In case you're not familiar with those posts, I can recap in advising that some of my most seminal sewing experiences to date have occurred while participating in the Lady Grey Sew Along, which Gretchen so expertly instructed. I continue to assert that this sew along is a veritable public service. Craftsy courses, and a workshop, have facilitated my skill development in knitting through an innovative, modern community and instructive platform. I remain very grateful for these resources.
However, in the last 6 weeks I have been on a frustrating journey - one in which the Craftsy/Gretchen collaboration has fundamentally let me down. You should know that I didn't pay for the Starlet Suit Jacket course. I was comped a course of my choice, by Craftsy, and I spent my credit on the suit jacket. It aligns with my current interests.
Having now completed the project, I have to advise you of the following:
- The Craftsy platform routinely crashed - like way too often. I have to assume it was a bandwidth issue. Note: I accessed the course using a variety of computers and networks and the problem persisted in all locations. It was incredibly frustrating to have to close and reopen the program numerous times, just to rewatch a key piece of instruction. This happened with my other Craftsy courses, but not to this extent.
- The instruction, while clear, detoured into unnecessary banter on several occasions. This course contains hours of instruction. Hours which I have rewatched over still more hours. Given the issue identified in the bullet above, I cannot tell you how irritating I came to find the "conversational" parts of the video.
- Alas, I am not the only one to note this: Craftsy purports that you will receive regular teacher feedback through its platform for as long as you need it, once you purchase the course. In truth, I don't see how this practice is sustainable. As a prospective instructor, there is no way it would be profitable for me to continue to answer questions indefinitely. Nevertheless, in this process - a mere month or two into the life cycle of this course - there has been practically no feedback (and, as far as I can tell, little meaningful feedback) from the teacher. On this topic, I'm conflicted. I have learned so much, at no cost, from Gretchen through her blog-based sew alongs, which are all still available and free of charge. The thing is, once you charge a fee, in my opinion, the professional onus is on you to respond - especially if that's the dictum of the production platform.
- Finally, and most disappointingly, it is my perspective (corroborated, correctly or incorrectly, by various comments in the course and via other feedback I've received from readers) that the pattern is provided with errors. I am by no means a professional, but I've been sewing long enough - and seriously enough - to recognize issues where I find them. When I undertook this project, I did not do so as a pattern-tester. I have to assume that most everyone else who has taken the course, or queued it, has done so at the regular list cost of $89.99 (or on sale). This is not a weekend project. I spent more than 140 hours creating my jacket - and many of those hours could have been spent otherwise if I hadn't, as I see it, been forced to resolve problems caused by suboptimal drafting. By this, I am not speaking about the sleeves (though I suspect they could have been drafted asymmetrically to better effect), but about pattern pieces that appear to have been mismarked and the lining, which was all over the map. Of course, regular and detailed feedback from the instructor may have ameliorated, by clarifying, this.