I went to the Original Sewing Expo in Lakeland several weeks ago. Boy, was it fun! It was my first time attending a sewing expo and I really had a good time. I took both workshop type classes and lecture sessions. I met some great people and bought some more stuff for my sewing room, mostly notions but some patterns also. There were some AMAZING sewing machines that we used at the workshops but I did not buy any machines.
I attended the full 3 days (March 17 – 19, 2022 Thurs. – Sat.). I did not attend the More the Day Before full-day extensive workshops that were held on Wednesday. I am glad I didn’t as I was pooped by Saturday!
I will list below the sewing classes I registered for and attended. I plan on writing in-depth, individual posts about my experience in each. As I write each one, I will link them here so anyone who’d like more details can easily click and read the post. Keep in mind that this list reflects only the classes I took. There were are least 8 other choices for each time slot. I did not take any quilting classes or bag making. There were many of those. I focused mainly on garment sewing. OK? OK!
The difference between handmade and homemade is in the details.-Various Sewing Expo Teachers
- Front Drape Knit Top for Serger – Nick Coman
- Commercial Notions for the Home Studio – Joe Vecchiarelli
- It’s Sew Easy: Sewing With Knits – Kathy Ruddy
- Darling Details: Sewing Children’s Garments – Kathy McMakin
- Pants: One Pattern, Five Styles – Kathy Ruddy
- Notions You Can’t Sew Without – Connie Palmer
- Acute Angle Blouse – Nick Coman
- Fabulous Fabric Manipulations by Machine – Cheryl Sieboda
- Wrap Pants: One Seam with Little Fitting – Pattie Otto
- Quick Gifts & Shortcuts – Connie Spurlock
- Sewing Hacks for a Professional Look – Jim Suzio
In addition to the above classes, there were vendors and exhibits. So many vendors under 1 roof! Although I had a pretty busy schedule each day, I did have time to visit the vendors daily in between my classes and at the end of each day. The vendors closed up shop at 5:30 daily and there were evening workshops that ran from 6:00-9:00pm. So I had to be mindful of my schedule if I wanted to visit a particular vendor.
I learned while I was at the expo that the teachers are not paid for the lectures or workshops they host. Many of the vendors were also teachers. So, of course, in their class, they promoted the items they sell in their booths. Nothing at all wrong with this! I so appreciated all I learned at the classes that I was happy to support them by visiting their booths and buying things. I only bought 1 piece of fabric, and it was actually because I misunderstood the fabric required for one of my workshops. I thought the one I brought with me was not suitable so I bought a piece of hand-dyed gorgeous fabric from Nick Coman. I am not sorry I bought it. But, being hand-dyed, it cost considerably more than I usually spend at the local fabric store so I did not use it at the expo. When I realized that I could definitely use the interlock I brought with me to class, I went with that and left the sumptuous hand-dyed purchase for a later special project. I will not cut that until I give it lots of thought!
Apart from the one piece of fabric I bought lots of different notions, patterns, publications and take-home tutorials in the form of booklets and DVDs. I will detail these in a future post and link it here in case you’re interested in the things that wouldn’t stop calling my name.
One of the highlights for me was meeting Kathy McMakin in person. Kathy is a sewing whiz and teaches many classes in the Martha Pullen organization. I’m registered for an online class that provides a Martha Pullen license to officially teach the projects and I was really looking forward to meeting Kathy. She has been a darling in all her email communications with me and meeting her in person was something I just had to do. She did not disappoint!
Something else I really enjoyed were the daily prize drawings. They were held near the end of each day and while you did have to be present to win, they also provided tickets to the 2023 expo for 1 of the people whose ticket was pulled but they were not present. They gave away many prizes daily so there were lots of tickets pulled where the people had left already. The gentleman pulling the tickets would ask the crowd if he should give more time for the person to appear. The crowd laughed and shouted, “NO!” It was all in good fun. Those tickets were set aside and at the very end, one was awarded tickets to next year’s event. I did not win anything on any day but I still had fun dreaming that I would! I did attend all the drawings and the vendors provided many great prizes. Great sewing machines were given away and many bags filled with notions. There were many lucky winners each day!
Lastly, I’ll mention that the venue was the R.P. Funding Center in Lakeland. I had never been to it. Parking was on-site and very close to the doors leading to the event. Parking cost $10 (they do take cards) and the parking attendant was very pleasant! I made sure to go to the same booth each day so I could exchange pleasantries with her. =). Inside, the staff was helpful whenever I had questions. And there were plenty of sanitizing stations since we were still dealing with a pandemic. While the majority of people attending did not wear masks, I did. I have asthma and many times it is uncontrolled. I was dealing with a flare-up and chose the extra precaution.
While I did not stay at an on-site hotel (I stayed with nearby family who blessed me with caring for my doggie while I attended the expo) one of the classes I took was not held in the RP Funding Center but in one of the hotels. As I walked out to the hotel I noticed that both hotels are just as close to the venue and only a minute’s walk away. The hotels are the Hyatt Place Lakeland Center and the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Lakeland.
Although it’s been 3 weeks since the sewing expo, I’ve been busy at work and have yet to unpack all the goodies I bought. I am looking forward to doing that and using them. I will blog about them when I unpack and use. Stay tuned!