|I have gone to every sewing expo since this group has been coming to Minnesota. Usually, I take off at least one day of work, sometimes two and go for two or even all three days. Last year, I even did the more the day before class. Well, this years Expo is being held at the Minneapolis Convention Center (seems it has grown to the point that the hotel it used to be in asked them not to return - was straining resources at the hotel too much). Now, the convention center is in downtown Mpls. Not too bad, if you don't mind traffic, one way streets and lots of road construction, not to mention paying for parking. We (two friends and me) took the city bus down, and with one transfer were dropped off at the door.
The Convention Center is a larger venue (even when considering the space the expo was in - one exhibit hall at the convention center is larger than the combined exhibit spaces at the hotel), with lighting that is many times better than the prior space. When shopping at Vogue fabrics I could actually tell what color the fabrics were! The aisles were wide, the exhibit hall didn't seem to be nearly as full as the hotel would get. However, at the end of the day, when the drawing was held, I would say there were at least as many people there as in past years.
I think there were as many vendors as in past years - kind of hard to judge, due to the dramatically different space. There were more quilting/cotton vendors that last year - not entirely bad, but not really what I go for... Vogue Fabrics was there, with the usual wondrous assortment of fabrics, trims and patterns. Even more lovely, being able to see what was there. There were two fine fabric vendors - The Wool House and Archie Fine and Sons. Lovely fabrics with prices to match. Every major sewing, embroidery and long arm quilting machine company was there, along with a half dozen or so machine embroidery design vendors, and a nearly equal number of sewing cabinet and storage vendors. Laura Murray was there, with her hand dyed kimono pieces and related supplies. Sew Amazing was there with fabrics, patterns and sewing/embroidery machines. Several independent pattern vendors were there, as well.
I did not take any classes, nor did I do any make it - take its. I did sit thru the designers fashion show, saw many of the same garments I have seen in past years, plus a couple of new ones. Lots of embellished sweatshirts and polar fleece (yeah, it is Minnesota an it did snow this morning...).
Some minuses - the parking, still not sure what that cost - I thought I ran across someting that said they would comp one admission if you car pooled, and paid parking, so that would offset the cost at least partially; no coat racks to hand your coat on - there was a coat and bag check - $2/coat, $3 per bag (do I really want to pay $5 for my coat and one bag?!? I could be spending that money on other sewing things!), None of the water stations the hotel provided, Mpls city water is not as good as St Paul city water ;) My friends didn't like going downtown - the parking and traffic thing. Not so many sewing related vendors.
I missed some of the vendors I have seen in past years - buttons, Threads Magazine (I loved the challenge they did - remember the fashion show where each expert was given several pieces of fabric, all too short, to make a convertible day to night ensemble? Was the highlight of the Expo!), the tapestry vendor, embellishment vendors (dyes and paints, laces, etc.). I really wish they could get a book vendor there - Craftsmans Touch or the other one that is usually at the MN Quilt show), or some other sewing, quilting and needlework book vendor. More sewing related vendors would be nice, too.
Would I recommend the Sewing Expo? Yes. For the entire three days? Maybe not this year. Will I go next year? Yes! Of course!
this is the first year at a new venue, it sounds like they will be back at the convention center next year. Things can only get better, right?