Always learning at the Sew Expo

SewExpo CollageI have been looking forward to the Sew Expo since the day after last year’s ended. Every year it coincides with the first weekend of Girl Scout cookie season (I am a Girl Scout leader and both my girls are scouts now), and I can’t get down to Puyallup (an hour’s drive each way at least) as much as I want. But this year was going to be different. I was going to make time, schedule and plan it. I wanted to go Thursday, Friday and Saturday! But life intervened…


Woven top detail at FitNice

I did get to go Thursday. Yay! But then Friday I had to work, and Saturday my daughter was sick. On Sunday I raced down there again for the final few hours. I had seen things I wanted to purchase on Thursday, but didn’t grab them because I knew I’d be back. Like the terminator, right?

I squeezed in 5 classes during my time and I learned some great tips. There was a lot of talk about interfacing in the garment construction classes, and some of it actually directly contradicted each other. How confusing! You may remember I ran into this same problem last year – recap here. In the end I purchased 4 different kinds of interfacing to try out and apply my new ideas on construction.


Coni Crawford

I got to take a class by Coni Crawford. I love her! She is so straightforward. The gist is  — Look, you don’t have to do it her way, it is simply that she knows the way they do it in the garment industry and if you want your clothes to look professional, you should do it her way. I made her take a picture with me on Sunday, she was obviously exhausted from the 4 days of expo, but I was still excited like a dork! In the battle of interfacing – to preshrink or not to preshrink – I take her word for it:  If you get good interfacing made from nylon/poly/rayon, you won’t need to preshrink it. She had lots of great tips about jacket construction, too. She wrote a book on patternmaking that I am considering. I like how it is very step-by-step more than theoretical.

I also took a moto jacket class that focused on the possibilities of that classic pattern. I usually don’t like this kind of class, but the teacher, Dana Marie, had some very unique ideas and techniques. I have just started my Janet Pray Craftsy class, Sew Better, Sew Faster, Smart Construction, and I want to envision all the possibilities. I already own 5 moto jackets (obsessed some would say) and I want to make ALL THE MOTOS! Expect at least 10 in the upcoming months…

Big news, mentioned in several classes, was the reissue of Steam a Seam! I have never used the stuff myself, but so many people love it so that I had to get some. I will return and report…

Another cool thing I got at my favorite notions booth was a Chakoner. When you see it used (like in a Craftsy video) you think it is a cool thing. No, it is not, it is an unbelievably cool thing! It is so smooth and precise, you will scoff at your tailor’s chalk. And the lovely lady who sold it to me told me the powdered chalk will last for 10 years! What?!? I am so glad she told me that, too, because I tend to “save” the good stuff, and I think I would only use it for special projects if I did not know this awesome fact.

IMG_9289IMG_9292Oh, and there were fabrics at the expo, too. Surprise, surprise! Nothing is lovelier than the wool at the Pendleton booth. Really incredible stuff, but so expensive that I could not buy it without a solid plan in place for using it. Next year I will come prepared.

IMG_9298 IMG_9296The Wool House is another favorite. Also expensive and soft as a baby’s bum. They had some aubergine wool jersey that made me swoon. My plan was to go through my patterns, pick something out and calculate yardage, then purchase just enough (since it was $45/yard). But upon my return on Sunday, it was sold out. Sob.

I did find some fun unique fabric at Billie’s Designer Fabrics. A quilted satin knit, a super soft sweater knit and just a couple yards of pink jersey with a slightly heavier hand than I usually use. I think it will drape very nicely.

One of the samples of the Vogue booth

One of the samples at the Vogue booth

The McCall’s/Butterick/Vogue fashion show was great. I have a long list of new patterns I need now. Oh dear.

The fun items I bought!

The fun items I bought!

I did not get to meet up with any of the bloggers and friends that I know from the sewing community, which was my greatest disappointment! They all met up Saturday, and I was nursing my sick girl. I hope to read all their write-ups of the Sew Expo on their blogs soon!

4 thoughts on “Always learning at the Sew Expo

  1. omg, interfacing, the bane of my sewing life. I’ve had no end of run-ins with interfacing, so any tips you have gathered would be gladly received.
    That expo looks like such fun – slight envy attack across the Atlantic 😉

    • My take-away about interfacing is just buy better quality? I’m going to try my new purchases out and report, I promise. The Pellon stuff uses glue dots, and that is why you get the orange peel effect. I usually don’t have good experiences with interfacing, either, so I’m looking forward to trying my new stuff out!

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