Mom and I went to the Novi Sewing Expo last weekend. Overall the show was smaller than I expected. Perhaps because previous shows I have been to there have been RV shows or snowmobiling shows that tend to be huge and completely fill the expo space, I was expecting there to be more vendors. For example there was only one thread vender that I saw but although they had a lot of product I didn't find any wooly nylon. There were some nice fabrics and some that were simply so-so in a variety of price ranges.
The "Chico Twist" Neckline
I took a one hour class in the morning, "Wow Necklines for Knits" with Londa Rohlfing. Being a one hour class there isn't any hands-on and there isn't much time to cover a lot of things, and there are not detailed instructions provided so there is an assumption that you already know how to put in a knit neckband or will buy one of her patterns. I did come away with a few ideas to try such as the "Chico Twist". Basically you make a wide neckband and then offset the long edge. I folded the neckband over as normal and then clipped it every inch and a half. This made it really easy to line up the offset evenly. then I basted the edge before attaching it to the neckline. Londa filled the hour and had examples on hand to see and relevant handouts.
Another idea I took away from this class was the little cards you keep in your purse that give fabric estimates for basic projects. I like the idea in principle but I really don't need any more clutter to be carrying around. I also don't need to carry fabric requirements for every size out there since I mostly sew only for myself. So I adapted this idea to make a tiny spreadsheet of the most common projects I am likely to pick up fabric for on a whim and taped it to the back of my fabric store membership card. I know - brilliant, right?!
I took a four hour class in the afternoon, the "Cover Hem Workshop" with Gail Yellen. The organizers of the event didn't leave enough time between workshops to switch the machines over from the serging class in the morning to the coverhem class in the afternoon. This resulted in the class not starting until 45 minutes later so that the machines could be converted. I don't blame Gail for this, and she was very apologetic, but you shouldn't lose almost a quarter of your class time for the room to be prepped. Another issue that I thought was a big deal is that there weren't enough machines for everyone and 4 people had to share. This didn't effect me directly but I didn't think it was appropriate that these folks had spent their money for the class only to have to share a machine. Again, poor organization. Having said that, Gail put on a great class. I came away with quite a few new ideas and I found her to be a very good speaker and teacher. Also, because of the hands-on format of the class, I met and chatted with some wonderful people. It was a fun afternoon.
I did try out a couple of machines, but I was well behaved and didn't buy any lol. I was impressed with the Juki 1000 serger, and when the time comes to replace my Brother 1034D I think this is the way I will go. I could have got a really good show price on it but having bought two new machines already this year I managed to be disciplined. I also used the Babylock Ovation for the four hour class. This was a great opportunity to try out a machine that everyone raves about. I didn't find it any easier/better for coverstitching than my Janome coverstitch machine. The lighting is better, and the air threading is a nice feature that I could probably get used to quickly. They were offering the machines heavily discounted for the end of the show but I didn't feel the need to go put my name on one. It did seem to take them quite a long time to convert the machines over, so I do think that having a dedicated serger and separate coverstitch machine makes more sense for me.
We did have some sewing "rock star" sightings. I bought Angela Wolf's jeans pattern and Mom had a class with her. Also mom got to chat with Gertie. All in all we had a good time and I'm really glad we went, but I don't see a need to do more than one day. I will probably go back next year.