Novi Report Part 1: Snapshots from the American Sewing Expo
I'm so glad I heeded the advice to wear walking shoes to Novi!
Still, after only my first afternoon at the American Sewing Expo (Sept. 24-26 in Novi, Michigan) I had to buy some jumbo Band-aids to protect my heels. That took care of it though, and the rest of the weekend I pursued my sixteen classes, hundreds of worksheets, business cards and pamphlets; hundreds of dollars of beautiful new fabric, at least four fashion shows, plus a trip to Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Associate Editor Nicole Smith and I attended the Expo. Janet Pray, American Sewing Expo owner and founder (as well as the founder and executive director of the National Sewing Council), was such a gracious hostess to us.
I have so much to cover from the Expo. I think I should mention first that we hadn't been there for more than an hour on Thursday when Janet asked Nicole to model in the big Passion for Fashion Competition runway show. The competition and Nicole's participation in the show added excitement through the weekend as we quietly rooted for the designer she'd been paired with, Erin Miller of Toledo, Ohio. The contest pits 12 contestents in a "Project Runway" style race to create themed garments. This year, the designers had to come up with designs to go along with 12 classic car models - a great concept since we were so close to the Motor City.
It's a small sewing world
I was able to attend the workshops of authors and instructors I had worked with but never met in person. I met Maili Powell, owner of Soutache, the ribbon and trims store in Chicago, at the hotel elevator. Maili and I worked on "Turn Ribbons into Blossoms" in Threads no. 149 and I recognized her from her contributor photo.
Another chance meeting-I ran into Wendy Skinner, the founder of the Sew Green organization based in Ithaca, New York. I was taking a new seat in one of the smaller classrooms and Wendy saw my name tag. She was a source for "25 Years of Change" in Threads no. 151. We'd never seen each other. What a coincidence to meet in a group of 30 or so out of thousands.
It was exciting to meet Kenneth D. King, who created the stunning laser-cut jacket on the cover of Threads no. 151 and wrote the accompanying piece, "Cut to Order." We got to hear about his recent appearance on "The Martha Stewart Show" (where he demonstrated creating the Silk Lotus Flower, also featured in a tuturial here on ThreadsMagazine.com). Kenneth was wearing his beautiful Fortuny jacket. I audited a portion of his Leather 101 class on the final day of the Expo, and I can certainly understand why Kenneth was named ASE Teacher of the Year. He's precise and patient, his instructions are clear, and he keeps the class upbeat and interesting.
And, I was able to finally meet Carol Fresia, a former Threads editor who currently helps us as a freelance technical editor. Carol and I have communicated many times as she's edited pieces I'm working on. She and her daughter, Penelope Kogan, are both included in the new Teach Yourself to Sew special newsstand issue. We got to see Penelope, 10, win her age division in the Innovation Generation fashion show.