Sunday, March 2, 2014

Puyallup Inspiration

Thanks for the feedback on my post about Meeting with Vogue Patterns, which continues to roll in.

In the comments, Jan Crews asked why Carolyne wanted her face to be cropped from my photo. I am not sure, Jan. Carolyne is attractive and seems to be photogenic, so I can only conclude that she is in a Witness Protection Program. ;)

(I already published the fabulous Sandra Betzina jacket that Carolyne was wearing, but I showed it again at the top of this post, because this post is all about inspiration and I love this jacket!)

Philippa commented that I must have had a large notepad during my day with Vogue. No, I did not take any notes, either that day or later when I was traveling. I know I should have, as my memory is not as steel-trapp-ish as it used to be, but I think I captured most details accurately. Writing it while it was less than 24 hours behind me was key.

And Now, To the Main Event...

One of the best things about the show at Puyallup is the inspiration you can get. From the vendors (and their techniques, products, and samples), and from some of the visitors. It's a smorgasbord of goodness. There is something for everyone - many of the vendors are oriented towards quilting, and others sell yarn. It is not a fairground full of Marcy Tilton aficionados, but that is there, too.

I wanted to do a separate post on some of the inspiration I saw at Puyallup, because it is worth noting. In past years, when many of my friends would attend Puyallup, I would wait, with baited breath, for information and photos. I would haunt Marcy's website for information (this was before she had a blog or used Facebook much - she posted on her primary website, but not as quickly as she does now), I would haunt Sewing Workshop's site for information. I would watch the review forums. I really really wanted to see photos and hear about the fashion show. I wanted to know what was going on.

Puyallup is where the creatives shine. And who doesn't want to examine Diane Ericson's masterful workmanship up close, or grope Marcy's fabrics in person? And everyone knows the phenomenon of attending a class where the teacher talks about a specific product and then folks make a beeline for that booth to snap it up. Or maybe they use their smart phone to buy a product during the presentation. (I have actually done that!)

For example, after seeing the Tilton fashion show on Friday, I wanted to make up a few of their patterns which I had not yet purchased from a BMV sale. The Vogue booth was selling patterns for $5, but the Tilton patterns had been cleaned out by Friday morning. The Vogue folks had expedited another shipment of patterns to the show, but it wasn't to arrive until Saturday, after I had left.

Yes, Puyallup (and shows like it, such as the Novi show in Michigan, and the ASG show in Atlanta) are both balm and fire to a sewer's soul.

So, even though I was not there for long, and really didn't see much, I saw a few things I wanted to share with you. Because maybe you feel the same way I do about these things.

You're welcome. ;)

First, if you haven't yet seen, yesterday Marcy posted what she and Katherine wore this year in Puyallup. She also posted her March newsletter, which features clothing from their fashion show.

Both are required reading. There will be a test.

She has not yet posted what her assistants Gwen Spencer and Nancy Murakami were wearing. I hope she does, as they are each artists in their own right and many people visit Marcy's booth each day of the show to see what all four of them are wearing.

And let me just say that, while it's fabulous that Marcy posts all of these garments, it's just not the same as seeing them on the body and in motion. That is even more exciting.

We also haven't yet heard from Diane Ericson. I hope someone posts her outfits, which are also true masterpieces. (Diane, an artist of the highest order of magnitude, doesn't have a lot of time or patience with social media, more's the pity for us.)

I was very glad to see that Linda Lee (or her assistants) have been posting lots of photos to the Sewing Workshop Facebook page. Some beautiful garments there!

And what about Louise Cutting (Cutting Line Designs)? She doesn't have a Facebook page and I can't find anything posted else where about what she was wearing and showing.

We want to seeeeeeeeeee.

(Sandra Betzina, by the way, was not at Puyallup this year, though some of her garments were in the Vogue booth on display.)

I was happy to see that two of my IRL (in real life) sewing friends were featured on the Sew Expo Facebook page:

Kathleen is wearing a gorgeous coat she made from Pendleton wool she bought at last year's Puyallup

Marlene is wearing a beautiful, and super lightweight, necklace that she made

I ran into Marlene when I was with Katherine Tilton and we grabbed a quick pic

Marlene is lucky enough to share her passion with her daughter, Jonelle. You can see Marlene's necklace a bit better here.

I was very sorry that I missed a few booths entirely. These are some of the booths I would have visited had I a little more time:

  • Sewing Workshop
  • Pendleton Wool
  • Billie's Designer Fabrics - I've never heard of this resource, but Maris Olsen highly recommended it. (I'm sorry we didn't get to meet up, Maris!)
  • Kai Scissors - I breezed past this booth, without stopping, and ogled the scissors. I have several pair of Kai, but who doesn't want another pair or two?
  • Vogue Fabrics
  • The booth that sells strips of sari fabrics bundled like skeins of yarn. I stopped for 30 seconds and groped some bundles, but had to move on. So much yumminess.

Without further ado, let me post some of the things that I did see.

First, let me show you what Nancy Murakami was wearing as it is really fabulous.

For this jacket, Nancy started with a piece of plain muslin. She dyed it, she cut squares, and stitched them onto the base fabric, letting them fray. She ornamented them with circles of felt from a "failed felting project" and secured them with threads, also left hanging loose. For this amazing piece, she used the jacket pattern from Vogue 8975, Marcy's new dress with a little jacket.

Now, I hear tell that what she had planned to wear on Saturday was even more amazing. It was described as an Alabama Chanin style piece, but made with a different aesthetic. How I would have liked to see that! I hope that Marcy (or someone) posts some pictures.

And before I leave the topic of Nancy, she made a piece for Marcy's fashion show that I just loved. I'm sorry that these pics are not clearer, but they were taken with my cell phone and I wasn't that steady.

For this she made the underdress by lengthening a top pattern. I can't remember which pattern it was. The overdress uses a long OOP Vogue pattern by Issey Miyake, called "The Apron Dress. The front is cute, but just look at the BACK!

How cute is that?!?

I covet this outfit, but I have to remind myself that it would NOT flatter my busty figure. But I can certainly admire from afar.

Now let's talk a little about Diane Ericson! In this photo, Diane is wearing a top she made that uses fabric from a painting drop cloth:

She used some of this same fabric to make this stunning jacket that was featured in the Tilton fashion show:

I recollect Marcy saying that Diane used an OOP Miyake pattern for this jacket, but I might be misremembering. And, hey, if you know anyone who paints rooms, the next time they paint a color that you like, get some canvas underneath their ladder! After a few rooms of different colors, you might really have something!

Diane's booth was jam-packed with gorgeous inspiration. (As well as many products to buy to make your own!)

Here are a few pictures to whet the appetite:

I know, right?
The "buttons" on this jacket feature tiny pieces of stenciled fabrics made by Diane's son. I am sorry they don't show up better.

The back neckline. Diane is the master of creatives twists like these

A beautiful pieced top

I am sorry I didn't get a better picture of the front, but this piece includes refashioned garments from the thrift store, as many of her garments do

I was so sorry to see that this pic of the neckline detail was out of focus!

That is all the photos that I have to share. But let me give a couple shout outs:

  • In the morning, as I was sitting in the cafe with Frank, Myrna Giesbrecht appeared from behind. We had never met in the flesh before. She hugged me, whispered some sweet compliments in my ear, and was off. I have no pictures, but I got a glimpse of her gorgeous coat as she left. I would have liked to study that a bit more in person. :) Thanks for saying "hello", Myrna!

  • After lunch, when we returned to the Vogue booth, a woman introduced herself to me. It was Elaine, from Canada, who I recognized, after a moment, from a post on the Disparate Disciplines blog that I had just seen a few days before. She was wearing two patterns by Disparate Disciplines, a denim Dandelion dress and a pair of their wild Rose hip tights. She looked fabulous as she was giving Kathy Marrone feedback of what she thought about one of the fashion shows. Thanks for saying "hi", Elaine!

That is all I have to add to the photos you can see on the resources I have already listed. Check all of them out!

Hey, you know that I am a technical writer for the Dart programming language. But last week I published a couple of pieces before rushing off to Puyallup. Maybe you'd like to get a taste of what I do IRL, here and here. Believe me when I tell you, it's riveting stuff.

And now, I plan to enjoy this rainy, foggy, Oscar Day! I hope to get some sewing done. A teeny tiny bit, at least.

More Information about Puyallup 2014

This is a late-breaking addition to the blog post. I have been collecting posts and other info that has been shared about Puyallup 2014. Here is the list:


  1. I have never been to Puyallup - looks wonderful! Your write - up sold it well :)

  2. Yep, that outfit by Nancy Murakami is so cute. I wonder about the white fabric she used. Looks woven in rayon, a bit crinkly. Any idea? Anyone?

    1. Do you mean that darling jacket with dots in the squares? I understood it was made from tea-dyed muslin cut into squares and pieced together. Sorry if that's not the one you're referring to.

  3. Puyallup sounds so wonderful I am surprised you don't go every year! I think you deserve to. Personally I am not an art to wear person (yet) but I love seeing the creativity. So much inspiration. And I find I am following a lot more blogs of this type. Perhaps I am slowly changing. Thanks for the effort put into this post. Happy sewing.

  4. OMG, I've been looking for that IM apron dress pattern since college. I had been saving up for it when it was discontinued.

    Do you think that Nancy would send me pix of the pattern pieces so I can get a sense for how this pattern puzzle is put together? In particular, I am curious to see if this is based on a Buddhist monks' robe that has no beginning or end.

  5. Such a wealth of descriptions and pictures! Thank you so much for getting these written for us. Almost as good as going (no crowds:)

    1. Yes, Margy, it was better than going there for me, too. A fraction of the show covered but enough already! I am 73 yrs. and can't stand the sensory overload of an event like this anymore. Thanks, Shams, for giving us just a small piece of the cake. Loved every bite!

  6. I feel like I was there just from your photos, links and a few words. No wonder Google hired you as a technical writer. You're such a breath of fresh air for someone trying to ease back into sewing and pick up a few tips in the process. (BTW, just finished my third no-longer-called-a-tablecloth skirt and learned something from each one.)

  7. It sounds like there is enough there to make it worthwhile to the garment sewer. Too bad it's so far away!

  8. Thank you, thank you, for the very through reporting of your short time there. You crammed a lot in and it was all so inspiring! Very generous of you to take the time to share it with us also.

  9. Thanks for this! Inspiration by proxy, love it. Butterick 5986 - the Katherine Tilton chevron dress - is about 3rd or 4th in my queue right now, nice to see it in the link provided. Also, not too much of a techie but married to one, and yes, I mostly understood your articles on Dart. - Heather

  10. Such inspiration! Like you, I love seeing all the photos I can of places I'm not able to be. thanks!

  11. Thank you so much for letting me go on a vicarious trip to Puyallup with you. You certainly got me to all the right places! ;)

    These garments are serious inspiration., I could see my head just spinning after a day at this expo. Loved seeing all the photos and that you took the time to share this all with us. Thanks again.

  12. I think you'd rock the Apron dress - gorgeous back design.

  13. What a wonderful 2 days at the SewExpo that I think I'm having such a brain overload, if that is possible. But your posts, so wonderfully written, really help me process/appreciate what I saw quite a bunch! THANKS! So funny, I did actually went to Marcy and Katherine's booth again today, and apart from ogling at more fabrics, also looking at what the 4 ladies wearing (i really liked what Nancy was wearing today, a chic black linen? vest (from Katherine Tilton's pattern) with fun Paris buttons. Looks simple enough for a green sewist to try her hands on (and I actually do have that particular pattern, yay!). No picture at all at their booth though, but i will check out the pictures from the links you shared :)

  14. Thank you so much for the Puyallup wrap up. My mother-in-law and I use to go every year. I moved out of state in 2000 and I haven't been back since. I think next year is the year to go back and take my MIL. Such great times we had there! ~Teri

  15. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm a fool to have stayed home! Next year for sure! See you there, Shams!

  16. A transformer sounds very much like how I would use a style sheet on my website.

  17. Thanks for sharing the sights and sounds and tastes of Puyallup!

  18. Brief but special. One day we'll sit down and have a good long chat. I'm looking forward to it.

  19. Thanks for the vicarious trip to Puyallup! Now I'm REALLY sorry I missed it this year. But at least I got to see some of it through your lens. Hopefully next year.

  20. Thanks for the photos of my outfit of the Miyake Apron dress, and the dress is Katherine's shirt lengthened and I added a flounce at the bottom. I heard tell that the outfit and the whole show was outstanding. We three worker bees couldn't abandoned the booth. Thanks for the kind words...and I hate having my picture taken. Nancy M

  21. Oh, someone asked about the shirt/dress fabric. It was a silk/cotton that crinkled when I pre-washed it. The crinkles were a surprise and of course, I went with a plan b for a pattern.

    As for the pattern...As with all early Miyakes...various sizes and shapes of rectangles that I can't even explain how it goes together. Look for old patterns on I did. Nancy M

  22. Thanks for introducing me to Jo and Marlene. Visited Jo's site, loved it and especially Marlene's craft/play house...such darling things. Wish I could see the necklace she was wearing at the show up close. Would love to make/buy something similar.

  23. Wonderful eye candy! AND the bonus of giggling over "donut days" and "kale days". Thanks for sharing!

  24. Thank you so much for all of the inspiration and fabulous photos. I always am trying to "get a glimpse" via various blogs and websites - this is a great summary!
    I am in love with the amazing Nancy Murakami's makes - they have been one of the highlights for me of Marcy's previous posts. I wish I could see what she designed for all 4 of the days!

  25. Thanks for your thoughtful write-up, both of your experience with the McVoguerick folks and your expo experience. I went for several days, staying at one of the hotels within walking distance, and was as usual overwhelmed by the experience--so I'm doubly appreciative of your ability to gather your thoughts and get them down on paper. Good news about the open ears at McV.

  26. I couldn't find your e-mail address so I'm going to post here instead. Thanks for mentioning my patterns and Elaine! She was excited to meet you.

    Would you like to try the Rose Hip Tights pattern?

  27. Shams, what a lovely recap of sew expo. You are very thorough and find such different things than I do. It was really neat to run into you at Diane Ericson's booth. That graphic print long-jacket you wore was amazing. I wrote a little about my sew expo experience and it included a blurb about meeting you. I'm so glad little Puyallup offered you such a rewarding whirlwind experience. I look forward to sewing with you one day in future. Until then, I read on and await your next adventure. OH! PS - I'm contemplating SUP yoga and your past post about shorts for your tropical swimming/snorkeling adventure keeps coming up in my mind. I'm not too keen on putting my legs on display while I wobble on a stand up paddle board and try to do yoga. But I am excited to get out there and try it. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Cheers, ~GG~

  28. That Issey M Apron Dress. It's driving me crazy!I simply must find the pattern! I really would like to make one. Size 16 or not, it's a work of art. Any clues as to how to track a pattern down? Have been on E-bay and followed lots of vintage pattern sites. I must add too, that I am so pleased I came into your site Marcy and company. Such an inspiration! I'm firing up my twin sister with your fabrics, patterns and your wonderful enthusiasm for sewing. I SO want to get her to go on a Paris trip. I know she would love it.

    1. I have no insights, Carslev. Sometimes you just have to be persistent and it may take years to find a pattern that you want. Thanks for the kudos!