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Class Reviews > Pant Construction Techniques, Sandra Betzina, Craftsy

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Posted by: mportuesisf

About mportuesisf star
CA United States
Member since: 1/8/12
Reviews: 7 (classes: 3)
Skill level:Intermediate
Favored by: 5 people
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Posted on: 7/28/13 0:45 AM
Rating: star
Review Rating: Helpful by 7 people   Very Helpful by 42 people   
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In "Pant Construction Techniques" Sandra Betzina shows you how to make a pair of pants. Fitting isn't really covered, but there's a companion course, "Pant Fitting Techniques" that deals with that subject.

The course comes with a pattern from Sandra Betzina's "Today's Fit" line for Vogue Patterns. Since I'm a man who sews menswear, the pattern wasn't useful to me. (If you'd like my copy, PM me).

Betzina demonstrates lots of different pants styles, and tells you what pattern you can buy to make them. She shows you how to choose a pattern from the major pattern companies based off your measurements, though this advice is specific to women. I'll stop harping on this point now - suffice it to say this course is about making pants for women, and doesn't make any allowances for menswear.

The bulk of the course covers the techniques necessary for two different styles of pant - one has an invisible zipper along the center back, the other has a fly front zipper opening.

Betzina covers topics such as installing the invisible zipper and fly front openings. She also shows you how to make front pockets with pocket bags, attach waistbands, finish seams with the hong kong finish, do invisible hems, and install closures.

Also specific to women's wear, she shows how to line your pants, install the lining, then hem the linings and attach them.

But there's some really notable omissions. Welt pockets aren't covered at all. (For that, I really recommend Janet Pray's "Sew Better, Sew Faster" also on Craftsy. Check out my review). Side pleats as a style option are presented, but she doesn't actually show how to make pleated pants. Cuffs as found in men's pants aren't discussed. There's also no discussion of belt loops and how to attach them.

But my real objection with this class is that I simply don't like Sandra Betzina as a teacher. She comes off as scatterbrained, always taking off on tangents, making parenthetical comments along the way. She often doesn't finish sentences, leading you to wonder what she was going to say.

In the section on hems, she did a demonstration hem. Then she said, "Oh this isn't the way I normally do it", took off on a tangent, and never came back to show what she DOES do! She also dashed through some things really quickly without slowing down and providing proper explanation.

Another frustration is that in places, Betzina would only halfway execute some steps in the interest of saving time. But she never completed the work off-camera, as in other Craftsy classes, so we don't get an idea of what the finished product would actually be like.

In other cases, Betzina makes mistakes and just presses on because it would be too costly to go back and fix them. In the section on waistbands, for instance, she widened the hips on the pattern but forgot to make the same pattern alteration to the waistband pieces. She didn't realize the mistake until she actually started sewing the pieces together. Instead of showing viewers how to fix the problem, she just tells them to ignore the mistake and pretend it isn't there. In an instructional setting, people can get confused by this sort of thing.

(By contrast, in the excellent Craftsy class "The Custom Tailored Shirt", instructor Pam Howard makes a point of fixing mistakes on camera, both as an instructional opportunity and also as a way to reassure students that even the best make mistakes, and mistakes are fixable).

Betzina herself says she is not a perfectionist, but I found her sewing technique somewhat slapdash and sloppy. She gets some things - like accurate seam allowances - correct, no doubt because she has so much experience. But other things she does are done in a really sloppy way. At one point, she was showing how to do the "burrito technique" to get a waistband set up for turning and closing. For several minutes, all we saw was a big mush of fraying fabric being squished around on camera.

I know Sandra Betzina is enormously popular, and a recognized authority on sewing with plenty of books and classes to her name. Some people might love Betzina's warm, personable style, and for them I think there's plenty in this course for them. But personally I found her disorganized and hard to follow.

Even though I got this class on sale for 50% off, it wasn't worth what I paid for it and I wish I had spent the money on something else. I probably won't be watching this class again, and I definitely won't be buying any more classes by Sandra Betzina.

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Anna01 said... (9/17/15 8:46 AM) Reply
Thank you for such an informative and comprehensive review. I made a mistake of purchasing the fitting class by S.B. and found it appalling (but too late realised I could ask for a refund). I will certainly stear clear of this class. BTW-everyone mentiones S.B. as being popular, here in UK no one has heard about her which did not lead to any detriment of sewing skill of our sewing population ;))
GoSewGirl said... (6/1/15 10:56 AM) Reply
Totally agree with your review and comments about Sandra Betzina being disorganized and hard to follow. I watched her other Craftsy pants class and thought the same thing. It's kind of surprising to me that she is seen as such an "authority". I can understand her getting published with the sewing books (there is an editor!), but her success as a in person or online class teacher is a mystery to me.
kellyt said... (3/15/15 1:43 PM) Reply
Could not agree more with this review. I was very disappointed with this class. At first I thought it was just bad video editting but as I watched longer I came to realize the same thing you did.
frame said... (5/29/14 11:15 AM) Reply
This is a great review. I actually requested a refund for this class because, well, because of everything you said.
canei said... (12/2/13 1:27 PM) Reply
Thanks for the review, glad I read this before signing up. I have several of her DVDs and was very disappointed. Itís just her and a co-host just talking and not doing. I will stick to her books.
Teeavilnor said... (12/2/13 9:55 AM) Reply
Thanks for your reviews, I have read several reviews of hers that are negative. I won't purchasing any of her classes.
HolleyM said... (10/2/13 10:32 AM) Reply
I haven't bought any recent videos of hers, but I have her Power Sewing books 1 and 2 and the video for Power Sewing 1. She explained and showed things clearly on my 20 year old VCR tape. Maybe she was having an off day when she filmed this? It sounds like she should have taped some sections over! I love her showing how to put in a classy fly front in the video which she learned from a men's tailor.
TJSEWS said... (8/14/13 12:42 PM) Reply
I took her pant fitting class on Craftsy and while I found her to be warm, charming and fun, I also found her to be disorganized and hard-to-follow, at least for me. I too found Pam Howard's class to be clear, organized - excellent. Thank you for your thorough, detailed and honest review.
Kemish said... (8/12/13 11:09 AM) Reply
Thank you for such your honest review. There is a lot of 'gushing' on blog about Craftsy and yes, some of their classes are excellent, but some are not. It is nice to read a well written, thought out honest review. Truly appreciate it and I hope to hear more from you in the future.
mportuesisf said... (8/8/13 11:59 PM) Reply
I've written more about this class on my blog, but in response to some of the suggestions here I won't be seeking a refund on this class from Craftsy. I'm not sure I could do that in good conscience after having watched the entire class. Instead, I'm happy that I was able to provide this review to help other people decide if they'd like to buy the class too. If I've saved you money, that makes the money I spent worth it to me. Finally, if you disagree with my review, I'd encourage you to write your own review. I'd really like to know what you see in this class, and Sandra Betzina's teaching style.
threaddy said... (8/6/13 12:04 PM) Reply
WOW Excellent review!!! If I were a man I sure would want to know how to make pants for a man...Perhaps Craftsy needs to add some classes for men. I LOVED Pam Howard's approach...organized, calm, detailed.
graceomalleyRN said... (8/5/13 9:58 AM) Reply
Thank you so much for your detailed and informative review. You address points very important to me. While personality wise I suspect I am very much like Sandra (not a perfectionist, tangential, scatter-brained), it alarms me to have a like minded instructor. Thanks for saving my Craftsy allowance.
NancyZL said... (8/4/13 9:25 PM) Reply
Sorry you didn't like the class but I do hope you will ask for a refund. I have done belt loops & cuffs for a pair of women's hiking shorts so believe you can find this in a pattern , fairly simple to do.
JTink said... (7/30/13 7:34 PM) Reply
Spurgetti, she is good on camera. She had her own sewing show on TV some years ago. I never missed an episode. I've learned a lot from watching her. Could be personal preference. Some folks may like a different teaching technique. Sandra keeps me awake and interested. If Crafty's is good about refunding money to those who are unhappy, it's worth giving the class a whirl.
Spurgetti said... (7/30/13 3:39 PM) Reply
This was really useful - thank you. I was introduced to Craftsy very recently and you have probably saved me some money that I would have regretted spending. Surely if she is not good on camera she shouldn't be doing these tutorials?! If people are paying for your teaching, that is the important thing - not the name you have made writing books or designing patterns.
JOshiro said... (7/30/13 12:57 PM) Reply
I work with medical researchers who are trying to get their studies published. Some of them are terrible, terrible writers - to the point where I nervously joke about hoping I never get XYZ disease because I don't want to be treated by them because they sound so confused and unable to pay attention to details. Imagine my shock when I actually spoke to some of them on the telephone and discovered they were fluid, articulate, coherent, highly intelligent, organized... it just didn't translate on paper. My point is, after watching another SB Craftsy class, I think she is VERY knowledgable; it's just that her oral presentation skills are not her strength. I have many of her books and have gleaned many useful tips from them over the years. If you can tune out the noise and focus on the signal, you might feel you got more value for your dollar.
Elisabeth Lee said... (7/30/13 12:44 PM) Reply
Sandra's pants fitting class was full of information....well worth every penny..unless you already know all there is about pant fitting
sewme47 said... (7/30/13 12:22 PM) Reply
I agree that Sandra comes off as scatter-brained on camera, but I forgive her because I love her books and patterns so much. I have taken classes in person from Sandra, and I must say she was organized and presented information calmy, and she was very patient with all the students and stayed an extra hour to help those who needed extra attention. Perhaps teaching on camera is not her forte. Mport, you should contact Craftsy for a refund...they are very customer service oriented and will appreciate receiving feedback.
JTink said... (7/30/13 11:00 AM) Reply
I love Sandra B. I like the way she gets through her work. I like that she is not a perfectionist and she is a bit scattered. But so am I. She might be a bit of a challenge, for someone new to sewing. I have some of the other Crafty's classes done by other instructors and to be honest, I find myself dozing off. They are slow and monotone. Kinda like watching paint dry. When I started watching Sandra's class, I lost all track of time and almost didn't get dinner on the table ;-) I guess we all have different ways of learning(and teaching). Have you touched base with Craftys to see if they would be interested in offering "Pants fitting for Men"?
Sigrid. said... (7/29/13 5:10 PM) Reply
I have her pants fitting class and was not impressed and have not even yet finished watching all lessons. I do love her books and was hugely inspired by the techniques in her books. But after the one class I'm not buying other classes by her, I'll stick to the books.
babycole64 said... (7/29/13 4:32 PM) Reply
I bought this class and followed it from beginning to end, using it to construct a similar pant pattern, but not the one Sandra used. I found her instructions so clear and helpful that I didn't even need to refer to my printed pattern instructions. The pants turned out beautifully and I am looking forward to hopefully more instruction from Sandra. I think her teaching style is fun, yet clear, and based on years and years of experience doing what she loves.
ASiverson said... (7/29/13 12:19 PM) Reply
I just signed up for one of her classes on Craftsy. Hope it is okay, though her style of clothing is not my own, I hope I can learn from her. Yikes!
Melinda In Tulsa said... (7/29/13 11:54 AM) Reply
I wish I had read this before purchasing both her classes. I haven't had time to watch them.
Sonut said... (7/29/13 0:25 AM) Reply
I found both of Betzina's classes super helpful - both the construction and fitting. I especially liked her methods for putting in the invisible zipper, the use of tape to mark things, and much more. The fitting methods helped me get closer to what I've been trying for. I have made a muslin and still want to make another pair of pants to refine fit and sewing techniques for my own practice.
Tina Rathbone said... (7/28/13 5:11 PM) Reply
I agree with you: she is simply not a great instructor. She has tons of chops, but no facility in presenting her secrets. She was the Speaker at this recent Pattern Review Weekend in SFO, and it got to the point where I and my table mates were just, "What is she talking about?" "I have noooo idea!" ... I too have these classes and have watched part of one ... I do love her warmth but wish she were perhaps co-teaching or ... Tina in San Diego
JollyGreen said... (7/28/13 1:12 PM) Reply
Thanks for taking the time to write such a great review -- very informative and helpful!
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