|I am exhausted, my body aches all over, both feet have blisters, but my mind is swarming with color, texture and design ideas. In other words, I just got back from the Sew Expo in Puyallup, WA. I had no idea how vast the area was, and how far it would be between seminars, style shows and the over 400 vendors. (Have you guessed I’m not used to walking a lot?) Forgetting that I am no longer 30 years old.... or 40, or even, well, we’ll leave it there, I scheduled too many seminars and style shows, leaving little time for just absorbing everything or checking out the vendors. In fact, I was so tired by Friday afternoon that I skipped my last seminar, and decided to forgo the Saturday classes I had signed up for. I did attend seven seminars and six style shows, plus the Bernina Fashion Show Friday evening.
My intention in going to this Expo, which I had not attended before, was to see what information and inspiration I could gather. Talk about sensory overload! The seminars, mostly given by vendors with something to sell, were nonetheless informative. Several of the presenters were not modest about their products, but then that is the way they earn a living. All offered valuable information on techniques and design, plus fabrics, fitting and patterns.
The style shows were also valuable to me, particularly the “Sewing With Handwovens” by Linda Kubik. She was a bit disorganized in her presentation, but charming, and her fabrics are gorgeous! She said she was a color and texture freak, which I am myself.
The highest energy presenter I thought was Linda MacPhee, of MacPhee Workshop. She has a show on PBS, which I had not seen, but she is a great sales person - humorous, personal, and very opinionated.
The best individual style show I thought was Park Bench Patterns by Mary Lou Rankin. She showed several outfits made with the same pattern, but which were very different in fabric, color and impact.
The IPCA (Independent Pattern Company Alliance) style show was the most diverse, with fashions by 13 different designers. Again, color and texture were featured prominently, with lots of devoré or burnout fabric, and multiple layers with lots of floaty chiffon type materials.
Bernina’s “Fashion Imagination” show was well presented, although I thought the music was too loud. The full color booklet handed out was very useful, since I was too far back to see details clearly. The 45 designers, some of whom put in hundreds of hours creating their spectacular apparel, were from all over the country. Again, color, texture, devoré and multiple layers were prominently featured. I especially appreciated the detail photos in the catalog, plus about 30 pages of technique information in the back.
So, was this experience worth it - despite the physical hardships? YES!!! Would I do it again next year? In a heartbeat! But with less seminars and style shows scheduled, and more time to visit the vendors and just soak in all the wonderful ambiance.
By the way, you may not have realized that one of the largest bead suppliers in the country is in Lacey, WA, just about 20 miles southwest of Tacoma. Shipwreak Beads, which I stopped at on my way up on Wednesday, is phenomenal. Imagine a large grocery store like Safeway or Albertson’s, and replace all the food with beads. This image might give you some idea of the scope of the retail store. What a treat!