In the first Sew Better, Sew Faster: Garment Industry Secrets Craftsy class (read our review of this class), students were taught some amazing techniques such as how to sew without the need of pins. This is a detailed review of Sew Better, Sew Faster: Advanced Industry Secrets, Janet Pray’s more recent sewing class.
Lesson One: Introduction and Cutting
Janet has been sewing from a young age, taught by her grandmother and her aunt whom founded the Islander Sewing System company and series.
The first lesson aims to teach: cutting, preserving your patterns and marking.
Firstly, the type of paper used within the garment industry is covered in depth. Janet clearly covers how the paper can effect your shears (or not), how it can be used to help smooth out difficult to work-with fabric, and so much more. Some of the paper types she covers are gridded and dotted, Swedish tracing paper and doctor’s examination paper. Of course, tools that are commonly used with paper – and preserving your patterns – are mentioned.
Furthermore Janet discusses different cutting tools; standard shears, rotary cutters and electronic rotary cutters. She teaches you when best to use each tool type and how. There is a helpful technique known as stack cutting for those of you who make and sell garments – it can save you hours of work!
Finally Janet introduces marking products such as tailor’s chalk, erasable pens, chalconer and sewing machine needles.
Lesson Two: Getting Started Sewing
If your seam allowances are too big, it can be difficult to sew and cause undesirable rippling. By reducing seam allowances, you can far more easily hide raw seams. This lesson is great if you are designing your own patterns, or just wish to manipulate some commercial patterns to get a more professional finish.
Janet discusses the importance of a proper chair and flat surface to work upon. If you are lucky, you might have a knee lift that works with your sewing machine or an automatic thread cutter (both features that I wish my machine had).
Sewing Without Pins was one of the most interesting and helpful techniques Janet taught in Sew Better, Sew Faster: Garment Industry Secrets course (the prequel to this class). Since so many people found it so helpful, Craftsy included a shorter version in this course as well.
Lesson Three: Fusible Interfacing
Fusible Interfacing requires pressure and steam from an iron; so it makes sense that Janet very quickly brushes upon her favourite types of irons.
In this part of the lesson Janet discusses pressing clothes, trimming interfacing in seam allowances, and more. I love how she mentions that you should leave your fusible interfacing to cool completely; this is such a simple tip that makes such a huge difference!
Janet gives a great tip on how to interface collars and cuffs to avoid getting wrinkles, whilst still keeping the “stiffness” that those locations need.
Lesson Four: About Zippers
Janet mentions a number of tips, such as what seam allowances to use from raw edges and from the centre (or side) seams. Of course, if knowing that information isn’t enough for you, Janet further demonstrates just how to install slot and lapped zippers – all with minimal use of pins!
Lesson Five: About Waistbands
In this lesson Janet teaches a standard waistband, a flat waistband (such as you would use with thicker materials) and skirt facings.
Firstly, Janet will teach you the “burrito technique”; whilst it’s not an industry technique, it is one that Janet has found to be extremely helpful for creating perfect waistbands. In essence, the Burrito technique helps you create that square corner of the waistband where it joins the zipper without any of the fuss of multiple fabric layers or wrinkles.
Janet even discusses how to top-stitch a waistband to get a professional finish; simple techniques such as how far you stitch from the fabric’s edge can make all the difference.
Lesson Six: About Buttonholes
Did you know that men and women’s shirting has different buttonholes? Women’s will most commonly be horizontally placed, whilst men’s will almost always be vertical. Men also often have different button sizes compared to women’s shirting. These are just some of the little tips that Janet teaches you in lesson six, helping you achieve great results.
More importantly however, you will learn information such as how far apart you should distance your buttons (for both men and women), how to stop your buttonholes (and buttons) from fraying, and how the buttonholes should be stitched.
If you feel that you already know all there is to know about buttonholes, then perhaps a demonstration on how to sew perfect bound buttonholes – the type commonly found on high end couture garments – might entice you.
Lesson Seven: Seam Finishes and Hems
This lesson covers flat-felled seams, french seams and a straight hem and a curved hem.
If you sew flat-felled seams regularly, then you have to take Sew Better, Sew Faster: Advanced Industry Techniques: Janet teaches you how to sew a perfect flat-felled seam without the need for trimming, pressing, and so forth. Honestly, she teaches you a technique which will allow you to sew an entire pant leg in a matter of one or two minutes – max. It’s just two steps!
I was also very impressed with Janet’s instructions on how to sew a curved hem; her technique gets rid of that “excess” fabric that often bunches up to form little puckers. Of course, she sews the entire hem in only one step.
- Metric conversion guide PDF, provided with most Craftsy classes.
- Supplies and resources PDF that includes recommended supplies and resource links and other various notes.
I love Janet’s classes; she is a great teacher whom has a lot of unique content to share. Her first class Sew Better, Sew Faster: Garment Industry Techniques saved me hours constructing my patterns, and gave me great tips on how to produce much more professional results. The sequel – Sew Better, Sew Faster: Advanced Industry Secrets – has even more content that leaves me excited to once again start sewing a variety of clothing and accessories – just to put those new skills to complete use.
Sew Better, Sew Faster: Advanced Industry Techniques is not aimed at a beginner sewer, but one who feels confident enough in their skills will find many helpful techniques taught, such as how to sew without pins. As their skills advance, they will greatly benefit from information such as ideal seam allowances, how to easily sew complex seam finishes in seconds (and that they aren’t so complex), and much more.