Monday, March 5, 2012

Sew Expo Perspective

Well, I'm home from Seattle (the picture at the left is typical of Northwest weather days-overcast or raining!) and from attending the Sewing and Stitchery Expo at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center.  What an experience!  I ended up attending six of the seven classes that I signed up for--One I missed, just because of logistics.

I spent time browsing the booths of over 400 vendors of sewing or sewing related products--not unlike browsing on the computer, but my feet and my back got very tired walking the huge showplace at the fairgrounds! 

Picture from SewExpo blog

I watched demonstrations of various sewing machine models from several manufacturers, including Husqvarna, Brother, Janome, Juki, and Bernina.  This was what I had expected.

Note:  You can see more about the behind the scenes SewExpo activities on the SewExpo blog. (Picture at the right taken from the blog.)

And what didn't I expect?   I didn't expect to be overwhelmed!  It was as if I was on overload and just couldn't take anymore!  I expected to be inspired, not humbled by my lack of knowledge of the sewing field!  What was the cause of this?  It was due to the overall point of the Expo. Everything was geared to SHOPPING! Even the classes were done by vendors who let you know where their booth was and what they were selling.  I had expected to gather information about increasing my skills, not about using new products.  Case in point: a class about bags.  I expected to learn some new techniques for making better bags, but instead, it was nearly an hour infomercial about a particular product that you really must use when you make a bag!  Not entirely bad information, but not what I anticipated.

All the classes were like this.  How to use this particular stitching technique with your serger (some usable information there); ideas for dressings up thrift store clothing using your extra fancy embroidery machine--which I do not have!  I even won the door prize in this class for a free three month subscription to a pattern service for my "non-existent" expensive embroidery machine.  And were there inexpensive machines being demoed there?  Majority were all over the three thousand dollar mark!  I felt like a minnow in a whale tank!

Now don't get me wrong, I gleaned from the experience, but it was not a hefty meal.  I saw gorgeous quilts--every booth seemed to use beautiful quilts as their backdrops, whether they were a quilt shop or not. This was overload too, and we could not take any pictures!  I did snap a couple while I was having lunch.  I don't think that I violated anyone's private creativity! I did glean a handful of vendor possibilities that I may use in the future.  But in a sea of stitchery stuff, with representative quilt stores from all over America, I  am sure that I will not be shopping from their online options, unless they had something special.  It was all geared toward them feeding on me and the other attendees. I would have preferred to see booths from fabric manufactures with their new line of goods.  Then I could go home and ask my local shop to carry what I liked. 

My purchases?   I spent a whole $22, after it cost me $78 for entrance and class fees. As to going again next year?  I probably will not spend the money, unless one of my daughters or DIL's just really want to go.   So . . . . "Sew" . . . here's a final view that maybe someone can use for inspiration . . . the reflected lights on the floor are pretty!

See quilt back drop in the upper left
P.S. There were two pretty good classes that I will report on tomorrow--stay tuned--you might glean something too!

P.S.S  Here's a blogpost about someone else--a vendor--who was overwhelmed!


storybeader said...

sorry that it wasn't what you expected. I totally understand where you are coming from. I'm not too excited about those really fancy machines, so I wouldn't get too much out of what went on there. But a trip to Seattle sounds nice... {:-D

FabricFascination said...

I can totally identify with your experience of shopping overload. Even malls are overwhelming to me. Too bad that the classes were not more informative. I look forward to your post tomorrow.

Melissa @ Hilltop Hausfrau said...

Really interesting to read this because I'm often tempted to attend these events. Your post confirms that they are what they think they are. It sounds like you made the best of it (also looking forward to reading more about the specific classes you took) nonetheless!

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

Sorry it wasn't a better experience. I'm glad you learned a few new things.

Erika said...

The International Quilt Show was marvelous but you had to register and it was not open to the public--this is how I saw the fabric from manufacturers. I know our local quilt shop goes to smaller shows as well; maybe there are some in your area?

Thanks for the pics and your take on the experience. Sometimes I want to LEARN and not be reminded of why I keep my checkbook clutched tightly:)


Anonymous said...

Oh man...that sounds like a bummer! I'm glad you got some valuable information out of it though! I would be pretty disappointed too!

Rose said...

Sorry that it wasn't a better experience. That's too bad that it was so geared toward shopping. I'm glad that you learned a few things and look forward to hearing about the more beneficial classes.

Janet Bocciardi said...

You have better self-control than I do! Good for you to not get sucked in to all the selling. I learned from attending other events like this to pace myself. Even though I don't sew, I think I would've enjoyed wandering the aisles one day. Classes would've been good for me, but I would've been very upset if so much time was spent on selling! That stinks. I have not had that experience with the bead shows or yarn shows. The sewing convention needs to clean up their act, as I don't think that's what you paid for.

Linda Pruitt said...

I have done some future research, albeit after the fact, and have found that other Expos in other cities, touted as "the Original SewExpo" have better hands-on classes and seem different. Maybe I could attend one of those, but they are farther away for me to travel. Oh well, there is always the internet and Youtube!

Judy Nolan said...

I'm sorry that more of the classes didn't start off with the assumption that folks have, in general, ordinary sewing machines, not specialty ones. I hope they provided a way for you to give feedback.