March 15, 2012

My notes from the Sewing Expo

I'd heard about the Sewing and Stitchery Expo before, but this was the first year I went to check it out (thanks, Kelly!). This is a very long post that I'm writing mostly for me, so that I can remember all the cool stuff I saw! The Sewing Expo is huge, two buildings at the fairgrounds with fashion shows, classes, demos, and a floor full of booths selling fabric, patterns, tools, books, sewing machines and more. If I don't get this stuff down, it'll end up in the pile of Things I've Forgotten.

You can read it if you're into sewing or quilting, but I'll totally understand if you want to come back some other day. No hard feelings.

Starr Fabrics -- specializing in hand-dyed fabrics and knits. I limited myself to one fabric purchase while at the Sewing Expo and got a scrap bundle from Starr. They had some beautiful quilts on display - so hard not to buy more fabric than I did!

Shabby Fabrics - They caught my eye enough that I wrote down their name. Of course, now I can't remember why!

Indonesian Batiks - Lots of batiks in rayon and reasonably local to me (Anacortes).

Shibori Dragon - a relatively local-to-me resource (Lakewood) for Asian-style prints. I also found Texture Magic at their booth, which could be a fun thing to play with someday.

At the booth for Sisterhood of Quilters, I was finally able to check out some fabric from Connecting Threads. They've been sending me quarterly catalogs for about a year now and I've been tempted by their fabrics, but I've been hesitant to order anything since I'm a terrible judge of fabric quality when I only have a picture (one of the big reasons I've not gotten into buying my fabric online). Now that I've been able to see it, I might get around to ordering from them someday.

A Little Somethin' Jacket by CNT Patterns, noticed at the Indonesian Batiks booth. I'm thinking about flexible layers to replace my shapeless sweatshirts. This has potential, although I might hold out for something a little more shaped.

Great Copy Patterns is an alternative to the big clothing pattern houses. I don't know that they are a good match for me at this time but good to know about, all the same. The same is true of Lorraine Torrence Patterns.

I've run into clothing patterns from Birch Street Clothing at Pacific Fabrics and other stores, sometimes thinking perhaps I'd give them a try. But their pattern envelopes only have drawings of the garment, no photographs. They had finished versions on display at their booth, but I think I'd still like to see the real thing on a real person. I did pick up a roll of their Swedish Tracing Paper, in the hopes that it would be of use in my wardrobe improvement project in making necessary fit adjustments to regular tissue paper patterns. The package claims you can sew up a version of a garment with the tracing paper, so I think it's somewhere between paper-fitting a la Palmer/Pletsch and making a muslin.

In addition to wandering the show floor, we took in two fashion shows. The first featured patterns from Simplicity with a guest appearance of Suede from Project Runway. If I watched the show, perhaps that would have been more exciting. There were some interesting ideas, but I generally came away feeling like most of the pieces wouldn't really work for me or my lifestyle.

I did enjoy the Palmer/Pletsch-McCall's show that immediately followed. I've collected a lot of McCall's patterns and I'm almost always pleased with the result. I'm just getting started with Palmer/Pletsch, but I appreciate their accessibility when it comes to making adjustments to patterns. Lots of pieces caught my eye in the show, but the best parts were the periodic appearances of Pati Palmer in some customized variation of what had just been shown. Most of the regular models were, well, built like models. Ms. Palmer isn't, yet she was showing how the same design could be adjusted to fit and look good on anyone. Very inspiring!

I watched a demo of the Tonertex embellishments (glue, glitter, foils), then picked up the starter set. I was thinking of Caitlyn at the time, perhaps doing an embellished something for her, perhaps making it a collaboration. The parent company (Bo-Nash) was giving demos at least two other booths and also has a heat-activated bonding powder I might check out sometime.

I thought a bit about picking up a full set of Marti Mitchell rulers, but decided to wait for project-specific needs. I already have the Kaleido-Ruler; the Flying Geese ruler and the new Kite ruler look like fun!

It was so hard to not get books and templates at the Miller Quilts booth. There were some amazing and beautiful quilts on display there! I may yet get the templates (or some group of them) or a book. Someday.

If the quilting foot I picked up for my Bernina works out the way I hope, I might do more than think about the stencils from Full Line Stencil. They've got lots of continuous line quilting stencils and a nifty chalk "pounce". Super easy marking for quilting patterns!

At the FasTurn booth, I fell for the demonstration (given by a grandfatherly sort - he actually said he thought I looked like his granddaughter and wondered what I was doing there) of the FasTurn system. I am now prepared to make itty-bitty fabric tubes of all sorts. Making my own drawstrings need never be a headache again! And, perhaps even better, I can now make and turn right-side-out narrow black fabric tubes for making stained glass quilts or Celtic knotwork quilts. I may be slightly giddy about this!

Since Quilters were one of the three main audiences at the Expo (fashion, quilts, machine embroidery), I saw least three booths where someone was demonstrating a long-arm quilting machine. I mostly ignored these booths since there's no chance of me getting a long-arm. I did pick up a flyer for Handi-Quilter's Sweet Sixteen. It's not a long-arm exactly, but it's got the deep throat space of a long arm and the side-ways rotation, two of the features I find appealing to a long-arm but without the enormous space requirement or the sticker price.

But I had to stop and check out the Multi-Frame System from the Flynn Quilt Company. Now I wish I'd sat down and played with it, although at the time I felt that if I didn't then there would be no chance of me impulsively buying it. I think it's a set of frame ends and knobs that you pair with some PVC pipe to rig up a quilting frame similar to the frame on a long-arm. Put it over some additional PVC pipe and it rolls side-to-side easily, enabling a regular sewing machine to work a little like a long-arm. It breaks down into easily store-able parts and is even more affordable than the Sweet Sixteen. If I go back to the Sewing Expo someday, maybe I'll sit and play with a Multi-Frame for a while!

I spotted Power Sewing Toolbox 1 and 2. Wish these were available from the library! I'm not sure that I want to own more books with sewing how-tos, but I'd love to be able to read through them once to see what I can learn. I've settled for checking out More Power Sewing (it's from the early 90s and looks it!).

I made a note that I think is about another book, Kaleidoscope Paper Piecing, which I also can't get from the library. I'm also not 100% sure that this book is what I meant when I wrote my notes, but since there are some neat pictures associated with the book's Amazon page, it's not a bad thing to have discovered it.

I did check out the only Margaret Miller book from the library last week, Smashing Sets. When I finish all the sampler quilt/block of the month projects I'm working on this year, this could be a good resource for layout ideas than the standard grid with sashing arrangement.

So, there it is: my Sewing Expo notes! If you read all the way to the end, congratulations! More interesting stuff to come (I hope!).

1 comment:

  1. No, no thank YOU for driving us there! Didn't we have some fun wandering around immersed in sewing/quilting stuff.