I was at an ASG Meeting when I first heard about sewing expos, and I was intrigued. The ladies had just returned from the ASG annual conference. (I am hoping I can attend next year. Fingers crossed, savings account growing.) A coliseum filled with vendors, fabrics, tools, and teachers. Each woman had her own experience and returned with new information, new techniques and/or amazing fabrics. Some of them took classes, while others spent most of their time shopping with vendors.
No matter what their experience was … each of them came away with something that made them a better person/sewer in the end. With that, I knew I needed to get an expo on my calendar soon. I didn’t have to look long or far for the next expo. Before our meeting ended that night the ladies had me all lined up for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Ft Worth, TX.
The expo offered several areas I NEEDED as someone new to sewing. I’ll break each of these down as I describe my experience as a first timer at the Expo. But, here’s the nitty. Would I go again? Absolutely! Was it worth utilizing vacation days. Heck Yeah! Was it worth the money. I’ll spend more next time! (Ha!) Over the next few weeks I will highlight the benefits of attending a sewing expo and how they are worth the time and financial investment.
Benefit #1 – Networking, Networking, Networking
One thing I love about an organization like ASG is how they provide the ability to expand your personal sewing network. And there is nothing better than having the resources and people you need when you’re attempting to learn something new. Could I sit in my townhouse and learn everything I need to sew? Probably. It would, in my estimation, be a lot harder and take longer. If I’ve learned anything over the last few months, it’s that my AGS ladies are off the hook with providing me all of the information and resources I need to get better. It was awesome walking around the expo running into my ASG friends and asking them questions about patterns, fabrics, and classes. They were immensely helpful when it came to making my purchases and guiding me to taking the “right classes”.
What makes the expo an even better experience is the new people you meet along the way. Whether they are a vendor, fellow blogger or an experienced sewer … I was able to expand network of people that I know, and now I’ll be even better for it. For example, I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Giardino and Beth Bradley of “Sew News” Magazine. We met in the Make It Center where Expo attendees could make quick projects without a pattern.
While shopping for patterns I had the pleasure of meeting Caroline from Sew Caroline. We compared our Saltspring dresses and discussed indie sewing patterns. Here’s Caroline’s Saltspring (isn’t it beautiful?). And here’s mine. Caroline turned me onto Sew Liberated sewing patterns. I purchased the Schoolhouse Tunic and the Esme Top. In the same booth I came across two Colette patterns the Laurel and Zinnia. I’ve been eyeing this pattern company for a while and the expo provided the opportunity for me to get my hands on them. Caroline encouraged me to take the leap, so I’ve added Colette patterns to my collection. (Cheeky smile!)
Another great aspect of expos is the exposure to new vendors. Living in Dallas/Ft Worth you think you know every great fabric store … but then you find another at the expo. Whooo Hoooo! I was excited to meet Lorene the owner of Sew It Up. You’ll hear more about Lorene in my follow up posts … not only was she one of the instructors but I also made key additions to my stash from her booth. Lorene is passionate about sewing and providing quality patterns and fabrics to her customers. She has a wonderfully unique perspective on using vintage techniques on modern clothing. She encouraged me to think out of the box when matching patterns and fabrics. I’ll be a frequent visitor to her shop. (I can wait to show you the pink wool I purchased … fabulous!)
While in the Sew It Up booth I met a pattern designer. Now it may be a common occurance for you seasoned sewers, but I was super excited to meet Kay Whitt of Sew Serendipity. (The first pattern designer I’ve ever met … I hope she isn’t my last!) Since I’m leaning more toward indie pattern companies it was great to meet the designer. Not only could I see her designs on a real woman’s body on the fashion show, I could ply her with every question that popped into my brain! Kay Whitt is impressive. I purchased three of her patterns and one of her beautiful hardcover books. Several of my ASG friends have made Sew Serendipity designs and they love them. I know I’m going to love them too!
These are just a few of the fabulous women I met during the expo. I met more, of course. During classes … lunch breaks … in the quilt gallery. Everyone I met was wonderful … willing to share information … provide insight … and share their experiences. Sewing is such a rich experience in and of itself, but when you add events like the expo … it just gets better.
So here’s the deal … I couldn’t by any stretch of the imagination get my full experience in one blog post. Well, I could, but then you’d get bored and stop reading. So, in my next expo post I’ll cover Benefit #2 those AMAZING classes I took at the expo. I’ll follow that up with Benefit #3 – cool purchases.
I’ll catch you on the flip side.