Summer: Hello Week 2

Hello A-Team !!!

I do hope you know that what was said in the syllabus was correct. The first 2 weeks of this course is tough. You gotta get the work done on time. Then the class gets much easier. I just need to make sure, you are all on the same page to begin with. I cannot teach with everyone doing something different. Week One was comprised of: registration, reading the syllabus, cutting the sewing portfolio patterns, going shopping, and laying out our fabric on grain to cut. In Week Two we will learn: Fusing interfacing, marking serging, caring for sergers and straight stitch sewing machines, sewing machine control. If you want to use your own sewing machine, bring it to the class on Tuesday, June 16th.

Notes and Links:

On June 27, 2015, there will be a Breast Health Day at the Women’s Wellness Center & Town and Country Learning Center. The address is: 230 Catania Street, San Diego. Zip Code: 92113. The time is 11 am to 2 pm. If you would like more information, see me, I have a flyer for this. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Of course, during the first week, I don’t remember anyone’s name. And for that, I apologize.

For those of you who still need to buy supplies or found that Joanne’s didn’t have everything you need, go to Central Sewing. Here is their phone number: 619-447-3244. They can get the Simflex, and corner templates. Check the walls of your nearest Yardage Town. They also have bee’s wax and more. 11 couture techniques to try


Meet or tweet? How do you network?

In addition to career assessment, exploration and job search resources, the Career Services webpage has a Networking Tips folder with recently uploaded attachments on how to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for job search networking. There are also folders with a Resume Workbook and resume templates for Continuing Education training programs.

061515_0123_SummerHello1.jpg Karen entrusted her handwoven Monk’s Belt yardage to her favorite couture seamstress, Susan Stowell of Asheville, who meticulously cut, matched, fit and finished the dress for a fashion show. Photo by Zaire Kacz Photography


Get Over ‘Precious’ Factor When Creating Handwoven Garments

061515_0123_SummerHello2.jpg Karen Donde, Contributor, Weaving Today,

I love designing and weaving yardage, and wearing handwoven clothing. It’s that step in between that trips me up.

Even when I’ve decided on a pattern, fit the muslin and laid out the finished yardage on my cutting table, I may walk around and around it, rearranging pattern pieces and meticulously checking grain lines for days before scissors finally meet cloth.

It’s not that I am a novice sewer. I was sewing long before I became a weaver. I guess I haven’t been able to get over the “precious” factor, as one instructor put it. “It’s only cloth,” she would say. Yes, but cloth I’ve spent hours, days or weeks designing, warping, weaving and wet finishing out of yarns that cost more than most commercially woven fabric I’ve ever purchased.

061515_0123_SummerHello3.jpg Straight skirts can be simple sewing projects for weavers with basic sewing skills. Karen embellished this one, made from wool and local alpaca, with locally tanned buckskin side panels. Photo by Zaire Kacz Photography</td

It’s also the details. When I was whipping up skirts, tops or dresses from commercial cloth, I never thought much about seam finishes. If it held together on the outside, no one needed to see how it looked on the inside. If raveling might be a problem, out came the pinking shears.

Now with handwoven cloth, details matter…a lot. For one, seam allowances can be fragile, depending on the yarns used, so at the very least they should be serged to prevent them unraveling to nothing and weakening seams. More importantly, if you’ve put that much work into creating the cloth and designing a garment, shouldn’t the inside of it reflect the same level of care?

I never made a muslin before I became a weaver, either. Buy a pattern, cut it out along my size lines, stitch it together, and if it didn’t fit, rip it out and try again. If you’ve ever tried to pick machine stitches out of a lofty handwoven wool fabric or a fine, patterned fabric with lots of floats, you’ve no doubt discovered how difficult that is, and the toll it can take on the cloth. It’s not like you can run to the fabric store and buy another yard.

So here are a few lessons I’ve learned in my quest for handwoven clothing.

  • ALWAYS fit on a muslin before cutting handwoven cloth.
  • If seam allowances will show, Hong Kong seams look professional and are not that hard.
  • Stick to simple styles that showcase the cloth and are easier to cut and sew.
  • That doesn’t mean you have to wear a sack. Darts are your friend.
  • Take care when positioning pattern pieces on patterned cloth so graphic elements don’t highlight a body part that doesn’t need more highlighting.
  • If your sewing skills, like mine, were learned from the “good-enough” school, take a class and learn some couture fitting and finishing techniques worthy of your beautiful cloth.
  • When your handwoven cloth demands a garment that is spectacular, hire a professional to design, fit and finish it for you. Then get back to weaving.

If you’re a bit afraid of sewing handwoven fabric, I hope these tips help you overcome that fear!


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