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How do I build my sewing skills?
Sewncooknmom
Sewncooknmom
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Date: 5/5/13 9:03 PM

I received an email from Craftsy about a new class with Kenneth D. King. It's on making a tailored coat. I was thinking about taking it. But when I read the skills you should have in order to take the class, I decided against it.

Here is what the class "requirements" are: (I'm quoting from the website. Hope that is ok.)

Skills you should have:

Basic machine sewing skills
Sew tailored (fitted) garments
Put in a lining and sew facings
Set in sleeves


Ok, so I do have basic machine sewing skills. But the rest? No. I've put in set sleeves a few times.

So, my question is: How do I build up my skills to be able to elevate my sewing? I would love to eventually take this class on making a coat?

Any thoughts? Patterns, perhaps? Or even other Craftsy classes that would help me?

Thank you!!

-- Edited on 5/5/13 9:03 PM --
-- Edited on 5/6/13 1:33 AM --

mgmsrk1
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In reply to Sewncooknmom <<
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Date: 5/5/13 9:48 PM

Just sew.

I don't know why the course would not be a good spot to learn. There are dozens of blogs and videos online to help with skills as you go, along with the information in the course work. Just start with fabric you picked up at a good price for your first go.

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sings2high
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Date: 5/5/13 10:50 PM

A fitted coat is a complicated thing. I've only made a few of them in my lifetime. Each one has taken about 40 hours, for a fully fitted, hand-tailored jacket. (I will admit to being more than a bit obsessive about the quality of my hand-stitching. This definitely makes it take longer.) I just don't have the time for that right now and my job doesn't require me to wear a suit. If it did, I'd be finding the time for it. Sewing such a coat could be very frustrating, if you don't have the prerequisite skills. That's why they go to the bother of listing those skills. How to develop skills? By sewing a variety of things. If you have any children in your life, sewing a variety of doll clothes is a great way to develop skills at a lower cost than full-sized garments. Sewing stuffed toys and home decoration also builds skills. Make a list of the things you'd like to sew for yourself and keep and wear for more than three years. A good quality lined wool skirt in your favorite "basics" color can stay in your wardrobe multiple years without being "dated". The same goes for fitted trousers, and they are more than a step up in fitting difficulty from a skirt. A fitted blouse is a good investment as well - choose a classic style and you will be able to dress it up and down for years. Definitely take the fitting classes offered here on PR and if you can find any near you, sometimes local high-schools or colleges will offer sewing courses. Sewing a variety of fabrics also helps, there's no substitute for experience when it comes to how different fabrics "handle".

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Raye Ann
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Date: 5/5/13 11:29 PM

If you want to make a tailored jacket and are interested in the Kenneth King class, go for it.
You don't have a time limit for the course, can watch the videos as many times as you want, and ask questions on the forum. Do be prepared to use other resources ( books, blogs, online tutorials) to fill in the gaps between what is explained for you and what might be an implied skill that you don't yet have. And, who says your first attempt has to be couture level work? Just get started. The more experience you have, the easier Everything is, so even if you cant turn out a perfect jacket that fits this time, you will eventually!

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lareine
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Date: 5/6/13 2:38 AM

Go for it! One of the first garments I ever sewed for myself was a fully lined, fitted winter coat - if you don't use couture techniques they really are easier than they look. I was super proud of my coat and wore it all winter, and I still think it was well made (although I lost weight and gave it away last year, so I can't actually check for flaws now).

The quickest way to learn new skills is to jump right in there and remember to ask for help whenever you need it. Have fun!

Blaceyda
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Date: 5/6/13 4:11 AM

I agree with what the others have said already - just sew! Personally, I like to learn through projects so I'm trying to choose sewing patterns that will enable me to learn a new skill (set in sleeves, princess seams, darts, facings etc) or to experiment with different techniques (trying a new type of seam finish or a different way of making a hem). The Craftsy classes are great in that you can really take your time to work through the projects, so you can take as much time as you need to develop skills as you go.

jeanbluecat
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Date: 5/6/13 7:35 AM

Part of the learning process for us all is to make mistakes. When I was a teen and learning to sew, I took on any project that looked interesting and I made some really awful mistakes, but I learned a lot. I say go for it and get as much help from PR or other tutorials as you can! Be fearless and enjoy!

Debra

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I sew, therefore I am.

Miss Fairchild
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In reply to Sewncooknmom <<
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Date: 5/6/13 7:53 AM

I'm going to be the red haired stepchild here and go along with what sings2high was saying. You don't want to take this class and become so overwhelmed that you end up seriously frustrated and don't continue in sewing. You are smart to ask the question, because it seems to me you are the kind of person who knows her limits.

While I am basically one of those "No guts, no glory" types, you seem to know what you need to do, so I'm not going to encourage you to go for it.

As to making a fitted garment, I can suggest you try making something with princess seams and that fits a little snugly. There are several dresses that are like this, with waist darts and bust darts, if you wear dresses. If not, make a blouse. A blouse will also give you experience sewing in facings. And a collar. That would be another piece of experience for you.

As to a lining, that's much like making another garment and sewing it in.

There's another Craftsy class I suggest you take before you try this one. It's called Sew the Perfect Fit, and it has the fitted dress pattern I was talking about. Kenneth King is a fabulous designer, and has been so for a long time. He might not be able to explain as clearly as you need for him to do if you decide to take his class without taking a few others. He might also have some assumptions, obviously from the list of requirements, that you don't have the skill set for.

Sorry to be so honest here, but I've taught sewing and other classes for a very long time and I've seen how easily people can become frustrated.

------
"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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craigrama
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craigrama
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Date: 5/6/13 8:00 AM

Do a project with similar (yet simpler) processes than full jacket tailoring. Definately create a vest, and don't forget a tailored robe. The Le Smoking Jacket from Folkware patterns was like "tailoring lite" including padstitching, set in sleeves, collar, cuffs, no lining.

And hit the library. I've found some great sewing books. The ones I liked, I bought. My favorite.... Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket (ISBN=1589236092)

EleanorSews
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Date: 5/6/13 8:33 AM

The Craftsy class the OP cites includes Vogue 8841 which is a very simple coat, no buttons. Kind of like a loose fitting blazer with the lapels but no darts. Having difficulty doing a link with my new Windows system... sorry.

My suggestion is to take the class and simply take your time with each step along the way. One of the benefits of the Craftsy classes is that you can work to your own pace.

The real fit issues will be the shoulders and across the back; also to be sure your bust measurement is addressed. This is a wrap style coat without a waist seam. You'll do fine and will learn a lot. Go for it.

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