Lynda Maynard’s RTW Sienna Maker Jacket class
I had heard some good things about Lynda Maynard’s online courses, in particular through Geri Berman, whose blog and Instagram account I subscribe to. I saw that one of the courses being offered was the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns, which had been on my list of things to sew for some time, waiting for me to gather more experience. It seemed very advanced for me relative to my projects so far but I thought it was a great opportunity to learn. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I initially felt a bit out of my depth, knowing that everyone else was much more experienced than me, but Lynda was great at including every student in the discussions and making sure everyone’s questions were answered. She also responded well in email if I had a query between classes. The general atmosphere of the classes was friendly and supportive, and I never felt like I was holding everyone up, or asking too basic a question.
This post is a review of the class, you can read my review of the jacket pattern itself here.
It is recommended that you have fitted a toile before the course starts as it is structured around the construction of the jacket and not the fitting. Prior to the course, Lynda sent out an information pack about preparing fabric and notions, and some fitting advice. However, she did cover a full bust adjustment and rounded back adjustments in the first class as several people wanted advice on these. I put together a separate post on how I fit my jacket. The photo below shows the before and after shots of my neckline gaping.
There are three views to the pattern. Views A and B are essentially the same but different lengths. View C is a different design so has slightly different construction. I decided on the longer view A, and Lynda covers the relevant steps for all views.
The course took place over eight weeks, and since they were held in the US at 10 am PST, I was still able to make the live classes at 6 pm UK time. Each week there was a 1.5 hour live Zoom call with Lynda and our class (around 12 of us), where we would catch up on everyone’s progress and any difficulties or questions they had. Lynda would then introduce the next stages of construction and play a YouTube instructional video she had made. We would usually watch three of these short videos in each class and there was plenty of time for questions.
The videos are excellent. They were short, clear, concise and full of great hints and tips for getting a professional result. You get lifetime access to these videos and limited time access to the class recording. I have to say that Lynda’s attention to detail is superb, and I really enjoyed the high level of information she was passing on. There was so much more than what is included in the pattern instructions. Since I wasn’t that experienced, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and although all these techniques will be explained somewhere on the internet or in YouTube videos, I wouldn’t know to look up a better technique.
Overview of classes
Class 1 went through some basic fitting, interfacing, preparing the pattern with options for seam allowances, cutting and marking the fabric, and various seam finishes (all of which I’d heard of but never sewn). A lot was new to me, but it really pays to hear the advice of someone so experienced.
I liked how Lynda encouraged us to consider the construction of the entire project at the start e.g. thinking about moving the hip pockets since they are sewn into the side seam creating a lot of bulk, or planning the seam finishes especially if using flat felled seams so you can make sure you have enough seam allowance. I tend to just follow instructions from start to finish, but I can see the advantage of familiarising yourself with the whole process first so you can make changes before it’s too late.
Class 2 was all about patch pockets. Lynda showed us three different types and how to line them. I loved these so much I wrote a separate blog post about them.
Class 3 was about the smaller details such as the belt, and some basic tailoring techniques with sew-in interfacing. I ended up using fusible instead due to a lack of time and experience, but knowing I can go back to these videos at any time as I improve is a huge bonus.
Class 4 started to focus on the under collar and establishing the roll line. Since this was my first jacket and notched collar, I relied heavily on the videos. The advice here was very useful, and particularly if using sew-in interfacing and pad stitching.
Class 5 continued with the upper collar and facings, with some good advice on pressing. In fact I decided to buy the Milward Point Presser and Clapper after seeing Lynda use something similar for pressing corners.
Class 6 moved onto the sleeves, hem and topstitching. There is a lot of topstitching on this jacket, so her advice on using a walking foot and other tips was helpful. She also shows how to neatly enclose the hem at the front of the jacket so you don't see the bulk of the seams.
Class 7 included instructions on how to draft and sew a lining to the jacket. Although I didn't line this jacket, I can see this being a valuable series of videos for projects in the future, another huge benefit of lifetime access.
Class 8 was the final session and student showcase, with a chance to see everyone's finished jackets or to whatever point they had got to.