Creative Opportunities · sewing

The 2018 Sewing & Stitchery Expo – An Amazing Show!

The 2018 Sewing & Stitchery Expo wrapped up about 10 days ago and WOW, what a great show! Full of fabulous classes, wonderful people, awesome vendors, terrific events and fabric. It’s the highlight of my Sewful Life every year. Were you there? If not, come along on a tour with me! It’s tough to squeeze four days of sewing AMAZINGNESS into just a few words, so settle in for a while!

Sewing Expo 2018
Image Credit: Pacific Fabrics

This year I was privileged to teach three different classes – seven sessions in all. Teaching that much kept me happy and busy, but I still found time to shop and drop in on a couple of events and classes. Best of all I had a marvelous time greeting old friends and meeting new ones. Those who sew and quilt are among the warmest, friendliest people I’ve ever met!

The Heart of Sew Expo – Volunteers and Donations

And, speaking of warm, there were two charitable opportunities at the 2018 Sewing Expo. A heartfelt thank you to Coats and Clark for donating thread to be given to participants in both of these projects. I love seeing the sewing industry supporting great causes!

  • The first opportunity required attendees to order a special Simplicity Rare Bear pattern, stitch up one or more and deliver it unstuffed to a booth in the Showplex. Volunteers stuffed the 800 (!!!) donated bears at the show so they’d be ready for homes with children who suffer from rare, little-known diseases. Click here to learn more about Rare Bears.
  • The Tacoma Humane Society also benefited from the golden hearts of Expo sewists and quilters. Their booth at the show offered a chance to finish and monogram a doggy bandana in return for a nominal donation. This is the second year for this project and it was, once again a great success. The serger and machine embroidery thread used for the bandanas was donated by Coats and Clark, also!

The Expo employs a small, but mighty seasonal staff who skillfully pull together this incredible show every single year. But, let’s not forget the amazing Clothing and Textile Advisors of Washington who donate their time to keep the Sewing and Stitchery Expo running smoothly. These tireless women help in classrooms, host the on-site ticket and information booths, oversee the backstage of fashion shows, collect tickets and manage crowds at classes and events. They are the on-duty winged angels of awesomeness every moment of the show’s four days. Big hugs and high fives to each of them for a job WELL DONE!!!

Classes – Lots and Lots and Lots of Classes

Classes vary in length of time and level of participation. There are One Needle, 45 minute lecture/demo classes all the way to the much longer Four Needle hands-on classes. There are lots of variations in between and an excellent selection of topics and projects for all interests!

  • Hands-On classes begin on Wednesday, although the show officially runs Thursday thru’ Sunday. I heard great things about all the hands-on classes from those who attended. My friend, Fonnell, who was my able assistant in several classes, especially enjoyed the class taught by Joyce Teng of TSC Designs. It was a fabric ink dyeing class and the colors and designs were beautiful.

Me and Anne Whalley at PacFab

  • The one class I was able to attend was Anne Whalley’s Transition Your Spring to Summer Wardrobe. I met Australian Anne, known as the Pattern Whisperer, at a presentation at Pacific Fabrics the week before the Sewing & Stitchery Expo. Her specialty is making the most of sewing patterns, fabulous fabrics and your own personal style and I knew I wanted more! Anne offered her image consulting service at the show for a greatly reduced fee and I signed up. There will be a future post on that experience, too – I’m a huge Anne Fan now!
  • I also heard good things about Deborah Canham’s serger technique classes and the free upcycling stage presentations by Michelle of Paganoonoo Patterns. Of course, there were many, many more wonderful classes, too! If you were there, what were your favorites?

The Grand Events

A huge cheer for the Baby Lock sewing machine company, sponsor of the two major events at Sew Expo! Back for yet another year, their representatives made possible the Friday Night Live and Quilter’s Night Out that add a spectacular finish to the middle days of the show. Baby Lock representatives gave away loads of fabulous sewing machines each of the two nights and the excitement was electrifying!! (Pun intended!) No, I didn’t win one, but I loved seeing the thrill of those who did.

  • Friday Night Live was an enjoyable walk through Hollywood fashions courtesy of charming headliner Joe Vecchiarelli. Joe left the hospital just days before the Sewing Expo due to an extended illness. With the help of his fashion friends, he still put on a great presentation for all of us. Stars of the night included Project Runway Season 16 winner, Kentaro, an adorable local dance troupe and fabulous fashions. It was tough to take pictures, but the designer fashions ranged from vintage gowns to Kentaro’s collection to challenge garments created in the last year.
  • I was exhausted and missed Valori Wells at Quilters Night Out on Saturday. Reports from attendees were great and I wish I could have gone. Sometimes after an amazing couple of show days, a sewist just needs a fast sandwich and her pillow!
  • On Sunday, I snuck into the last two-thirds of a Simplicity Cosplay Patterns presentation that I thoroughly enjoyed. Although, I’m not a cosplayer, I love keeping up with trends in the sewing community.  Experts from Simplicity Patterns presented a Trunk Show of garments along with tips and tricks for achieving the look you want. I was especially intrigued by the armor constructed from a special foam and the ethereal organza fairy costumes. I may need some of these. Just for at-home wear, you know! Ever-generous Coats and Clark doanted Eloflex stretch thread for each attendee to take home and try on their makes.

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Shopping – YES!!!!

And. There. Was. Fabric!!!! And. Patterns!!!! The vendors were wonderful and I thought there was a good balance of quilting, handbags, home decor and garment sewing booths. Something for everyone, plus really lovely yarn vendors, too.

I’m partial to the Pacific Fabrics and Bo-Nash booths as they were my sponsors for the classes I taught. Such awesome, supportive people deserve a shout out for their amazingness! Both booths were packed continuously and I saw a lot of grinning sewists leaving the booths. There will be individual follow-up posts on my classes over the next few weeks, so watch for those!

Sew Expo Facebook

Next Year! February 28 – March 3, 2019 

The Sewing & Stitchery Expo is the largest show of it’s kind in the US. Living nearby is an incredible privilege – sewists, quilters and textile artists come from all over the world. If you’d like to share the community sewing spirit, check out and ask to join the Puyallup Sew Expo Fun Facebook group. It’s a wonderful way to connect with other Expo-ers and see what they are doing in conjunction with the show. Be sure to follow the Sewing and Stitchery Expo Facebook page and Instagram as well as sign up for their email newsletter. There’s a blog, too!

Years ago a dear friend who doesn’t sew obsessively like I do, came to the show to have dinner with me one night. After walking around for a couple of hours, she smilingly commented to me “It’s kind of a cult, isn’t it?” I smiled back and delightedly said “YES!!! And an amazing cult at that!”

If you couldn’t come this year, add February 28 – March 3, 2019 to your calendar for next year. Now!! Seriously! It’s the kind of “cult” you won’t be sorry you joined. Your life will be enriched, your sewing skills will improve and you’ll leave with loads of amazing new sewing sisters and brothers. You can’t beat that with a spool of thread now can you!?!

See you next year!



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