To a Great Mind, Nothing is Little. Sherlock Holmes



Hello A-Team:

Between going to class, enjoy your time shopping !!!!  This will be a spectacular holiday season.  Whether you spend on line or spend in the brick and mortar stores, the climate is right to:  SHOP TILL YOU DROP !!!!  And remember all those interior decorating details.  Those visual mood enhancers are terrific to keep the spirit of the season going strong through January 1.  I still can’t believe that 2017 is just around the corner.

Yes there is class this week !!!!!


Before the break, we draped the princess torso block.  We played with draped cowls.   And we picked our favorite croqui drawing to do our final draping project.  This week, we continue to learn details:  collars and necklines on dartless bodice shapes.


We learned how to sew a continuous shirt placket in a sleeve.  This week, we will continue with the 2 piece shirt placket and the one piece shirt placket.  I know these operations are tough.   BUT, they have so many applications when you sew.  You can use them in necklines and in pants.

Flat Pattern Manipulation:

Last class, we started, but left off on style #903.  This week we will continue flat patterning the style.  Last week, we also picked our final croqui sketch for our final patterned garment due the last day of class in January.   This garment will fit our half scale dress forms.  I hope you gave your final design some patterning thought during the break.  I would like to see how you used the quarter size patterns.

Speaking of the quarter size patterns, I received an email concerning the quarter sizes I gave out to you.  Some of them are not to perfect scale. Multiples would NOT all fit on a single page, if they they were all to scale.  No where on the packet, did it state that the patterns were perfect to scale.  If you want to be perfect, just photocopy the ones in the back of your text…….   The quarter sizes were handed out to help you understand how to cut up your half size patterns into your final garment styles.  It is like thinking out loud.  Also:  Check out page 1 of your syllabus.  It states that this course is taught in half-scale….right in the title.

A few of you, want to draft your own master sloper patterns.  My spring 2016 drafting syllabus, has all the information needed to do this.  Just send me an email and let me know.

Sew Fun 1:

Before the break, we worked on our sleeves and made the half-scale skirt for our bodice-jacket.  Next week we will continue with learning how to set in sleeves in our bodices, how to understitch a v-neckline and make a collar.

Terrific Men’s Wear Tailoring Links:  Highly Educational and this proves Sherlock is correct:  To a Great Mind, Nothing is Little.  Apply this to Tailoring and all its details !!!!

The Guide to Cloth

Scabal and the Permanent Style collaborate to build an in-depth, practical cloth guide with information at every level of detail.


What is it for? How cloth is made? What are its properties? What do I do with it?

Read more


What makes a cloth suitable for a jacket, but not for a suit.

Read more


How to choose your fabric according to composition and construction.

Read more 


A glossary of cloth-related terms, covering everything from different animal fibres and their properties, to the various stages of spinning and finishing.

Read more

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:



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.   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 !!!!


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