Sunday, September 28, 2014

American Sewing Expo 2014

I attended the annual American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan this weekend and I left feeling re-energized and excited about so many new projects! I attended 4 classes that covered a range of topics, from colorblocking and industrial techniques, to spandex and sewing for profit. I learned new techniques that will be so handy in the sewing room, and new concepts that gave me lots of food for thought about my business...

When I think of the expo, I really do associate more with the people it's brought into my life... The first year I attended was 2007, when I got to meet Chloe Dao (Season 2 winner, Project Runway) and left feeling so inspired and excited. I remember calling my mom and telling her how much fun I had and all the things I saw... She had been sick and I was amazed at how good she sounded on the phone. It was the best conversation we'd had in weeks, and it made my day even better.  Sadly, it ended up being the last "good day" I had with her, as she passed away one week later. So, every year as I attend the expo and leave the show, I always think of that, and how my mom was the one to introduce me to this "hobby" that I've so deeply fallen in love with. From the time I was 13, I've loved to sew and create.  In the pre-internet days (yes, I am that old), the only other people I could talk "sewing" with were the customers and people I worked with at Joann Fabrics. 25 years later, I found this sewing community of blogs and boards on the internet, and have made friends around the world. Then, I attended the expo and was connected with this community face-to-face. The first sewing classes I ever took were at the expo, and when you add in the vendor floor of fabrics, trims, embellishments, and other techniques... well, I've attended almost every year since.

Angela Wolf is a fantastic teacher and gives me so much inspiration. I've been reading her book, "How to Start a Home-Based Fashion Design Business", so I was already lit up with about a hundred questions on that topic. I attended her class about Color-blocking, but quickly learned that you don't have to use separate colors (or even separate fabrics) to utilize this technique. She was gracious and kind, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with her mom and sister at her booth. I'll definitely be signing up for her Tailoring RTW courses on Craftsy.

Rhonda Buss and I first met and became friends at last year's expo, when we both participated in the Passion for Fashion competition. This year, she was attending as a teacher, and I was lucky enough to land in one of her classes about sewing with Spandex. She answered all of my questions and offered such good information... and I was thrilled that we were able to find additional time to sit down and have a one-on-one visit, too! (Thanks for the private instruction, I'll send you a pic of my progress!)

Janet Pray is the owner of Islander Sewing Systems, and also organizes the whole entire expo every single year. Islander is known for their instruction of industrial sewing techniques, so I enrolled in a 3 hour class about sewing without pins or basting, even zippers! It was a fast-paced course, but very helpful. The instructor says she only really ever uses 2 or 3 straight pins at a time during a project. My husband would be forever grateful if I could reach that point!!! Lol...

Haberman Fabrics and Vogue Fabrics (among others) had some beautiful fabrics, and too many came home with me! The McCall Pattern Company was there, and I was able to meet a few new faces there that made me feel like I had arrived at the "cool kids lunch table"! I picked up the pattern and all the necessary supplies for 2 garments: The MotorCity Express Jacket (Islander) and a Butterick Jacket (Gucci knockoff). Fabric, buttons, zippers, even a buckle, so I can start the muslins today!

Trims On Wheels has a great selection of trims, elastics, appliques, buckles, and bling, which is always a favorite on prom dresses and formal wear. She was my saving grace on last year's Passion for Fashion dress, having all those crystals for the bodice of my "Saturday Night Fever" dress.  Her prices at the expo were amazing, which is why so many pieces came home with me!

I had a lovely dinner with long-distance sewing friends Connie and Kyle. We were missing some of our dinner buddies from last year, but maybe we'll be reunited next year (I hope). Thank you ladies for a wonderful evening of chatting and laughter! No matter what the expo holds, it's that time with you that I look forward to the most these days!

There's so much more, but I'm sure I've bored you by now.  If you've never attended, you're missing out. It's educational and inspirational, and I'm so excited to get creating new garments now!


Linda T said...

Sounds like a blast! So good that you've been able to attend.

Kyle said...

I'm not bored reading your post!
That is awesome that you got to meet Chloe Dao....and that it was commemorated with a coffee mug!

I meant to ask you what you thought about the Islander class--glad you enjoyed it.

My mom died in April and she was with me too--whenever I see cat or Elvis fabric, I think of her!

I felt SO happy this weekend and having dinner with you and "show and tell" about our purchases was a part of that so thank you!

L said...

Sorry I missed you this weekend! I got your hug, though. =) Huggums back at'cha!

I'm glad you had a great time. I know you're going to turn those fabrics into stylish awesomeness.

Irene said...

Sounds like such a wonderful week-end! I hope that one of these years I'll be able to make it to this Expo. Something a little bit different from the Festival in Toronto.

Rhonda Buss said...

I know that dress will be spectacular!! and I can't wait to see that wool made up.

Linda L said...

I can tell you had a great time. This is on my bucket list to attend in the future.