Friday, May 31, 2013

Review - Ultimate T-Shirt Craftsy Class

I just completed watching my first Craftsy class! I've been late-to-the game, as far as Craftsy goes. But Katherine and Marcy Tilton have just released a class on Craftsy called The Ultimate Tee and I decided to check it out.

This class, which consists of more than 3 hours of instruction (over 9 lessons), is a great primer on how to sew knits. I know many sewists who are very intimidated by knits, and Marcy and Katherine are real experts on this topic. Included in the price of the class is Katherine's zipper-neck t-shirt pattern, Vogue 8793.

The class begins with a survey of different types of knits. The Tiltons explain which types of knits are easier to sew, which are "medium" difficulty, and which are the hardest to sew. They talk about pre-treating the fabric and how to care for the completed garment. In lesson 3, they cover issues related to fitting the pattern at the tissue stage, starting with how to measure the pattern. They cover how to pin fit the pattern tissue so you can work out any major fitting issues. (Additional tweaking of the fit happens in a later lesson.)

Lesson 4 is the construction lesson, starting with how to cut out the tee. The recommended type of seam and recommended stitch length are discussed, as well as thread type, needle type, and seam finishes. The importance of stay stitching the neck (and how to minimize distortion), how to stabilize the shoulders, and how to lower the neckline, are covered. The next two lessons include two techniques for sewing the neckband. First, Katherine shows her wrap-around neckband and then Marcy shows a classic binding technique. Both teachers focus on how to sew a binding that will fit the curves of the neck and not hang loosely or pull too tightly.

After the neckband sections, Katherine talks about how to refine the knit of the tee, once it's partially constructed (but before the sleeves have been added or the side seams sewn). Then Marcy shows her easy technique for setting in a knit sleeve, and how to press the armscye. I should add that Katherine and Marcy have different preferences for some aspects of construction, and they clearly explain the differences, why, and encourage you to choose the best technique for you. Katherine leads the last lesson, which discusses how to finish the t-shirt. She discusses various hemming techniques and shows both her favorite technique, and Marcy's.

For the last 10 minutes of the class, Marcy and Katherine host a trunk show. They pull from a rack of creative and artistic tees they have made and share info about each one: what interesting techniques were used, how they combined different weights of knits or different prints, how they changed the hem/side seam shaping, the use of stripes - how they varied things up. I love this section.

I should add that neither a serger, nor a coverstitch machine, are required for this class. (I do not own a cover stitch machine and often sew knits without a serger.)

Even though I am an experienced with sewing knits, I learned some useful nuggets. An "a ha" moment for me was Marcy's technique for transferring the pin alterations to the front and back of both side seams. (I have always found this step to be a pain.) Sprinkled throughout the class, they have included all sorts of useful tips, such as "how to tame a rolling edge". I find that this is often how I learn - even one or two tips can make it worthwhile.

If you have never taken a Craftsy class, you should know that you can ask questions in each lesson. You can also see the questions that other students have asked, as well as the responses from the teachers or from other students. I noticed that Katherine and Marcy are very actively answering the questions and, in some cases, going into lots of detail.

As I watched the class, I found myself obsessed by the adorable iron that Marcy and Katherine are using. I did some sleuthing and discovered that it's a Rowenta DW6080 Eco-Intelligence Iron 1700-Watt Steam Iron with 3D Stainless Steel Soleplate.I really love my Reliable V100 and don't need a new iron, but this is soooo cute! If you own this iron, or have used it, I'd love to hear your review.

Wow, it's Friday! I have a lot of sewing I'd like to get done this weekend, but we'll see how much I accomplish. I hope your weekend is a good one!

Free Vintage Pattern Drafting ebook

Would you like a very cool, vintage pattern drafting book in ebook form? And it's free?

Head on over to the blog, The Perfect Nose, and you can download it. It's a PDF file, so you can view it via any app (eg, Preview on the Mac, or Adobe Reader) that can view PDF.

I leave you with a photo that DD1 sent me a few days ago. It makes me smile.