Sunday, September 14, 2008

Writing Prompts Fall Semester 2010

There is a prompt for each day, Monday through Thursday. The number of the prompt for the day will be posted on the classroom calendar as a reminder. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WRITING EVEN IF YOU ARE ABSENT. These should be submitted to me by email through gaggle. I will send you an email through the gaggle account and you may reply with your answers. Writing is due on Tuesdays. Prompts 1-14 are due September 21. 15-30 are due October 19, 31-45 due November 16, 46-61 are due Thursday, December 16. Due dates for 2011 will be posted soon.

1. What are the five best things about starting back to school? Why are they your favorites?

2. What are values? How do values influence character? Give examples.

3. What do you think are the most stressful situations you deal with? How do you handle this stress?

4. Define courage. Write about something you think it would take courage to do.

5. What are your plans after high school? Be specific; give details.

6. What goals have you set for yourself for the next ten years?

7. How can you make a positive influence in the lives of others?

8. Friends are people you can be quiet with. --Anonymous
What do you think this means? Respond.

9. "Everything changes once you say it out loud." What do you think this means? Give an example of a situation that was affected by something said out loud. What do you think would have happened if it had been left unsaid?

10. Describe someone you know that makes the most of life. What qualities do you admire in this person?

11. What can you do as a student to ensure a good environment for learning? Are you doing your best?

12. If you could meet any former President of the United States and sit down and talk for a while, who would you select, and what would you want to talk about?

13. You only have 30 minutes to evacuate your home. What would you save, and why?

14. What state would you most like to visit and why?

15. What state would you least like to visit? Why not?

16. Fall is officially here. Tell me your seven favorite things about autumn, and your three least favorite things about the season.

17.If you were given the choice of a million dollars or doubling a penny a day for a year, which would you choose? Give reasons for your selection.

18. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with what happens to you. --Anonymous

19. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. --Socrates

20. To know when you have enough is to be rich. --Lao-Tse

21. Big results require big ambitions. --James Champy

22. The beginning is always today. --Mary Wollstonecraft

23. Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog. --Charles F. Duran

24. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. --Greg Anderson

25. Nothing is worth more than this day. -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

26. Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open. --John Barrymore

27. Desire is the key to motivation. --Mario Andretti

28. The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. --Anonymous

29. Everyone has a "best" friend during each stage of life-only a precious few have the same one. --Anonymous

30. Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. --Peter F. Drucker

31. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. --Winston Churchill

32. High expectations are the key to everything. --Sam Walton

33. Don't just be good, be good for something. --Anonymous

34. A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition. --Anonymous

35. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. --Sally Berger

36. Laughter is an instant vacation. -Milton Berle

37. If you don't like something change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it! --Anonymous

38. There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend. --Katherine Hathaway

39. True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents. --John w. Gardner

40. Life is largely a matter of expectation. --Horace

41 Within our dreams and our aspirations we find our opportunities. --Sue Atchley Ebaugh

42. The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. --Ellen Parr

43. There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness. --Marguerite Gardiner Blessington

44. Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. --Aristotle

45. All great achievements require time. --David J. Schwartz

46. Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. --Abraham Lincoln

47. Make the most of yourself-for that is all there is of you. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

48. Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself. --Paul Bryant

49. If you could have been any person from history, who would you have been and why?

50. When you were six years old, who was your very favorite family member? What made that person so special to you?

51. Describe your personal style. How do you dress to show it? What do you consider when you go shopping?

52. Your clothes speak even before you do. --Jacqueline Murray

53. Fashions can be bought. Style one must possess. -Edna Woolman Chase

54. Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly. --Epicetus

55. The body says what words cannot. -Martha Graham

56. What really matters is what you do with what you have. --Shirley Lord

57. No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back. --Turkish proverb

58. Proverbs are short sentences drawn from long experience. --Anonymous

59. Some people strengthen others just by being the kind of people they are. --John M. Gardiner

60. Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better. --John Updike

61. Wonder is the beginning of wisdom. -Greek proverb

62. Those who look for beauty, find it. --Anonymous

63. Believe that you have it, and you have it. --Anonymous

64. The difference between style and fashion is quality. --Giorgio Armani

65. Time flies whether you're having fun or not. -Anonymous

66. Appearance rules the world. --Friedrich von Schiller

67. Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times. --Aeschylus

68. One good wish changes nothing. One good decision changes everything. --Anonymous

69. It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. --ee cummings

70. A friend accepts us as we are yet helps us to be what we should. -Anonymous

Second Year Students: Competency 2

Assignment due before October 15 for fall semester. Assignment due on March 10 for spring semester. See me to schedule a time and date for your presentation.

Use the rubric and requirements from the handout for instructions.

Research Project on Fashion Designer.

  • Must include both a paper and a presentation.
  • Must turn in the requirements sheet with your name and topic on day of presentation.
  • Must include both internet and print sources. May include music of the era, and other relevant information.

First Year Students: Competency 6

Review of key concepts:
  • Teenagers are influenced by status to wear designer clothes.
  • Uniforms are an example of career influence on clothing selection.
  • Decoration is an influence on accessorizing your outfits.
  • The design of a garment is its style.
  • The workmanship of a garment is its quality.
  • Matched plaids/stripes, straight and even hems, and secure threads are signs of quality workmanship.
  • When the fashion cycle is in the declining phase a style is overused and becomes boring.
  • Read the garment label to learn how to care for a ready-made garment.
  • Fabric finishes are chemical treatments applied to the surface of fabrics that make textiles more beautiful and more useful.
  • Anti-static fabric finishes keep fabrics from clinging together.
  • Flame retardant finishes are mandated by the Flammable Fabrics Act for types of children's wear.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Supply List

2" Binder with notebook paper JUST FOR THIS CLASS
pen with blue or black ink
colored pencils

fabric, thread, and notions for projects

nice to have but not required: personal sewing kit

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Pockets can be decorative, functional, or both. Side seam pockets are functional, patch pockets are decorative as well as functional.

In-seam Pockets are the easiest to make. They are attached to the garment's side seams. They can be cut as part of the garment front and back, or cut from a separate pattern piece and stitched to the seam. For heavy or bulky fabrics, cut the pocket pieces from lining fabric. All sewing is done on the inside of the garment.

1. For pockets cut separately, sew the pocket pieces to the fronts and backs, right sides together. Press seam allowances toward the pockets.

2. Pin garment front to garment back, matching markings.

3. Stitch the seam and around the pocket in one step. Reinforce at the corners. Press seam allowances flat.

4. Turn the pocket toward garment front. Clip the back seam allowance below and above the pocket to enable the seam allowances to be pressed open.

5. Add seam finishes, if needed.

Patch Pockets are stitched to the outside by hand or machine. If making a pair of patch pockets, it is important that they be the same shape and size, as well as sewn to the garment evenly.

1. Turn under the top edge of the pocket 1/4", press, and stitch.

2. Turn the hem to the right side along the fold line and pin.

3. Use stay-stitching around the pocket on the seam line, starting at the fold line of the hem. This is used as a guide for turning and pressing edges and corners.

4. Trim and grade seam allowances. Turn hem right side out and press.

5. Use stitching line as a guide to fold seam allowances under. Press.

6. Stitch the hem edge to the pocket by hand or machine.

7. Pin pocket to garment along markings. Topstitch in place. Reinforce corners with backstitching or triangular stitching.


Used on overlapping edges such as waistbands, pockets, center fronts and backs, collars and cuffs. Decorative as well as functional, buttons are strong fasteners that can withstand pulling and strain.

Buttonholes are always completed first, then the buttons are sewn onto the garment. Buttons are sewn with a double strand of thread. Use heavy-duty thread for extra strength on heavier fabrics.

To determine buttonhole length, add the diameter of the button, the thickness of the button, and 1/8" to allow for fabric thickness.

Before sewing buttonholes on a garment, sew a sample on a piece of scrap fabric. Make sure you have enough bobbin thread to finish the buttonhole before you begin. Follow the instructions in the sewing machine manual to stitch the buttonhole. Be careful when cutting the buttonhole with small, sharp scissors. Cut from the center to each end, being careful not to cut through stitching.

Hand Stitching

Use hand stitches to finish garment hems and sew on fasteners. Some hand stitches are also used to baste, reinforce, or decorate as well as mend.

Either make a small knot or take two small stitches on top of each other on the wrong side to secure the beginning and end stitches.

Basting stitch: This is temporary stitching to mark or hold fabric layers together. It is removed after permanent stitching is finished. Even basting is used to hold seams together for fitting or until permanent stitching is complete. These stitches are about 1/4 " long and even on both sides of the fabric. Uneven basting is used for marking or to hold a hem in place for stitching. Sew 1" stitches on the top side of the fabric and 1/4" stitches on the bottom. You can take several stitches then pull the needle through.

Running stitch: The easiest hand stitch, running stitch is used to gather, ease, tuck, quilt, or sew seams that get little or no strain. Use tiny, even stitches 1/16" to 1/4 " long.

Backstitch: This is the strongest hand stitch and replicates machine stitching. Use it to repair seams and securely fasten thread ends. Use tiny running stitches, beginning by inserting the needle at the end of the previous stitch. Bring the needle out one stitch length in front of the thread. Keep inserting the needle in the end of the last stitch and bringing it out ahead of the thread. The underside stitches will be twice as long as the upper side stitches.

Slip stitch: Used to attach one folded edge to another piece of fabric such as hems, linings, trims and patch pockets. Slip the needle inside the fold for 1/4", pick up one or two threads of the other fabric, then continue by stitching through the fold and then the other fabric.

Lock Hemming stitch: Used to hold hems in place, this stitch is more difficult to pull out than the traditional hemming stitch. Take a tiny stitch in the hem, hold the thread back and away from the hem, then take a small stitch in the garment. When pulled smooth, the thread should "lock", making it more difficult to pull out. Space stitches about 3/8" apart.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


A casing holds a drawstring or a piece of elastic inside a closed tunnel of fabric. Usually used at necklines, waistlines, sleeve edges, or hemlines to help control fullness. Garments with casings are easily adjustable for good fit. Casings are frequently used in easy-to-sew patterns since they are easier to construct than cuffs or waistbands. Casings are also used in home decoration when sewing some curtain styles. The curtain rod goes through the casing before hanging the curtain.

A self-casing is constructed in a similar manner as as hem. Fold over the edge of a garment and stitch in place.

How to Sew a Self-Casing

1. Turn under raw edge 1/4" and press.

2. Turn casing to the inside of the garment along the fold line. Pin in place. Press outer edge of the casing.

3. Stitch close to the inner, pinned edge. Leave an opening to insert elastic as directed in the pattern guide sheet. If a header line is indicated, stitch along that line. Once elastic is inserted, adjusted and secured, sew the casing opening closed.


Darts are triangular folds of fabric stitched to a point. They are used to give shape to fitted clothing and are another method of controlling fullness. Darts should point toward the fullest part of the body. Well sewn darts usually end about 1" from the curve to which they point. Single-pointed and double-pointed darts are the two basic types.

How to Sew Darts
Single-pointed Darts
1. Fold with right sides together, matching marked stitching lines. Pin the small dot markings together and put one pin exactly at the point.

One pin at the point

Pin through the dot on one side,

Then match the dot on the other side.

Do the same for the second set of dots.

2. Stitch from the wide end to the point. The last 2 or 3 stitches should be as close to the fold line as possible to create a sharp point without bubbles. DO NOT BACKSTITCH. Leave a longer thread tail than usual.

3. Tie the threads using a pin to slide the knot as close as possible to the point of the dart. Trim thread close to the knot.

Double-pointed Darts
1. Start at the center and stitch to the point on each side. The books say to overlap the stitching lines at the center about 1". Clip the dart at the center (widest part) and clip again as needed along the fold so it can be flat.

All darts should be pressed before crossing with another seam. Press the dart flat, then use a tailor's ham to press vertical dart folds toward the center and horizontal dart folds toward the bottom. For wide darts or for darts in heavy fabric you should follow the pattern guide sheet.

Gathering and Easing Fabric

Gathering and easing are used to control fullness along a seam line.
Gathers: soft folds of fabrics formed by pulling up basting stitches to make the fabric fit into a smaller space.

An area to be gathered is marked on the pattern with "gather" or "gathering line" on the seam line. Notches or dots mark the beginning and end of the area to be gathered. Usually gathers are 1/2 or 1/3 of the original width. It takes more yardage to create full gathers in sheer or lightweight fabrics than in heavier ones.

How to Gather
1. Adjust stitch length to basting stitch (6-8 stitches per inch)

2. Stitch the first row of basting next to the seam line in the seam allowance. DO NOT BACKSTITCH. Leave long thread ends. For gathering long areas, start and stop stitching at the seams.

3. Stitch the second row of basting 1/4 inch away in the seam allowance. DO NOT BACKSTITCH. Leave long thread ends.

HELPFUL HINT: Tie each set of threads together to make it easier to pull the right ones at the right time.

4. Pin the fabric edges, right sides together, matching all pattern markings and seams.

5. Pull up both bobbin threads from one end. Gently slide the fabric along the threads to gather half the section. Repeat from the other end until the gathered section is the proper length.

6. Wrap the threads in a figure 8 around a pin to secure.

7. Distribute the gathers evenly. Pin in place about every 1/2 inch.

8. Stitch with standard stitching along the seam line, gathered side up. Make sure the gathers are even on both sides of the needle to keep folds from catching in the seam.

For heavy fabrics, you can zigzag over a narrow cord held 1/4 inch inside the seam line. Pull cord together. Stitch along seam line. Remove the cord.

Easing: most often used at shoulder seams, sleeves, yokes, and waistbands. The most common eased seam is a set-in sleeve. The finished seam should be smooth, without any gathers or tucks.

Pin Basting: if there is only a slight difference in the fabric lengths, pin baste the right sides of the fabric together with the longer side on top. Place pins every 1/2". This keeps the fabric from shifting. Stitch with the longer side on top, gently easing in extra fullness as you stitch.

How to Ease Stitch

To ease in fullness, use one or two rows of ease stitching. Use the same technique as for gathering.

1. Stitch close to the seam line with long machine stitches extending stitching slightly beyond markings, leaving long thread tails.

2. Stitch a second row 1/4" away in the seam allowance for set-in sleeves.

3. Pin fabric with right sides together and eased side up.

4. Pull up thread between markings and distribute fullness evenly.

5. Stitch with standard stitching along seam line, leaving a smooth seam.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Seam Finishes

Seam finishes include any method of sewing or trimming seam edges to prevent raveling. You need seam finishes on woven fabrics, usually it is not necessary on most knitted fabrics. These finishes are added after seams are stitched and pressed. The method used depends on the fabric type and the reason for finishing the seams.

Machine Zigzag Seam Finish
This is a fast and easy method for finishing fabrics that ravel. Set the zigzag setting for medium width and length. For loosely woven or heavy fabrics use a wide stitch.
Zigzag along the edge of each seam allowance.

Pinked Seam Finish
Most firmly woven fabrics can be trimmed with pinking shears. Pinking doesn't prevent raveling entirely. For more protection, stitch 1/4" from each edge before pinking. Press seam open.

Hemmed Seam Finish
This method forms a narrow, single-fold hem along the edges of the seam allowances. Also called "clean finish" or "turned and stitched" seam finish. Use on lightweight to medium-weight fabrics. Attractive on unlined jackets. Turn the edges of the seam allowances under 1/4" and press. Stitch close to the folded edge.

How to Sew a Lapped Seam

One piece is lapped over the other and topstitched in place. The lapped seam is often used with natural or synthetic leather and suede.

1. Turn the seam allowance under on the section to be lapped. Press.
For leather and suede, trim away the seam allowance.
2. Lap the folded or trimmed edge over the other piece at the seam line, wrong side to right side.
3. Edgestitch along the folded or trimmed edge.
4. Topstitch again 1/4" from the edge.

How to Sew a Welt Seam

Welt seams are less bulky than flat-felled seams and give a tailored finish on heavier fabrics.

1. Stitch a 5/8" standard seam. Press the seam open.
2. Press both seam allowances to one side.
3. Trim the seam allowance next to the garment to 1/4".
4. Stitch from the outside through the garment and the wider seam allowance. Keep stitching an even distance from the seam line.

How to Sew a Double-Stitched (Reinforced) Seam

This seam works well on curved seams such as armhole or crotch seams. The extra row of stitching gives the seam extra security.

1. Stitch a 5/8" standard seam with the right sides of the fabric together.
2. Stitch again about 1/8" from the seam line in the seam allowance. A narrow zigzag stitch may be used for this second row of stitching.
3. Trim the seam allowances close to the stitching.

How to Sew a Topstitched Seam

Topstitched seams are decorative and give a sporty, tailored, or contrasting finish to a garment or home decorative item. It holds bulky seam allowances flat and emphasizes the seams of a garment.

1. Stitch a 5/8" standard seam. Press seam allowances open.

2. Topstitch along each side of the seam, through both layers of fabric. Keep stitching a straight and equal distance from the seam line.

An alternative method is to press both seam allowances to one side as indicated on the pattern. Topstitch through all three layers of fabric.

How to Sew a Flat-Felled Seam

Flat-felled seams are sturdy and durable. Two rows of stitching show on the outside of the garment.

1. Pin the WRONG sides of the fabric together.
2. Stitch a 5/8" standard seam. Press open.
3. Press both seam allowances to one side.
4. Trim the under-seam allowance to 1/8".
5. Fold in the edge of the upper-seam allowance 1/4". Place it over the trimmed seam allowance. Press.
6. Stitch close to the folded edge through all thicknesses.

How to Sew a French Seam

This seam works well on sheer fabric because no raw edges show on the wrong side. The seam looks like a plain seam on the outside and a narrow tuck on the wrong side. This seam works well on straight seams, but doesn't do well on curved seams.

1. Pin the WRONG sides of the fabric together.
2. Stitch 3/8" from the raw edges. Trim the seam allowances to 1/8". Press seam allowances open.
3. Fold the fabric along the seam line with right sides together. Press.
4. Stitch 1/4" from the folded edge.

This will give you a standard 5/8" seam allowance because 3/8" + 1/4"(2/8") = 5/8".

Monday, March 17, 2008

How to Construct a Standard (Plain) Seam

A plain or standard seam has 5 steps.

1. With right sides of the fabric together, match the cut edges and any notches.

2. Place pins about 5" apart along the seam line. Pins should be at right angles to the seam line and the heads of the pins should be easy to remove as you stitch.

3. Sew along the seam line, 5/8" from the fabric edge.

4. Secure threads at both ends. (Backstitch at the beginning and end.)

5. Press the seam flat, then press the seam open.

Stitch Lengths

The stitch length you use depends on the fabric type and the purpose of the stitching.

Regular (standard) stitching is used for permanent seams and construction details. With most fabrics 10-12 stitches per inch is fine. On our classroom machines the middle dial will be set between 2 and 3 for regular stitch length. For finer fabrics you might need 12-15 stitches per inch, and with heavy fabrics like denim and twill you will have more success with 8-10 stitches per inch.

Basting stitches temporarily hold two or more fabric pieces together until they are permanently stitched. Basting is also used on a single layer of fabric for easing, gathering and marking guidelines. Use the longest machine stitch, usually 6 per inch. On our classroom machines the middle dial is set at 4 for basting.

Reinforcement stitching gives strength to areas that will be trimmed or clipped close to the stitching. Use 15-20 stitches per inch. On classroom machines that is the setting between 1 and two on the middle dial.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Steps of the Sewing Routine

I'm having trouble with students that don't follow the routine to sew. Sit up straight, make sure the controller is where it is comfortable for you, and make sure that you are in front of the presser foot before you begin. Always start with the take-up lever up at the top. Always end the same way.

Thread the machine from right to left, making sure that you catch the thread in the thread guides and take-up lever (follow the numbers). Be sure to thread the machine needle from front to back and leave a long thread tail.

To insert the bobbin, make sure the thread is unwinding to the left side, making a P shape. Drop the metal bobbin case onto the bobbin, pull the thread through the slot on the side, then under the flap until it "clicks". Use the lever to help you place the bobbin case into the shuttle of the machine, aligning the peg with the slot at the top. If the bobbin case is placed correctly, it will NOT spin.

Hold the needle thread and turn the handwheel toward you one full turn to raise the bobbin thread to the top side of the machine. Pull both threads toward the back of the machine. Test sew on a scrap first!!!