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


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

Posting when the Internet is down.

Hello A-Team !

Somehow, some way, Cox Communications has denied me internet access. Thank God for Mr. Warren. Where there is a will, there is a way. He has made this post possible. I am grateful.

Note: I have a meeting on Tuesday afternoon. I will be arriving to teach @ 4:59 PM. I am glad I don’t have meetings often. This is a safety meeting. Very important!!!!

I found out some incredible information about reusable bags. Using just one cloth reusable bag can save up to 6 paper or plastic bags a week….or 24 bags a month….or 288 bags a year….or 22,176 bags in a lifetime !!!

Who went to Fashion Career Day at Mesa? Let me know. Comment on the blog. What fun !!!!

The Classes:

Flat Pattern Manipulation: We worked on making a pattern for a Bateau Neckline Bodice and started working on Skirt Manipulations, this past week. Skirt Manipulations will continue in the coming week.

Portfolio: Last Tuesday, we learned about grading, clipping, and under stitching an interfaced and faced back neckline. We also saw a Power Point on reading Commercial Pattern Envelopes. Last Thursday, we had fun learning to hand sew various closures, buttons, snaps, sequins, beads, patches, hooks & eyes. We also practiced making a raw edge trapunto machine embroidery. This coming week, we will be practicing 3 different ways to make a pocket and we will study hem stitches for different fabric grains and knits.

Come to class and master some new skills !!!!!!

Other Fun Stuff to do:

We would also like to remind you that our Best Project Contest 2012 is still accepting entries.. Remember, by entering the contest, you can win up to $500 worth of our designs! New entries can be found on the Entries page. Happy Embroidering! Advanced Embroidery Designs http://www.advanced-embroidery-designs.com/ Be sure to pick up the free design, a basket of cherries, on the home page of Advanced Embroidery Designs. If you do NOT have an embroidery machine, pick the freebie up in the .pes format.

Remember to sign up for Central Sewing’s Anita Goodesign Event. Call for details: 619-447-3244.

http://www.skeldalehouse.com There is a free applique R here.

http://www.abc-free-machine-embroidery-designs.com/archive/ Cute Halloween freebie here.

Due to the internet problems of my home, I am going to keep this post shorter than usual……just to be sure it goes through to the blog.

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