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.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. Albert Einstein


Hello A-Team:

I have learned that Monday, October 10, is Thanksgiving in Canada.  I wish them all a big dinner and to stay warm.  I had to call Canada this weekend and found out it was snowing in Calgary.  And here we are, in San Diego, where it is vey very warm.  Next week, it will get cool.  Maybe we will see the temperature dip into the 60’s.  The up and down temperatures are sure to continue till November.  Even then, it really doesn’t snow in San Diego.   Hence, I needed to find a picture that expressed the season as I saw it in Southern California.  The leaves are turning colors and Stella, my pussy cat, just loves it.  They crackle under her paws and she has been told not to eat the leaves.   She has been hanging around me this weekend.   I caught a sore throat and had to sleep it off.  I am much better, thanks to all that purring in my ears.

As to the classes:


Last week, we started making the dress forms conform to our bodies.  This week we will finish.  I will make sure that you look marvelous.  Then it will be time to pad out the dress forms and put the cover on.  You will need to bring your cotton upholstery batting, a couple of plastics from a dry cleaners, your sacrificial bra, and your slipcover.  By the end of Monday night’s class, your dress form will be all but completed.  IF you want to leave your form in the back room, make sure you have Amy’s tags.  See the last post.  She tells you where to get them.


We are ready to start our Sewing Operations Portfolio Samples.  There are still one or 2 more Textile Presentations to present.  Some of you have already started working on your upcycling projects.  Remember, you need to have hours, the presentation, the samples and the upcycling project for a grade.

Flat Pattern Manipulation:

Last week, we made 5 master basic sloper patterns out of manila paper.  What you didn’t catch, was that there will be 6.  Some of you have a one dart sloper front and some of you, have a 2 dart sloper front.  In the end, you will all have a one dart and a two dart master basic sloper.  I will show you how.  The rest of the manila paper I have, will be used for the last sloper.  It’s easy.  This week, you will practice making knockoffs and I will grade what you have completed, thus far.  I checked the pricing of a stamp to remember everything you need to put on a pattern/sloper.  Staples wanted $50 for the simple 3 by 5 inch stamp. It was NOT even self-inking.  I just can’t do it.

Sew Fun 1:

2 weeks ago:  we serged and learned some marking techniques.  This passed week, I didn’t hold the class.  I took off to kill what was brewing before it got really bad.  This week, we will finish up all our prep and begin to sew.  This is the week, we will get into TLC for the school’s straight stitch sewing machines.  I will be back to teaching with a post nasal drip and a cough.  The last remnants of what was starting up.

Links and Things:      Denise wanted me to share this sewing link with you.  Hope you find it useful !!!!!  There is alot of information here.  Sue Box is a fabulous site that sometimes has free embroidery designs.  Make sure you download them in PES format.  This one, is the most universal, if you do not have an embroidery machine.

I belong to sew many newsletters.  The best for Tailoring is Scabal.  Here is the last post.  My advice is to join this group.  They are very classic.

For those of you, who are starting your own business:  Here are some Liz Goodgold words.  Subcribe to her blog.  She will share lots of gems….

7 Secrets to Creating a Pitch that Gets You Funded

  1. Create a Head Whip Effect in Your Opening Sentence – Startle us; give us an amazing statistic, tell us a story, but make sure we tune in from the get-go.
  2. Make it Absurdly Simple – As I often say, “Your mother should be able to understand and invest” without a Harvard MBA. Yes; make it that simple!
  3. Get Rid of Every Acronym – Your audience doesn’t work in your field so ANY acronym makes no sense to us; spell out every single word. From IP to FP.
  4. Tell Me About Your Competitors – If you don’t have any competitors, I assume there isn’t a market. Very few products today are so revolutionary that they are the first in their field.
  5. Translate the Familiar to the Unfamiliar – When I was a book editor at Times Mirror, we often pitched new books this way: “it’s like a Sue Grafton murder mystery set in the 1800s;” or “It’s like Die Harder up in space.” Or, use a metaphor: it’s as if yogurt for the skin providing soothing relief.
  6. Make An Ask – What do you want? How much money do you need? What is the next step you want to happen? Remember: There is no selling until you ask a question.
  7. Master the Art of Q&A – Handling the question and answer period is rife with danger; it’s too easy to insult someone, speak over a question, or invent an answer. Practice handling rapid-fire questions in advance.

See you all in Class !!!!!



Making It Work


Hello A-Team:

This is an Ode to Tim Gunn. This weekend, I had the opportunity to hear Tim Gunn be interviewed on a radio program.  I also found an article about him in the Washington Post.  He is right.  He is always right.  See the links.  Also, a big Thank You to Amy, who found an anti theft device for our life-size dressforms.  Carol sent in an Youtube video on how jeans are made.  Thank you all contributors !!!!!!

The Classes:

Draping:  Last week, we took personal croqui pictures.  We also measured for our Patterns.  This week:  We will be making croqui and a special pattern for our dress forms with the use of Patternmaker software.  Remember to bring a fairly new, or new tape measure and your USB !!!!! 

Upcycling:  We did Fabric Burn Tests.  What fun.  We also worked on cutting our fabric for our Advanced Sewing Operations Portfolios.  This week, we will finish working on our Portfolio patterns.  AND we will begin to have our Textile Presentations.  Bring your upcycling to class, so we talk about it.

Flat Pattern Manipulation:  We will finish making complete first patterns that will be used to cut our muslin toile samples to check the fit on our half scale dressforms.  If everything goes well, we will be able to make our final manila master sloper patterns toward the end of class.  Because of this, we pushed back our Knock-Off project.

Sew Fun 1:  We finished cutting our Sewing Techniques portfolio patterns.   When fusing, it is necessary to let go and let the fabric!!!!! We started learning to care for serger sewing machines and learned how to use them.  This coming week, we will concentrate on learning how to mark our patterns with symbols that will help us sew.


Tim Gunn:   Washington Post Article.  Radiio Interview with Tim Gunn.

Anti Theft Devices:   I bought one to attach to my form model so that I don’t need to worry about it “disappearing”; if it does, it can be tracked down. There are several types that I looked at; Tile is very popular but I was not happy with it being a disposable unit – good for a year and then you toss as the battery cannot be replaced.  I opted for the latest XY3 because of the mapping feature, the app is free for IOS & Android phones (no monthly service charge), and you can run the app in the background so it does not eat up your phone battery life.



How jeans are manufactured:  Thank you for sending this, Carol.

See you all in class !!!!!!



Spring Break – Lots of Learning Going On !!!!!

Hello A-Team:

Pictures of the week:  Men’s Fitted Shirts at the National City Swap Meet



I can not thank Chris enough for his awesome questions concerning darts in men’s shirts.

This week there is no class.  Easter Sunday was March 25th.  It is good to have a break every once in a while.  I got a chance to update the grading charts.  I will be able to show you how you stand on hours & projects.  Did you sign up for Sew Pro’s Trip to LA???  It is on April 16th.  Call them.  Amy says they will take your over the phone payment.    Remember:  The Accreditation Team will be coming to view the classes next week.  Have you learned your Student Learning Outcomes?  (SLOs).  Here they are again:

Current SLOs  2016 

SDCE Institutional Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Social Responsibility

SDCE students demonstrate interpersonal skills by learning and working cooperatively in a diverse environment.

  1. Effective Communication

SDCE students demonstrate effective communication skills.

  1. Critical Thinking

SDCE students critically process information, make decisions, and solve problems independently or cooperatively.

  1. Personal and Professional Development

SDCE students pursue short term and life-long learning goals, mastering necessary skills and using resource management and self advocacy skills to cope with changing situations in their lives.

SDCE Fashion Discipline Student Learning Outcomes:        

Students completing a fashion or fashion production course or program will be able to understand and apply concepts, technologies, related skills and techniques by successfully completing class projects in order to prepare for fashion careers.

J McKenna’s Student Learning Outcomes for Spring 2016 Courses:

  1. Sew Like a Pro:  Students will be able to demonstrate advanced sewn product stitching & construction skills as evidence by the completion of an Advanced Sewing Operations Portfolio,  and the completion of basic clothing alterations using garments from their own closet or from a thrift store using professional standards of workmanship.
  1. Fundamentals Of Patternmaking: Collections:  Students will prove their Fundamentals of Patternmaking course learning and competencies by the completion of their first 3 garment (or one 3-Piece outfit) collection.
  1. Tailoring:  Upon completion of this course, students will be able to complete a tailored/couture garment using professional standards of workmanship.  Evidence will be the selection and use of fabrics and supporting materials suitable for the garment which meet established standards for tailored/couture construction.
  1. Sewing Fundamentals 1:  Upon course completion, students will be able to demonstrate basic sewn product stitching & construction skills as evidence by the completion of a Sewing Techniques Portfolio.
  1. Fundamentals Of Patternmaking: Drafting:  Students will demonstrate their Fundamentals of Patternmaking course learning and competencies by drafting and using their five piece Master Dress Sloper to pattern and construct a garment from their text book.

Last week in the classroom:

Drafting:  We are still finishing up our sleeves.  We learned a new method for “walking off” sleeves in an armhole.  Of course, over this break, I made handouts for you.  Teaches you how to make changes 2 – 3 different ways.  Next week:  We will make the skirt front and back and finish up the sloper pattern collection.

Sew Like a Pro-Both Classes:  We are still learning how to construct sleeveless facings.  We are almost done.  Next week:  We will finish up our sleeveless facings and learn how to put in a Fly Front Jeans Zipper.  Both these classes have open spaces.  If you need extra sewing time, you can join us.

Sewing Fundamentals 1:  We are making our way through our sewing techniques portfolio grading sheet.  Next week:  We will be learning to make flat-felled seams, inset right corners, facings, and collars.  Keep those questions coming, Chris!!!!  We even did an extra credit: dart in a seam to show how you can hide darts in a fitted garment.

Tailoring:  We just finished our 7 portfolio Tailoring Operations.  I have one more demo to show you concerning double buttonholes.  I just had to think of another way to do tailored jacket buttonholes without cording because you just can’t do it EASILY, on a keyhole buttonhole.   Remember to bring your pattern guide on Monday, April 4.  We will also read through and UNDERSTAND, what they are telling you to do.  We all know how to read.  We all need to understand that the guide is a guide and not a God.  Words to remember:  You have the opportunity to use different methods, if you don’t like what the guide is telling you.  On Wednesday, April 6, your Tailoring Operation Samples are all due for grading.  I will be taking pictures of your samples and you wearing your jacket toile.  WHAT FUN !!!!!!

Collections:  There is a month left.  In the right hand side bar, there are the rules and flyer for Mesa’s 2016 Golden Scissors Fashion Show.   Read it. I have already asked questions about it.  I need to send in pictures on April 26.  We will talk in class.  After the show, we will concentrate on making a Tech Pack for our garment (s).  Thank you for your patience while I worked with the tailoring class.

Links and Things to Know !!!!

Joan Hankin’s Stash.  Email her.  She wants to sell it all for $1 a yard.  The fabrics are all cotton like.  You have a variety of knits and wovens.  Her phone number is:  619 442 8128.  I do have samples of the fabrics.  Ask me in the classroom.










Check out Elo’s Website!!!!!   Good morning my friends. I would like to introduce you to my first food blog. More recipes coming up soon. Stay tuned

For more about the artist visit:

Richard’s Great Fashion Videos and Websites:  These need to be seen to be believed !!!!  I need to add the following about Richard’s links.  I do believe that at least one link, uses nude models.  They had to use a nude model to do what they did.  It is still worth seeing what they SPRAYED on her !!!!!!

The following is from Janet Prey.  She lives in Michigan.  Someday, I want to take classes from her.  She IS terrific.  She teaches the Islander System of Sewing.  Here are her 6 Tips for Interfacing Shirts.

Interfacing is one of today’s most missunderstood products in home sewing. It is important to know there are several reasons for interfacing a pattern piece:

  1. To create a crisp appearance such as collars, cuffs and plackets. 2.To reinforce areas where buttons, buttonholes and topstitching will be applied. 3. Adds to the longevity of the garment. To follow are 6 tips for interfacing shirts that rival top ready-to-wear garments selling for hundred dollars.
  1.  Choosing only high quality fusible interfacing is a no-brainer but I felt the need to say it anyway. The quality of the interfacing you choose is equaly as important as the quality of the fashion fabric.
  1. Two types of interfacing are required in the classic button-up shirt: a firm and a soft. The firm is applied to the collar, cuffs and buttonhole placket. The soft is used on the pocket hems, collar facing, cuff facings, sleeve plackets and button placket.
  1. Leave the seam allowance on the interfacing everywhere except the collar points.
  1. Cut and adhere interfacing to all pieces well in advance of starting to sew.

      5. Use a quality iron made for garment sewing. It must have good steaming capability and it should be heavier than the       average home iron. For best results in fusing interfacing, use a pressing cloth, lots of steam, firm pressure but you don’t need to apply your entire body weight. *Apply heat and shots of steam for 30 to 60 seconds or according to the instructions from the manufacturer. Now, don’t touch it! This is very important and where many fusible interfacing projects go wrong. It should cool for several minutes before you handle it as you could disturb the the glue before it has a chance to set and permanently adhere to the fabric evenly.

  1.  I use my press for fusible interfacing, it’s the best! All the same rules apply; to create steam use a damp press cloth, clamp the press shut until the alarm sounds. I open the press and close again for one more alarm, let it cool and it never fails.

“It doesn’t get any better than that!”

Remember to read the manufacturer’s directions on any fusible interfacing as they may vary in time, temperature and steam or no steam.

When I have the time, I ALWAYS put it into my blog posts.  See you all next week !!!!!


O Snail/ Climb Mount Fuji/ But slowly, slowly! Kobayashi Issa

Hello A-Team:

The Haiku was suggested to me by student Whitney.  And it is SO true !!!!!  The tags for the Haiku are: Tags: buddhismhaiku,persistencestruggle    You can click on the links to read more fabulous quotes.  Thank you, Whitney !!!!

The picture of the week is a series of pictures showing what you can develop with a half size dress form that has current body measurements. In 1795 women’s bodies were very different.

Marie 1
The Chemise goes on first.

Marie 2
Panniers & Corset – Front.









Marie 3
Panniers & Corset – Back.

Marie 4
Bodice & Under Skirt.

Marie 5
Jacket-Dress Back









Marie 6
Jacket-Dress Front









The Classes:

Drafting:  Last week, we finished drafting our Bodice Front and started on the back.  Next week, we will finish drafting our Bodice Back.  And we will move on to drafting the sleeve sloper.

Tailoring/Collections:  We are right in the middle of making a double welt (buttonhole) pocket for our portfolios.  Once we are done, we will sail into the double welt pocket with a flap.  The collections group is going forward with the completion of their computer patternmaking project.

Sew Like a Pro:  On Tuesday night, we will be making an open kick pleat with mitered corners.  On Thursday morning, we will be learning how to make sleeveless facings with understitching.  Our portfolios are growing !!!!!

Sewing Fundamentals 1:  We finished all our prep work and have started to learn to sew.  Last week, we learned about different kinds of stitches.  We ran out of time, when I wanted to show you how to sew a serged seam with a straight stitch sewing machine.   So we will begin there, next Thursday night.  It is a great technique to know about at 3 AM when you don’t have a serger and your fabric is raveling like crazy.  We will also study different seam edge finishes.


Bamboo Bodice Tutorial   by Shingo Sato.  Thank you for sending this to me, Shante.

Sewing Parts Online  This site is great to know about.  You can get parts and manuals for your sewing machines.  They also have sewing videos.   I WOULD caution you….do not buy any sewing machine online.  You won’t get lessons with it.  Always go to your favorite dealer.

S is for Start Menu – Tech Tip from Cindy

On your PC computer, are you aware of the one place where you can search for files and programs stored on your computer, get to your picture files quickly, find the programs you recently used, or access the drives on your computer?  Yes, it is the Start MenuS is for Start Menu.

Probably one of the most underutilized features on your PC, the Start Menu can be a terrific timesaver when trying to find a file/program/drive quickly.  Here are a few Start Menu facts (using Windows 7):

  1. Typically, you click on the Start button in the bottom left corner to open it up.  But, you can also hit the Windows (or Windows Start) key in the bottom left area of your keyboard.  This is a fast way to open the Start Menu, especially if you or your students are viewing a software program full screen and you want to open a second program or file without closing the first.  Press the Windows key again to close.
  2. Find the Search box at the bottom of the Start Menu and type a word or two contained in the title or text of the file you need (or name of a program).  A list of all associated results will appear.
  3. Click Programs (or All Programs) to see a list of all the software available on your computer.
  4. The left side of the Start Menu shows the recently used programs and the right side contains default locations (e.g. Pictures, Music, Computer, Control Panel).
  5. Did you know you can customize the left side with programs you regularly use (on your desk computer or personal computer)?  Just like you can pin programs to the bottom taskbar, you can also pin programs to the Start Menu.  From the list of Programs (#3 above), right-click on the program name and choose Pin to Start Menu.  The program will move to the top of the list and you will see a small line separating the pinned programs and the others.  Conversely, right-click and choose Unpin from Start Menu to remove a pinned program.

Note: If you are using Windows 8, learn about the Start Menu here:

If you are using Windows 10, use this link:



If Opportunity Doesn’t Knock, Build a Front Door. Milton Berle

Early Fall 2015 Portfolio Class 2
Sewing Techniques Portfolio Class Picture – Fall 2015

Hello A-Team !!!!!!

This is a busy time of year !!!!  

Sewing Fundamentals 1:  The Sewing Techniques Portfolio just finished.  Sewing Fundamentals 2: Apparel Construction will start on Monday, November 9 at 2 PM.  If you are planning on coming, print out your syllabus and classroom etiquette from the right hand column of this blog.  Bring your CSIDs card and Come Learn to SEW.  Sewing Fundamentals 2 teaches the same things as Sewing Fundamentals 1…..just in a different way.  As an instructor, I like to touch as many learning modalities as I can.  This variety leads to great learning experiences.  If you get a chance, before class, buy the McCall’s pattern listed in your syllabus.  Call around for the adult size.  Try Yardage Town in El Cajon.  The phone number is in your syllabus, page 2. 

In Computer Patternmaking, we are now patterning our final designs in Patternmaker.  Now everything is coming together.  You can see why you needed to draw out your designs on croqui.  You can see why you need to do quarter-size patterns before you begin your patterning in Patternmaker.   Remember, this Wednesday, there is NO CLASS.   It is Veteran’s Day.  Do something nice for any veteran you find.  They make life as we know it, possible.  On Thursday, November 12, we will continue patterning our original designs.  

Links and Things to Look at:    If you tinky down the page, there is a free turkey embroidery for you to grab.   If you are given a choice, grab it in .PES format.  More Free Designs.   San Diego Fashion Week Highlights.  Fun to watch.   No two sewers ever agree.  This is fine.  I STILL love the advise from Janet Pray.

2015 veterans day 8.5×11        This flyer tells you all about the workshops and opportunity events scheduled for vets.  Check it out !!!!

See you ALL in class !!!!!

Be Safe !!!!



The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Capt. Jack Sparrow

Hello A-Team !!!!

This coming week, is the end of Sewing Fundamentals 1:  The Sewing Techniques Portfolio.   Last week, we learned how to make three types of pockets, and we learned how to hand hem.  We also practiced blind hemming with a sewing machine.  I personally do not like this technique, but it is good for curtains and drapes.  On Monday, we will be learning three ways to input a zipper and we will be having buttonhole practice.  On Tuesday, your portfolios are due during class.  Class pictures will be taken.  The week after this, will start Sewing Fundamentals 2:  Apparel Construction.  Sewing Fundamentals is now taught in 2 parts.  Each part will teach you to sew.  So don’t worry if you are just coming on board to learn.  Print, read your syllabus and come to class.

In our Computer Patternmaking Class, we are now back in room 208, to begin computer patterning our final project with Patternmaker.  For the past three weeks, we made muslin toiles to ensure that our measurements were inputted in the program correctly.  We worked on our final croqui images so that we knew what our final project will look like.  AND we made quarter size patterns of what we need to do in Patternmaker. What creativity !!!!!  How exciting !!!!!  

Links:      This fun video is about vintage sewing in the 1948.  Thank you Kelly for sending this !!!!  YOU WILL LAUGH at the attitudes portrayed.   The Joan Dress – This video is over an hour.  I have NO IDEA why it is called the Joan Dress.  I just could NOT resist putting this video in my blog.  She follows her pattern guide to sew the dress.  And she does an excellent job on putting in the back zipper.  A NEW take on shoes with Feetz…… using a 3D printer.  Ever wonder how a professional dress form is made?  Well here is your chance to see a video on it.  This video is for Alva Forms.   Get a cup of coffee and sit and relax.  There is really 2 videos here, back to back.  The first one, is a commercial for the second one.  Enjoy !!!!

I find my motivational quotes from the tag that hangs on the kind of tea I like.  The company’s name is Good Earth.    Here is my last motivational quote for the week:  The author is unknown.  Don’t let someone dim your light, simply because it’s shining in their eyes.  

See you all in class !!!!


The Week Before Halloween !!!!

Halloween 1Hello A-Team !!!!  

I hope you are all busy making Halloween Costumes !!!  And remember, Just because Halloween falls on a Saturday night, doesn’t mean that you can go crazy.  I want you all safe and back in class on Monday, November 2.

Sewing Fundamentals Portfolio:  Can you believe that this class has only 2 more weeks in it?????  This past week, we learned how to make and insert a collar in a jacket.  Last Thursday, we mastered closures, patches, sequins and beads.  Next week will practice sewing 3 different kinds of pockets and how to hem things, 5 different ways with 4 different stitches. 

This is the final week in room 209 for Computer Patternmaking.  By the end of the week, we will have completed and fit our slopers, tweaked our measurements, and designed our final garments on our croqui.  The first week in November, we are back in the computer classroom ready to design our final garment patterns in Patternmaker !!!!  (  

Great Links !!!!!!

 fa 15 ceramics fundraiser  If you get a chance, Go to ECC and support this fundraiser !!!!  For artisan holiday gifts, you just can’t beat this !!!!!!

Here is the link for the Donna Karen interview from Tracey !!!!  This is phenomenal !!!!!  You can hear and read the interview from NPR.  Thank you, Tracey !!!!!!
1 This is a link to the Martha Pullen website.  There is an article on beginning smocking. The Pink TuTu project.  Thank you for sending this, Maureen !!!!!  This link has a button you click on, to make a donation to the Pink TuTu project to support Breast Cancer Research and Awareness.  

Rrom Threads Magazine online:  How to Achieve Ideal Sewing Machine Thread Tension

  The bobbin thread tension is too tight.  The upper thread tension is too loose.  Balanced thread tension.   Balanced thread tension.
Balanced thread tension.
Poor thread tension on a machine-sewn seam can result in an unstable seam, puckering, or just plain unattractive stitching. Perfect machine stitches interlock smoothly and look the same on both sides of the fabric. If you see small loops on the right or wrong side, the thread tension isn’t correct.

achieve ideal sewing machine tension

  The red stitching is the upper thread; the black is the bobbon thread. The tension is balanced.

 A tension precheck

A number of factors can throw off thread tension besides the machine’s tension settings. Before trying to adjust the machine settings, take a look at other issues than can throw off the tension:

Is the sewing machine needle bent or does it have a burr on the tip?

Is the needle the correct size for the fabric?

Is the machine threaded properly? Most machines have thread guides, tension disks, a tension regulator, and a bobbin case spring that controls the bobbin-thread tension. Be sure the machine is threaded correctly. Remember, most tension discs close when the presser foot is down, so be sure to thread the machine with a raised foot. A good habit is to put the spool on the machine, and pull out 18 inches of thread. Hold the thread firmly in your nonthreading hand, so you can “snap” the thread into the tension disks (much like flossing teeth). This ensures the thread is placed correctly in the tension disks.

achieve ideal sewing machine tension

Does the bobbin have the same weight of thread as on the top spool? Is the thread good quality?

Is the upper thread catching on the thread notch or on another rough spot on the edge of the thread spool?

Did you drop a metal bobbin on a hard floor? If so, nearly invisible damage to it might keep it from working properly.

Are the tension disks clean? Lint sometimes collects in the tension disks. Thread your machine as usual. Pull some thread off the spool in the machine and cut it close to the spool. Tie two or three overhand knots in the thread, and be sure they are tight. Unthread the needle, and pull the knotted thread through the tension disks down by the needle. The tiny knots often catch bits of lint in the tension discs. Remember to cover your machine between uses to prevent dust from collecting in the machine.

achieve ideal sewing machine tension   achieve ideal sewing machine tension

Diagnosing faulty thread tension

If you’ve eliminated all of the possibly causes listed above and the tension is still bad, try this diagnostic exercise.

Begin by making test swatches. Get some light-colored fabric. Thread the machine with different colors of thread in the needle and bobbin. Sew 6 inches or so, and look at the fabric’s right and wrong sides.

achieve ideal sewing machine tension   If there are loops on the right side (red thread with black loops), the upper thread tension is too tight.


achieve ideal sewing machine tension   If there are loops on the bottom side (black thread with red loops), the bobbin thread tension is too tight.

Most of the time, the upper tension needs to be adjusted.

Adjusting the upper thread tension

When you’re adjusting the upper thread tension on your machine, remember that higher numbers on the dial indicate higher (tighter) tension, and lower numbers indicate lower (looser) tension.

Try changing the tension dial up or down one unit. Sew another line of stitching on your sample to see if the tension is balanced. Continue to change the tension settings until the stitches are balanced and no loops are visible on the top side. Run your fingers over the stitches on both sides of the fabric; they should feel smooth.

Adjusting the bobbin thread tension

To check the bobbin thread tension: If you have a front-loading bobbin, remove the bobbin and its bobbin case from the machine. Be sure the bobbin thread is threaded through the bobbin spring. Holding the thread, release the bobbin case over a padded surface (bobbin cases should not be dropped on a hard surface, as the impact may change how they perform). If the bobbin case falls a couple of inches, the tension is correct. If the bobbin case falls several inches, the bobbin tension is too loose. If the bobbin doesn’t fall at all, the bobbin tension is too tight.

If your machine has a top-loading bobbin with a nonremovable bobbin case, you can’t adjust the bobbin thread tension. Always, balance the tension by adjusting the upper thread. Although you have less control, you can usually set the tension successfully by working with only the upper thread.

When to consult a professional

If you have tried all of these tips and your machine is still not making good stitches, it is time to take it to the shop.

Sometimes “bad” tension is a good thing. When basting a garment, change the tension so the stitches are loose. After the seams are permanently stitched, removing the basting stitches is fast and easy. Just remember to correct the tension before you sew more seams.  Contributor:  Ruth Ciemnoczolowski 

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