The online art and craft course market is fierce. I’ve written about some of my favorites before, but I wanted to take the time to give a full Craftsy review. This was the platform that first got me hooked on online classes and defiantly deserves a close look.
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What is Craftsy
Craftsy is an online learning platform with classes on a wide variety of art and craft related topics. This includes drawing, painting, garment sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet, weaving, baking, cake decorating, and more.
Most classes video based and available exclusively through streaming, though a few do seem to have DVD options. Most have a few supplemental resources in PDF form. There aren’t currently kits available to purchase, though that has been a thing in the past.
Craftsy Vs Blueprint
Back in 2017 Craftsy was sold to NBC. They rebranded the platform as Blueprint and tried to pivot it to an infotainment platform and supply marketplace. It did not end well. Eventually NBC decided to shut the platform down all together. At the last minute, it was bought by TN Marketing. They restored the original Craftsy name and over the last few years, TN Marketing has been slowing bringing the platform back to life.
Subscription vs Purchased Classes
There are two ways to view Craftsy classes: buying individual courses and buying a yearly subscription to the site. Individual class prices vary depending on the depth of the class and any current promotion. Usually, you can expect to pay somewhere between 10$ and 70$ for a class. When you buy a la cart, you get lifetime access to the class.
Honestly, I always recommend people purchase a subscription to Craftsy over buying an individual class. Subscriptions are currently either 8.99$ a month or 89.99$ for a full year. However, it’s worth looking around for discount codes before buying. I’ve seen deals as good as 2.99$ for a year, though this was back when the company had just changed hands and was trying to restart itself. Whatever you pay, a subscription gets you access to all of Craftsy’s classes plus a handful of other perks. One of the best is the ability to share your account with up to three people for no additional cost.
Types of Classes on Craftsy
The Craftsy platform covers a wide range of art and craft related topics. Quilting, garment sewing, embroidery, knitting, crochet, cake decorating, baking, drawing, painting, photography, and woodworking are all included. Some classes are basic, introductory courses designed to get the viewer started on a new craft. Others go in-depth on a narrower topic.
Classes are taught through pre-recorded video lessons, which usually run between 10 and 40 minutes per section. There are often some additional materials available for download, most often PDF patterns and supply lists.
The length of the classes and depth of material covered varies. The older classes on the platform are usually the most in-depth. These OG Craftsy classes may look a little dated at this point, but the information is so good that they’re well worth the watch. Classes filmed during the NBC days tend to look a little sleeker but also lighter on real skill building. More like what you’d expect out of an afternoon workshop than a multi-session class.
Crafty’s current owners, have been slowly working to bring the platform back to life. They seem to be starting with live streamed content, which seems to be a good way to start building back up an engaged user base. These events still don’t have the substantive feel of OG classes, but they’re a nice complement and a step in the right direction.
Recommended Craftsy Courses
I’ve been a Craftsy member for years now, and watched some or all of a lot of the different courses offered. As a serial crafter, I don’t always finish everything I start but that just means I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of different classes! The following are some of the ones I’ve enjoyed most or found the most valuable over the years.
Hand Quilting: Heirloom Design & Technique with Andi Perejda was the class I used for guidance while making my hand sewn quilt. While the class focuses on whole-cloth quilting, the techniques also work on patchwork. The hand basting technique for securing the quilt layers together was worth the time of watching the course by it’s self! I also loved just watching Perejda sew. There’s something you get from watching a craftsperson work that can’t be put into words.
Access to great teachers is one of the things I love about Craftsy. In her Craftsy class The Couture Dress, couture expert Susan Khalji has an excellent class that walks you through all the steps of cutting, fitting, and sewing a dress using traditional couture sewing methods. These are different enough from standard sewing methods that the class is a fascinating watch even if you’re not sewing along with it. Additionally, I’ve got her Lace Skirt class on my to-watch list!
Khalji is a great teacher too. She offers a selection of in-person and online classes on her website, but they are a bit of an investment. So, if you’re curious about her as a teacher, her Craftsy classes are a great place to start.
One of my favorite things about Craftsy (especially the older classes) is that they’re great for learning complex technical skills. The sort of skills that you can’t easily find teachers for locally, unless you live in really big city (and sometimes not even then!).
Celeste Chalasani’s Stumpwork class was one of those classes. In the class, you make a small piece featuring a few flowers and leaves. It looks simple, but each element involves different skills or technique variations. So, by the time you finish, you’ve learned a lot. I started out with basic hand embroider skills, but by the time I finished, I knew how to make flower 3D flower petals and transparent insect wings. I was familiar with using felt for padding and making fuzzy areas with Turkey work. I love this class so much that I’ve recommended it in my Stumpwork resource list!
Guide to Tailoring: Structure and Shape
A few years ago, I found myself forced out of a sewing slump after landing a job as a seamstress in a costume shop. While I had taken a tailoring class in college, it had been years since I’d made a jacket and I felt… rusty.
Essential Guide to Tailoring: Structure and Shape taught by Allison Smith was exactly the refresher I needed. The second class in the series Essential Guide to Tailoring: Finishing, is also fantastic. The information and instruction were at the level of the tailoring class I had taken as an undergrad years before. If you’re looking to get a sense of the quality of Craftsy’s sewing classes, this is an excellent place to start.
One of the reasons I love Craftsy so much is that the membership includes class topics that go well above basic DIYs. One of those is Floor Loom Weaving with Janet Dawson. We’ve got a bunch of unused four-shaft looms at my day job, and part of my job involves learning how to use them. I’m starting in-person weaving classes soon, but in the meantime I’ve been watching this class to prep. Understanding terms like warp chain and having someone explain the basics of multi-shaft weaving patterns has me feeling a lot more prepared. Now at my in-person class, I can ask better, more specific questions.
Recently I was tasked with getting the kitting machines at my day job up and running again (yes, I do have a fun job!). The instructor who had taught our machine knitting class retired during the great pause, so the machines hadn’t been used since the before times.
I had never used a knitting machine before, so my first step was to go to Craftsy to look for a class. Sure enough, there was a four part series on knitting machines that starts at the very beginning and works up to advanced techniques. Using this class, I was able to quickly learn enough about how knitting machines worked to set up and test out our machines!
Now, when I have a spare moment, I slip into the textile lab to keep working my way through the series of courses.
If you’re a serial crafter or just want to take classes to help you develop a really good technical foundation for one craft, a Craftsy membership is a great buy. The subscription format lets you jump between instructors and crafts whenever you want, allowing you to follow your whims and passions. While the aesthetics of classes are sometimes lacking, the technical knowledge is top-notch. And the depth of the video library is more than enough to make up for the slow addition of new content.