I have a 12 year old daughter who is crazy about American Girl dolls, and just started to learn how to sew with the sewing machine. When the opportunity came to review an online sewing course through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I jumped at it! Learn How To Make Doll Clothes Video Course with 8 Free Doll Clothes Patterns is put out by Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns.
Who is Rosie? Rosie is a stay at home mom who has been sewing since she was a young girl herself. Over the years, she began creating outfits for her own daughter's doll, learning many little neat ways to make sewing those miniature outfits easier. Rosie decided to share her tips and patterns with others, so she established Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns for beginning sewers to easily learn how to sew beautiful doll clothes as well!
What happens when you purchase the online course? Once we were logged into Rosie's website, we had complete access to over 130 instructional videos. The beginning module contains short, introductory videos to teach someone the basics of preparing for sewing. The videos are set up so that a complete beginner can start out knowing how to set up their sewing room, what supplies they will need, and how to pick out the right material. The videos progress to more complicated topics including detailed step-by-step instructions for completing the 8 free bonus patterns that are included with your subscription. Some of the videos are short, under two minutes, but many of the more detailed instructional videos are longer. The instructional videos are separated into logical steps, to make it easy to repeat or review a section, without having to find it on a long video.
What patterns are included? A purchased subscription gives free access to 8 simple patterns: undergarments, a hat, walking shorts, a sarong, a crop top, a halter top, a summer nightie, and a pumpkin costume. (all pictured above). The patterns are very easily accessible once you are logged in. Once downloaded, they can easily be printed out. The patterns include printable instructions, as well as step-by-step video instructions. If you are not technical, there are also short videos that show you exactly how to print the patterns. In short, you should be able to find a helpful video on the website for just about anything you might need from this program! Additional patterns for more intricate outfits are available for purchase on the website.
What dolls will these work for? The patterns are designed to fit 18" dolls, and there is a choice between patterns for American Girl dolls, or the plumper Cabbage Patch Dolls.
Who will most benefit from the videos? The videos are designed for ages 8 and up. No previous sewing experience is necessary. Each video includes Rosie speaking (in a charming Australian accent) as well as close ups and shots from various angles of the technique she is demonstrating. While the videos are simple enough that even a child could follow them, they are not 'dumbed down' either. I found them very informative as well. That being said, I think this would make a really neat mother/daughter project!
How did this program work for us? My daughter is a beginning sewer who has learned some hand sewing, can sew buttons on, and just this fall has started learning how to operate the sewing machine. She has only practiced on fabric scraps so far, and up until starting this program, had not actually completed a real project on the sewing machine yet, although she had lots of stitching practice! I am a fairly experienced sewer. I have been sewing for many years, and have made my fair share of projects, including clothing, although I am mostly self-taught.
We started this program by watching the introductory videos. (And now my daughter wants to someday have a bright, cheery, organized sewing room like Rosie does on the video "How to set up your sewing room"!)
Putting it to the test: I watched some of the actual project videos, then decided that I really wanted to put this program to the test by seeing if Melissa could follow the video closely enough to actually learn how to complete one of the projects without my input! I knew that I would easily be able to make any of the patterns, and would be tempted to 'just do it' and not fully watch all the instructional videos. I also knew that Melissa would not have that luxury, and wouldn't be able to complete any of the patterns unless the video was thorough enough to teach her. So what better way to find out if these videos could actually teach her how to sew, then by having her jump right in! I had Melissa select which pattern she wanted to tackle, printed out the pattern pieces for her, gave her my scrap bag and the rest of the supplies she needed, and turned her loose!
What pattern did she choose to make? Melissa chose to make a long sarong for her AG doll. She found it a little daunting when I told her that she was on her own. I was nearby but only to be consulted if she didn't understand what to do after watching the video.
Did it work? Did we get a finished product?? After watching the intro videos, Melissa watched the specific videos with the complete instructions for making a sarong. She set the laptop up right next to the sewing machine and started her project. Rosie went step by step through cutting out the pattern, laying it on the fabric, and properly cutting out everything. Melissa enjoyed being able to see how everything should look. She did read through the instructions, but without prior experience, had a hard time picturing what to do. The videos definitely helped her to actually see what she should be doing, and then duplicate it in real life with the materials on hand.
The videos had nice close up shots of the projects.
Sewing a sarong!
Melissa worked on this project a little bit everyday for about a week. She didn't really have any major problems at all! We were both amazed. She only consulted me once for help, but that was just to clarify something that was said. She understood the concept, but wanted to make sure she was doing it right. She was able to pause the videos as necessary, repeat sections, and compare the project in her hand with the one on the video to ensure that they were the same.
After about a week of work, Melissa had a finished product! I can't even describe the pleasure she took in dressing up her doll in an outfit she made all by herself! She was ecstatic, and proclaimed repeatedly that she couldn't believe she actually made the long sarong all by herself. It definitely was a huge confidence booster for her, and showed her that by carefully following instructions, she could tackle sewing projects that looked hard.
"Molly" sporting a brand new sarong made by Melissa!
Future plans: There are a few more projects on Rosie's site that Melissa would like to make. She is trying to decide what to make next. She really wants to make a doll dress next, but I am planning on having her make more of the free patterns first, so she can gain more skills and experience. Each of the patterns highlights a different technique that would be valuable for her to learn before tackling a more challenging project. Since a membership gives a full 12 months of access to the videos, we will have plenty of time over the winter to use the program more, and make more outfits. Melissa has plans to make a few doll outfits for Christmas gifts for her friends.
What does all this cost? There are two options to purchasing this program. You can purchase the online course that gives you the 8 free patterns to download, and 12 months of unlimited access to the videos for $47.23. (The website is based in Australia so the US price may fluctuate slightly depending on the exchange rate - this was the USD price at the time of this review). There is also an option to purchase the entire course on DVD, where you will not have a time limit on how long you can view the videos. The current USD price for the 10 video set, as well as a CD with all the pdf patterns, is $66.14.
Final Thoughts: I feel this program passed the test (with flying colors!) by being user friendly to a young, beginning sewer. With no outside help, Melissa was able to completely create a garment for her doll, just by using the video instruction from Rosie. Melissa commented that it was so easy to learn what to do, because Rosie shows everything in great detail. It was not confusing and very simple. As a mom and sewer, I am giving this program a hearty recommendation! Even though I have been sewing for years, I was able to pick up a few new techniques as well, just by watching the videos.
Of course, you should check out what other Crew members thought, and see the other projects that were made, by clicking the banner below.....