Monday, March 21, 2016

Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2016

I was so happy that I could attend the famed Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington this year. I vividly remember standing in my living room in Michigan, half watching an episode of Sewing with Nancy when a segment started from the middle of a huge sewing convention. 

I was just starting to wonder where a big event like that would be held, when Nancy said that she was south of Seattle! Dan had just started travelling there for work and I couldn't believe my luck. Fast forward 18 months and now I'm living in Seattle and able to attend the show. 

You just don't know where life will take you.
I have to open my description of the show by stating that is the vendors and classes are primarily for those that make quilts and sew apparel. I do neither, so I am not necessarily the target demographic for the show. I had a great time just the same! I was so impressed with the skill and intricacies of the quilts on display.
Can you believe what you're seeing? This is a dollhouse made completely of fabric and embroidery! The artist at My Fair Lady sells the pattern to make this entire house on a sewing machine embroidery hoop. That kind of vision should be applauded.

The most exciting part of the show for me was the color. For example, look that this magnificent selection of embroidery thread from Floriani. I could see myself asking Santa for this, can't you?
I attended the show with two new friends from Seattle (they can sew...for real!) and I let them decide how we spent our time. One lecture was about using different types of stabilizer in machine embroidery. The lecture was given by a rep for Floriani out of Boston and though the talk could have been as dull as stabilizer itself, she held our attention completely. Good job!
I want to call attention to American Made Brand, a Seattle-based company that produces solid cotton fabrics "sourced and manufactured in the United States." In what I think is a terrific marketing move, they handed out small sample stacks of their cotton colors to interested attendees. It puts their color and quality right in the public's hands and I am sure that it helped to attract new customers. 
I spread out the sample pieces so that you could see for yourself. I think I might sew these into something wonderful for a dollhouse - I love small squares of fabric and it would be fun to make a lasting memory from my first sewing expo. I won't get to it until I've moved from our apartment, but someday...
I couldn't resist buying some fabric - a print of houses (7th from left) by Brandon Mably called "Shanty Town." I bought the color way you see here (Bright) and the same print in more of a seashell pastel. Someday they will be placemats in my house. Do you have a stack of fabric and a someday list too?
My heart skipped a beat when I saw these interesting fabric flowers in the Terial Arts booth. This is the kind of project I would make - absolutely! I was hoping to see even more items/projects like this at the sewing expo. Using beautiful fabrics in an unexpected way intrigues me.
If you put aside the shopping, the Sewing and Stitchery Expo has enough lectures, free classes and paid seminars that it could stand alone as a teaching event. The number of classes offered is staggering. The breadth of topics is impressive. I read the entire course offering in the pre-released catalog (available online and in Seattle-area sewing shops) weeks before the expo and determined that I needed to learn more before about basic construction before I could benefit from the classes. I also need to spend more time with my serger (which is currently in Michigan) before a lot of the tips and tricks will make sense.

That being said, my friend Judy and I did attend one paid seminar. Michelle Paganini of Paganoonoo offered an hour long explanation called Upcycle Sewing on how to convert multiple tag sale shirts into a funky shirt-dress for a woman.
Michelle had a booth at the show and sold her patterns to walk skilled home sewers through the deconstruction and revitalization of thrift store finds. Her enthusiasm for upcycling was contagious.
The Sewing and Stitchery Expo was a great show. If you are within reach of Seattle next February and you love quilting and/or garment construction, this is the show for you.

No comments: