Excuse Me, While I Kiss the Sky – Jimi Hendrix

Hello Summer 2018!

This summer, we will be learning some more Sewing Operations for your Portfolio. We will also be making a long sleeve shirt.

Check out the syllabus in the right hand column. Download and read it. Enjoy the learning journey.

This spring, I demo’d draping for high school students.  If I would have known this was happening, I could not have done the following.  See me in action.



Be Safe.

















Fashion Designer Creates a Dress in a Few Minutes

View the video/article to see how Ugandan fashion designer Latif Madoi creates a dress in a few minutes!


The raved designer already dubbed “Afro-Fashion Magician” by the BBC is one of Uganda’s most revered designer known to have designed for the top late Reggae singer Lucky Dube, Latif Madoi shows his skill at his periodic “fast fashion” shows where he demonstrates live sewing, taking a piece of fabric and creating dresses out of them in a matter of minutes.

Did Everyone Watch the Oscars????

Hello A-Team:

This is just going to be a short post to test the waters and make sure the posting works on the website.  I know, according to my Graphic Artist, there is STILL work to be done.  As I always say:  Good Work Takes Time.  Stay tuned !!!!

As to the Oscars:  Lady Gaga should have won.  Even her gown with the pants was a class act !!!!!

Notes from the Classes:  

Drafting:  come with your measurements.  We will be making our first bodice draft.  Even if you didn’t finish taking your measurements DON’T STRESS.  Bring what you have.  You will be able to finish up in class.

Tailoring:  We are finishing up our muslin toile fittings.  Make sure you have cut your Tailoring Operations Portfolio Pattern Pieces.   Besides the toile fittings, we will be fusing and and marking our fabric portfolio pattern pieces.  Remember to bring your press cloth.

Collections:  Continue to work on your garments for the Mesa Fashion Show.

Sew Like a Pro (NIGHT):  We will be burning fabrics for the purposes of identification.  We will also be fusing, overcasting, and marking our Advanced Portfolio Fabric Pattern pieces.   Remember to bring your press cloth.

Sew Like a Pro (DAY):  We already burned fabrics for identification purposes.  We will also be fusing, overcasting and marking our Advanced Portfolio Fabric Pattern pieces.   Remember to bring your press cloth.  We just didn’t have enough time to finish up last week.

Sewing Fundamentals 1:  We will be having guests in the classroom.  Central Sewing is coming to work on some of our machines.  Paula Rupley will be available to answer any questions you may have.  Perhaps she will talk about machine maintence.   I have a lecture demo on marking.  We will be marking our fabric patterns.  It will be a busy night.



The Week Before Halloween !!!!

Halloween 1Hello A-Team !!!!  

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

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

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

Great Links !!!!!!

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

Here is the link for the Donna Karen interview from Tracey !!!!  This is phenomenal !!!!!  You can hear and read the interview from NPR.  Thank you, Tracey !!!!!!  

http://www.marthapullen.com/?et_mid=626265&rid=241546762 This is a link to the Martha Pullen website.  There is an article on beginning smocking.  

http://leitesculinaria.com/90444/writings-breast-cancer-awareness-month.html The Pink TuTu project.  Thank you for sending this, Maureen !!!!!  This link has a button you click on, to make a donation to the Pink TuTu project to support Breast Cancer Research and Awareness.  

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

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

achieve ideal sewing machine tension

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

 A tension precheck

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

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

Is the needle the correct size for the fabric?

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

achieve ideal sewing machine tension

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

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

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

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

achieve ideal sewing machine tension   achieve ideal sewing machine tension

Diagnosing faulty thread tension

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

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

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


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

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

Adjusting the upper thread tension

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

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

Adjusting the bobbin thread tension

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

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

When to consult a professional

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

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

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


2 Weeks till the End of Summer School

Hello A-Team:

I am testing out another way to write to the blog.  I hope this goes through.  I am trying all different kinds of things.  Here is a picture from the night we turned in our Sewing Techniques Portfolio.   


Currently, we are working on our Apparel Construction Projects.  What fun !!!!!!

Interesting Links:

Check out this cool exhibit at the Racine Art Museum (Racine, Wisconsin).  Richard saw a piece about it on PBS.  Thank you for sending this to me !!!!!!


also check out:  http://kruktart.com/wearable_sculpture/ws_thumb.html


Welcome To The Embroidery Coach!   This is for all you entrepreneurs !!!!

I want to personally welcome you to the “Embroidery Coach Family” and give you your first of 3 embroidery tips that you will be receiving each week!

The #1 strategy that is holding you back is your mindset!  This was a huge struggle for me when I first started my embroidery business and it lasted for almost 15 years!  I was convinced that I had to be the lowest priced embroiderer to get the work and stay busy!  That mindset almost cost me my entire business! 

As a woman, I did not value my time!  It was hard for me to ask for the money and price my embroidery as it should have been priced.  I collected everyone else’s price list and priced my embroidery to match or just a little lower.  I almost lost my entire business as a result of it!  I was offering very high quality embroidery at a price that was as low or lower than the embroiderer that was offering low quality.  How stupid was that!

I did not realize that what I had to offer was a product that should have been priced much higher than the average local embroiderer because of my quality and service. It took my accountant practically batting me in the head to get this point across.  Either I price my embroidery as I should or close the doors!  I was not making any money and I was never going to make any money if I did not change my mindset and my prices.  I just knew in my own mind that people would not pay those high prices!

I was so wrong!  I created a whole new pricing structure that was much higher.  I did lose some of my customers but they were only the customers that wanted the lowest price. When I changed my total mindset and started promoting my quality product and excellent customer service I had plenty of the work!

The secret is not to project your thinking & feelings onto your customers!  My mindset held me back for 15 years!  Do not let that happen to you!

Joyce Jagger
The Embroidery Coach


Make Money with your Skills!©  See you all this week !!!!!!!!

Be Safe,

Joan McKenna
Associate Professor
San Diego Continuing Education
Hospitality & Consumer Science
Fashion Department
Office:  619-588-2244


Student Learning Outcomes


Evaluation of your Student Learning Outcome (SLO):

What did you learn from the Silk and Saffron Fashion Show?

What progress have you made toward your long term educational plans?

SLO achieved! How did you reward yourself?????

JOB WELL DONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Make Money with your Skills ! ©

Be Safe,

Joan McKenna

Associate Professor

San Diego Continuing Education

Hospitality & Consumer Science

Fashion Department

Office: 619-588-2244

Fashion Show in 2 weeks !!!!!

Hello A-Team !!!!

May 17th is getting closer by the minute. The draping class is busy working on their dresses. The sewing fundamentals class is busy working on their PJs. What fun !!!! It will be a great show !!!! I have a fashion show meeting on Tuesday. I will share everything with you: Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

I need to mention that the Fall 2012 Patternmaking Certificates are ready to be picked up at the front desk !!!!

Have you all gone to www.hulu.com to see the new online versions of All my Children and One Life to Live????? On Fridays, they are going to give us behind the scenes chats with the actors, directors, etc. I was thrilled. I got to watch the whole first week, on Saturday and Sunday. It was great !!!

Great Links:

http://www.urbanthreads.com/newsletter.aspx This newsletter has a great ‘Painterly Doodles’ tutorial and wonderful freebie(s).

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/magazine/whats-a-4000-suit-worth.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1& Thank You Rosie !!! This is a fantastic article about a tailor who is doing great !!!!! DON’T MISS THE SLIDE SHOW IN THE EXTREME LOWER LEFT HAND CORNER OF THE PAGE !!!!

The following links are from Laura. This is fashion NOW !!!!!! This is taken from the May Events Newsletter of the Museum at FIT. Terrific Laura !!! Thanks for sending this.

A world of fashion is on the web
Patricia Mears helps to explain the meels (men in heels) phenomenon with a little bit of perspective in history.

The Vulnerable Neck
Now THIS is what a fashion blog post should look like! Great piece on necks by Tove Hermanson.

Lacroix x Schiaparelli
Something to look forward to! Christian Lacroix will design 15 special looks for the Schiaparelli label.

Barbie’s gone all tech
With the launch of Barbie Digital Dress, Barbie’s showing she’s on-trend (in both technology and fashion) in her LED touch-sensitive dress.

Liberace Extravaganza!
Well this looks like fun! A new book on Liberace’s costumes to go along with the forthcoming television film Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, the film premieres on HBO on May 26th.

Idiosyncratic Fashionistas
"The Museum at FIT is a small jewel. At a time when everyone charges for everything, entrance to the Museum is free. The most avid viewer could see this exhibition in less than an hour, so you can plan a full day of appointments before and after your visit." ~ Fashion and Technology review

Pauline Bonaparte’s Slippers
Two Nerdy History Girls delve into the long-lost slippers of Pauline Bonaparte Borghese, Princess of Sulmona, 1820

Fashion History, Just a Click Away
FIT Library’s Special Collections partners with NY Public Library on a digital archive of fashion drawings!

Haute Couture and Swarovski (VIDEO)
Starting in 1900, Swarovski worked closely with Haute Couture designers such as Worth, Lanvin, and Chanel. In the 1950s, Jacques Fath and Cristóbal Balenciaga continued the story with extravagant uses of crystal in their collections. Swarovski presents an exhibition in Paris dedicated to historic haute couture designs. This video sums it up.

"Come in mystery challenger!" (VIDEO)
Elsa Schiaparelli on What’s My Line! FANTASTIC! She’s so coy.

Chanel Reel, Métiers d’Art 2012 (VIDEO)
Sublime! Chanel’s 2012 Scottish Métiers d’Art showcase is edited into a melange of argyle, plaid, pearls, cable knits, and ruffs – oh my.

From: Designs in Machine Embroidery [mailto:designsmagazine] On Behalf Of Designs in Machine Embroidery
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2013 11:01 PM
To: mckenna
Subject: 67 pages of inspiration – free for you

View the online version: http://www.dzgns.com/digital/index.html

Download the special release for free!

Sure, it’s free—but we packed this special 67 page digital issue with educational material for newbies, intermediate and advanced embroiderers. Plus projects, free embroidery designs, videos from our sponsors and access to leading companies in the embroidery industry.

Click here to download now!


Click image to watch video demo!


– Stabilizers! We pulled together some of our best stabilizer resources so they are at your fingertips. Great for newbies but also an informative resource for all skill levels.

– Ribbon! It’s time to adorn ribbon with embroidery. Learn how to add stitches to satin and wired ribbon and even narrow linen tape.

– Polos and T-shirts! Whether you need to stitch multiples for a sports team, your sewing group or your book club, you’ll want to learn the most efficient way to create professional results. (And avoid rework or ruined garments!)

– Connect the Designs! Now that you’ve advanced as an embroiderer you’ll want to show off more than just a single design. Stitch designs end-to-end with confidence.

– Unusual Fabrics! Take a departure from stitching on simple cottons and knits. Learn the secrets to stitching on stretch mesh nylon fabric. (Your friends will think you spent a fortune at the department store!) Plus learn how to incorporate organza into your designs to add texture.

– Go Green! Repurpose tablecloths into clothing!

– Applique! Explore traditional and raw edge applique. Plus find elegant uses for hand crocheted fabric.

– Short on Time! We have included quick, fun in-the-hoop projects that give you a sense of accomplishment and make great gifts! (Or keep for yourself!)

– For the Men! Yes, we even included a project the man in your life will be proud to wear!

– Develop a Designer’s Eye! Check out how a traditional sewing technique can be reinterpreted with the use of machine embroidery.

– Convenient PDF. Download the PDF and read from the convenience of your desktop computer or laptop. Flip through the pages, zoom in on projects and print what you need. Click on sponsors’ ads to visit their websites, check out the latest product promos or special offers

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