My day at SewExpo 2011 was off to a good start when a lady walked up to me while I was standing in line for the ticket counter. She said, “Can I give you a free ticket?” Well, sure! It turns out she bought an extra for a friend, who bought her own. It was a nice gesture, and a good start to the day. I arrived too late to see the 9:30 fashion show by Sandra Betzina and Marci Tilton, but my friend Claire was more on top of things. So I wandered around the booths in the main building until the fashion show ended. She assures me that both ladies were at their best.
Claire accompanied me to a session on organizing your sewing space. Since I’ve promised to give my fellow American Sewing Guild local chapter a primer later this year, I figured I’d better bone up. I had read much of the advice, but the presenter was Canadian and entertaining. Essentially, her message was 1. Even the home sewing greats have messy sewing areas, so don’t sweat it. 2. Everything you need for an organized, ergonomic sewing area can be obtained at Ikea, WalMart or an office supply store.
Claire and I grabbed a gyro for lunch, and wandered over to my first 2011 fashion show and Claire’s second of the day. I really like the sheet of diagrams and pattern front pictures that Pati Palmer gives as handouts. It helps you match what’s on the runway “girls.” I am not a big fan of the new jackets with huge lapels. They are just shapeless. However, since summer is coming these were balanced with fitting sundresses and shirtdresses. I haven’t worn a shirt dress since the 80s, but apparently they’re back!
After being talked into two pieces of wool from one of the Toronto wool booths, Claire announced she was overwhelmed and wanted to go home. I couldn’t blame her! SewExpo is always overwhelming for a first-timer, and was feeling pretty over-stimulated myself.
Alas, I had to stick it out for the long term, because I planned to attend the SewExpo banquet, sponsored by www.seattleasg.org.
I wandered back to the main building and I think I passed every booth! I stopped into Simplicity and who do you think I see but that company’s latest Project Runway designer Suede. And yes, he has blue hair. Well I think I don’t fit into Suede’s demographic, but I was able to ask the Simplicity corporate lady whether they would be doing any crazy math with Suede’s patterns. If you’ve looked at Project Runway patterns you know what I mean: They have several different looks, and it’s your job to lean against the cuttting counter and do the math, driving the woman at the cutting counter crazy: “It says I need 1/2 yard for the sleeves plus 2 yards dress plus 1/3 yard belt so what do I get if I want to make the sleeves and the belt out of the same material?” I hate that about Project Runway patterns, especially if I have a sewing student who wants to start by making one. And if you’re new to sewing, you should think twice. The Simplicity rep says that many people like that approach, but I explained that the new sewers who are inspired by Project Runway will run right out and try to buy the patterns, and making them do the math is very intimidating. It might sell patterns, but we’re not likely to see people walking around in their completed Project Runway outfits. Anyway, she said no — the fabric requirements are for complete outfits. Not that a lot of Suede’s looks require a lot of fabric. It’s basically club wear! Not exactly the kind of thing I can wear to my office — how ’bout you? But there he was, standing close enough to hear our conversation. I’ve posted a picture of Suede with a young admirer. You can see the patterns at Suede Says Simplicity.
My last highlight at SewExpo was locating the bookseller. He had many vintage clothing books, on historical Greek fashions, etc. But I stuck with the modern books and picked up a Sandra Betzina book for $12. Then I went on to the banquet at a local hotel. It was so fun to socialize with my fellow sewers, local, national, and international. Greater Seattle ASG hosts this banquet every year. I got home after 10:00 p.m. but I was a happy camper. Next year I will try to see more seminars.