Aside from meeting up with cyber friends, the next most compelling reason to go to a sewing expo is the classes.
I had a full load...probably the most I've ever done at one of these.
I had classes from Kathy Ruddy, Nancy Erickson (2), Sandy Miller, Louise Cutting, Linda Lee and Cythia Guffey.
Kathy, Nancy and Sandy were mostly inspirational...Kathy gave a talk on variations to a sheath dress; Nancy, of course, showed us jaw-dropping Chanel RTW and gave us tips on recreating it; Sandy talked about the history of sportswear and demonstrated building a wardrobe out of what was really capsules...using Cutting Line Designs patterns, of course. I didn't take a lot of notes but I did see some really lovely things and picked up a couple of really good ideas.
Louise gave us just a ton of tips regarding interfacing, pressing, tools, matching stripes and plaids...she just started and kept going until her hour was up. She also told us a bit about how she buys the fabric that she offers to us; that was really interesting.
I actually had a hands-on construction class with Linda Lee. After the last Expo I attended in Atlanta something like 5 years ago, I stated that the next time I wanted to make something to take home with me...so I looked the options over and decided to take Linda's 'Eureka Top' class. We had to split our time between two classrooms...one for cutting and prep and another for sewing, and we had to be precise about when we left the first room for the second, so there was some time that I kinda lost after I had the prep work done before we could go sew. I didn't finish the top, but I did get it sewn together; I finished it after I got home last night and wore it to work today:
We only used sewing machines in the class; although I did come home and finish off the armholes with my serger. It was a novel idea to me to sew a knit top with a regular ol' straight stitch. I'm not sure I'm really crazy about the results, but as this is a very loose fitting top I don't think the straight stitch is going to be a problem. I think I could have finished the top in the allotted time quite easily if I had access to a simple serger and regular machine. The machines in the sewing class were TOL from a well-known brand that is reputed to be both wonderful and expensive. I found it extremely frustrating, as EVERYTHING was controlled by buttons and electronics. Even raising and lowering the presser foot. 'You'll save 5 minutes out of every hour of sewing by using the knee presser foot control,' the sales rep told us. Well, my knee didn't hit the bar just right and I had to bat it with my hand to get the presser foot to lower; I had to push the button to get it to raise up. And it took its sweet electronic time to do both. I guess some folks don't have any trouble getting used to that, but I'd much rather have a machine that I can push around to do what I want instead of having to politely ask it to do something and wait for the machine to align itself.
But it was fun to actually sew at the expo and have something cool when I came home.
I had three classes with Cynthia. The first class was supposed to be the Core Sewing - Next Step class, but there were so many people in the class who had never been in one of her classes before that she started with her discussion of grainline on cut edges. I've heard it before, but it's been a while and I've learned a lot since then and I understood it better. She encouraged us to take her 'convex to concave' class at the end of the day Saturday; I thought it was a fitting class that I had taken before but she said it was about sewing a concave curve to a convex curve. Hmm....
I took her hemming class Thursday evening; I'd taken her handsewing class at the very first expo I attended and wanted a review, particularly of the rolled hem stitch after bailing on it earlier this year. I think I was doing it right...I just need patience and practice. ;-).
The next morning I decided to sign up for that last class w/her and I'm ever so glad I did...that was the best class of the weekend. It was stuff I hadn't heard her teach before and was altogether pivotal in a lot of ways. Cynthia is a Teacher ...one of my dreams would be to take her sewing intensive, although she'd probably scold me something awful for my costuming-inspired quick-and-dirty sewing techniques.
Next: the shopping...