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Expo Reviews > Worcester Sewing Expo, April 2008

Massachusetts, UNITED STATES
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Posted by: LuceLu
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About LuceLu star
NY United States
Member since: 8/4/06
Reviews: 25 (expos: 1)
Skill level:Advanced Beginner
Favored by: 5 people
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Posted on: 4/19/08 5:52 PM
Rating: starstar
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 12 people   
This was a sewing expo located in Worcester Ma. It was my first sewing expo so I have nothing to compare it to.

I took many classes.

Lorraine Henry taught a number of pattern alteration classes which were valuable. I took 3 of her classes. I ended up visiting her booth and purchasing her book and some other items. I would love to take her seminar in Utah. There were so many questions that she ended up going over her alloted class time which was unfortunate because I was not able to stay for two of them. I think she should have a big one day pattern alteration seminar, that way it would be easier to cover everything that she needs to. Many questions seemed to apply more to other classes and she was so nice and really cared that we understood her information and took the time to answer and illustrate it.

Louise Cutting did a class on one seam pants. I thought it was helpful, she answered a lot of questions but had to end the class a bit early as the exhibit hall was opening and she did not have any help that day. I did pick up 2 of her patterns and a couple of her booklets. She recommended an elastic you can buy at Joann's and usually stitches it on the waistband and then folds it down and stitches again.

Diane Ericson held a class on color. I was not signed up for this, I was working it as part of my ambassador duties. It was very interesting. She provided a kit (well, there was a kit fee-- but I don't know what it was) which had a color wheel and everyone got creative with their colors. She pulled out her inspiration boards--and talked about how to translate these into garments. She was really inspiring. I was unhappy that i could not get into her fashion illustration class the next day as it was sold out. She was selling some stencils and patterns and was demonstrating working with the stencils at the Vogue booth. I did not really participate in this class but listened to her lecture and she inspired people to be more creative.

Barb Callahan ( held a class called "Easy skirts from rectangles". She was very nice and I was assisting in that class as well. She showed a variety of linen skirts she made from rectangles which she often wears in her home state of Florida. The hems were a neat finish with a wing needle and honeycomb stitch. She had a number of variations. Her booth had lots of wool (she also held some classes on felting) and linen by the yard. The linen was gorgeous but $18/yd. I could not afford it for my purposes. She also had patterns but the booth was often very crowded.

Peggy Sagers classes were great! I went to two of those. Her presentations were very organized and she was very matter of fact. She really gave us some good tips on collars, interfacings, fly treatment, jacket sleeves, easing blouse sleeves etc. One class she went through sewing an entire outfit (pants, blouse, jacket). She says we are too slow!

I am sad to say that many were unhappy with Cynthia Guffey's closures class. It was basically sewing three different type closures in 3 hours. It started 30 minutes late. The kit was $20 and included a button, a hook and (I think) a zipper. She had some lovely silk at her booth that was heavenly in quality and price. I did not linger at her booth because she seemed down. I hope to catch her in a different venue when perhaps she is feeling better and her energy is up. Even though I registered in advance, I could not get into her pattern choosing for your body type class--there were 2 scheduled and they were 3 hour classes and entirely sold out.

My friend took Emma Seabrooke's class and showed us the technique. It was about sewing with stretch lace and those crinkle/pleated stretch knits. Basically she uses a stretch interfacing tape and invisible sew through elastic.

Unique patterns Kathy Ruddy was there and she did a free presentation on the stage talking about her "eat cookies" waist/pants. She measured people at her booth for a number of services, including counseling about what kinds of alterations to make, what type of fabrics to use for your figure type etc. She was very nice and had very good things to say about other vendors. She sold the swiss pattern paper as well as all her videos, cd's and pamphlets and was very reasonable cost-wise. I liked her. My friend did not care for her (my friend is an advanced sewer into couture treatments) and felt she was dated. But that was one vote down out of 4-- the rest of us enjoyed her presentation and the other girls took a class with her.

Freshman embroidery with Katie Bartz an independant Viking educator. She was hilarious and kept us awake through this 3 hour class fielding questions about machine embroidery. I really enjoyed her and the other ladies in the class. She answered questions about thread, needles, stabilizers and showed us her "foolproof" method of hooping. She also gave us recommendations on the software. She works a lot with Pam DeMore -- they did the pillow book together called "Pillow Talk". She taught a number of classes. I was not able to get into her "Embroidery Lab" scheduled after this class, although she had 2--they were all sold out.

Pam DeMore had a few classes, one was sewing a bag-- I was not in that class but cleaned up after it. She did quite a number of classes and did not have a booth. Most everyone seemed to enjoy her classes. One of my friends took one and had only great things to say about it. I think she is a Viking educator (I'm not sure if she is independent or not).

Viking was the premier manufacturer there. The upstairs ballrooms held all their top of the line embroidery machines and they also had a prominent booth with other models. One of my friend purchased a machine there-- one of the demonstration models from the classroom and it was $5,000. That included the embroidery unit, a bunch of software and about $1,000 gift certificate from the store in Auburn MA.

Babylock also had a prominent booth and a stocked classroom where there seemed to be a lot of quilting and piecing classes held. I only cleaned up in there, did not take any of these classes.

Janome had a smaller booth and the sales educators were very nice and helpful and willing to demonstrate all of their machines. One lady from MD was an heirloom sewing instructor for Janome and had some gorgeous samples.

Bernina had no presence there at all. I was told it was because they demand to have the premier spot and it was already promised to Viking. I don't know how much of that was true but they were missed.

Pfaff had the smallest booth of the sewing machine companies. I was surprised there were no materials from Cyndi Losekamp there.

Vogue fabrics had a very large booth and I have to say, I did buy quite a bit from them. However, I have to agree with the fabric selection. They did restock every day but there was only one bolt of bamboo fabric.

There was a booth that had some gorgeous Italian wools and blends-- I think they were from Canada. There were a number of batik/quilting/handdye fabric stands as well.

There was a vintage fabric and button/trim booth that I found to be very over-priced.
Emma Seabrook had lots of slinky and knits. I found a good one in her bargain bin.

The best thing about going to Massachusetts for the Expo shopping wise, is the side trips on the way home. We visited Wright's factory outlet in Sturbridge-- which was having quite a clearance because they are closing. Everything was 25% off. We then went to Osgood's in Springfield which was fabric lover's heaven. It is a veritable warehouse. One third of it is home dec, there is an area of furniture and then, sigh, rolls of fabric to the ceiling in aisle after aisle. It is 3 hours away from me--all this time... who knew?

The other vendors--I mentioned a number of them that were also presenters. There was a thread vendor, a trim vendor, some others like Bon-ash, and embroidery designs--Dakota I think. I picked up the patternmaster boutique software at a very good price--$50 less than their normal. There were also booths for doing stuff like knitting a baby hat for charity and a number of quilts were displayed. I spent a good deal of time and money on the exhibit floor as well as time talking to these knowledgeable people who had lots of advice and were very kind.

The facilities:
Some of the classrooms were just corners curtained off which was not good when one wall was made of glass, facing East in the am and there are overheads to look at. Sometimes the equipment did not work. Sometimes it was just too noisy. In general, the ballroom and classrooms were okay but not optimal. The lady running the organizing of the classrooms was nice and her husband --they were very helpful. I participated in the Ambassador program where I donated my time (one afternoon as a classroom assistant and am/pm clean-up) and earned a class. As a classroom assistant you also get to experience the classes you are assisting in. One of the friends I went with worked so much all her classes and admissions to the exhibit hall were free.

The food: Airport prices. Bring your own or eat at the hospital across the street. Best to bring a water bottle. Seriously. An ice cream cone was $6. A small coffee was $2.

I was so busy in classes I missed the fashion shows and other free presentations.

Accomodations: We stayed at the Hilton across the street. There was 4 of us and we stayed 4 nights. We split the >$500 bill which was very cool. The parking is $13/day if by valet or $9/day in the garage. Friday night that area is hopping. There is no continental breakfast but an all you can eat breakfast buffet set up every morning for about $10. Most everyone threw bagels, yogurt and fruit in their bags for lunch. They have to-go cups for coffee. There is a office center to make copies and check your emai, a pool and Unos is connected and can be delivered to your room.

Our room had 2 double beds. There was a ironing board and iron in the closet, and shampoo, mouthwash, conditioner as well as soap was supplied in the bathroom but no blow dryer. There was a good sized table/desk and an easy chair with reading light. The temp was easy to adjust but was on the opposite wall as the heater/ac. It is worth it to be close to the expo. There was a convenience store, a number of restaurants and a Starbucks in easy walking distance. We walked to a fantastic Italian restuarant about 4-5 blocks away from the hotel.

Advice for future Expos-- register for your desired classes as early as possible. The really good ones get sold out fast. Go for the packages. Then, once you fill up on your package, ask them for the number for the Ambassador program and work in a shift there so you can take another class on a whim. The exhibit floor is fun but can get very expensive, plan your forays-- I missed out on stuff (hands on make and takes as well as handouts) because I didn't plan them better. Bring bottled water, pack lunches or portable food so you don't have to buy it there. Try to go with a group, the Hilton let us all use our credit cards to pay our portions of the stay. Check your coat for $1, it's worth it.

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Mufffet said... (4/22/08 4:39 PM) Reply
Thanks for a great review..sounds like a lot of fun!
fryman said... (4/20/08 5:47 PM) Reply
Such an informative review. I appreciate your time and effort in sharing this with your PR family!
LuceLu said... (4/20/08 3:51 PM) Reply
I did not get a kit for Diane's class although later she said I should have taken one, we had one less person than had registered. My friend assisted in a class and was given a kit. The duties for class assistant were that you basically kept the room for a morning or afternoon block. You would take tickets at the door and either give them to the people running it or the instructor. You would also help people find seats and pass materials out. I also had clean up duty in the ballroom classrooms in the morning and evening. We pick up and empty the bags or replace them that are taped by the sewing machines. My friend also did white glove by the quilts -- stopping people from touching and photographing quilts (some did anyway). This was complicated as one of the presenters--Jenny something--who does a lot of embroidery stuff allowed all her customers to touch and photo her quilts. My other friend checked tickets/bracelets at the exhibit hall. I also purchased a bunch of Diane's stencils and some silk at Vogue.
Marie_P. said... (4/20/08 12:28 PM) Reply
Great review!! - I went to Emma Seabrooke's classes which I thought were a bargain (reviewed in the Expo reviews). Diane Ericson is amazing - I have taken her classes in the past. I bought several of her stencils. I thought Vogues prices were a bit more expensive than last year but I bought some cuts of silk that were remnants which I plan to stencil. I noticed there were less fabric vendors than in the past. I thought that there were 2 more aisles of vendors last year! I agree with you about bringing your own food and water. I didn't know Wrights was closing - I'll have to stop by there. Osgood's is huge. They have some beautiful fabric there. Sounds like you had an amazing time! As an Ambassador helping out - what types of tasks did you have to do? Did you get kits for the classes you helped with?
MarilynB said... (4/20/08 8:16 AM) Reply
What a great, comprehensive review. I have been going to this event for the past five years and always learn something new. Since I live only 50 miles away, I drive to the Expo each day. The weekday parking is around $5 but weekends is $1 an hour. This is still cheaper for me than staying at the hotel. I learned my first year to bring my own lunch and water. This year there were fewer fabric vendors and I felt that Vogue fabrics did not have as good of a selection as in years past. I did like the vintage button & trim booth, but admit prices were high, however, the inventory was very unusual. I have taken most of the classes you listed in past years and agree with your observations. I have used the techniques I learned at past Expos and find they do enhance my skils.
KimG said... (4/19/08 7:25 PM) Reply
Thanks so much for an incredibly detailed review! I've been thinking about attending this Expo or the one in Cleveland, which is a tad closer than Worchester, and your review really provides some excellent information. Also, thanks for the tip on Osgood's in Springfield. We drive past when visiting the in-laws in Maine, and this sounds like the perfect 'pit stop'!
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