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:




A Negative Mind will NEVER Give You a Positive Life – Unknown

Threads Sewing Guide. Thank You, Maureen !!!!

Hello A-Team:

The picture of the week, demonstrates how important it is to press while you sew.  The article starts on page 146.  There are NO WORDS that can say this better.

The Courses:

Sewing Fundamentals 1:  We have now finished all our prep work.  It is time to learn to sew.  Bring your straight stitch sewing machine to class and let’s learn !!!!!

Sew Like a Pro (Day and Night Classes):  Thursday’s Day Class has a bit of marking to do.  Then the focus will be on Kick Pleats and Mitered Corners.

Tailoring:  Last week, we practiced jacket vents and mitered corners.  This week, we will be practicing an upper welt pocket.  Now that the muslin toiles are complete, you can go ahead and mark where you want to put your practice welt pocket, your buttonhole pocket, double welt pocket with flap, bound buttonhole with cording, bound buttonhole without cording and corded machine made buttonholes.

Drafting:  We will complete our bodice front draft.  By now, you all have pattern hooks to hang your completed drafts.  And we will go on to our back bodice draft.

Links and Good Things to Know:

One of my patternmaking students, Juliana or Nora, found a site with other sizes of french curves, besides the ones that I have posted on my downloads page.  They are great !!!!!  This blog has so much information on it, that I just have to share it with you.   http://www.growyourownclothes.com  

http://www.advanced-embroidery-designs.com/freedesign.html   This link has a free embroidery design.  It is a classic !!!! Pick it up in the PES format.  If you do not own an embroidery machine, PES is the most universal format.

6  Tips to Better Sewing

  1. Cut, Interface, Serge and Bundle the Day Before 

For the very best sewing experience I like to cut out the pattern the day before I sew it up. Then I fuse the interfacing to all required pieces. If there are raw edges on any pattern piece that you want finished with the serger do that next. The final step is to gather all necessary notions (thread, buttons, hook & eye, etc.) and tools. Place them in a neat pile or bundle them by wrapping the pieces around the notions tied together with a piece of string or a strip of selvedge. When you arrive in your sewing room the next day your project is ready for you to begin construction and you have the peace of mind that everything you need is there and you won’t have to stop to cut, fuse or serge!

  1. Sew with a Flat surface Around the Sewing Machine 

(Extension Table or Cabinet)

This is more important than any other sewing tip I can give you. By having a flat surface around the machine you will find the project is easy to manipulate while sewing. It’s easier to accomplish straight and accurate seams because the project is not dragging down off the back of the machine and you have more room in front of the needle to get the best start. If you are currently sewing using only the small bed of the machine while setting ontop of a table, you are working way too hard!

  1. Sitting at the Machine Your Arms Should be Bent at a 90 Degree Angle

If your machine is sitting high on a table top you are probably reaching up to sew, possibly even raising your shoulders while sewing. This causes stress to your back, neck and shoulders. To remedy this problem you will need to either lower the machine on a shorter table or raise your chair. For optimum comfort and to sew longer periods with ease also make sure your legs are bent at the knee at a 90 degree angle.

  1. Use a Straight Stitch Throat Plate for Straight Stitching

Multi-functional sewing machines usually come with a throat plate that has a wide rectangular hole in the middle for the needle to pass through. This is great when you are using specialty stitches the zig-zag, however when straight stitching it can be a real problem. In the construction of most garments only straight stitching is required so using a throat plate made for this type of sewing is optimum. There is just one small hole only large enough for the needle to pass through, which will keep the end of a collar or the raw edge at the beginning of a seam from getting pulled down into the machine. Newer machines are starting to include both types of throat plates, but if yours didn’t come with a straight stitch plate ask your sewing machine dealer if one is available to order.

  1. Clipping Curves

To clip curves so they lay nicely, with scissors that are sharp all the way to the point (sometimes called tailor point scissors) clip the seam allowance all the way to the seam stitching but not through. Space clips about 1/4″ apart – no closer. Do not shred the seam allowance by using too many clips and NEVER clip “V” shapes out of the seam allowance. This will cause empty spaces in the seam allowance and will surely show on the right side of the garment when pressed and will certainly cause topstitching to look unprofessional.

  1. Attend a Sewing Retreat to Learn & Relax!

Improve your sewing skills by learning from teachers who can’t wait to share their knowledge.

See you all in class this week !!!!!!

Be Safe !!!!


Final Week of Fall 2012

Dear A-Team:

There were no classes on Monday, Martin Luther King’s Birthday. Hope you all went to the parade to support your fellow students. It is always fun to do and the weather was just perfect today. It is always sad for me when a course comes to an end.

Drafting and Flat Patternmaking has only one final class this coming week on Wednesday. I need to take pictures of your patterns and final sample dress.

In Using your First Commercial Pattern, some of you finished your PJs and already have started your second project. If you complete your second project, and I take a picture of it, I will give you 5 extra credit points.

Starting January 30th, 2013 is Draping on Body Doubles. The syllabus and all other downloads you need for this course, are all in the right hand column of the blog.

Starting January 31st, 2013 is Sewing Techniques Portfolio. Everything you need is in the right hand column of the blog. BUT NOTE: there are changes to the patterns and instructions. I will have handouts for you on the first day of class. There is also some supply changes. Bring paper to take notes.

February 2nd, 2013, we have a field trip to El Cajon Yardage Town and Central Sewing. Yardage Town to get your fabrics for the Portfolio and Denim for your dress form cover. And Central Sewing to purchase your dress forms, sewing machine bobbins, and Schmetz needles.

Interesting Links to Share:

http://embroideryonline.com/ProjectDetails.aspx?pid=113&ppid=7 PDF article: Multihooping Floral Embroidery on Skirts.

http://www.urbanthreads.com/free.aspx GREAT freebie Embroidery Design. Remember, if you don’t have a machine, get the design in .PES format.

http://link.realage-mail.com/YesConnect/HtmlMessagePreview?a=PC0nf-scbRqV8RkNqoM3GNgW Real Age Tips of the Week.

http://wt.dlisys.com/nancysnotions/NN121397.asp?e=mckenna@gothere.com&src=&x1= Free Nancy’s Notions EASY Quilt Pattern. There is also a video to watch.

See you all in class this week !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Make Money with your Skills !©

Be Safe,

Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244

XVI Mastery Cometh Through Experience

Hello A-Team !!!!!

These final weeks of class, are all about using the knowledge that you have gained all semester. Go for it !!!! Show me how much you learned !!!!

Upcoming event:

Please Join Us!

Note: I will be bringing to class your hours up to January 10th. Since this is about half your grade….ask me what it is. Remember: Below 30 hours, the rule is not to give a grade. 30 hours gives you an incomplete. 80% of the hours listed for the course gives you a C or better, if you complete your project(s).

Drafting and Flat Patternmaking: We are in the midst of making our final patterns. They should be completed this week. Then you have about a week and a half to make up a sample garment. How Exciting !!!!! I am ready with my cell phone camera !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Using Your First Commercial Pattern: Last week, I demoed sleeve input, elastic waistband insertion, collars, and buttonholes. Five students have finished their PJs. I have pictures. One student made “PJs” for her cat! She even took pictures of her cat. They are moving on, to their second project.

The only demo that didn’t go as planned was buttonholes. I couldn’t figure out why. As an instructor, I wanted to make this easy for you. So over the weekend, I Googled it. I discovered that flannel and fleece buttonholes were troublesome for a lot of sewers. The following is what I found. Next week, I will demo buttonholes again and they will go better.


Tip: Always do a couple of practice buttonholes on a scrap of the fabric you will be using. Some fabrics, like knits or flannel, are kind of spongy and don’t feed as easily. You may need a longer stitch length on these. If your fabric is stretchy or slippery, you can stabilize it with a little fusible interfacing on the wrong side before stitching your buttonhole. Once you’ve done a practice one, cut it open and make sure that your button goes through easily.

Now perhaps you’d like to adjust the stitching on your buttonhole. The buttonhole on the left has a longer stitch length of almost 1mm while the buttonhole on the right has a very short stitch length of .25mm. While a shorter stitch looks nice, be aware that some fabrics don’t feed as easily and they may jam when the stitch length is too short. So always do a couple of practice buttonholes on a scrap of your fabric.


Try turning your fabric around and making the buttonhole the opposite way. This might help you avoid the seam unevenness. I do it this way when making buttonholes at the top of a line dresses, boys jonjons, etc. and the layers of fabric are too thick. Normally you would start at the top, but mark the length and start at the bottom of the buttonhole. Sometimes it works:)


www.maxantbuttonandsupply.com Ever need to cover buttons or belts? This is the place to go!!!!

http://britexfabrics.cmail5.com/t/ViewEmail/r/7DAB885FCDC1E4CD/20E7279942C142F2D3AB5F5EEC5F0895 Britex Blog and Sale This place is NOT to be missed when you travel to San Francisco.

http://links.mkt1150.com/servlet/MailView?ms=MTQxMDI5NTES1&r=MjkyMjMyMjI4NTAS1&j=MjEwMDU2NjI4S0&mt=1&rt=0 Cat Channel Newsletter.

http://www.scabal.com/mailings/070113_con_2.htm Scabal: a passion for cloth.

http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/29042/how-to-edgestitch-and-topstitch-a-collar-lapel/page/3 How to Edgestitch and Topstitch a Collar Lapel

http://link.realage-mail.com/YesConnect/HtmlMessagePreview?a=Oi0sTescbRqV8RkNqoMwesx2 RealAge Health Videos. I haven’t seen ALL the videos. Weigh in on the ones you like the most.

See you all in class!!!!!!!!!

Make Money with your Skills !©

Be Safe,

Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244

Three Weeks till the end of the Fall Semester.

Hello A-Team!!!!

I realize that most of you, did not realize that last week was the week that classes resumed from Winter Break. This email/post marks the beginning of the end of the Fall 2012 courses. You have come a long way in your learning. In the next 3 weeks, we will tie everything together !!!!!

I have sent an email about room 209 being so cold. They issued me a work number. Until then, make sure you bring something warm to throw on. I believe the air conditioner goes on between 6:30 and 7:30 PM.

Check out the blog: www.sewalongwithjoanie.wordpress.com. I have gotten 2 out of the 3 spring syllabi done and up in the right hand column. The only one that still needs to be completed is Draping on Body Doubles. Both Sewing Fundamental Courses (Sewing Techniques Portfolio and Using your First Commercial Pattern) are there, ready for download and printing. Check out the Britex Image. I did put some other interesting things up for you. Troubleshooting your sewing machine is very very good. It came from a great sewing machine store in Chula Vista.

In Drafting & Flat Pattern Manipulation: We are starting to make the patterns for our final half-size project. I can’t wait to see how this progresses. It is exciting to me to see you use your skills to flat pattern your slopers into a dress of your own creation. Of course your hours grade comes into the picture @ grade time. You need 80% of 105 hours which is 84.

In Using Your First Commercial Pattern: Everyone continued to work on their pajamas. Several had completed their PJs, and were starting other sewing projects. Just remember, I need to see the final finished garment(s). I need to take a picture of you and the pajamas. In this way, if anyone questions my grading, I have the pictures to show. Plus, your hours grade stands as is. Every week I add your hours. The course is 72 hours. You need (80%) 57 hours to go on to the next course: Sewing Fundamentals II: Intermediate Sewing.

Note that I can no longer change grades if you complete a required project after I send in the final grades. Everything must be completed by the time your course ends.

Good Things to Know:

Flu, Colds, and Other Bugs: How to Stay Well During Virus Season

By Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD

Busted! We admit it: We can be manic about shooing people home at the first snuffle or sneeze, even if they swear they feel well enough to work. Fine; work from home. Just don’t spread that virus. (Here’s the secret to shrugging off colds.)

Part of it is selfish. We don’t want to catch a bug or see half of the staff get it. Part of it is on your behalf. The more often you come to work sick, the more likely you are to get really wiped out down the road.

The evidence behind this: Researchers (love their nitty-gritty brains) have figured out that if you come to work sick at least six times during 12 months, you’re 50% more likely to be out for weeks within the next 18 months. Why? They think that when your body never gets a chance to completely recuperate, you get more and more run down. Eventually, your immune system cracks, and the next little illness spells big trouble. (Here’s another reason to stay home.)

What if you can’t afford to be sick? Follow our six basic YOU Docs rules for boosting your immunity. They’ll help you stay well in the first place.

1. Get enough ZZZs. You need 7 1/2 to 8 hours of shuteye. Every night!

2. Get enough vitamin D3. Take 1,000 IU a day; 1,200 after age 60.

3. Get your ahhhs. Both periods of big stress (e.g., the holidays) and quick hits (e.g., parking rage) take a toll. Carve out 10 minutes a day for meditation, deep breathing, and serene stretching. Don’t let stress get the best of you.

4. Walk. It keeps your body humming and your head clear.

5. Eat and drink like a smart person. These 5 foods will give you an edge.

6. Wash your hands. Scrub 100 times a day. Okay, 150.

Should you keep exercising if you’re sick but not that sick? Take "the neck test."

Inspiring Links:

http://wt.dlisys.com/nancysnotions/NN121334.asp?e=&src=&x1= There are 2 things about this Nancy Notions sale campaign that are intriguing. The fact that you can buy Klasse needles in bulk and @ a great discount and the fact that the fat quarters are all color co-ordinated. The needles, we can all use. I often feel that is what I use my Joanne’s coupons for. And the fat quarters, would make a marvelous color coordinated purse during the summer session in the computerized machine embroidery course.

http://www.urbanthreads.com/newsletter.aspx I love the way Urban Threads thinks. They have an interesting freebie to retrieve, just for clicking and scrolling down the newsletter.

http://sprouts.cmail2.com/t/ViewEmail/r/10AB141CA506BE24/0A0CC5CBEF176EC24BD7C9066BE4161D There are so many good things in this link. I especially like the article comparing all the sweeteners. It’s on the same picture group line as the quinoa stuffed sweet potatoes.

http://www.bfc-creations.com Check out this embroidery design website. They have lots of freebies scattered all over. If you don’t have an embroidery machine, yet, always pick up the freebies in .PES format. They have graciously said they would give the class a discount on the designs to be used in the summer embroidery course. Details to be worked out after the new Spring semester starts.

http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/29365/how-to-sew-a-single-fold-clean-finish-seam Video snipit of how to do a clean edge finish.

http://www.advanced-embroidery-designs.com/freedesign.html#channel=f1a2146bca49b58&origin=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.advanced-embroidery-designs.com&channel_path=%2Ffreedesign.html%3Ffb_xd_fragment%23xd_sig%3Df126d95888460d9%26 Free baby boy and girl design. Real cute.

Entertaining Trivia:

http://www.printsew.com/ Very interesting. I signed up for this. I want to see how they will print on a standard home printer. If any of you have tried this, let me know and we will compare notes. I did everything they required. I got my password. I got the free program “File Open.” I could NOT get this site to let me download the pattern. AAARGH!

Make Money with your Skills ! ©

Be Safe,

Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244


Dear A-Team:

I can’t believe that Winter Break is over already………. I am so ready to come back to class. I know you all are too. During this break, I had the opportunity to visit Britex in San Francisco. If you every get a change to go to San Francisco, go there. Its ½ block from Union Square !!!!!!

Let’s recap the week before Winter Break. It was a fun fun week !!!!

Flat Pattern Manipulation: This was the week that we learned how to do knockoffs from readymade complete garments. We did shirts and pants. The technique is easy. Just time consuming. This being said, if the fit is perfect on the readymade completed garment, then the knockoff is worth the effort to achieve the same fit. On Wednesday, we also had a Holiday Raffle. I also collected your final project croquis to grade.

January starts our final project. I have all your final project croqui drawings. I hope you have all been thinking how you plan on patterning your creation. I will be available to help you, if you run out of ideas. See you all on Wednesday, January 2rd.

Your First Commercial Pattern: Everyone individually worked on their pajamas this week. Some of you are close to finishing. Remember, I need to see the completed pajamas and take a picture of them to be able to grade you. On Tuesday, I did a demo on elastic waistbands. Those who were in the Portfolio class, remembered how to do it. On Thursday, we had a Holiday Raffle. Everyone walked away with a gift. We also went over how to make buttonholes on all the different school sewing machines. Diana Jasso won the grand prize: A Singer Child’s Sewing Machine. Hurray for Diana !!!!!!

A question came up in this class that I want to address in this post. The question was: Why don’t I run this class like I run the portfolio course and guide you through the sewing process? If I did that, you would never bother to read the pattern guide. In this class, that is the most important skill to acquire. You need to learn to read…..and critically think the directions. Do they seem logical? Can you think of a better way to do an operation? Learning that the pattern guide is a GUIDE and NOT the All Mighty is important for you to be able to be creative and customize your garment. You need to be able to visualize and execute your apparel dreams. You absolutely need to make your garments your own style. I know, this course seems to be the tougher of the two Sewing Fundamentals courses. There are lessons to be learned in both courses.

This week, Your First Commercial Pattern resumes class on Thursday, January 3rd.

January Fun things to do !!!!

On Sunday, January 20, 2013, the 33rd annual Martin Luther King Day Parade will be held on Harbor Drive, Embarcadero. This is just a reminder that you are invited to participate and walk with Continuing Education faculty, staff and students at the parade. We have an awesome float entry this year !!!! Come and support Continuing Education !!!

As I drove around and gave out flyers for my new Spring courses, I picked up 2 Threads Magazines. The back panel of Threads is ALWAYS a treat. In the December 2012/January 2013 edition, the 1930’s evening gown has the most wonderful SQUARE armscye. There is also an article on Sewing Habits. Here are some highlights: Balance tension through the feed dogs. Fit as you go. Increase your stitch length. Choose fabrics appropriate to the garment design. Get comfortable with hand sewing. Use the right scissors for the task. Make sure you mark your fabric with the pattern markings. Invest in quality. There is also a GREAT article on vintage details of suits. So awe inspiring. And don’t miss the article on Dior’s Couture Secrets!!!

In the February/March 2013 edition of Threads, I found 3 terrific articles plus the back panel. The back panel has a 1930’s orange dress that took advantage of the different ways one can use the grains on silk charmeuse. So the pieces stand out because they are all a slightly different shade of the same orange. They wrote an article about this dress starting on page 28. The bias cut dress was cut with 4 different grainlines. It is a terrific dress !!!!! The other articles I found, concerned Tailoring, Pattern Drafting and Seam Finishes.

And yes, I will bring the magazines to class this week, so that you can look at them.


http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&srchtype=discussedNews&gid=90600&item=198974985&type=member&trk=eml-anet_dig-b-pop_ttl-hdp&ut=1-nS-91YiW5BA1 Career Opportunities in Various Fields

Hello Joan,

I am hoping you all had a pleasant Christmas season, and wish you the best in the new year as well.

We are still hoping to find a qualified seamstress for our shop. If this person has previous experience we could most likely put them in our shop as a head/lead seamstress and paid accordingly. If there is a more recommended approach to finding such an employee please let me know. Again your assistance is always very much appreciated. Best regards, -lp

Hi Joan,

Hope all is well with you. I miss getting your midnight emails 🙂

I just wanted to let you know I had a call from a fellow that was looking for someone for a full time position working as a stitcher on industrial machines to create banners and other marketing items. Here is his contact info: Arthur 858 678 8909. The company is called ” Above All Advertising” and it is located in Mira Mesa. – Just thought I would throw that out there in the event you had a student looking for such a job opportunity.

Take care,


Gwen Couture
5745 La Jolla Boulevard

http://www.abc-free-machine-embroidery-designs.com/archive/ Free machine embroidery designs

http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=f8c95083dae7cbbbdc4d7ab5f&id=01d010a87b&e=aa6f2dee5f Bold Color Sewing Machine rolling tote bags

Hiya….so in the proud vein of being one of your “black belt sewers”, I would love to share with you and your class my blog. You can find it at www.spinnerlady.wordpress.com Check out the historical costuming. Unbelievably gorgeous !!!!!

On a more serious note:

http://lindeegembroidery.com/sandy-hook-what-can-we-do/ The Sandy Hook Snowflake

From: SewCal Gal [mailto:sewcalgal@live.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:11 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:

I released a blog post (http://www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com/2012/12/hugs-do-you-need-quilty-hug-or-know.html) to heighten awareness of some ways to help those impacted by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I’m not sure if the fibre-arts community has heard about the call for snowflakes, but I wanted to share this with you. If you know of anyone that might be interested in this, please feel free to share.

The PTA for the Sandy Hook Elementary school has a call out for snowflakes (paper, fabric, machine embroidered, knitted, etc.). They want to decorate the school, for when the kids return in January. As such, I began to wonder if HP employees might be able to help? Some of those adhesive papers that cling to windows or walls could create some fun snowflake scenes to decorate the school.

I understand that these snowflakes need to be received by January 12, 2013. They can be sent to the PTA:

Connecticut PTA

60 Connolly Parkway

Building 12, Suite 103

Hamden, CT 06514

Here is a link to the PTA website with more info: http://www.pta.org/parents/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3459

Best Regards,



See you all next week !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Make Money with your Skills !©


Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244

One More Exciting Week before Winter Break

Dear A-Team:

Hope some of you went to the meeting: Coffee with Cops. It was held in the West City Center Main Lobby on Thursday, Dec 6th @ noon. I heard it was very informational. If you are interested in an embroidery course this summer 2013, send me an email. The more students that show interest, the easier it will be for me to hold the course. At the bottom of this email, I have copied the story of Mistletoe that I found in a local sales catalog. It’s quite the story!! You need to file this story under “I Never Knew that Before !!!!” Plus I have added 2 more informational tidbits about this season. Read on down !!!!!!!

Now for the classes:

Flat Patternmaking:  Last week, we finished flat patterning the raglan sleeve blouse with the convertible collar. We also had a catch up day to turn in all the flat patterns we made thus far for a grading. I called this a Portfolio of work, but, I LOVED all the shoeboxes. Next week, we are going to learn another way to make a pattern. I am going to teach how to do a knockoff of a finished garment. There are actually 4 ways to do this. We will talk about 3 of them and do the 4th. Come prepared to work on Monday and Wednesday night. The lesson will start @ 6 PM. Don’t push to come from work. Be safe. Remember your croqui picture(s) are due on Wednesday for your final project. Here is a list of the things you need to bring on Monday night.

1.  You can either choose one blouse or shirt with sleeves or one pair of jeans.

2.  Needle point tracing wheel, if you don’t have one. I have T-pins I can give you.

3.  Cardboard cutting board, if you have one. OR a large piece of corrugated cardboard. (We cannot damage the tables)

4.  Pencils and pens.

5.  Rulers.

6.  Sewing kit with paper scissors and straight pins.

7.  And I always like to have a religious object hanging around to help with the process. (I have seen beautiful angels, small bibles, dreidels, and quite a few hands of God.

Using your First Commercial Pattern: We are now making our garments according to our pattern guides. AND as you have discovered, the guides leave a lot for you to know that they don’t tell you. Thanks why I am here. As a sewing operation comes up that you don’t know….just ask Joanie! She will show you how with some little tricks and tips. Last Thursday, I showed how to put in set-in sleeves. This Tuesday, I think some of you will be ready for me to show you how to put in an elastic waistband.

It’s a Tradition to Kiss under the Mistletoe

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that attacks and grows on a variety of healthy plants, most frequently trees. It is most commonly known culturally as the cute little plant that we hang in the doorway and traditionally kiss beneath around the holiday season. Yet, with such a bad rap in botany, why do we celebrate the plant and share an intimate moment beneath it around Christmastime?

In ancient Europe, nature was religiously revered as a gift from God. It was often incorporated into religious holidays and observances. Because mistletoe is an evergreen plant, it was believed to have mystical properties and was commonly hung in doorways for protection.

The tradition of kissing beneath mistletoe began in ancient Greece, during the festival of Saturnalia and later in marriage ceremonies. It was believed that mistletoe could heal illness, protect against nightmares, and even provide fertility. In the 18th and 19th centuries, kissing beneath mistletoe became a widespread tradition maintained around the superstition that women kissed beneath the plant would be married, become fertile, and bear many children.

Although kissing beneath mistletoe is not taken so seriously anymore, we still participate in the ancient tradition during the holiday season. So the next time you are feeling a little daring during the holidays, hand a sprig of mistletoe in a doorway. Pucker up and kiss the one standing beneath it to continue on the tradition.

Adam Sandler’s The Hannukah Song

Put on your yamukah
Here comes Hannukah
So much funnukah
To celebrate Hannukah

Hannukah is: the festival of lights
Instead of one day of presents
We have eight crazy nights


Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States (and more recently, Canada) but also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.[1] It is ideological, with seven core principles (Nguzo Saba): Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.

For more go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa

I would LOVE to post other Holiday traditions. If you know any, let me know.

Until then……Have a GREAT HOLIDAY SEASON !!!!!! HO! HO! HO!

Make Money with your Skills ! ©


Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244

Leave Time for Personal Growth

Dear A-Team:

I know that this is a very busy time of year. There is lots of shopping and baking to do. Take time for yourself. Come to class !!!!! These weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break are filled with instruction and learning. I updated the blog’s right hand column with the flyers for Spring 2013. Check it out !!!! Hope to see you in my Spring courses !!!! Also, there is a flyer from the Campus Police Department concerning Personal Safety at the West City Campus. I made the flyer printable. Print, Read and Be Aware.

This coming Thursday, the college police will have an open “Coffee with Cops” event. It will be at West City Center. The main Lobby. Thursday December 6, 2012. 12PM – 1:30 PM. Go and talk with them. They are here to protect us. The meeting will have an informal format, designed to be informative regarding public safety and quality of life issues that impact our campus. All Students, Staff, and Faculty are welcome.

The Classes:

Flat Patternmaking: Last week we finished up our Torso slopers, graded them, and started the Raglan Sleeve with Convertible Collar pattern. We will finish this up on Monday. Next Wednesday, December 5th, your patternmaking portfolios are due. We will spend the whole class getting your shoe boxes ready for grading. Of course, I will take pictures of all of you with your portfolio. I am SO excited to do this !!!! The following week, the week before Winter Break, we will be learning and doing completed garment knockoffs. This is great to know how to do. You never know when you will want to knockoff a favorite pair of pants or blouse.

Your First Commercial Pattern: Last Tuesday, we learned some new words: encased and enclosed seams. These seams will not ravel because they are enclosed. They do not need to be finished. Just sew them up. We also learned how to fuse our fusible interfacing to our fashion fabric. Remember, to fuse to the wrong side of your facings and under collar. We also serged with a 4-thread serger or by using decorative stitches on your straight stitch sewing machine all the seams that are open and will ravel. Last Thursday, we marked our fabric with all the necessary pattern markings. You also had a chance to embroider your pockets. I was surprised at how much you loved doing the computerized machine embroideries. I would like to teach you more about computerized machine embroideries next summer, 2013. If you are interested in this, sign up for the class. If I get enough student signups, I will be able to teach it. Also……….YOU have got to remember to clean up your area before you leave. It isn’t fair for 1 or 2 people to clean the whole room. I have cleaner for the tables and I have 2 brooms with dust pans.

Next week, we have course evaluations and it’s time to start following your pattern guide. I will always be near to answer questions and help with technique.

Due to the fact that you LOVED embroidering so much…

Every Link following will lead you to free embroideries… (There is also a job posting)

Remember, if you are given a choice, choose the .PES format. This is the most universal format for home embroidery machines.

http://www.advanced-embroidery-designs.com/freedesign.html bobbin lace square that can be turned into a Christmas Ornament.

Appliqué Alphabet called Lombardi. Now Available “X, Y, Z.” http://www.skeldalehouse.com This ends the Lombardi alphabet. If you missed some, you can buy the missing letters for $5 apiece.

https://www.starbirdstockdesigns.com/asp_pages/catalog.asp?PRD=19573&PCA=0 Christmas bell.

http://apexembdesigns.com/master-circle-embroidery-font Apex 3-Letter Master Monogram font. Add this to your cart. You get 3 different sizes for the monograms.

Hi Joan,

Hope all is well with you. I miss getting your midnight emails 🙂

I just wanted to let you know I had a call from a fellow that was looking for someone for a full time position working as a stitcher on industrial machines to create banners and other marketing items. Here is his contact info: Arthur 858 678 8909. The company is called ” Above All Advertising” and it is located in Mira Mesa. – Just thought I would throw that out there in the event you had a student looking for such a job opportunity.

Take care,


Gwen Couture
5745 La Jolla Boulevard

See you all next week !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Make Money with your Skills !©


Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244

Thanksgiving 2012 and Beyond

Dear A-Team:

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and a week off from classes. For looking back to see how far you have come. This is the time to assess what future things you want to accomplish. I know I will never give up and my list to accomplish just keeps growing……………. At some point in my life, I want to travel. I would absolutely LOVE to cruise to Hawaii and sew all the way there and back. That is 6 days of sewing on the ocean. 3 to go to Hawaii from San Diego and 3 on the way back. There are 6 days that can be devoted to different islands and tours. Then there is the day we arrive on the ship and the day we depart. What a two week trip !!!!!! I once figured how much a trip like this would cost. It was $3500 – several years ago. This paid for the ship’s room and board, and the room(s) to sew in. I was figuring to teach on the ship. And I wanted the classroom(s) NOT to be tiny holes in the wall. I stopped planning this when the economy took a dive.

If anyone is interested, send me an email. I need 50 students to pull this off. 50 students plus a spouse = about 100 people. It would be a great trip. We would go in off season….probably in August…..to get the pricing low. How about all of you? What do you want to accomplish on your life long list of things to do. So besides eating, think of what you have accomplished and where you want to go. Give thanks to those you meet on your journey. Without them, you wouldn’t be where you are today.

As to the classes:

Flat Patternmaking: Monday, November 12, was a holiday to celebrate Veteran’s Day. We must ALL give thanks to the brave men and women who go into harm’s way so that we can live the way we do. On Wednesday, we finished up our blouse #903, and started our torso sloper. We will finish up the torso sloper on Monday, November 26 and turn them in for grading. Remember to bring your manila paper to class. ALSO…….Remember, on December 5th, your flat patternmaking portfolios need to be turned in for grading. I have a handout for you on what you need to put in your portfolio. Next week, we will be learning how to copy patterns from finished clothing without taking the clothing apart. In the industry, this is called doing a knockoff. I also would like to see your croqui drawings of what you are going to pattern for your final project in January.

Using Your First Commercial Pattern: The Certificates from the Fall 2012 Portfolio Course are ready for pickup in the WCC office. Thank you for your patience !!!! On Tuesday, November 13, we had additional pattern fittings, and on grain layouts of our patterns for our pajamas. You were told to use the handout: Pattern Power Guide Sheet to see if you could find all the things that you will need to sew up your pattern. And once I checked your layout for on grain patterns, and you were given the okay to cut, I told you to finish the cutting at home on a table. This is ergonomically better for your back. All cutting needs to be complete by this Tuesday, November 27, 2012. This gave you all an additional week to finish cutting out your pajamas. On Thursday, we learned how to safely work the school’s sewing machines. We also looked over the school’s supply of embroidery designs. You could see, the school owns quite the collection !!!!

This coming Tuesday, we will be embroidering our rough cut pockets and serging around each piece of cut fabric so that it won’t ravel when you wash and wear your garments. This coming Thursday, we will learn how to fuse on interfacing and mark our fabric with the pattern markings necessary to sew up our garments. The two classes are going to blur together because you need to fuse your interfacing first. Then you need to finish your edges with either a serger or the decorative stitches on your straight stitch sewing machine. In other words….stop the ravel before it starts. Some of you can be serging while others are embroidering. There is enough time for fusing, serging, marking, and embroidering during the next two class periods.

Upcoming News and Links:

I am going to try and use the program, Mail Chimp, to see if I can send my A-Team emails to your email in-boxes. It will take me a month or two to get all set up. Don’t be surprised if one Monday, you go to your email, and you find one of my blog posts…… Know that I am working on this………..

Here are some interesting links that I thought you might like:

http://www.skeldalehouse.com Missi has put a free beautiful W applique embroidery up on her website.

http://www.realage.com/living-younger-with-diabetes/different-types-of-diabetes Learn exactly what diabetes is and how to live with it.

http://www.catchannel.com/news/2012/11/09/help-cats-affected-by-hurricane-sandy.aspx?cm_mmc=11521165 Here is how to help the pussy cats that were affected by the hurricane Sandy.

http://www.catchannel.com/news/keep-cats-safe-on-thanksgiving.aspx?cm_mmc=11521165 Keep your pussy cat safe during the holidays. I tried to copy the entire article here, but it didn’t work. This is a must read !!!!

http://www.sewingpartsonline.com/how-to-use-a-quarter-inch-foot.aspx?utm_source=Sewing+Parts+Online&utm_campaign=cf892c2530-quarter_inch_video&utm_medium=email How to use a quarter inch presser foot. This video is great !!!!!!!

The following picture is from Lydia. It is titled appropriately: Baby and Mickey Helping to Find Fabric. I just had to include this picture here. THANK YOU LYDIA !!!!!! It reminds us that we ALL have children that like to help us !!!!!

See you all next week !!!!!!

Make Money with your Skills !©


Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244

The 2012 Holiday Season is FAST Approaching !!!!

Hello A-Team:

I hope you are more ready for the holiday season than I am. It seams that it is just creeping up so early. AND I am NOT ready…………………… Also remember: There is NO classes scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving. Remember there is no classes from Monday through Friday, November 19 through the 23rd. Classes resume on Monday, November 26.

So much is happening !!!

This past weekend, we had a fandango field trip to Discount Fabrics on Morena Blvd. It was a great trip !!!! Everyone got their supplies and fabric for their projects. Remember to Preshrink your fabric and interfacing before class on Tuesday night !!!!!! You can’t cut until you do this. Six of us, went over to Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ for lunch after we finished up at Discount Fabrics. This place is just a kick !!!! I love the fact that they allow dogs on their patio. And the dogs are supplied with bones and water. It is very nice to see. Check them out at http://www.bullssmokinbbq.com/

First Commercial Pattern: Last week, was the first week of class. We learned how to read our pattern envelopes and choose the right size pattern. Last Thursday, we tried on our patterns and did just a bit of pattern fitting. Everyone who put their name on the board, was helped. A special Shout Out to the fit models who came down to be fitted!!!!!! This coming week, AFTER PRESHRINKING your FABRICS, we will lay out our patterns, all in a napped layout. Then you will be able to take your layout home to cut. I know this will take time to do. So on Thursday, we will practice TLC for the school’s machines. I will be teaching care, maintenance, threading of home straight stitch sewing machines and sergers. This will give you more time to cut your pattern pieces out at home. Our classroom just is NOT big enough for this to happen in. If you want to bring in your own sewing machines for the TLC class….this would be fine !!!!

Patternmaking Class: We worked on Blouse Style number 903 starting on page 233 of our text. We will finish this up next Wednesday, plus learn other ways to do the flounces. This Monday, the school was closed because of Veteran’s day. I do hope you all used the time to reflect on how much we owe the military for our safety. This coming Wednesday, we will also make a Torso block. So bring in the rest of your manila paper. The Torso block will be graded.

Some of my students from my other class, want to come and learn how to knockoff a finished garment. The dates this will occur on, are December 10 and December 12. You will need to bring a simple blouse or pants to knockoff. No jackets. Also bring your pencils, curves and rulers. You will also need a needle point tracing wheel. You can purchase this item at Central Sewing. Note, you will have to sign into the class to learn to do this, so bring your CSIDs (attendance) card.

Martha Rockford is selling three sewing machines and a sewing machine cabinet. The machines are not new. BUT they were all top of the line in their day. They are all Berninas.

From: Martha Rockwood [mailto:mrockwood5647@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 11:19 AM

I am selling my Bernina 1630 – straight stitch/embroidery machine. I also have a Bernina Deco 500 and a Bernina Serger 2500. All are in great running condition. The 1630 has many attachments and I have some deco some cards. All this is part of the package. All three machines are in the whole bundle for $1,200.
I also have some Deco cards to go with the Deco. Some Cards I have never used. All machines are running and have been maintained by Brian at the Sew Hut.
The 3 machines go as a group. I will have them prepared for their new home by wed. next week. I also have a corner sewing desk for 300.00 more with the inserts for the 1630. and another spot for the serger. So someone for $1500 dollars has a whole sewing group. My phone number is 858-922-4306. You can also email me at mrockwood5647.
my price is firm. The machines are in good shape. The table is in good shape.


****************The following is a sewing job in San Diego:

Job Summary


2325 Marconi Court

San Diego, CA 92154-7241

Industry manufacturer of industrial and recreational fabrics for agricultural screening products, fence construction screening, truck tarps, overhead dispensers, pet protection screening, sports products, a full line of nursery fabrics and windscreens.

Job Type

Full Time (40 Hr plus some Saturdays) Employee

Required Years of Experience

Minimum 1 Year

Education Level

High School or equivalent

Career Level

Experienced (Non-Manager)


$8.​00 – $10.​00 /​hour


Industrial Seamstress/Sewing Machine Operator

About the Job

**Seeking either an Experienced Industrial Sewing Machine Operator or an Experienced Home Sewing Machine Operator willing to learn to operate an Industrial Sewing Machine (not an automated sewing machine)***

Job Purpose / Summary:

Sews products together using synthetic bindings, heavy duty screening and tarp weight fabrics, and other durable materials using non-automated industrial sewing machines.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Selects thread, according to specifications or color of project.

2. Aligns parts, fasteners, or trimmings, following seams, edges, or markings.

3. Able to work with long lengths of fabric 150 feet to 300 + feet at a time.

4. Familiar with basic threading and tension balancing of industrial straight needle machines.

5. Self-motivated quality production ethics.

6. Spanish/English bi-lingual a plus

7. Experience with Singer 300w, Juki LUH521, Juki LU563, Consew 339RBL-25 and Consew 339RBL-1 a hiring point.

Supervisory Responsibilities: None

Required Experience, Education, and Abilities:

High school diploma or general education degree (GED); or one to three months related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies :

· Stand, stoop, bend, kneel, walk, reach, lift and carry up to 40 lbs. on a regular and repetitive basis.

· Manipulate and sew fabric with manual and automatic devices.

· Read, interpret, understand, carry out, and communicate instructions both orally and in writing.

· Count, add, subtract, multiply, and divide in units of measure, common fractions, and decimals.

· Analyze and resolve problems in standardized situations.

· Look for ways to improve and promote quality; demonstrate accuracy and thoroughness.

· Follow policies and procedures; support organization’s goals and values.

· Meet productivity standards; complete work in timely manner; strive to increase productivity.

· Observe safety and security procedures; determine appropriate action beyond guidelines; report potentially unsafe conditions; use equipment and materials properly.

Work Environment:

Production environment with exposure to moving mechanical parts and moderate noise. Shop is located very near the international boarder in a heavy industrial area and personal transportation is a must.

Resumes should be sent to Leo Persello at lpersello with the subject titled Seamstress Position.

I ran across this cookie recipe from NPR’s blog called The Salt. It sounds particularly wonderful.

Aunt Ida’s Poppy Seed Cookies

Our Aunt Ida baked this cookie for more than 60 years, to the delight of four generations of our family, transporting them to parties in covered tins. We baked these cookies and served them at Aunt Ida’s memorial gathering after her funeral since this recipe is part of her legacy. She always stored her poppy seeds in the freezer to keep them fresh.

Poppy seed cookies bring back memories of watching Dallas with Aunt Ida, the Brass Sisters say.

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup poppy seeds

1 cup peanut oil

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a 14 X 16-inch baking sheet with foil, shiny side up. Coat the foil with vegetable spray or use a silicone liner.

Sift together flour and baking powder; add poppy seeds.

Separately, whisk peanut oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix to combine. Chill the dough in the refrigerator one hour, or until firm enough to handle.

With floured hands or wearing disposable gloves, break off teaspoon-size pieces of dough and roll into small balls. Place dough balls on baking sheet about 2 inches apart, or 12 cookies per sheet. Pat into circles with your fingers (rather than rolling or stamping). Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges. Let cookies cool 1 minute on baking sheet on rack and then transfer cookies to a rack. Cookies will become crisp as they cool.

Store between sheets of wax paper in a covered tin or freeze in a tightly sealed plastic bag or container.

Yield: 60 cookies

See you all in class, this week !!!!!

Make Money with your Skills !©


Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244