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Expo Reviews > Original Sewing & Craft Expo, Chantilly

Virginia, UNITED STATES
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Posted by: dbsewer
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About dbsewer star
MA USA
Member since: 1/16/04
Reviews written: 32
Sewing skills:Advanced
Favored by: 10 people
expos reviewed: 2
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Posted on: 10/2/04 7:57 AM
Rating: starstar
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 2 people   
I always have fun at these Expos, and I would have rated this one higher except it's in the most awful venue.

The Dullex Expo Center looks like an airline hangar. It's big, cavernous, noisy, the food is terrible and limited and if you happen to be in a class that's separated from the main hall by nothing but a curtain good luck hearing anything. For $19/class you should expect better.

That being said, I was happy to see more sewing machine/serger dealers than in the past and Vogue and The Wool House came so there were at least two good fabric vendors. It's a pity G Street doesn't care to participate, - two thumbs down to them. They used to come with books at nice discounts and small samples of fabric. I'm hoping next year Michael will have a booth. Some of the "show" prices seemed a bit steep to me - one vendor was selling Sandra B's More Fabric Savvy at full price. Well, heck, I can buy it off Amazon for less. I like supporting the small dealers but give me even 10% as a gesture. I did have lots of fun haunting the various booths and I think the Amazing Designs folks have some of the best deals on their embroidery cards. Also enjoyed visiting with Louise Cutting, who had gorgeous buttons, saying hi Cynthia Guffey who looked luminous as usual, and trolling through the bins at The Button Shoppe.. Everyone at the Expo was friendly and helpful - even the lady at the door who told me I couldn't leave until my big Expo bag was full. No problem there :-). I also discovered AR embroidery thread at a bargain price and bought a ton of threads and stabilizers, patterns from Peggy Sagers and interfacings. I was very happy to see Judith Rasband back as she hasn't been to this Expo for a while, and was bummed I didn't have time for her class. You really need at least two days to fully enjoy the shopping and classes.

I usually take all CG's classes but did that in Worcester so I took Peggy Sager's class on tops and Mac Berg's on sergers since mine continues to confound me. I enjoyed both though it was hard not to be distracted in Peggy's class by the noise from the hall :-(. She had some wonderful and simple tips for alterations and I'm looking forward to working on her patterns. I feel the teachers work hard and they and us deserve better accommodations. I hope the folks who put this together will consider moving it back to a hotel in Reston or Baltimore. Even the Worcester show had rooms separated from the hall.

As for the vendors, I'd like to see more local fabric shops present. and will bug Michael to get a booth next year, though I hear it's expensive. I'm glad, though, that we had Vogue and The Wool House, which seems to carry some beautiful things. I'm not a quilter, so I can't comment on the offerings there but I hope they don't begin to overshadow the garment sewists.

My only reall beef with the Expos in general is that classes are getting really pricey and the teachers aren't even paid. By next year the classes will be at least $20 at the door and I think we all deserve a better venue for that price.

Sorry this is so long. This is my very first PR review and as the saying goes, if I'd had more time I would have written less. Cheers.

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4 Comments
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cookingsherri said...
I went to the same expo and had a great time. My problem was that a few of the classes I attended were so focused on selling their product that they didn't really give out information, just encouraged you to come see them at the booth. I went to Judith Rasbands class and it was the most worthwhile of the bunch. I bought her book for $45 dollars! Gulp! It looks great, I'll write a review when I get to using it. Sew Lovely Lingerie was another great class, one of the few that wasn't a total sales pitch and gave real info. And Mac Berg did a class on Notions that gave you a heads up on things to look for in the booths. Things I might not have noticed on my own. I agree that classes in the curtained off rooms were difficult. I always got there early and sat up front. I took a class from the Petite Plus pattern person that was a waste. The others were all good and I got some great information. Like using Sulky KK 2000 to baste seams when working with velvet or other slippery fabrics. Can't wait to try it!
10/3/04 9:28 AM
dbsewer said...
yes, cookingsherri, many of the classes are a sales pitch because the teachers only make money off whatever they sell. You'd think for what they charge for a class the teacher would get something that would take the pressure off to make$$$. I stick to classes with teachers I know will spend more time teaching than selling.
10/3/04 9:45 AM
Terri K said...
Speaking to some of the exhibitor/presenters this time I found out that the vendors have to pay to have a booth. They pay varied rates depending on how much space they need, pay a portion of the electricity and so on. They don't get any of the proceeds from the people attending their classes either. It costs them a lot of money in terms of travel, lodging and the cost of a booth at these expos. I would have thought it's the other way around, that the expos pay them to come. ??? I only decided to attend this year because of who was going to be there. I agree that the Chantilly center is terrible. I had not attended in years because the accoustics were so bad that I could never hear any of the presenters, let alone someone asking a question.
10/31/04 7:36 PM
twimb said...
I totally agree with the review. I too sat in Peggy's class, and went crazy trying to hear and focus on all of the wonderful information that she had to give. I loved the vendors but held off on some of my purchases because they were too high. I did find new products that I got to actually see before purchasing. I had lunch there and it cost $10.00, that would be that big of a deal if the food tasted like food. I spent money traveling from NJ and back and forth to the show, plus 5 classes. I think it's a shame that the venue was horrible and they should do better next year, PLEASE!!!!
12/3/04 9:23 AM
 
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