Review: Craftsy's "The Classic Tailored Shirt"

A couple weeks ago I decided to treat myself to a Craftsy class I had been wanting for a while: The Classic Tailored Shirt with Pam Howard! If you've followed my blog, you should know I've made several dress shirts in the past, but thought there's always something new to learn. I definitely wasn't wrong! :)

Online Sewing Class

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to, watching, and learning from Pam. Her calm, relaxed demeanor and soothing voice makes it quite an enjoyable class! But on top of this, she has a long history of sewing, a wealth of information to share, and a plethora of advice to give. Particularly for any beginner sewer who's wanting to sew their first shirt, I 'do' recommend this class! :) 

There are definitely some things you should know, though, before you take this class. For starters, this class recommends that you use either Kwik Sew pattern 3555, 3586, or 3422. For many people though, Kwik Sew is not a readily available brand!! If so, I would recommend a Simplicity pattern. I've used both 2741 (a men's pattern) and 2189 (a women's pattern). The 2741 pattern is virtually identical to the shirt Pam constructs. The 2189 has a slight difference in that it has a single yoke instead of a double yoke, but this is easily adjusted by simply cutting out two yoke pieces (instead of just one) and following Pam's directions! As for other brands, I'll refrain from comment as I've not made any other pattern. :) 

You need to know how to line up your fabric on-grain before diving into this class. Pam is rightly very adamant about getting your fabric on-grain before cutting, but doesn't thoroughly demonstrate how to get your fabric on-grain, especially when folded over! So for that, I really recommend these two YouTube videos: 

This video will show you how to fold your fabric on grain so you don't get any distortion! Even though in the video she's only using about a yard of fabric, this still does apply to using more than a yard! ;)

And then this video will help you with finding the grain on scrap fabric. If you've ever watched Project Runway or a similar show and seen the designers tearing their fabric, but didn't understand why, this will explain it! :) After getting your fabric squared up and on grain, another suggestion I'd make is to cut out your pieces with a rotary cutter instead of with scissors as Pam shows. All of the pinning needed for cutting out with scissors takes a lot of time, can potentially damage your fabric, and still gives less desirable results than when using a rotary cutter! If you're just starting out sewing and don't have a rotary cutter and mat, I really suggest you invest in them! Once you start using them, you won't look back! :) And if you're looking for some instructions on how to best cut out and mark your fabric using this method, you can refer back to one of my prior posts here: How to Cut Out Sewing Patterns.

There are still a few things I wish would have been shown in the course that weren't. For example, when finishing the collar band and the cuffs, Pam shows you how to slip stitch them closed, but only mentions they can be machine finished. For probably 'most' beginners, they're going to want to finish it quickly by machine instead of using a lot of handwork, so it would have been great to have been given that option! If you 'do' want to finish using your machine, your pattern directions should tell/show you how to do so. Essentially what you do is line up the bottom of the facing with the stitching that's already there and just edge stitch the facing down with a 1/8" or so seam.

Despite my quirks with this class, as I've already said, I do highly recommend this class to anyone who's not yet quite comfortable making shirts! :) If you are still a newcomer to the world of tailored shirts and have the money to spend, I think this class is definitely worth the $50 price tag, especially when you consider all the extras you get (explained on the Craftsy page)!!! If that's a bit pricey though, I'd wait until it goes on sell. :) But if you're an inexperienced sewer comfortable with pleating, darts, edge stitching, top stitching, interfacing, etc., then you'd probably be better off spending the money on a good pattern and some nicer fabric! 

If you've taken this class, what did you think of it? Would you recommend it? 

- BH


  1. I have never taken an online class. I think I would be interested to see any new tips I haven't heard already. Do you have an example of something new you learnt?

    David Coffin's DVD on shirtmaking was good, and you can hire it out at the library.

    I just made my 3rd shirt for my son, self drafted pattern. As far as technique, it was my best shirt yet.

    I love reading about shirtmaking, in a kind of nerdy way lol. :)


    1. One thing I remember is learning how to finish the pocket and make it look a bit more polished. That's something I've really had a problem with, just making them look professional.

      I've bought David Coffin's book "Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing" but have yet to finish it, haha. It seems like a great book full of information! I've also had others recommend his DVD, but haven't gotten it yet - may be my next treat!

      And don't worry, I'm a bit nerdy when it comes to shirtmaking too. They're really addictive, haha. You can't just make one!

      Thanks for the comment!