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Sewing Expos – ?which one

busybee | Posted in General Discussion on

Hallo all,

I am desperate to get to one of these shows , have been for years. Next spring I may have the needed finance and will prob. come with my sister. I doubt whether DH would let me come on my own as am very old (66 !!!) not 100% fit and have never been to US or Canada. But I am v. independent and asI said desperate to come, but which one. Toronto draws me as we could see Niagara as well but read recently that there were not many fabric vendors present? I am an avid stash collector for sewin g and tailoring and my sister does home decor and upholstery. The Puyallup one sounds great and there are others.

It will prob. be a once in a lifetime experience so would really appreciate info from you. We would both want to fit in as many classes as possible too. And where is the best place to stay etc?

If one or two of you have the time to reply to this rather longwinded script I’;d be so grateful – thanks Winifred


  1. sewslow67 | | #1

    If you can go to only one, then I would choose Puyallup.  It is truly the largest and best sewing fair imaginable, and all of my sewing friends concur.  

    A group of six sewing friends that I have known for years, always make their hotel reservations a year in advance to make sure they get "prime" sleeping space that is close to the fair so they don't miss anything.  Also, Puyallup is within fairly easy driving distance to Portland, OR. which is a fabric shoppers Mecca.

    Whatever you decide, do go to the fair of your choosing; have a great time with your sister, and God Speed for a safe trip.  And do please, let us all know how you faired. 

  2. donnasdream | | #2

    The one I have always gone to is the American Stitches in Novi, MI, this September. They have the day long seminars, half day seminars, 90 minute classes and make & take short classes.  The Kenneth King all day seminar sold out in "10 Minutes". You can shop till you drop and most of the fun is seeing what others do and get new ideas, also you get to see all the things the advertisers show in the magazines up close. Then, as you are looking at fabrics, total strangers will look at you and say you should buy that fabric 'cause it looks go on you and they are right. I have had more compliments on what I have made when my indecision was changed by a stranger that sews. Go have a ball!  The DoubleTree Hotel is very nice and has a shuttle service.

    1. Sancin | | #3

      It sounds like you are coming from out of country. What country and area are you coming from? I haven't been to any of the big quilt expo's but have trying to get to the Pullap expo for several years as I live on the central interior of BC, Canada and it is relatively close to me plus I have family to stay with. I have heard it is one of the best. I have been to smaller expo's and enjoyed each, especially the shopping. Washington state is a beautiful lush state and I am sure you would see lots of sights there. I have been to Niagara Falls, but think a trip down the Oregon coast is more spectacular than Niagara and far less commercial. It would be worth renting a car and taking the journey. But if you come from a coastal area you may not find it as special. It is a drive with many twists and turn, especially as one approaches California. You could also journey up to Victoria BC in about 3 hours and see a bit of 'old England' sort of sights.

    2. busybee | | #5

      Hallo All,

      Thanks so much to all who responded - I have been away, sorry for delay.

      I am in UK and have never been to US. I am going to stay for a few days with my sister later this month and will mull over plans. Probably come back to you with more questions!!

  3. KharminJ | | #4

    Oh, Winifred ~ you'll have so-o-o-o much fun, whichever one you choose!A thing to keep in mind though, as you think about planning your trip ~ North America is freaking HUGE! The distance between Toronto and Payallup, for instance, is roughly equivalent to Dublin to Moscow. (Perth to Brisbane + 200 miles, if you're from Down Under) And that's all after you get across the pond. (I know folks from Europe who thought they could daytrip from Boston to Florida(!) - in reality a 24-hour drive, not including such touristy things as sleep and food, let alone sightseeing.)Give yourself plenty of time for all the stuff *around* flying, too - jet-lag, security, ground transport, and like that.And if you're planning to buy fabric, not just drool over it, look into shipping it home, rather than trying to pack it. "Extra luggage charges" - by weight and count - in the States are going through the roof, and you still have to cart all that poundage around! Sorry if I'm *wet blanketing* - just don't like costly surprises, myself! It will be a great adventure, anyway!Bright Blessings!! Kharmin

  4. nmog | | #6

    A friend and I just came back from the Toronto Spring show (near the airport) in April. I would not recommend it! They had changed the space from previous years and had only 2 bathrooms for thousands of ladies! We were also not able to get any information about hotels or sewing classes we could take until 5 weeks before the show. The 'deadline' to have everything sorted out kept getting pushed back by the show organizer, who was very polite but just didn't have adequate information.

    There is a show in downtown Toronto in the fall (October, I think), and it is much bigger and better.  It is held in a larger space and has more vendors. You can also take classes on the Wednesday and Thurday before the show (Friday to Sunday), so depending on what you want that might eb the way to go. If you are in downtown Toronto, do try to get to Queen Street West - it has blocks and blocks of fabric stores!

    Good luck in your hunt!


  5. junctioncats | | #7

    I was hoping to attention the one in Washington state this year, but our deadlines for year-end are that very same week, so no go. I DID manage to attend the one in Boston in April, and am hoping to visit one in Cincinnati in August (although that's up in the air right now).

    My DH is a Brit, and he said to tell you that it takes quite a bit of getting used to when you travel in the US for the first time. His advice is to plan what you'd like to see, then cut the list in half. He said he made the mistake of overplanning the very first time he visited the US (many, many years ago) and was sorely disappointed when he couldn't see everything he'd hoped to.

    Wherever you decide to visit, whether its a sewing expo or just the local sewing/craft places, I think you'll meet some wonderful people involved in needle arts. :-) Have a great time on your trip!

    1. starzoe | | #9

      Your DH is exactly right. Visitors to North America have no idea of the great distances. I volunteer in a tourist information bureau and I can't count the number of tourists who "take in the Rockies" in one day, also visit Whistler (site of 2010 Olympics), maybe the Calgary Stampede, and stop off to see their cousin in Detroit! That's an exaggeration but not that far from the truth.Of course many Europeans are well prepared, especially the hikers, bikers and campers. Some U.S. visitors think they are still in the U.S. in spite having to go through Customs and Immigration, a ferry ride or an international flight. But we love them all and are happy to share our unique and diverse country.

      1. junctioncats | | #10

        lol at visitors thinking they're still in the US. We have what I call "wanderers" up here. There are parts of Vermont where you can literally walk across the Canadian border, or vice versa. A friend lives within site of one such area, and it never fails she'll get a knock on the door and not only are the visitors lost, they're in the wrong country! :-)

  6. Tatsy | | #8

    I have a sister in Denver and a brother in Puyallup. The Puyallup show is by far the biggest. Women fly in from all over to visit. The Denver show is more regional, so if you're going for the show I would definitely do the Puyallup show, but an equal consideration is what else you want to see/do in the area.

    The flight from UK is long and tiring. The flight across the US is not quite as long, but we've taken up the habit of stopping over a few days in NYC to cut down on the jet lag.

    When my cousins came from Brussels they rented a car in Montreal and drove to southern Minnesota for the family reunion. Half way through the first day of travel, they wished they had flown into Minneapolis--although they did enjoy the scenery and did manage to get to the reunion before it started.

  7. baglady | | #11

    Since you are coming from the UK, I would strongly recommend Puyallup over Toronto.    I was at the Toronto fall show 3 yrs. ago & it was great - with many Cdn. & American vendors.  Last year when I went it had gone downhill so much that I was sorry I had spent the airfare to go.  The recession meant that many of the vendors were not present - especially the American vendors.

    A friend of mine was at Puyallup earlier this year & was just thrilled with the entire show.  Just make sure to make the show the center of your trip & let everything else be secondary.

    Have fun!


    1. busybee | | #12

      Thanks for that, I think my inclination is towards Puyallup. We probably wouldn't stat much longer than the exhibition which would be the centre of the trip. What sightseeing is there around in that area and which airport would we fly to?Thanks so much for your help. ( BTW I'm so dizzy - I bought one of Claire Schaeffer's books which arrived today and I find I've got it already - never looked at it !! I think it must have arrived just as I was going away or something and then I forgot about it. Hallo E.bay !!
      Best wishes Winifred

      1. Sancin | | #13

        http://www.sewexpo.com is the website for the Pullap Expo - the latest newsletter promises expansion. If you send for the booklet that tells of all the programs there is a section on what to do in the area. Washington state and Oregon are beautiful places with lots to do. I visit family there every year, but my memory prevents instant recall of what I like to do. Living as I do in the north my biggest attraction is green! Perhaps someone else will fill you in or you can contact Washington state tourist association.I also am not very fit but am pleased to see that the Pullap expo has scooters and wheelchairs for use. You will have to pace yourself. Do you know it is in Feb?For further information you can email [email protected]

        Edited 7/22/2009 5:58 pm ET by Sancin

  8. KharminJ | | #14

    Winifred ~ 6 months later ~ I hope you get notice of this response!

    There's a new thread, here:

    Puyallap Sewing and Stitchery Expo


    about Gatherers wearing name tags, in hopes of identifying each other at the show ....

    Sounds like a great idea!

    I hope you are still able to come to one of our fine NA sewing expos - and Have Lots of Fun!

    Bright 2010 Blessings!


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