Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Craftsy Experience

I've been in Denver this week taping a class for Craftsy (see Craftsy.com). If you haven't heard of this site, it's a company that pairs with the most knowledgeable instructors to create and market classes of all sorts for almost any type of creative talent such as sewing, knitting, cooking, crochet, drawing, cake decorating, gardening, the list is really long. In fact, they call their teachers "talent". I like that name. This idea of online classes really challenges the traditional way of learning, which has been through community classes and colleges, and even universities- if a person is interested in or needing a skill but not the degree. It's an asset to anyone who wants to learn (and has the internet) but doesn't have access to good teachers. Once you buy the class, it's yours forever. You can watch or review the class as many times as you like and ask any questions to get an answer from the teacher. The best part is it's not expensive.

I have taught sewing classes for many years, but video taping a class intended to last a lifetime seemed like a big responsibility! Our project will be the Tia Dress, with a few modifications that would add additional vintage techniques and lots of added value for the student. I added in a panel behind the side zipper (so it doesn't catch your Valentine Slip and under things as you zip up!) that I am calling a zipper facing, and added hem tape to some very important places, a zipper extension, a waist stay, and at the 2' turned up hem. I also included a lesson for a petticoat without a pattern and making a pattern piece for the bias trim. I show how do bust cup alterations and a hand sewn hem common in the 50s. All the way through I show you how I use my many vintage tools to good advantage.

Once I got to my motel, Craftsy shows me love with a small gift:

And I was met with a surprise from the baggage handlers too. My box with sewing supplies was shattered, and many things got broken.
I transferred my sewing supplies to my make-up bag and used shipping tape to span the broken side of my box to keep it inside.

 My meal was a "chili chicken" soup that was very yummy. I didn't know you could make water taste so good! (I'm not much of a cook :-\)
Every morning the make-up gal (see http://danicajardien.com/ ) came to pick us up, I and one other instructor, and we drove to the studio. The other instructor was teaching a figure drawing class. The days were long, as  I got up at 6:30am, usually ending around 7-8 pm. It didn't help that I had been burning the candle at both ends before I came. Danica did a fantastic job with my make up, but there is no magic to cover those dark and sleep deprived eyes!

This is the view from my room at 3am when I couldn't sleep.

I and the film crew ate lunch every day in the common room shared by all the businesses that rent in the building. I love it! It has a very cheerful feeling, but that piano would be an unwelcome sound should Craftsy be taping!
 I was able to get out of my room one night to get some fresh air and visit the mile long mall just a block away. Everyone was out trying to make some cash. There were beggars and really good musicians and horse and buggy rides too.

Homelessness is prevalent in Denver. There was a mission home close to where I was staying, and every night on my way back to the motel people were lined up for 3 blocks hoping to get a room for the night.  I discovered a guy who had made a home on the floor of the electrical room just a few doors down from my room. I met him coming out, and saw there was a bed on the floor. Thunder storms and rain are common at night, and he'd managed to find a warm place to sleep that was out of the way.
 After 3 solid days of sewing and filming and photos and sharing, the dress was finished. Though I worried about my performance, I'm not really sure why. The producer was kind and the whole crew was helpful and complimentary. It was truly a fascinating experience, but it was now time to pack up my bags and head for home. I'm looking forward to a long nap!
It was nice to meet the day with some sunshine too!