Learning by video, musings

So I am curious to know what you think about learning with video?  It seems to be a growth area with both Tilly and the Buttons and Sew Over It embracing this more interactive approach for learning in their business offer.   While video is still a bit of a novelty in sewing blogs, who can bypass Karen’s Christmas message , and recently I have enjoyed Lisa’s Vlog (Behind the Seams) tremendously- you just know she is having so much fun behind that camera!  Rachel, our resident sewing muse, supports us bloggers with ‘posing tips‘ right here.

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There is also the recent foray into video that Colette Patterns have introduced with Sarai’s video guides – here’s a link to the film  helping with buying knits  .  Don’t you love hearing the real voice of the blogger, and being surprised and knowing at the same time? Karen I think speaks as she writes- optimal word usage, with precision, style and always there’s a twinkling of amusement.  It should not have surprised me that Sarai’s got the most dulcet honeyed tones but being British I would have read the words from the blog in my own English voice , so delight in hearing her authentic Portland accent. And Rachel, the exotic enthusiastic warm hearted Brazilian, her vlogs bring bursts of sunshine.

So video is definitely a curiosity as a blogging medium, especially for me when it adds another dimension to what you think you know about the blogger.  But for learning, with Tilly’s online sewing class and now Lisa’s (Sew Over It) does this herald a swell in online learning ?

Craftsy of course have hours of friendly footage with teachers covering so many different crafts- some free, but most is paid.  If you do invest make sure to wait for the crazy deals in the sales that come around fairly frequently.  yes,  if you do invest, the Craftsy platform app is now even better with the ability to download for offline viewing which I really appreciate, frequently finding myself with dodgy wifi .  And the ability for replaying a 30 second loop when trying to understand and master a new step?  Much used in my current knitting project – the Artemesia sweater (more on that another time).

So both Tilly and Sew Over It already offer face to face sewing classes.  Video classes should bridge the gap between   written instructions, or step by step photos and being able to attend a face to face class,    Learn to Sew Jersey tops  by Tilly and the Buttons gives you a live view of what your sewing should be looking like whilst Tilly guides you through every step of the process.  And all the time getting a Tilly fix.  ( I remember hearing Tilly on an American podcast last year and the host being fixated on Tilly’s very English accent.  Plenty of that going if it facilitates your sewing experience- it’s the equivalent to my Portland comment above!!)   I have had a dip into this class, but am not giving a review, but can tell you that The lessons I’ve looked at so far are filmed around the construction process and are very cleanly captured- different angles provide the view that you need all the while Tilly’s demonstrating and providing guidance.  It is aimed to be used with the Agnes top, and you get a digital copy of the sewing pattern included.  But the principles for using a regular machine to sew knit tops can be applied to any standard knit top pattern you already have.  A proper confidence boost I reckon, launching you into making more with knits.  A good pattern / concept to start with?

But what provoked me to muse over video learning was the recent launch of the Grace dress online sewing class from Sew Over It.

Whilst I haven’t seen any of the lessons, the content looks more than just a video showing you how to sew the basic dress- as well as the expected lessons, steps include Lisa’s top tips for sewing an invisible zip and even when and how to do an FBA or an SBA.   Relatively complex procedures, but the things that will make the difference to get a more customised fit and polished finish.  By distance learning!  And judging by the video tutorials on the Vlog, (eg adding a waistband to the Ultimate Trousers) you will be in a pair of very calm, knowledgeable and safe hands.

So I am not reviewing these classes by any means, I’m just curious.    Youtube has so much free content- but I suppose it’s a bit of a lottery finding exactly what you need to know, and then how well the youtuber is explaining and filming it.  No guarantee on a. finding exactly what you need and b. quality.   Making an online video class must take such a lot of time, effort and investment – I hope that these online classes do well, I know how useful i am finding following a video knitting class, as I am such a basic knitter and this covers a whole load of new knitting techniques & I make soooo many mistakes.  I just wish someone else would do the ripping back for me!  What do you  think? Are you a video learner?  Is youtube a frequent port of call & what have your experiences been like?

and no, I am not writing this as any kind of market research.  And no again, I am not planning to stick myself in front of a camera and either make some parody of myself with an overdone Somerset accent or go through that trauma of hearing what you really sound like to other people. Too freaky for me!  I’m just musing …. What do you think?

33 thoughts on “Learning by video, musings

  1. sew little time

    I really dont learn well via video. I have been trying to learn how to knit continental sryle and i am really stumped by purling. I have not yet found a YT video that helps as much as written instructions would. So frustrating !

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      This is going to be interesting to see- I do find video useful for knitting, but have never looked up a video for explaining something for sewing- I’ll always go to a book or a blog post with pics. Maybe for me the speed is the difference- sewing is faster and you’d have to stop the video lots? Knitting takes place so much more small scale so that a particular step is easier to see, pause, attempt, then restart again….
      I totally get though that video learning is is not going to suit everyone, which is why I’m interested …..

      Reply
  2. Claire N

    Hello, I think it’s clearly a growth area. I’ve used craftsy for 3+ years. It’s been useful for sewing and cake decorating. And is very good value especially when they do a sale.

    I just checked out Lisa’s $60 seems pricey and Tilly’s £45 is costly too. I know if I went to a face to face course I’d be paying more than that, but that’s a different proposition. Craftsy has economy of scale, so can be fairly cheap.

    I know the technology is expensive, but given that the online class could be bought 1000s of times it’s a bit pricey.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      There is the cost too- you’re right. Tilly and Lisa have to bring a vastly superior product to compete with what is available on YouTube and obviously one of their patterns is included. And as the material comes from the workshops they’d teach it’s more akin to a lesson than a quick video tutorial.

      Reply
  3. katie

    Learning via video is not really for me, although I’ve definitely found the odd YouTube clip handy for some techniques (and I work for a company doing online video programs, so I shouldn’t really say that!). I have a couple of Craftsy classes that I’ve never been compelled to watch at all. I wish Tilly and SOI luck and I’m sure they will find an audience – it’s so good for people who don’t have resources near them or can’t get out to a class for whatever reason, and/or don’t like learning from books or tutorials. But for me the fun of taking a class would be to be there with the instructor and fellow sewers in person so you can interact.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Katie, I’d kind of ignored the joy of learning with others and the interaction you get from a workshop- making friends!
      Confession time- I too have quite a few Craftsy classes I haven’t used. I had to unsubscribe from their emails as I was clearly a sucker for the special offers!! There have been a few I’ve watched and I tell myself I will get around to the others…..

      Reply
  4. Charlotte

    I have asked for a Creativebug subscription for my birthday next week as I had a free trial earlier in the year & enjoyed it – I actually found I watched the shorter videos, rather than the detailed, multi-part videos, as I had them on in the background while doing a spot of knitting or having a tea break. That has a nice mixture of all sorts of crafts so I enjoyed watching the short videos of crafts/techniques, many of which I probably won’t actually try myself, but was interested in learning more about.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I’ve also watched some of the Craftsy videos while sewing ( something completely different!!) but I can see that it could be a way to dip into interesting crafty subjects. I haven’t tried the creative bug though, but agree that absorbing info about other skills while sewing ( I have a Craftsy photography one which I have watched the first class) was interesting too, but I def need to revisit the class while I’m not doing something else!!

      Reply
  5. Andrea

    I use You Tube a lot to find out how to do things, I learn better by seeing and doing rather than reading. I’ve not tried an online class yet, I should look into it as it would possibly work for me – especially the sort where you can stop/start/rewind so I can fit it around the many interruptions I get.

    I have done one class which was just to make a simple skirt and it was lovely to be among ‘my people’ and being able to ask specific questions was just brilliant. However, they cost a fair bit and unless I make copious notes, I forget some of the details. I’m also a bit stuck for attending what with work and traveling adding to the overall cost too.

    I’d love tuition on measuring and fitting from commercial patterns or making copies of clothes that I have, I wonder if such classes exist online? I’ll have to go and look!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I think if you learn this way this must feel like a breakthrough to have all of this video support available.
      And to do it in your own time when you have busy lives makes total sense.
      I say it again, I don’t think I’d succeed knitting without video ( not that I actually describe it as succeeding I am still rubbish) because I really need someone to show me, and diagrams for knitting are just not always helpful enough. Really I need to join a knitting group since my Mum lives so far away!

      Reply
  6. Becca

    Really interesting post! I am a video learner. I love being able to have a wealth of information at my fingertips when I need help and I’ve used both Craftsy and YouTube a lot in my learning journey. I suspect that this may be in part due to the time of life I’m in – with 3 small children getting out to a class (or indeed affording one!) isn’t practical but I am desperate to learn! I think it likely that this form of tutorial is here to stay but will never replace the real life interaction that comes with a workshop. They are much more fun!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Becca like I said in an earlier comment I kind of side stepped the other benefits of real workshops- the social interaction which I too love! It’s being able to share a love of sewing with fellow learner- fabulous!
      I should have mentioned that Tilly’s course does try to include social interaction with a social media student area, but as I haven’t followed the course I’m afraid I am just aware of it.
      But yes, I don’t naturally go to YouTube to find things out, but I’ve started to now that I have seen just how much is in there – changing vacuum filters – wow!! I guess I slowly catching up with the rest of the video population!
      I don’t usually reach that level of desperation when sewing and can usually follow the diagrams I hunt out in books and blogs. However, taking an online class is obviously in a different realm than getting stuck and trying to find the answer. And as a way to have support when you need it and as often as you like whatever the time of day, to make something specific could Be really useful to help gain new skills. And with busy lives and not being able to get to a workshop it would make sense to some people who like learning this way.

      Reply
  7. Hayley

    There are very few dressmaking classes in my area so I jumped at the chance of Tilly’s online Agnes top course. This course has been a real confidence booster for me, as Tilly’s teaching is so clear. I’ve been sewing for just under a year but now I’m happy to sew with knit fabrics and this is all down to Tilly. I look forward to starting the SOI Grace Dress course which I’ve also signed up to.

    I wanted to say that your blog has been a real inspiration to me. When I got my sewing machine for Christmas I didn’t know what an important part of my life sewing would become and I find that I’ve picked up so many ideas and advice from from all the wonderful sewing blogs out there. Your blog is amazing and I look forward to reading it each week.
    Hayley x

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hello Hayley how lovely to hear from someone who has done Tilly’s class and found it so helpful- and given you all that confidence. Brilliant! And you’ve signed up for the Grace dress too?! I wish you loads of enjoyment. It’s clearly working for you and I’m thrilled that I’ve been a part of the mix that has added to your enjoyment of sewing, thank you so much for saying ???? the best start to my day!! Xx

      Reply
  8. Emmely

    I love Craftsy. I’m currently not in the position to go to live classes because they’re either too far away or held at inconvenient times. My sewing would not have improved as much as it has over the past couple of years if I had had to rely on books and blogs alone. Not so good for my wallet though. Every time I see someone demonstrate a nifty tool I go “ooooh! That looks so useful! Have to get that!”.

    Reply
  9. Jan Brown

    I don’t think I would have achieved as many skills or picked up as many useful tips if I hadn’t found Craftsy. There were no classes in my area that contained the skills I wanted to acquire at a reasonable price so Craftsy has been my main tutor and I love them. I have bought several [always like you say when they do crazy offers] and I love the professional videos, the easy way the majority of tutors teach and the whole focussed approach [every tutor has well manicured and polished hands too]. They do make me feel part of a privileged class where I get to sit at the front and I don’t get distracted by classmates wanting to talk plus I can concentrate when and where I want at my pace. I am deaf though so any background noise is difficult for me and lip reading means I need to focus on what the tutor is saying so a physical classroom is not ideal for me. I also like the ability to watch them over and over, even a year later and pick up something i missed before [none of which you can do with a class]. I’ve also bought a Craftsy Class that turned out not to suit me and I got an immediate refund, no questions asked. You can tell I’m a big fan.
    One question I have from your blog, I have the app on my tablet and I would love to be able to get my classes off line when we travel in our motorhome through Europe but I haven’t found out how? Are you sure this is possible?
    PS Love your blogs too…

    Reply
  10. Jennie Caminada

    I teach sewing classes and have been debated branching out to video classss so this is timely for me. I do a lot of Craftsy classes but like another lady said, I also enrol for a lot of classes I never then look at, I think I enrolled for about 30 classes this year! They so often have sales I just get sucked in.

    So I don’t know if I can compete with Craftsy or if I even should and the investment of software and learning how to use it, investment of time recording the videos and setting up access for people all means I couldn’t make them as cheap as Craftsy does them. But I hope I would offer something unique like Tilly clearly does. And I don’t think her class was too expensive especially as it included a pattern too.

    Interesting stuff.

    Reply
  11. Jennifer Hill

    I’ve been sewing about 1 1/2 to 2 years and for me cost is a big issue. I’ve tried a couple of my local college classes but they’re so expensive and you get so little time with the tutor. I’d rather spend the money on fabric! I’ve really taught myself to sew thus far from blogs, independent designers’ patterns, one basic Craftsy class, Pinterest and occasionally YouTube. I haven’t sewn with knits yet, though I think I’ve learnt the basics from those sources and I’m usually happy to give things a go. Having said that, I may buy a video class if it comes with a pattern I like and can justify buying, for confidence, really. I’m sure I could learn a lot from video classes on specific topics, but apart from the cost I think I’m too impatient as well; I’m happier sewing than learning the theory (I’ve bought a couple of theoretical video classes I haven’t got round to using), though obviously this is a bit short sighted! Classes based around a specific pattern would be better for me, though. Finally, I want to echo Hayley; I follow a few blogs but yours is one I always look for, informative, interesting and entertaining! Jen PS I knit, too. The Artemesia looks lovely, I shall look up the details!

    Reply
  12. Amy G

    Great discussion topic Winnie! I find I don’t really gravitate to video learning for much but when I do it’s been for knitting. I simply don’t find that written or illustrated instructions can be as clear for me as a video (I only learned to knit 9 months ago). For sewing though I’m all over written teaching with photos or illustrations. I’ve bought one Craftsy class and this was on fitting; I have watched it and found it hugely useful. I think this works because it’s more general as a topic. If I wanted to learn how to make a specific dress I’d definitely attend a class in person or follow a sew along but a video class has no appeal whatsoever for me.

    Reply
  13. Colleen

    I don’t learn well by video although sometimes there just isn’t anything in print and I’ll have to go to somebody’s really well-done video. I have learned to blind hem by video (you-tube) and put in an invisible zipper (Colette). They’ve been helpful because they were both short enough to go back and forth, back and forth, over and over until I could get it drummed into my head.

    I find knitting lessons on you-tube impossible. I don’t buy and don’t ever plan to buy video sewing classes, even if they include a pattern. I just don’t like the rhythm of them — I’d rather just take a real live sewing class where I can go my own speed and ask the instructor in real time if I need to.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks Colleen for sharing your perspective – it is so interesting seeing how we all prefer learning. I think short technique tutorials can be really useful if the line drawing fails!!

      Reply
  14. R

    I hate hate hate videos. My ideal is a line drawing with clear text. This is a gut reaction, trying to think why my best guess is that diagram/drawing and text means I can skim the bits I feel confident with and linger on the bits where I’m struggling, mulling it over until I understand. Whereas all the video’s I’ve seen tend to start VERY SLOWLY and I get frustrated and also distracted by their accent. I definitely find a good drawing much clearer than a photo too as it only shows what you need to see, has higher contrast and can show more info (like a cutaway of what’s behind or shading to indicate reverse side/applied interfacing etc).

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Everyone’s different & I think video is not going to suit everyone – that’s what I was interested to find out. I can see the value in a line drawing for sure- much easier to dwell on the bits you want to as well. Really interesting! Thank you for putting your view forward

      Reply
  15. helen

    I’ve done the Craftsy Jeanius course and it was worth every penny. You made a good point, wait until one of the sales before you buy. I think I paid £12.50 for it. I have also watched the Couture dress with Susan Khalije and I learnt so many good couture techniques.
    I also turn to youtube when I get stuck with a knitting stitch.
    Having the lap top open next to me whilst I sew works well for me.
    I haven’t taken a look at Tilly’s course but above it’s mentioned at £45, that sounds really expensive to me.

    Reply
  16. TamsinW-P

    Interesting discussion! I quite like video – I didn’t think I would, but when I was making welt pockets a few years ago I found a great video on youtube, which I ‘got’ straight away, and that was after my sewing teacher had very patiently tried to explain the process several times and I had read several sets of instructions. I taught myself to knit over the summer and used a combination of youtube and line drawn instructions. I am on the Craftsy email list, but as yet have not subscribed to anything.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Interesting! Welt pockets too – I think welt pockets can be explained themselves in different ways so it was perhaps the approach that worked best this time also. I still rate video for knitting, definitelty!

      Reply
  17. Allison

    I find videos helpful. Obviously, having someone in the room with me would be ideal, but that’s not often possible. I’ve picked up how to deal with various intricacies of jeans, casting on knitting in a normal way (I did a sort of odd, self-taught thing for years) and all sorts of other things. I find its a matter of finding a good presentation — making a useful video is a skill. Some people have developed it and others cover everything with their hands.

    Reply
  18. Becky

    I’m visual enough that I have found videos useful. I’ve been a big fan of Craftsy from the start– since I live in an area of the States that doesn’t really have much of a sewing market, it’s been the only way available to me to take sewing classes that aren’t How to Sew a Pillowcase from the local chain store. I’ve also found it particularly helpful for me as a fairly novice knitter, though I still can’t get the hang of continental purling. One of these days, when I have a chance to pick a project more conducive to practicing! I doubt I’d pay for a video class for a specific sewing pattern, though. I’d rather pay for help on techniques that I can apply to the projects of my choice. In the early days of Craftsy, I bought the Sassy Librarian blouse class, because it promised to cover FBAs and that was (and still is) something I need to figure out. I was so disappointed to learn that the coverage only extended to a couple of links to instructions– I could have compiled that myself!

    Craftsy also has the edge with interaction with the instructors, though.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi Becky, all good points and I think I might be with you on the sewing technique videos – I really refer to the Craftsy advanced serging class a lot- as there are techniques I remember & want to apply to things I am making. I will have to get further along with my Artemisa to decide about buying a garment knitting video class however! And yes, interaction with the tutors is something very well done by Craftsy

      Reply

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