This year, after overdoing it a few years back, I signed up for no more than 4 classes a day, usually 3 and gave myself at least 1 day away from the show to just piddle at home. I don't put any pressure on myself to sew these days because my brain is too full. Plus, this way, I can wander the show at my leisure and also give myself time to think about what I'd like to purchase rather than make an impulse buy. One of my goals is to buy items for a specific purpose or project, rather than, "This is pretty, but I don't yet know what I'll do with it, but I have to have it!" My pocket thanks me for this.
The Showplex as Viewed from the Vogue Fabrics Booth
Plus, there always seem to be a few new vendors that surprise and delight you. One I discovered this year is By Annie, from Utah. I'm designing up some bags to use for my outdoor activities and stumbled upon her cool "soft and stable" which makes a bag stand up on it's own! And then I saw she had patterns and kits (which included the small piece of clear vinyl - Yay!). So, I figured why not start with her designs & kits and see how they work as I'm running around like a wild woman. I picked up a few small bags patterns, including one for cell phone + a couple other little things and her Yoga Bag pattern. I'm very excited and so is my stash of quilting cottons!
Vogue and Butterick Creative's Closet
Fashion Show with Marcy and Katherine Tilton
The piece that stood out to me this year was Diane Ericson's jacket made from a used drop cloth. My first thought was, "uh....um...." then I saw it and was like, "OH THIS IS LOVELY! I'D WEAR THAT!" eyeballs all bugged out with surprise! Diane's jacket is the bottom row directly below, photos left and center.
I also love that the Tilton's are aware of what is all the rage in Paris. They bring us such interesting designers and techniques to study and learn about.
Puyallup Expo Fashion Show 2014
Classes at Sew Expo
with Diane Ericson, Monica O'Rourke-Bravo,
Jan Bones and several others.
- Solving the Mystery of Pattern Sizing
- Growing your Creativity
In "pattern sizing" the projector wouldn't work and she didn't have her slides, but she handled it like a pro. I didn't feel like I missed out on anything and she gave us a few tips to think about: fabric, fit, style.
In her creativity class I think I wore out my pen I took so many notes. Creativity is one of Diane's areas of expertise. This woman is so amazing! She gave us so many starting threads with which we can follow to build our creativity. One thing that sticks in my mind is how we define ourselves. Diane said that we do this by "the risks we take, the things we "say", and by how we put things together. This is what sets us apart and is what gives us our design edge." Now I'm even more excited to play with the paper airplane stencil diane created.
Monica O'Rourke Bravo (Bravo Bella)
In her panties class, while Monica was setting up, we got a moment to meet her husband and sweet little boy. He even played peek-a-boo through the chair with me. I also figured that it might help Monica & her hubby a little if their son was occupied playing for even a couple moments. I wished I had Pi with me. Oh to see the delight on a kids face when they meet Pi, my purple dragon puppet. But I'm on a tanget. Back to Panties! Monica talked about fabrics, elastics, shapes, and even showed us how to copy a pair of panties that fits us well. That worked out perfectly because I have a few pair I absolutely love and have wanted to duplicate using my knit scraps. Whoopie!
Bras. This was a most informative class. We learned about patterns on the market, how to determine your breast shapes and how that affects the pattern you need, sizing, fitting, and how to make a fix to ready-to-wear. I must interject that Monica is an excellent teacher. She's a physics teacher by day and it definitely shows in the way she teaches her sewing classes. She gave us great hand-outs with even a bit of room for notes, she was thorough, had great slides and "show-and-tell". Plus, since she is familiar with the principles of physics, she also applies that to bras. Hello, what are bras but objects to defy the feats of gravity. The engineer in me was most excited to know that some science is behind her sewing work. :)
I did make the trek to her booth and brave the crowds. I got fitted, picked up her starter kit and asked about sports bras. She recommended one of her kits and the same bra for daily and sports wear with just differing fabrics. One week later, I already have the pattern cut out and have begun sewing. Thank you Monica & Bravo Bella team! Go see her or take a class if you ever have the chance. (or any of the others in this post). Monica, like Jan Bones, brings you the most useful tools, patterns, and information. She's tried things out and makes a point of offering things you will use. For example, she has this wicked awesome measuring tape that you wrap around you and it snaps in place - NO HOLDING. I used it to measure my leg in 10 spots from knee to ankle as I learn to fit leggings. It's brilliant!
Jan Bones (Lingerie Secrets)
This year, I took 2 of Jan's classes at Sew Expo. Darts and Lingerie Bottoms. Oh my goodness. Suitably inspired, learned how to adapt patterns I already have and bought a few new patterns from Jan. In the darts class, Jan went from head to toe using darts. It was even more fascinating than I anticipated. She brought in several garments, showed us techniques that were outside her patterns and also showed us some of her patterns. Plus, she talked of discoveries she just made with darts on some pants in unusual placements. I was giddy when I left.
In Jan's Lingerie Bottoms, she showed us the slew of great patterns she has. But, none of it felt like a sales pitch. More like, "Aren't these fun?" She made cute versions of her long undies that can be worn as leggings. She made us laugh with slang terms that none of us knew or would have assumed could have been "naughty" in another country. And she showed us these sleep shorts she designed that are straight of grain in the front, bias in the back. I bought the pattern and am scouring my stash for fabric to make them. I, like Jan, love a little cotton sleep short in the summer.
Chance Sightings and Meeting Other Sewing Bloggers
The next day when I was shopping in Diane Ericson's booth to be inspired by the garments she made and had hanging for our viewing pleasure and for some bits of dropcloth created by her son, I turned around and there was Shams of Communing with Fabric. That was the day I forgot my phone at home, so I don't have a photo of her amazing full-length jacket. I made a point of saying Hello and how much I liked following her blog & the bits about the recent Google adventures. What a lovely woman. She was actually at sew expo to meet with Vogue about her Open Letter to Vogue post. How exciting is that?!
Tula Pink's Fabric Form and Function Class
On Sunday, Tula taught a class called, "Fabric Design: Form, Function and Imagination." I took 8 pages of notes. I have considered designing fabric myself and wondered what it's like from Tula's perspective. She was very generous in talking about her own experiences, how she designs fabrics, and what things are required of designers. The most fascinating things to me from this class were:
- She designs mainly with pencil and graph paper - wow, I prefer to draw that way too and always thought I should be doing it on fancy drawing paper. Maybe my method is perfectly sound. :)
- She too has moments when she "hates" or "dislikes" or has a design that doesn't fit and puts it "in a drawer" for a while, then pulls it back out and loves it. Oh I can't tell you what a relief this was to know. Sometimes I feel so alone in this love/hate relationship with my own art.
- Ideas are a dime a dozen. So don't freeze because your first idea isn't perfect, get started and keep creating and you'll stumble upon one that does work.
- Tula really thinks deeply about how her fabric will be used. As such I believe she ends up with the best look and it's one of the many reasons why people flock to her work. Reminder to self!
- Be true to yourself. Do what makes you happy. Because if it makes you happy, likely it will make others happy to.
She also gave us lots of great info on pricing and pay without revealing all her secrets. And the section on digitally coloring the fabric (this is after you've done your due dilligence hand-sketching) blew my mind. So many questions, but we were out of time.
I'm so glad I took her class. It was worth every penny. Plus, the woman is FUNNY. That made it even more fun. I love to laugh, don't you?