|I thought I'd start reviewing online classes that I have taken. :)
I just finished this class. The class started on July 23, 2013 and the message board closed on August 12, 2013. I'm not sure how frequently this class is offered, but I think the last time it was offered was March, as I thought of taking it then, but my work life was too hectic at that time.
Format and components of the class
This is a PR scheduled class.
The PDF lessons were posted by the instructor a few at a time. The first lessons were not posted til the first day of the class. The PDFs are available forever.
I wish the PDF lessons were posted in advance of the class start date. The class started on a Tuesday and the first few lessons were posted on that day. I wish they had been posted the Friday before, so that I would have had time over the weekend to read the lessons and get a head start.
I also wish there was an option to buy the PDF lessons as a printed packet. I understand a lot of people are "all electronic" now and do everything on their kindle/ipad/whatever device, but I guess I'm old-school. I like to read the lessons on the printed page and make notes on them...with a pen. I printed the lessons 2 pages on a side, double sided, to reduce the amount of printing, but it would have been easiest for me to have the option to purchase them already printed out.
All of the videos were posted starting on the first day of the class, and are also available forever. I like how the videos are short snippets and not long chunks of video. The video is not as professional looking or crisp as Craftsy, but the content was great.
There were also three scheduled chats with the instructor, each an hour long, one on the second day of the class and two the following week. Only 2 other students and the instructor were in the chats, but they were a lot of fun!! It is a great chance to interact with other students and the instructor and ask any questions. We bounced ideas off each other and learned from each other.
There is a message board for the class, that opens when you register for the class, and closes a week after class ends. Like the chats, this is another great opportunity to ask any questions and learn from each other. You can also post pictures in the picture gallery for the class and then include them in the message boards. The content of the message board for the session is available forever.
Sarah answered questions very quickly and thoroughly.
The class plus the kit was $104. Approx half of that fee was for the kit, which is mandatory for the class. The kit contains samples of 20 knit fabrics, a half scale t-shirt pattern, 4 needles, and samples of interfacing and stay tape suitable for knits. The kit is well worth it (see below).
So, I had wanted to take this class for a long time. In fact, I registered for it in Nov 2008, then went on vacation and never did a thing with the class. For the past year or so I've been thinking about taking it again. It's only offered a few times a year. I knew from the two scheduled PR classes I took last year (Break Your Serger Out of the Box and Blue Prints to Blue Jeans) that to get the most out of the class I really have to commit to the homework (read the lessons, practice the steps, make the samples, etc). This means I can't do all my usual sewing. Something has to give. So I felt like this summer would be a better time to take the class and I bought it again.
The lessons started with some background info on knits, and the different ways knits are formed . Then the next few lessons delve into the kit fabrics. I really loved the kit that came with the class--fondling the fabric and reading the descriptions in the PDFs was a great way to learn how to assess the give and stretch of fabrics. Also, finally I know how to tell which is the right side and which is the wrong side of a knit! I can grain a knit fabric now, and I know how to cut samples of the knits and test for shrinkage. I also learned the most amazing trick for how to easily removing basting stitches sewn via sewing machine and also how to remove serger stitching easily too! It's like a very cool magic trick!
But perhaps the best part was actually sewing the half scale t-shirt (pattern comes with the kit) in two different knits (a stable knit and a very stretchy rib knit) to really drive home the point that making the same knit shirt out of the same pattern but from different knit fabrics can result in sizing differences. It was a concept I hadn't fully understood before, but I get it now. The class covers how to make changes to your pattern to account for differences in stretch (it's a very clever solution!)
There are also lots of tips for sewing with knits, both on conventional machines and sergers, and tips for selecting commercial patterns. Also which kinds and sizes of needles to use on knits is covered.
I did not manage my time well and was cramming in making the two half scale t-shirts during the last weekend. The prior weekend I had sewn a dress and should have been doing my homework instead!
I know the above may make it sound like I don't like scheduled classes but I actually do like them--because it forces me to get my act together and learn the material in the specified amount of time.
I highly recommend this class. It is a bit pricey (especially compared to Craftsy classes when they're on sale) but the kit and the knowledge I learned, plus the instructor interaction (chats, boards) justifies it for me.
Picture of the two half scale shirts
Picture of the swatches (They come unlabeled but stacked in an order that corresponds to a printed sheet. I labeled them with tags)