I like the jacket and will be making up an un-embellished version to test for fit (it'll be my kickin' around the house version) before constructing the fully embellished version. I definitely plan to add beads and maybe some sequins too. The great thing about a hand stitching project is that I can take it with me, work on it outside in the summer sitting under the apple tree, or even while watching some tv.

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PureJoy said... (3/15/14 1:04 AM) Reply
I was able to find 100% cotton jersey at Mood in LA. L They have a huge assortment of jerseys and it was tedious looking at all the tags, but I found what I wanted, even one that was organic, which I didn't expect. I've finished a top w a peplum and it was a blast to make. Sitting on an airplane or while watching TV; I'm amazed how fun and relaxing this was. Be careful as most cotton jerseys available have Lycra. Nearly impossible to find until I found Mood. they will ship too
Fewofakind said... (10/27/13 1:33 PM) Reply
I loved this class and it got me going on actually making something using the techniques, instead of just flipping through the books as eye candy. One quibble, tho. If you actually want to sew along, it's going to be pricey. Medium weight all cotton jersey is tough to find--looked for black at Joanne's, Vogue Fabrics (just around the corner from me) and Mood on-line. Nada. I'm sure the AC fabric is great but I just can't wrap my mind around the price for it.
Lynn67 said... (9/27/13 10:42 PM) Reply
Excellent review and totally agree with everything - Natalie is fantastic. I've watched the class twice now and am thinking of a dress. I love how the platform lets everyone post pictures so you can get more ideas than just the Vogue coat.
Sakura58 said... (3/7/13 10:50 AM) Reply
What a great review! Now I want to buy this class just to experience the teachings of Natalie Chanin. Thank you!
Nancy K said... (3/6/13 11:48 AM) Reply
I haven't bought this one yet, not being a very embellishment kind of dresser but your review makes me want to sign up for it. Thanks for a very good and detailed review.
babycole64 said... (2/27/13 2:56 AM) Reply
Thanks for the great detail. I've had my eye on this class too, and checked out her website. I'll be signing up!
kv said... (2/26/13 7:54 PM) Reply
I signed up & am waiting for my pattern to come. I have visions of strangers bowing down to me in this coat...........
SandiMacD said... (2/26/13 4:15 AM) Reply
I just took a workshop from Phyllis Dobbs in fabruc embellishment. I have never done anything like thar- a whole world opened up! I may have to sign up for another Craftsy Class now!
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