Learning to Make Skirts ~ Craftsy Class Giveaway

When I was in high school I took a home ec class and learned to sew. We were taught how to read patterns, select fabric, and eventually sew our garments. The thing I didn’t like about learning to sew this way was that it was so tedious. There were so many steps to follow and it seemed like most of them were unnecessary. (I guess that is why I naturally drifted toward quilting…I just do it my own way and call it good.)

Online Sewing Class

I was recently browsing through classes at Craftsy (have you signed up yet, it’s FREE to sign up, and a few of the classes are even free!) and I saw the class Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt. It promised to teach how to both design and sew a skirt tailored to my shape and style. At the time, I was thinking this would be perfect for my daughter. She wears skirts all the time and has been wanting to learn to sew. I signed up for her.

The Class

But somewhere along the line, God started tugging at my heart about making some skirts for myself. I thought I would watch the class just to help her out, but as I watched I learned so much. The class starts by teaching you how take your own measurements and draft a pattern. At first you just learn the basics, but as you progress she (Debra Moebes) teaches you how customize your skirt and add in the elements that are right for you.

What I enjoyed was the fact that she cuts out the unnecessary and just gets right to the meat. Yes, there are still some steps that I felt were tedious, but at least now I understand why they are necessary.

Once you draft your pattern, you then sew up a muslin (had never done that before…I felt like a professional). The muslin is a practice run so that you can make sure it fits properly and is just how you want it before moving on the real skirt.

After you have made your adjustments, you then transfer them back to your permanent pattern before cutting out and sewing your skirt. I say permanent, because once you have a pattern that you like, you can keep the same pattern and just make adjustments to it for any “extras” you would like to add each time. Debra teaches you how to make skirts with invisible zippers, yokes across the top of the skirt, fuller skirts with her slash and spread method, and how to add a variety of pockets to a skirt.

I finished this class and felt confident in my skirt making abilities. I was so thankful that she took the time at the end of the series to talk about different fabrics. I am only use to working with cotton fabrics, but they are a little on the lighter side for skirts (at least for me, now I wouldn’t mind using them for the girls). I am anxious to try my hand at making a linen or wool skirt. She also shares resources on where to find different kinds of fabrics for skirt making.

Extras

A few more things that stood out about the Craftsy class and are worth mentioning:

Indefinite access to your class — once you sign up for a class, you can take as long as you like in working on the class. What I like about that is if I get down the line and have questions about something I learned in this class, I can always go back and watch the lessons.

Ability to ask questions — both Debra and other students are available to help answer any questions that may come up as you learn to sew.

Ability to work on the class at my own pace and whenever I want — there is no waiting for the next class to become available, nor is there any getting behind if you don’t finish something. The classes are totally go-at-your-own-pace and you can watch them whenever you like!

Giveaway

I tell you I have had so much fun taking this class! I was have been up way to late on more than one occasion, watching the Craftsy videos…it’s a little addicting.

In fact, I am so crazy about Craftsy classes that I want to share one with one of you! I am going to be giving away a FREE Craftsy class to one lucky winner. And for those of you that might not be the lucky winner, Craftsy currently has all of their classes on sale for just $19.99 (now through November 26th).

If you don’t have time to take a class now, but think you might want to take one later, I would suggest signing up now while they are so cheap, and taking the class at your leisure.

To enter the giveaway, visit Craftsy.com and browse their more than 100 classes. Then tell me which class you would take if you are the chosen winner!

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Shared on Hip Homeschool Moms

Schoolhouse Review: Golden Prairie Press — Costumes with Character

Over the last year, my oldest daughter has attended two different ladies’ tea parties–one for a Sense and Sensibility book chat and one for the Turn of the Century tea party at the Vision Forum Reformation of Food and the Family conference. Both times she had hoped to find a period dress to wear, but in each instance we were pressed for time and weren’t able to make a dress in time. Most of the patterns we had looked at were very elaborate and would have taken quite a bit of skill to make.

The Book

Both my daughter and I were very pleased to be able to review a copy of Costumes with Character by Amy Puetz. At first, I thought that this was simply a book of historical dress patterns. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was so much more. The book contains chapters from eleven different time periods. Each chapter gives a historical synopsis of the the time period, as well as information about the clothing of the time period. There are relevant quotes scattered throughout the book, along with a questions to spur further historical study. I was also glad to see a resource section to add to our studies. After homeschooling for 12 years, I am familiar with most homeschooling books, but Amy includes other books to shed light on the clothing during each time period.

Amy has included excerpts from several historical documents, helping the reader to better understand the people in each time period. This struck a chord in me as I realized that although there are general patterns of dress during each period, each specific person was much like we are today. They each had their own tastes and were limited by availability of materials, skill level, time, and money. Many of the women had to be very frugal and make do with what they had available. Most of the time, their daily clothing might have been very plain with an apron covering it to help prevent spoiling it as they did their work. Fancier clothing, worn only on special occasions, would have been carefully stored and passed down from one generation to the next.

The Patterns

As I mentioned before, most of the patterns I have seen in the past have been very complex. Amy has greatly simplified her patterns by first starting with a simple “base” dress, then build upon it for each costume. Some of the costumes are created by simply adding an apron, collar, and head covering. Others are more elaborate and require more skill level to make.

As first I was a bit disappointed that some of the costumes were so simple. But after I thought about it a bit, I realized that this is really a great thing for our family. For instance, my younger girls would be able to help with the simple pilgrim costumes, where as my oldest daughter would like to make a Civil War era dress, complete with hoop skirts. And just because the patterns are simple, doesn’t mean we can’t add to them and make them our own.

I am not seamstress, but I do sew quite a bit. Amy has written out her pattern instruction in a very clear, step-by-step manner. She has included illustrations and images to further explain the instructions. The patterns in the book are on a grid and must be enlarged. This can prove to be cumbersome as you print our several sheets of paper then try to piece them together. I was so thankful to get an email from Amy saying that she recently added full size patterns to her website!

Age Range

As far as the historical information in the book, this would be a great history supplement for anyone 8 and up. However, children this young would definitely need help sewing the costumes.

Price

Costumes with Character comes in both the e-book version for $21.95 or the printed version for $37.00.

Through the end of August, Golden Prairie Press is having a back-to-school sale and offering 20% off all of their books, e-books, and patterns.

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To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about Costumes with Character, click the banner here:

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Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.

Make Your Own Vintage Tea Towels

Several years ago my daughter made me some beautiful hand-knitted dish clothes. They sat in a kitchen drawer for over a year because I just couldn’t bear to use something so pretty to clean my dishes. One day she opened the drawer, pulled out a dish cloth, and made me wash dishes with it.

It is amazing how much more enjoyable washing dishes became. From that moment, I decided I wanted to use more beautiful handmade items in my daily life. These simple vintage tea towels bring me back to the days when handmade items were a part of every homemaker’s daily life.

Want to make yourself a vintage tea towel? Join me at The Happy Housewife where I am sharing how to Make Your Own Vintage Tea Towels!