Saturday, March 14, 2015

Puyallup 2015 Recap


Marcy Tilton took this photo from the stage as we waited for her fashion show to begin

Puyallup Round-Up

Well, that was fun!

Last year, thanks to Vogue Patterns, I got a little taste of Sew Expo at Puyallup.

That motivated me to get myself there this year. I attended Sew Expo 2015 for 3 of the 4 days.

I know that a Sewing Expo isn't everyone's cup of tea. The vendor areas can be very crowded—and overwhelming—and prices are often perceived as "not a deal." The classes can be disappointing, and sometimes veer into thinly veiled advertisements. Garment sewers often feel that vendors who cater to garment sewists are eclipsed by vendors who cater to quilters and other craft sewers.

In fact, after committing to the 5-day trip (2 days were spent traveling), I became nervous. I worried that I would get bored after 3 days at Expo. I had visions of returning early to the hotel room, whiling away the time by knitting, or reading, or surfing the net. I wondered if I would regret being in Washington for so long, far from my idle sewing machine.

But that did not happen.

I had a blast.

Waiting for Friday Night Live to begin

After returning home, I spent some time thinking about this. Why did I enjoy it so much?

I can be a notoriously impatient person. In fact, I walked out of several classes I had signed up for and I blew off others entirely. Not because they were bad—I had selected carefully—but because I had ants-in-my-pants and I didn't want to be sitting in a class room, not even for 45 minutes.

So it wasn't the classes.

The reason I had such a great time at Sew Expo is because of the people.

The shopping didn't hurt either.

I'm peppering this post with a few anecdotes that highlight some of my memorable moments of the show. For example:

I was standing in line to see Louise Cutting's fashion show with a reader-of-my-blog that I had met at the snack bar, Elaine S. Elaine was wearing a very interesting print-blocked top that she had purchased in Florida, if I recall. It had a particularly cool collar. At least 10 other sewers, also standing in line, turned to admire her top and study how the collar was constructed. (You may see this collar show up on one of my garments in the future.)

I do this sort of thing all of the time—study a garment someone is wearing—but I usually have to bite my tongue and steal surreptitious glances. To be able to openly enjoy this activity with other sewers is a real high. This is my tribe.
The Tilton's with Gayle Ortiz

My home base at Expo is Marcy Tilton's booth. Just walking up to the Tilton booth fills me with joy, seeing Marcy's and Katherine's smiling faces. We can just look at each other and start giggling. A daily visit to the Tilton booth to study everyone's garments is positively mandatory. I am always particularly thrilled to see Gwen Spencer, who assists Marcy in the booth and also helps with testing pattern designs for Vogue. Gwen was my roomie three years ago at DOL and I don't see her smiling face, or bask in her creative glow, often enough.

Gwen!
(Wearing one of the most spectacular garments of Puyallup, I might add)

And, <ahem>, some very lovely fabrics followed me right out of that booth.

For me, the highlights of the show included:

  • The wonderful vendors, including the Tilton sisters, Diane Ericson, Louise Cutting, Linda Lee, the folks at McCalls Patterns.
  • The Tilton and Louise Cutting fashion shows.
  • Diane Ericson's classes: one on creativity, and one on designing your creative space. These classes were superb. My advice to you is this: if you can take a class, any class, from Diane Ericson, do it. Even if she's teaching something that you don't think interests you. Diane could make the History of Dirt compelling.
  • Lorraine Henry's class on pattern alteration. She uses a technique that is new to me and definitely worth further exploration. Her book was sold out at the show, but I ordered a copy.
  • Meeting up with fellow bloggers - both past friends (Carolyn, Amy, Gayle) and new friends (Myrna, Marris, Neufy, Terri, Gaylen).
  • Meeting up with many, many gracious and enthusiastic readers of my blog.
  • Some great shopping. Besides the aforementioned vendors, I enjoyed spending money at Kai Scissors, Vogue Fabrics, Billie's Fabrics, Indonesia Batiks, Professional Sewing Supplies, Pendleton Mills, Martelli's Notions, Clover Notions, Superior Threads, and the "Japanese" fabric store based in Hawaii. I'm probably missing some.
Diane Ericson with another fiercely creative friend, Marlene

Myrna suggested that the two of us meet for coffee on Saturday afternoon so we could have some time to talk. We were joined by my two roomies, Sue and Sarah, and Carolyn Norman. At one point Diane Ericson walked by and we called her over. Our discussion included sewing rooms (Diane had given a class on sewing rooms and had featured Myrna's space), Myrna's experience in working with Diane as a creative coach (what an interesting idea), and fabric shopping. In fact, I can't even remember everything we talked about, but that chat was another highlight of Expo. Our conversation spurred this contemplative post by Carolyn. Check it out!
Myrna and Carolyn

I very much enjoyed seeing the folks from McCalls/Vogue/Butterick again. Frank Rizzo was happy to speak to visitors to the booth on Saturday. He asked me what I thought about Kwik Sew patterns. (If you have thoughts about Kwik Sew patterns, I suggest that you let them know directly.) We also talked about the importance of cover art (photos versus illustrations) and technical drawings. I always enjoy talking to Frank and to all the folks at Vogue.
Frank Rizzo, president of McCalls/Vogue/Butterick

Kathy Marrone, editor-in-chief of Vogue Patterns

If you haven't already seen these, check out Marcy Tilton's and Gayle Ortiz's posts on Puyallup:

And don't forget to check out my Instagram photos. There are too many to re-post here.

My excellent Puyallup roomies, Sue and Sarah

So, yes, it was a good trip. I came home with new goodies. (I admit it, I got to what Sherry calls "The Earring Stage". That's where you only have room in your luggage for new earrings. Thank goodness Sue brought her luggage scale so we could re-jigger things to keep them under 50 lbs each.) I bought six pair of Kai Scissors. You heard me, SIX pair. They were a good deal, though, and I appreciated it when my roomies didn't even bat an eye—each evening we returned to the room, dumped our purchases on the bed, and had a little impromptu show and tell. I also bought titanium sewing machine needles, a new Martelli rotary cutter, thread from Superior Threads, and Japanese fat quarters for making jewelry.

Sherry educated me on "the earring stage" of luggage
She also made this jacket using Diane Ericson's Ventana pattern and stenciled the polka dots

But I won't bore you with a shopping post.

Am I going back to Puyallup next year?

I don't know. I do have a room reservation, so it's possible. If you'd like to attend Puyallup, but don't want to do it on your own, you might consider going with Marsha McClintock of Saf-T-Pockets. One of my friends has been on her Puyallup Sew Expo tour many times. You can fly into Portland, do some shopping and sightseeing there, then take Marsha's bus tour to Puyallup. It seems like a great way to go and a good opportunity to make friends!

Marcy took this photo in her booth

Knit Hat for DD2

DD2 received the hat I knit for her. As requested, she sent me this picture. It doesn't show the hat too well, but I love seeing her smiling face.

55 comments:

  1. What a great post! You made me feel as if I had been there. It looks as if everyone was having a good time.

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    1. Thanks, glorm! I haven't seen you in years - maybe you'll attend some time?

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  2. So enjoyed your post about experiencing Puyallup. This was my first experience at the big Puyallup "show" and I thoroughly enjoyed it for the same reasons. It's about meeting creative people, but the stuff is great too. The only tickets I bought were for Diane's classes, but I was given a ticket for Linda Lee's knits that I sat through although she had demonstrated everything in a previous Florida workshop I attended. On Saturday afternoon Elaine (Neufy) and I too the Link train downtown to Oska to try on and check out their inspiring styles since we have no Oska stores near us. Traveling and sewing events allow me to interact with members of my "tribe" as Diane astutely calls it since there is no one in my city or nearby who remotely fits that description.

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    1. Thanks, Terri! It was loving meeting and chatting with you and seeing Neufy again! (We met so briefly last year.) I'm glad you had a chance to visit Oska! I plan to visit Seattle more as my boss is based in Seattle, so I'll have to get over there.

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  3. Thank you for taking the time to write this up. I definitely want to get to Puyallup sometime as it looks like the mother of all sewing conferences.

    How was the Friday Night Live thing? That looked intriguing when I was reviewing the schedule.

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    1. Thanks, Kyle! I'd love to meet you in person if we both go! How was Friday Night Live? Disappointing.

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  4. In the Small World category, I was talking to one of my Material Girls buddies last Sunday. She had gone to Puyallup, and met you while in line. Her name is Cary. Too funny!

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    1. Hey, Nancy! I remember Cary! She was one of the first people I met! On Thursday morning we were standing in line for a notions class!

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  5. An amazing experience just reading your comments.Thanks for that.I go about every 4 years to get my fix! It's exciting being with all those people with similar passion for the same thing.

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    1. Exactly, Jane! One of these years maybe our visits will coincide. :)

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  6. I think 'our' sewexpo is one up on other sewing shows.
    It's run by the wash. state extension office rather than a 'conglomerate '.
    I'm lucky I'm so close (Portland area). Alas, the day job interfered this year.

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    1. You may be right, Kathy! I also think it's a huge reason that prices are so reasonable. 45-minute classes are $6. To check your bags for the day is $0.50 per bag. Parking is free. They do a great job!!!

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  7. Hi Shams- where did you stay? I was there in 2014 and am thinking about going again -- hoping for a better lodging experience.

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    1. Ronnie, we stayed at the Best Western Premier and will NOT stay there again! The room itself was fine (though the full length mirror was half hidden by a bed), but the service was very poor and the attitude, was served with a smile was not good. We have reservations somewhere else next year. (I am not sure of the name, though. There are tons of places!)

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  8. How happy you look in the pictures! This is a great post and gives a very good "view" of the Expo.

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    1. Thanks, Margy! As you went a couple years ago, you would know! I was curious when Marcy said it was a particularly good Expo. That's how I felt, but I really can't compare as my visit last year was so unique.

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  9. love your comment, "this is my tribe" so true! I'm glad you carved out some time away from work etc. to have fun.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! It seems like I haven't seen you in ages!

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  10. I enjoyed the Expo a great deal. I was worried too that I would be spinning my wheels and getting bored. But the best part were the conversations with avid makers. I just missed you several times and I was a little shy because you had an entourage. I did meet other bloggers (pincushion treats and sewing fanatic) The Tilton booth was the best of times. Sorta wished I could have just hung out there most of the day. I hope I can add on some Seattle time, if work allows. Love my tribe!

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    1. Exactly, Janet! And, next time you see me, PLEASE say hello! I agree that hanging out at the Tilton booth is great fun.

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  11. Now I don't feel badly about owning three (or is it four?) pairs of Kai scissors. ;)

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    1. LOL. I had four pair *before* Expo, so now I'm up to 10!

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  12. Ok. I want ALL the clothes in this post. No fair. I can't sew and I am a little too jealous. And I know exactly what you mean about your tribe -- I feel the same way when I am with my crazy, wonderful mail art pals. If you have too many clothes feel free to start sewing for me. LOL.

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    1. LOL! Oh, Pamela, I may have some clothes for you! I don't know your size, though. Yes, I bet you know exactly what I'm talking about when it comes to one's tribe!

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  13. Great post! I can feel the fun and excitement you would have had checking out each others clothes every day! And the shopping - fun, fun, fun.

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  14. Even though I've only been to the smaller run-by-a-business Expos, I know what you mean about hanging out with your 'tribe'. And I think the blogsphere has added to that...now, an Expo is not just about stuff and classes, it's also sort of a blogger/sewing boards buddies meet-up opportunity. Would love to go someday...

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    1. I completely agree, Lisa! The internet community has allowed us to connect as never before.

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  15. This is such a thoughtful recap. Attending this expo is now definitely on my bucket list. I was afraid it was geared too much towards quilting but, according to you, there are still lots of folks in my 'tribe' (love that word). Nearly all my sewing friends are in the quilting tribe so I treasure and relish all the garment sewing bloggers (especially you!) I read and connect with. Thanks, Shams, for sharing your experience. Karen

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    1. That would be amazing if you came from Australia, Karen!

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  16. LOVE your knitted cable-ropes scarf! I'm thinking you made it--will you tell us if there's a pattern, and what that gorgeous yarn is?

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    1. Hey, Wendy! Yes, I made this scarf recently. I blogged about it here: http://communingwithfabric.blogspot.com/2015/02/triple-plait-scarf-mycra-pac-field-trip.html The post includes a link to my Ravelry page with more info. Thanks!

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  17. This was such a fun read. Thanks for posting it. I love these expos and always enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new people. Your post reminds me that I want to move this particular Expo up in the priority list. Martha

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    1. Thanks, Martha! You especially might want to move it up in your queue if Marcy may not be having a booth for much longer.

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  18. Great post. I've been wanting to make this trek for some time. Now, Im actually going to work in doing so! BTW, what is DOL?

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    1. Thanks, Sue! DOL is Design Outside the Lines, the retreat now run by Diane Ericson (and was once run by Diane and Marcy).

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  19. Great post and love all the photos. I've not been in the loop on what this event is, but now feel very well informed. Thanks!

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  20. What fun it was to read this post and see so many photos of smiling faces! It looks like a great time. Our local expo has gone to about 90% quilting, so I don't know if I'll even go this year. Disappointing. So glad you had so much fun!

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    1. It would be great to meet you IRL one of these days, Dixie!

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  21. Congratulations on reaching earring only shopping! I knew you could do it. sherry

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    1. LOL! There she is! Thanks, Sherry!

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  22. I was standing in line near you for the fashion show as we admired the crossed cowl neck shirt. I'd love for you to figure out a way to do that .
    It was my first time in Puyallup . I came by myself & had a great time . I loved most of my classes & learned a lot . Loved the shopping , seeing what others make & visitng with people.
    I would definitely consider going back again - so much to learn from others as well as about ourselves .
    I love your blog & creative ideas & you were so personable in person for our 2 min in line meeting .
    Also very disappointed in Fri night Live. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Suites about 5 miles away & the service was over the top NICE. everyday they asked if I had fun sewing - LOL

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    1. That standing-in-line action was fun, wasn't it? Lots of like-minded people. I'm glad you came and, even on your own, had lots of fun! That would intimidate a lot of people, I think. (As for Friday Night Live... It felt like I paid $25 to watch advertising. And, to be honest, if you aren't Jimmy Fallon or someone of that ilk, you just can't do what he does. The karaoke was cute, but by then I was thoroughly annoyed.) Good to know about Holiday Inn!! (Sue handles our reservations, so she's all over it.)

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  23. Sounds like you had a great trip -- overwhelming but exhilarating!

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  24. It was great to see you there! I'm glad you had so much fun, and I do hope you'll decide to come back next year.

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    1. It was so good to see you, Amy! Motherhood suits you!

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  25. Great post! It sounds like a wonderful event--I'm glad you went and I appreciate the pictures and your observations.. I really enjoy your opening picture.

    Rose in SV

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  26. This was my second sew expo and I had a grand time, too. I sense there weren't many men in attendance of their own volition. I chatted it up with Linda Lee and she complimented my work, and I even made the Simplicity Instagram site. I can't wait for next year. And, thanks for the French sewing terms posted a couple years ago. I have the French edition of the Japanese shirt book. Go figure.
    Mt

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  27. I live vicariously through you Shams so no need to go to the Expo !! Sigh, sigh! It sounds like so much fun !!

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  28. I live vicariously through you Shams so no need to go to the Expo !! Sigh, sigh! It sounds like so much fun !!

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  29. Look at you in your ultra cool clothes!! You look fabulous. I'm glad you had a wonderful time. Sadly we don't get cool sewing expos like that here

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  30. Hi.dear Shams..what wonderful creations..I've not seen these blogs before and found it by accident.I know btw what those silver bars on your scarf were used for originally and even made of stainless steel sell for a few pound ££ each over here in the UK..I live in England in a very alternative ,creative town overlooking the English Channel (23m from the French coast) called Brighton..There's a whole host of creativity here and tattooing/body piercing is still very poular.Those bars are for a double piercing through the top part of the ear..So basically one side has a fixed silver ball and the other side does it screw on?? If so that's def what it is..I'm in my 40's and am creative in other ways much like yourself ,but I know it's called a barbell and if it's straight it's for the top of an ear,curved it's for the naval of other more scarily painful areas..Ouch!! lol.Hope that helped..btw where are those gorgeous gardens in your photos?I'm from Liverpool Uk originally in fact a Penny Lane girl and we had a beauitiful Japanese style garden in Sourh Liverpool..Thanks for sharing..love from a rainy and somewhat windy Brighton..Sophie

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