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A Recap of SewExpo 2014

The main Showplex houses the majority of the expo vendors and many of the classrooms.

Every year, Threads sends an editor or two to Puyallup to attend the Sewing & Stitchery Expo February 27 – March 2. We spend our time attending some truly stellar workshops and seminars, walking the expo floor and scoping out interesting new products, chatting with the vendors, catching up with old friends, making new contacts, and scouting potential new authors to bring you more of the unique how-to articles you love.

And, since we’re only human and we love sewing and the other stitching arts just as much as you do, we also make a few (or more) purchases of fabric, patterns, and tools that we absolutely must add to our sewing rooms and just can’t live without from some of the amazing vendor booths. (Plus, who can resist the scrumptious scones stuffed with strawberry jam? Not your friendly Threads editors, that’s for sure!)

Here are a few interesting tidbits from my time at SewExpo:

  • McCall Pattern Company had a booth this year, stocked with some of its most popular and newest patterns.
  • There seemed to be more young people at the expo this year than I’ve noticed in the past three years. Several of the vendors and instructors concurred. This is a good sign!
  • 2014 marked the very last time that Birch Street Clothing will appear at SewExpo because its proprietor, Lars Malmberg, is retiring. This year he was selling just a handful of books, lots of Folkwear patterns, and rolls of Swedish pattern paper. (Now how will I get my Folkwear pattern fix at the show next year?)
  • Folkwear Patterns proprietor Kate Matthews presented a free fashion show featuring creative combinations of Folkwear patterns, and also announced a new pattern: #142, Old Mexico Dress, offering two views. It was interesting to see some of the refreshing ways that these patterns, many of which are taken from the traditional clothing of other cultures, can be used for modern wear when mixed and matched with garments from complementary Folkwear patterns. Everyone in the audience oooed and ahhhed appreciatively for a black sequined version of #249, the 1930s Day Dress.
  • Laura Nash, owner and designer of Sew Chic Patterns, demonstrated how to mix and match elements from modern and vintage patterns. There’s a trick to it, of course, but she made it look so easy!
  • Lorraine Henry explained common-sense ways to make bust adjustments on patterns in her class “Princess Seams and Other Busty Issues” and described three methods for altering patterns. I always try to attend one of her classes at sewing shows, because I always learn something new or relearn something I’ve forgotten.
  • Cheryl Kuczek, who has written several bag articles for Threads publications, taught a session all about pleather–faux leather. I learned quite a few tips for working with this material.
  • Instructor Lorene Bonewitz introduced her class attendees to a variety of couture sewing and finishing techniques that can be used for any garment for better results.
  • We were lucky to catch up with Threads contributing editor Louise Cutting and her intrepid assistant Sandy Miller early during the show, before the crowds descended on the Cutting Line Designs booth, where they were very busy.

There is so much to see and do and learn at SewExpo, it’s always a challenge to fit it all in. Did you attend SewExpo this year? What was your favorite thing?


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  1. User avater
    kathys120 | | #1

    I attended all 4 days of the Expo with classes every day. I've been coming for many years, so finding a class that is new for me is hard, especially since I'm not really interested in quilting or embellishing. The ones that I liked the best were: Lorraine Henry's 2 needle (1-1/2 hr) class on adjusting the crotch in pants--I finally understand how to get something that resembles my shape and she is a great teacher; Monica Bravo of Bravo Bella Bras packed more information in 45 minutes than a lot of instructors have done in a 4 hour class. I really feel ready to tackle making a bra for myself now that I know how to go about fitting it correctly and what to look for based on my shape. The biggest disappointment is that some of my favorite vendors weren't there this year: MacPhee's Workshop, Kasuri Dyeworks, Islander Sewing, Sandra Betzina, etc. Others have cut back seriously on what they brought such as Silhouette Patterns only having patterns to order (not available to take home) and Birch Street Clothing only having the Folkwear Patterns and not the great collection of books they've had in the past. Even with those things changing, I still managed to find some really great finds--Renaissance Flowers, Sara Bloom, a wonderful sari vendor (didn't get the name of that booth, but we bought 2 saris) and of course the Tilton Sisters and Vogue Fabrics. It was a great time and I'm looking forward to next year.

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