|Nancy Zieman only does 4 of these a year, so we here in south Louisiana feel very lucky we got this retreat. It wasn't exactly an expo, but wasn't really a retreat either. My sewing machine dealer, A1 Sewing in Covington, La put this on in conjunction with Babylock by having great sales and service, and bugging Babylock to death!
It was held in a hotel, and the main ballroom was set up nicely with comfortable chairs, a camera and big screen so everyone could see what was happening up front on the raised platform. There was a mini Nancy's Notions set up on one side with everything 20% off. I spent about $500 in there.
Honestly, there was soooo much cool stuff that Nancy has come out with in conjunction with Clover, and also her own stuff. She deomoed some scarves that even though I am normally NOT a scarf person -- I had to have the DVD. She has purse/bag template packs that you can use to make at least 6 different bags from each pack. When I saw them in the store I was curious but passed them up. After her demo and seeing the produced bags, I had to have one. There was fusible piping that I had to have after seeing the demo. The purse hardware was high quality and really different from what you can normally get. I really liked the look of it, so I bought lots of packs of that. She also had sewable plastic bag bottoms. There were so many books and DVDs as well as machine feet, software, oh my!
Nancy talked twice, and her lectures were fun and entertaining! She has much more "personality" in person. She showed via slides how the show is produced and showed us some really awesome tips and techniques for sewing, quilting and embroidery. Many tips came from her latest 25 sewing tips book which includes a pattern. So, I bought that. Everyone had a photo opp with her, and the next day the picture was given to us in a cardboard frame free of charge.
There were three classes to attend. We made an evening bag using the Babylock Embellisher (felting machine), a serger, and the Ellisimo which is their TOL sewing/embroidery machine. They provided fibers, ribbons and fabric bits for us to embellish on linen. This was my favorite project.
Next we made a sweatshirt jacket. I don't particularly like the one we did, but I can see where I'd want to make another one in the future. Fast, fun, and allows for much creativity. We used the Wave Stitch on both the Evolution coverstitch and serging machine, and the Enlighten serger. We got to make binding and a coverstitch embellishing stitch using the Evolution.
Last we made an heirloom lingerie bag using the Ellageo embroidery and sewing machine. THAT is the machine I want! All the machines sewed so smooth and with great stitches.
The instructors were fun and knowledgeable and there were at least three helpers in each class. There were sometimes lines to use the irons but no big deal. I was very impressed with how the classes ran and that with the exception of the lingerie bag, we finished every project. The bag only needed some sewing done at home.
There was a lecture by Brian Baille, who writes all of the software in the Designer's Gallery line. His presentation was nothing short of amazing. I thought he'd be promoting some $2K embroidery software and I'd get a nap. He instead demoed some embroidery file packs that are "interactive" and nothing short of amazing. And, they work on all formats and are stand alone, meaning no other software is necessary to run them.
So of course I bought the Density Works so that some of my favorite embroidery files which are too dense, could be fixed. I spoke with him about it to make sure this is what I needed, but he failed to tell me that it's not a stand alone program. I found after I brought it home I'd need either Studio Plus or Customworks. Sooo, not sure if I'll go ahead and buy that or not. I already have Embird and like that. I may email them to see if they will offer me the 20% off I would have gotten from the conference.
The event was well organized and ran smoothly. Lunch was provided, as well as a long dinner break.
Of course, the point was to get us to buy machines, and trust me - they accomplished that goal. All of the machines had special pricing and financing available, but I resisted.
The last evening A1 who sponsored this, did their own trunk show. They wanted to make sure everyone who bought a machine knew about their clubs. There are sewing, embroidery and serger clubs which meet once a month, in the morning and in the evening, your choice. All high quality materials are provided, and you will go home with a completed project. The cost is free for 12 meetings if you bought the machine from them. I do plan to attend these now, after seeing more of the projects than I saw when I bought my machine.
I believe the Babylock representatives decided that down south La was worthwhile for a retreat/seminar because they asked if we'd like to have Martha Pullen come next year. I told them that I didn't care who came but I'd be there again in a heartbeat!!