|This was my first time at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, and I took 2-3 classes each day. Three of the classes were hands on, and it was really nice to be able to try out the techniques. The 2 bring-your-own-machine classes only had 3 students each, so they might not offer byom classes in the future. The 3rd was a serger class, and the sergers were provided. The serger class was, by far, the best of the 3. The machines were already set up and ready to go, and the garment (a cardigan) was all cut out. It was the only garment I actually finished in the 2.5 hours allotted for the class. The problems with the byom classes were (1) you had to cut the patterns out which took up too much time and (2) everyone had to get their machines out and set up. In the crossover top class we also had to go downstairs to the instructor's booth to pick out our fabric (nice to have a choice!) and wait while it was being cut. We probably only had 1.5 hours to actually sew the garment. Nevertheless, I finished the basic shape and only need to add the bias trim to complete it. (I also received instruction on how to make the bias trim from my scrap fabric as the instructor's helper was from the local ASG group and a quilter. I really appreciated the time she took with me!)
The other byom class was to learn several neckline variations. Of the 3 presented, the only one we actually finished was the basketweave technique. I love how it looks and will definately use it, but again, much of the time was taken cutting the pattern out from the provided fabric. We made toddler-size necklines, and if we wanted the adult size pattern, we would have to purchase it from the instructor's booth. However, the techniques could easily be made using a regular tee shirt pattern, so that wasn't necessary at all!
I attended a few lecture classes as well. I found the instructor's very informative and, although all wanted us to purchase things from their booths, they each provided a great deal of insight into garment construction techniques that had eluded me for a very long time.
I am not a quilter, but I found the quilt exhibits very beautiful. One group was a theme of aviation in the US Navy, and I'm a veteran who worked in naval aviation. It was a fun trip down memory lane!
The vendors had a lot of cool toys, and I purchased more than I needed, I'm sure. There were a few vendors who sold fabric (including Vogue Fabrics) but I have a huge stash and didn't buy any fabric. However, if I'd wanted $65 a yard cashmire, I could have gotten it there. As previous reviewers have stated, the vendors are mostly geared towards quilters. By the time we'd gotten to day 3, I'd seen and bought everything I could possibly use. I would have left after my 2 o'clock class, but they had door prizes every day and you had to be present to win. I stayed and did not win....sigh.....
I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, one of the hotels recommended on the site that had special prices for the expo. I checked all threee hotels and found that the Hilton was the only one that was actually offering a discounted rate, so I chose it because it seemed to be the best value. Also, the room had a refrigerator and microwave, so I didn't have to eat out. I brought along nearly all of my food and saved a lot of money to spend on notions! The convention center had signs that you couldn't bring in outside food or drinks, but everyone seemed to be doing just that, and at $4.75 for a soda, I don't blame them!
In all, I was glad I went to the show. I'd probably go again if they're offering classes that I want to attend and if I start saving NOW! I don't know that I'd stay for the whole 3 days as there aren't THAT many vendors that you can't see it all in one. It was fun. I'd recommend it to others.