Sewing Tools to Think About: Tapemeasures

Hello A-Team:  Welcome to the Spring 2019 Semester!

Check out the following photo.  It is worth a thousand words!  

These 2 tapemeasures are supposedly the same. But are they??????  The white one seams dead on when compared to the cutting mat.  The yellow one, seams to have shrunk.  Amazing.  Sometimes tapemeasures stretch; sometimes they shrink; when they are getting old.  Maybe the cutting mat was printed off.  Always check and replace your tapemeasure because you always need accurate measurements.  This tip was given to me, by Maureen.  Thank you, Maureen!!!  The picture is worth a thousand words !!!!

For my spring 2019 courses, the syllabi are under their respective pictures in the right hand column.  Just click on the picture to get an idea of the amount of learning I packed into each course.  Go to the menu and check the Downloads page.  There are useful things you can download and print from there.  Check your syllabus for needs.  The Links page has many links that you will find useful to buy texts at a better price or to look for your first fashion career position or internship. 

Come to class for a learning experience you will be using for the rest of your life!!!!!

Be Safe!

Joan McKenna

Spring 2018 Semester Courses

Hello A-Team:   Welcome to Spring 2018!!!!

I am in the process of editing the blog’s right hand column with the new spring 2018 syllabi.  What is there now, is just place holders.  Just before class at the end of January, I will do the final updates.  Taking class with me, means that you are starting a journey to gain knowledge to better yourself, or to update your workforce skills for either a career or to start a new business.  This semester, I am teaching Computer Patternmaking with a very student friendly program:  Patternmaker.  Check them out!!!!!  Press on the link.  The Professional Studio uses CAD tools, just like the big boys in the Apparel Industry.  My other course will be Sew Like a Pro.  In this course, we will be exploring textiles and sewing a garment with fabric that is difficult to handle.

The learning will be NON-stop this semester.

Come for the ride!




Welcome to Fall 2017: You Just Gotta Laugh !!!!

Hello Fall Semester A-Team Students:

Apparently, I can not add anything to the website.  There seems to be a major glitch.  You can still get into the Downloads menu and print your Sewing Fundamentals 1 Patterns.  Remembers to do this without scaling or shrink to fit.  You can also print:  Toubleshooting your Sewing Machine.  I will be prepared to give you a syllabus tomorrow in the Sewing Fundamentals 1 class.   Wednesday, the Drafting syllabus will be given out. 

Enjoy the rest of your holiday.


Joan McKenna

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. –George Bernard Shaw

                          Hello A-Team:

Summer will be all about Fundamentals of Patternmaking:  Draping.  Pad out an old dress form to be an exact duplicate of you with a little ease.  Use any edition of Connie Amaden- Crawford’s The Art of Fashion Draping, and learn to create using industry standard draping techniques.

Syllabus is in the right hand column.

Be Safe,


Paris & Amsterdam

Hello A-Team:

The following group of pictures are a bit mixed up.  I could not get the pictures to move where I wanted them to go.  After a while, on a tour, you begin to forget where you are, what time it is, and events seem to merge.  Enjoy.

Men’a Jacket circa: 1780. Worn with it’s waistcoat, shown in next picture. Clothworkers Center, London.
Notice that the back is way shorter than the front. This is something that is popular today.
Roberto Cavalli. March 2017. Paris. So it is my opinion, that in men’s clothes, history is is repeating itself. I love this. I would wear it.
This is an offering from the House of Chanel. Paris. Notice how the bleach design is matched directly over the seams. I did not catch the price. I wonder, how it was done? Intriguing. N’est pas?
I saw this piece. It is only about 4 inches long. Unbelievable. Paris. Next door to the Louve.
This is a doll carrying case from the Tassen Museum of Bags & Purses in Amsterdam. 19th century.
Women’s Fine Sewing Purse. Tassen Museum.
Ivory Purse. 1920’s. Tassen.
Sewing Basket. 19th Century. Tassen. I have no idea what the stars were for. All I can think of, is that they wound thread around them.
I had a definite problem in Chanel. I just could not stop crying. These are the steps where Chanel showed her collections. They took pictures of me and my daughter. No idea if we have the same or different kinds or cancer.
Kate would not get this, from Agent Provocateur, Paris. It is from Vivienne Westwood’s son’s collection.
Paris Chocolatier. There is one on every corner. This was strict window shopping. All three pictures are from the same shop.
Yes, the giant chess pieces are chocolate, too. Fabulous!!!
Professional egg boiler. Time your own, just the way you like your eggs. Paris.
16th – 18th century purse handles. The fabric purses just didn’t survive. Tassen.
Paris Chocolatier. There is one on every corner. This was strict window shopping. All three pictures are from the same shop.
Tassen Museum. Amsterdam. Drawers. The words on the chest of drawers indicated what was stored in the drawers.
Tassen Museum. Amsterdam. Drawers. The words on the chest of drawers indicated what was stored in the drawers. I could find no date on this. I suspect it was made during WW1. There is NOTHING plastic about this. Just great inginuity.
Fish Delicatessen. Amsterdam. The husband & wife are the owners. Everything was so fresh here.
Lingerie Fabric Shop in Amsterdam. Great prices.
Part of button wall in Amsterdam’s Fabric Shop.
Fabric Shop Sign. Amsterdam.
I took this picture for Diana, our hatmaker instructor. I think it is 19th century top hat mold-stretcher.
Paris sign for fresh fish.
This is a picture of the display by the sign. Again: Everything was very fresh.
Kosher Butcher Shop in Paris.
Paris. Grocery store shelf signage. To my surprise, it was all digital. I have not seen this in the states…..yet…..
At a Paris dinner we saw this framed lace. Very intricate. No idea if it is lingerie or part of a dress.
One of the buildings from the Louve, Paris.
The pyramid. Where you buy your tickets and get into the Louve. Paris. I never made it inside. I was in awe of the Musee de Arts Decortifs, which houses the Musee de Mode & Textiles. The museum I was at, was next door. Separate entrance. Separate entrance fee.
Inside the Musee de Arts Decortifs, which houses the Musee de Mode & Textiles, you were not allowed to take pictures of the exhibits. Behind these doors, was an exhibit of cross dressers, LGBTQ, thoughout the ages. The exhibition was cataloged. I bought the book which was written in French. It was an amazing exhibit. Joan of Arc, was condemned because she liked wearing men’s breeches. And she would not give it up.
8 hour latex class in Amsterdam. You need plenty of ventilation to do this. Best learning experience of the tour !!!
In the latex class, lots of the ladies made panties. These are for a wonder woman costume.
Amsterdam bistro presentation of plate of raviolis.
Amsterdam bistro presentation of Cesear Salad.
This little shelf sign, is in our Amsterdam Mercure Hotel. It says alot with very little words.

Bath & London

Hello A-Team:

I could not get the images to turn or align.  At least you get to see some incredible things.  I miss you all !!!!  Joanie

I’ve fixed the photos. — John   THANK YOU, JOHN!!   JMcK

Tomorrow, the group travels to Paris.  Hopefully by the next post, I will be able to turn the pictures upright.

Welcome to Spring 2017 – Where Education Leads to Vocation

Hello A-Team:

Sadly, the Fall 2016 semester is coming to an end, in 2 weeks.  Everyone is busy working on their final project for their grade.

Under the pictures in the right hand column, are the Spring 2017 Syllabi.  All the timing is correct.  Download & Print your Class Syllabus, the Classroom Etiquette, and your needs from the Downloads page.


The following websites are a guide to Vogue’s upcoming fashion shows:

Paris, France:

New York, New York:

London, United Kingdom:

Milan, Italy:

Be Safe !!!!!

See you all in class !!!!


Being Creative is NOT a Hobby. It is a Way of Life. As told to me by M. Buckley

Hello A-Team !!!!

Don’t let this sleeping kitty fool you !!!!  You are looking at her through a piece of glass.  And I can tell you, that her dreams are all creative.  You dream it, you can make it !!!!

This is deadline month.  This is the last A-Team email, before the new semester.  Come to class to see what is happening.  I will be grading everyone the last day of class.   I have been told what I am teaching.  The correct schedule is not in stone, yet.

Check out the following, given to you, with permission from Beverly Johnson, the Fairy Bra Mother.  Get on her email list. She is the best !!!!!!

Keep being creative !!!!!  It is a skill that can earn you a living wage.  




May your home be blessed with the courage of compassionate hearts, seeing the greatness in every soul.

Hello A-Team:

I just could not wait till the end of Winter Break to email you all.  I cannot thank you all enough for all the gifts and cards!!!!  I do what I do out of love of the subject.  I want everyone to know they can earn a living sewing.  It is important to know, that you don’t have to stop wearing something, just because it ripped, lost a button, or got a hole in the pocket.  These repairs are easy to fix.  And once you learn patternmaking…..  You can create your own designs to sell.   Thank you again, for all your kindness.

Some of you have homework to do for your first class in January, 2017.  I am busy working on the Spring 2017 syllabi along with several other projects.  I started to update the right hand column of the blog.  I think I will have all the syllabi out by Mid-January.  There is a field trip to Yardage Town on February 4.  And the trip to LA with Sew Pro’s is on April 29, in the new Spring semester.

The Classes:

Draping:  The final class before Winter Break went by so quickly.  This class, has only 2 classes left before the end of the semester.  We went over draping circle skirts, and our final projects.  Our next class is January 9th.  Your full size muslin toiles and patterns are due.

Upcycling:  The morning class would NOT let me do the daily demo which was the fly zipper for jeans.  In the evening class, we practiced the insertion of the invisible zipper.

Flat Patternmaking:  We finished up our Style number 903 pattern.  There are now 4 classes left to complete our final half-size project.  Hope you are working on your half size patterns during the Winter Break.  Aren’t the quarter size patterns making more sense???  They should be giving you a sense of direction and confidence.

Sew Fun 1:  This class got reversed with the hemming class.  We learned how to put hem tape and flexi-lace hem binding on our samples, We learned about the three hand hemming stitches:  The blind hem, the slip stitch, and the cross stitch.  Learning to do a blind hem, by machine, we put off till the next class in January.   Then the students saw a sequin demo.  So next class. we will start there, practicing our sequin application.  We will also learn how to sew on buttons, snaps, and hooks.  Please remember to bring in a small patch so I can show you how to sew it on.

Links and News:

Tasha called me with a great message to all of you !!!! The Humane Society is waving it’s fees for the holiday season.  So if you want to adopt a dog or a cat….now is the time !!!!!

The West City Center Career Center Office will be open on Thursdays, from 10 – 3 pm in January.   If you are a SDCE student or recent training program graduate, our Career Counselors are available for individual walk-in career planning assistance, job search guidance, and resume critiques. No appointment needed!
 Need your resume critiqued? Please bring a hard copy or flash drive file of it with you to your walk-in counseling ses-sion and we’ll review it and give you suggestions!
 Check out the many career planning and job search resources are on the Career Services webpage:
 Career Counselors: Barbara Elliott for Mesa CE Campus, North City Campus, West City Campus
Marcia Grant for ECC Campus, Mid-City Campus, Cesar Chavez Campus

Our very own Mermaid sent this wonderful link to me concerning bone soups.  This gives scientific meaning to my Mom’s chicken soup.

Dear Campus Community,

We are thrilled to present Jump Start to your success on Saturday, February 25, 2017, from 8:30am-1:00pm.  This is a time in which we invite hundreds of prospective students to our campus and showcase what we have to offer and how great we do it!  The program will include support services, academics, department resources, clubs, and the lively community feel we create at Mesa.  We hope you will join the fun!

Columbus, Ohio is becoming MAJOR fashion center.  Check out this article !!!!  Thank you for sending this link to me, Donna.

Learn how to sew Minky fabric here.

Enjoy the rest of your break !!!!

Catch up on your homework.

I will see you all the first week in January !!!!

Happy New Year !!!!!