|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 alabamachanin.com 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.