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From Student to Instructor

Every expert starts as a beginner, and every teacher starts as a student — including the instructors of our video classes. With the help of a few Bluprint classes, these three instructors got started or advanced their skills in their craft so that they can teach you to do the same.

Beth Graham learned the tricks of teaching her craft

Beth Graham on Bluprint Set

Teaching doesn’t come naturally to everybody — there’s an art and a science to it, especially when teaching a craft. Even though Beth Graham had some experience teaching elementary school, she thought she didn’t have the right background to teach adults.

When a local yarn shop owner asked her to teach some in-person crochet classes, Beth turned to Gwen Bortner’s class How to Teach It course. “In the class, I was reassured that I did indeed have what it takes to teach adults — and to teach them to crochet, to boot!” Beth said. In fact, she used the lesson plan template included in the class materials when planning the classes for her local yarn shop… and for her own Bluprint class.

Since her class launched, Beth has taken more and more classes in all kinds of crafts, and not just to learn new skills. “Apart from learning about whatever the topic of the class is, I also learn a great deal about teaching styles from my fellow instructors.” And, in our humble opinion, it totally worked — Beth’s teaching style is a joy to learn from!

Deby Coles’s sewing journey started with Bluprint classes

Deby Coles Teaching on Bluprint Set

Living on an island with little access to fabric, supplies and education, Deby Coles was on her own in learning how to sew. As a novice, she relied on online sewing communities and blogs to guide her. When she stumbled upon Bluprint, “at last it looked like all my sewing questions were answered!” she said.

As a beginner, Deby started by joining Mg McElwee’s Sewing with Knits class: “As a complete beginner, I had no idea that it was more difficult to sew with stretch fabrics, so I just dived right on in, and thanks to the class I had great success,” she said. The first class led to many more, on topics ranging from fitting pants to sewing couture dresses. Some were too advanced for her at the time, but she picked up tips and ideas that expanded her sewing knowledge.

Now, Deby’s library is full of sewing classes — including one of her own! “I could never have imagined when I first started watching the classes that one day it would be me up on the screen.”

Helen Mansey mastered sugar flower arranging with two online classes

Helen Mansey Teaching in Bluprint Set

Helen Mansey wasn’t a beginner when she found Bluprint, but even as an experienced cake decorator, she found lots to learn — especially about sugar flowers.

When facing tricky requests from clients, Helen turned to James Rosselle‘s classes to guide her designs. “Arranging Sugar Flowers was very helpful when I was commissioned to make a cake for a magazine: I designed a cake with a band of flower in between two cake tiers, and this class gave invaluable advice on how to arrange the flowers.” After that, James’s Exotic Sugar Orchids class introduced Helen to custom orchids for a client (who was pleased with the result!).

Now, Helen teaches elegant techniques for decorating celebration cakes — there’s no doubt that her sophistication and sharp designs were influenced by James’s lessons.



So proud of you Deby. I have been following you since you first started.


I have learned so much from you Deby. Thank you. You are a great teacher


It’s great to see how Craftsy has played an instrumental part in their success. Well done ladies and good luck on your future endeavors!


Have been enjoying your YouTube tutorials Deby. You have a good, clear teaching style. Will be buying your crossbody pattern soon.


Deby, I can’t wait to see you in your Craftsy class!! Congratulations. You deserve this.
BTW, we will be in your town on Wed, Nov 9, but only letting you know as you asked. It would be great, but we DO NOT expect you to meet up with us this time. (We’ll be with a large group this trip and I have no idea what plans we will have.) Best wishes for many successes!!

Sarah Martin

You are an inspiration to so many, Deby!

Sandra Hauger

Deby, I have been following you from the beginning. I learned about downloading from you as well as your approach to sewing from novice to expert on interpreting pattern directions and posting to us troubled sewing souls. Thank you. Love your class.


Deby, I have learned a lot from you, via your blog and you tube channel.
I will definitely be buying your craftsy classes.

Donna Gamble

Congratulations Deby. I have been enjoying your blog for a few years now and can’t believe how your skills and success have grown in that time. I often quote you as an example of what can be achieved with online learning and communities. I also discovered Craftsy at a similar time to you but there is no way that i have been able to be as prolific as you with your sewing projects. I suppose I have been putting more time into quilting (which I’ve earnt from Craftsy!) You are a great inspiration. All the best with your role as a Craftsy instructor!

Deby Coles (Sewing Wallets)

I just want to thank all of you for your very kind comments on the above article. I’m blown away. I never imagined I’d one day have a class of my own, and want to thank everyone who helped me with sewing tips and suggestions as I was learning. The support we can all get from the online sewing community is fabulous.


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