Today I will be sharing about my experience at the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo in Atlanta.
This expo comes every year, and I usually hear about people going, BUT this was my first year to check it out. It was here Thursday, March 13-15th. I headed there on Friday, March 14th, and attended two classes. The overall atmosphere was pleasant. There were ladies that greeted you as you came in, and pointed you to a board where you could look up the room number of the class you were registered for. Then, they assisted you to the location of the class if you needed help.
|Giveaways on Display|
Here is my take on the classes I took:
Sewing Great Garments by Lorraine Henry
This class was my favorite!! Ms. Henry was awesome. The class had about 30 people in it, and most of were ladies except for 1 man. I came in right before class started, so I ended up 3/4 of the way toward the back of the class. Ms. Henry used a dry eraser board to draw illustrations for what she talked about, as well as some demonstrative aids. She has a pattern line called the Cutting Line Designs, which is filled with timeless classic clothing for the "older" woman. Here are some great tips she gave in the class:
- Always use finished garment measurements to achieve the best possible fit
- If you find your skirt is boxy (the same length measurement at the hipline and the hem) reduce the hem length by 1/2" total.
- Need help matching stripes? Draw the stripes on your tissue paper to aid in you being able to match them up properly.
- Staystitching is important, do not skip this step. It will help the fabric fold correctly.
- If you need to fix a really large sleeve, try multiple pin tucks aligned at the end of the sleeve. It will make the sleeve fit more snug.
This class was only ok, in my opinion. The instructor was great, and there were not as many people in the class (maybe 15-20). She was very knowledgeable, and she went over different adjustments for different figure types. My only issue with this class is that there was not enough information in it to walk away with any kind of fitting expertise. For example, if you were struggling to fit a top, this class would not equip you to do so, unless...you bought the $100 book that Ms. Henry referenced many times called Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach by Liechty, Rasband, and Pottburg.
What I did like about the class:
- Ms. Henry gave extensive information about taking your own measurements and comparing them to the pattern envelope measurements
- She spoke about the importance of getting the side seam length correct. In the Big 4 patterns, the standard side seam length is 8", which makes a big difference if your measurement is much longer or shorter
- Her order of fit was as follows: 1)side seams 2)full bodice 3)center back 4)shoulder slope. This is vastly different to what I've seen or read. What I have read focuses more on getting the fit right in the shoulders FIRST, even if you choose a smaller size and adjust up.
- She also spoke about the Seam Method of adjusting patterns so that there is no distortion at the center front/back. (see here)
I entered the event to find table upon table of sewing/quilting related paraphenalia. I took a moment to walk the floor, and quickly found the Vogue Fabrics section. They had an area with multiple rolls of 2 yd. cuts of fabric rolled up and ready for purchase. I browsed, but I DID NOT BUY! I found some cute rayon challis, SO cute, but I DID NOT BUY!! I know, crazy right?
As I was glancing through the fabrics, I look over, and who do I see?
Yep! Victoria from 10,000 Hours of Sewing. I ended up going up to her table and saying hello. I have read her blog for over 2 years now, and love what a great seamstress she is. She is super nice in person, and down to earth. She was with Mr. Jim, a tailor who she is doing an apprenticeship with. It was definitely a highlight for me to meet them both!
The Runway Show
I must say, when I heard there would be a runway show at the expo (via an email I received), I was elated. I imagined it would be Simplicity or Vogue designs, since the advertising said fashion runway show. Well, there was no Simplicity, and there was no Vogue. Instead there was Cynthia Guffey, an independent pattern designer for the mature woman. I was a little disappointed, but, let me tell you...Cynthia Guffey was a gem!! Her show was called Visual Magic: Clothes Re-make the Woman, and it focused on using clothing to balance and fit your figure, while taking into consideration proportion!
|Cynthia Guffey on right|
In order to demonstrate this "visual magic" her runway show consisted of women wearing both properly or ill-fitting clothing. She then went through each individual one by one, explaining why what she wore either worked, or did not worked. I found this information invaluable!
|Giving advice on correct jacket lengths/features for your frame|
I definitely walked away from the show satisfied with my experience.
Overall, I enjoyed myself, and my visit to the expo. Would I go again next year? Maybe. I enjoyed my classes more than anything, yet I did long to see more people in my age range. After all, who will be sewing for the next generation? I don't believe sewing is a lost art as some people say, yet there has to be something that bridges the gap between the old, young, and in-between.