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: 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: 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. I love the way Urban Threads thinks. They have an interesting freebie to retrieve, just for clicking and scrolling down the newsletter. 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. 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. Video snipit of how to do a clean edge finish. Free baby boy and girl design. Real cute.

Entertaining Trivia: 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.

Links: 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
(858)454-8599 Free machine embroidery designs 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 Check out the historical costuming. Unbelievably gorgeous !!!!!

On a more serious note: The Sandy Hook Snowflake

From: SewCal Gal []
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:11 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:

I released a blog post ( 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:

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

Midweek A-Team Post

Dear A-Team:

Yes…..I will be holding class this Thursday Night. There is just too much we need to do. I will teach you how to insert a lapped zipper and I will teach you to make buttonholes. AND most of all, I need to grade your portfolio/shoebox. So, there is NO choice, those of you who want to pass Sewing Fundamentals I, need to come. Just, all sit in the back of the room. I have been taking Zicam, real Sudafed, Vitamin C, and Echinacea/Goldenseal, at least every 4 hours. I am thinking of getting Dayquil and Nightquil

I don’t think I will be writing an A-Team email this weekend. I need to sleep off the residual whatever I got. I am improving. By tomorrow, I will look like Rudolf the red nose reindeer…..AND this is an improvement!!!!!! Think twice before getting this year’s flu shot. I want to thank all the well-wishers who emailed me. Thank you !!!!! I got to see Dancing with the Stars on Monday night. I hope you all have seen this. They do such wonderful things with circle and gore skirts!

You all know that I adopt and worry about people. So I have been emailing my former students and friends who are living in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Stratford, Ontario Canada. (The news just doesn’t tell you enough about Sandy, once it leaves the US. So I got an email from a friend of mine. I wish I knew him when I went to college the first time……. This email was from Robert Doyle. Check out what he is up to, now. What a career he has had !!!!!!!!

Bless you for your concern Joan – Stratford was hardly touched by Sandy, lots of rain, but no over-all damage unlike the eastern seaboard. We still have rain, and the drains will fill up and cause some mild flooding, but God has spared us for the moment.

I just finished designing the costumes for Ballet Jorgen’s Swan Lake – go to their site, (Click on videos.) there is a trailer for you to see on Y-Tube, well parts of it. I am pleased with the outcome, especially my new design for the swan tutus. There are about 9 fascinating videos there for you to see the work of a costumer. (Marcine….this is for you !!!! because I can’t get together with you this week.)

Best ever


Tonight is Halloween. Warren went to work today, dressed as Zorro. He will be giving out candy tonight. I want every person safe tonight. Go treat or treating with your kids. Here is some guidelines from the Campus Police Department:


 Children become careless from excitement and may run into the road.

 Dusk is the time of poorest visibility for drivers. Try to Trick or Treat while it is still daylight.

 Choose a costume that is easy to walk in, easy to see out of and can be seen by drivers.

 If the Trick or Treating lasts into the night, wear a light colored costume.

 Use reflective tape on the costume for additional visibility.


 Loose costumes, oversized bags or unsafe shoes can cause falls or accidents.

 Masks reduce vision.

 Sharp or pointed toy weapons are unsafe

 If wearing a mask, choose one that is cool, comfortable and easy to see out of. Take the mask off before crossing the street. Better yet, wear make-up instead of a mask.


 Billowing costumes are dangerous around an open flame.

 Flowing false-hair wigs are unsafe around candles

 Wigs and costumes should be of non-flammable materials.

Use a flashlight. It makes children more visible and lights their way.


 It’s sad, but true, that some people wish to cause harm. Treats must be checked for potential poisoning.

 All fruit should be washed and cut into small pieces to make sure nothing has been placed inside.

 Unpackaged items such as popcorn or small candles should be DISCARDED.

 Candy with loose or torn wrappings should also be DISCARDED.

If you should discover anything wrong with the “TREATS” brought home, report it to law

enforcement so that other parents may be warned and the people responsible caught.


Compliments of:

San Diego Community College District Police Department

Attached please find the flyer and the map to the Anita Goodesign Event that will be going on this weekend. Click on them and print them out. I probably will not be able to go. I need to sleep off this bug that I got. I spoke to Paula and she said that you ONLY need to bring 2 pair of scissors: 1. Applique Scissors, and 2. A curved bent scissor to cut threads in the hoop. I do hope you all have a great time. Paula told me to tell you that you can pay at the door. Just call her up to tell her you are coming, so she counts you for the lunch boxes. 619-447-3244.

I will begin next week where I left off last week, for the Patternmaking students. We will begin with a Blouse pattern. I will also show you the grains on a full size circular skirt I have.

Flat Pattern Manipulation: Last week, we concentrated on Skirts. We completed our first pattern will seam allowances. We learned how to make circle skirts and we made a gore skirt for our portfolios. I forgot to show you a complete circle skirt. You need to see what the grain does. Next week, I will show this to you along with making another pattern. We are going to make our bodice sloper into a blouse pattern. Come and learn how to do this. Yes….there is NO class on Halloween !!!!! (I am just too ill.) We will begin with this, next week.

Portfolio: Last Tuesday, we learned how to make 3 pockets: an off-set inseam pocket, a lined patch pocket, & an unlined shirt pocket. Last Thursday, we learned how to sew 3 different kinds of hems. We learned the catch stitch/cross stitch, the slipstitch/pick stitch and the blind hem. We even sewed a hem by straight stitch machine. The thing to remember about stitch names is that the same stitch can be called many different names depending on what part of the country you learned it in. Tomorrow……Thursday night, we will learn one lapped zipper and machine buttonholes. If there is time, you can practice this with your knit buttonhole fabric. I will be grading your Portfolios/Shoeboxes.

Next Tuesday, will begin a NEW Class for Sewing Fundamentals I: Using your First Commercial Pattern. This will teach you everything that I could not fit in to the Portfolio course. AND I will be well by next Tuesday………………..

Remember to set your clock back an hour on Saturday Night !!!!!!

See you all in class !!!!!

Make Money with your Skills !©


Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244

Grossmont College Campus Map 1-12.pdf

Welcome to Fall 2012

Dear A-Team:

News of the Day:

The Silk and Saffron 2013 Fashion Show will be on May 17, 2013.  We will be ready !!!!!  What fun !!!!!

Remember to subscribe to the blog in the right hand column, second from the end, for emails that will tell you that I have posted to the blog.  I can’t tell you how sorry I am, that I can NOT send you all out emails any more.  The blog will handle this from now on.   

You will have to check the blog on Monday Mornings from now on. I can no longer send out A-Team emails from my email to yours. Cox, ATT, and a lot of others feel that my emails are spam and will not them go through. It has to do the numbers of emails I send out at a time. I am approaching 1000. I understand the problem. I know I can hire an email service. I just don’t want to do this. It is easier, if you just go to the blog. Everything will be there. You will be able to download your syllabi, and handouts from the right hand column. I plan on writing the A-Team emails on Sunday nights. So Monday morning you just need to take a look to see what is happening.

Remember to subscribe to the blog in the right hand column, second from the end, for emails that will tell you that I have posted to the blog.  I can’t tell you how sorry I am, that I can NOT send you all out emails any more.  The blog will handle this from now on.       

For the Fall semester you will need to download and print from the right hand column:

Drafting and Flat Pattern Manipulation: The syllabus, the glossary, the French Curves, Measuring Master for Slopers, and the Classroom Etiquette. The Tech Pack is an excel Workbook. You will need to download this to your computer to work on it. Yes, it can print out. I will explain that in class. Remember to bring your USB to the first class.

Sewing Fundamentals Learn to Sew: Sewing Techniques Portfolio course: The Syllabus, the Portfolio Patterns, the Portfolio Instructions and the Classroom Etiquette.

Sewing Fundamentals Learn to Sew: Using your First Commercial Pattern: The Syllabus and the Classroom Etiquette. Remember that this course starts on November 6, 2012.

For your enjoyment I have included links and things I have found in the last 3 weeks of August. See you all this week in class !!!!!!!

1. A Sue Box Doily Freebie. If you do not own an embroidery machine, download this design in .pes format to start your collection…..

2. Following these simple steps can dramatically increase the chance of your home surviving a wildfire! Thank you for sending this to me, Debbie:

· Create a DEFENSIBLE SPACE of 100 feet around your home. The area closest to your home is the most important.

· Try to get 10 to 15 feet of spacing, both vertically and horizontally between shrubs, large plants, and trees. If you have 4 foot high brush underneath larger trees with limbs, limb up the tree at least 14 feet. Breaks like this in the vegetation help to slow down an advancing fire and gives firefighters a fighting chance.

· Plan your landscape to eliminate a continuous path of vegetation. Do not have any combustible fuel within three feet of your home.

· For landscaping purposes, use of irrigated fire resistant plants is encouraged. Green lawn, rock, stone, and other materials can be used to create an attractive and fire safe landscape.

· Clear all vegetation and other flammable materials from beneath your deck. Enclose undersides of elevated decks with fire resistant building materials, or with screen mesh with openings no greater than 1 /4 inch.

· Keep trees trimmed at least 10 feet from your chimney and trim all dead limbs hanging over your house or garage.

· Clean all needles and leaves from the roof, eaves, and rain gutters.

· Maintain your landscaping with regular watering and weeding to keep it fire safe. More than 1,700 structures are destroyed by wildfire each year. Don’t become a statistic.

Be Fire Safe! Contact your local fire department, or Fire Safe Council for tips and assistance.

3. Great closed captioned video for the Invisible zipper foot: Sewing Parts on Line is a great site for sewing machine parts.

4. This video is hysterical !!!! It could have only happened in Britain. Take a look !!!!!!

5. We are pleased to notify you our new digital edition of Stitches is available for online viewing. We hope you enjoy the interactivity and rich media features of your digital edition of Stitches.Start readingthe issue today!Featured this month:

6. BODITECTURE New way of designing clothing:

7. Chick on this LINK:600 year old bra The site has a short video on the subject.

Victoria’s Secret might get credit for reinventing the brassiere, but the earliest-known bras now date back to the Middle Ages, according to Austrian archeologists at the University of Innsbruck.

The university said Wednesday that it found four linen bras in an Austrian castle dating back to the 1400s, proving that women wore bras more than 600 years ago. It’s such a revolutionary find because fashion experts thought the modern-day bra was only about 100 years old after women became tired of tight corsets.

One specimen in particular “looks exactly like a [modern] brassiere,” Hilary Davidson, fashion curator for the London Museum, told The Associated Press. “These are amazing finds.”

Some of the ancient bras were intricately decorated with lace, suggesting that they were meant to be seen by someone else other than the person wearing it.

Although the linen garments were discovered in 2008, they did not make news until now, says Beatrix Nutz, the archaeologist responsible for the discovery. Researchers said the bras underwent carbon dating and they had to make sure the look of the bras fit with the 1400s.

“We didn’t believe it ourselves,” Nutz said. “From what we knew, there was no such thing as bra-like garments in the 15th century.”

Among the more than 2,700 textile fragments that were found in the Lemberg Castle in Tyrol was a linen undergarment that looks like a pair of panties. Nutz said it is men’s underwear because women did not wear anything under their flowing skirts in the Middle Ages.

Women started experimenting with bra-like garments in the 1800s, but it wasn’t until when the modern-day brassier was invented by Mary Phelps Jacob, who received a patent for her bra in 1914.

8. Thank you for sending me the following job posting, Alex:

I took the sewing fundamentals class with you last year and learned SO MUCH! Anyhow, that’s not why I’m emailing…I heard about a job posting that I thought you might want to share with your “A” team:

San Diego Opera is looking for a Costume Assistant for the upcoming 2013 season (mid-December through April). The position is hourly with some overtime. Hours will vary depending on production schedule. Some weekend and evening work will be required.
The ideal candidate will have some experience with theatrical costumes or the fashion industry. The candidate must be a skilled computer user and know the Microsoft office suite. Expertise with Filemaker is a plus.
The position will report to the Costume Department Supervisor and work directly with her as well as with other production departments. If you are interested in learning and advancing your career in costumes and would enjoy working in a fast paced, exciting, and creative environment, please send your resume and references to Production Manager joan.foster

9. Paradise Sewing is having a moving sale, so if you live in North County, pay Jinny Hoffman a visit before September 15th.

10. The San Diego Quilt Show – Sept 13,14, 15

San Diego Convention Center

111 West Harbor Drive

San Diego, CA 92101

For more information go to:

Remember to subscribe to the blog in the right hand column, second from the end, for emails that will tell you that I have posted to the blog.  I can’t tell you how sorry I am, that I can NOT send you all out emails any more.  The blog will handle this from now on.       

Make Money with your Skills !©


Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244