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Friday, July 18, 2008

American Sewing Guild Conference - Chicago 2008

What fun! As both a teacher (3 classes) and a vendor - 2 full booths - YEA! I had a great assistant in Darlene - and I was priveleged to meet so many customers - putting faces with names, AND to make new friends. I gave out many 'info sheets' to interested Guilds for possibly travelling to their locale to teach my Creative Sweatshirt Jacket craft - so I'm looking forward to even more travel this next year.

I think the best 'event' I got to attend was the luncheon on Friday. Patti Palmer of Palmer/Pletsch spoke on her 'Dreams on Paper' which was really a rundown of her very exciting and interesting career. Way back in the late 70's, I had Patti to Champaign, IL to do one of her Pants for Any Body seminars. That was when I was teaching from home and selling fabrics for Leiter's Designer Fabrics and House of Laird by sample from my home.

Anyway - the most exciting thing to hear was that her daughter, Melissa and Allyce, daughter of another sewing 'key' person, Cindy Cummins have started this wonderful new business, Talk about 'where it is at' in getting young people to sew - this is it! Twas so much fun to hear proud Mama Patti brag on her daughter! These 2 have patterns with McCall's - and 2 are top sellers! Their 'vodcasts' are free on their site. I watched some this afternoon - what fun. How about panties from swim lycra, finished with just 'cut' edges? Now - THAT'S simple! I have to run out tomorrow to snatch up these patterns just to 'have' them and read the Guide Sheets - also written by these 2 lovely young women. Really - go check out their site - and if you have any youngsters you want to get into sewing - be sure to send them that link:

I have my 'notes' from Patti's talk on the back of 4 business I want to share what I can decipher and remember. Patti's career sgtarted in the 70's - back when 'bake-on' fusibles from Armo were all the rage. She was an educator for Armo. THat job evaporated on her, and she became a sewing school instructor in a department store. Remember those? Her first book with cohort Susan Pletsch was "Pants for Any Body. She shared that that book was actually utilized to teach teachers of mentally retarded HOW to break things down simply for teaching. They have always done such clearly-written books! I feel that if it weren't for Patti & Susan, sewing would NOT be where it is today.
Her next book was in'75 ...all about sewing with UltraSuede. Sheesh - remember when $15/yard for 36" wide fabric was an absolute fortune? I do! She told of placing a $1500 1/2 page ad in Vogue Pattern magazine and praying - to be showered with a BAG of orders almost immediately which paid for the Ad AND the printing of the book! That book sold 750 thousand copies! Macy's even bought that book to sell.
Next was the orange 'Painless Sewing'. I love, love, love this one - and always made it the 'text' for my beginning sewing classes both when I taught at home AND in my shop. Still a 'bible' of sewing in my opinion. They were even on Regis Philbin's show in LA - 'back before he became famous', as she says.
She said she feels she fit every woman who sews in the infamous gingham shell pattern from Vogue - which became their largest selling pattern at 150 thousand in one year. That relationship ended for reasons unexplained - but all for the best, as then the association with McCall's started in 1980 on the same day they were 'fired' from Vogue. When He closes a door - He opens a window - and Patti sure knew how to fly right through the window with gusto!
This was right when John Molloy's book, Dress for Success, was big - and women were entering the work force on higher levels and needed to dress the parft - hence the 8 hour Blazer fit right in. Family Circle Magazine even did an article on that pattern - and they had a 7 million circulation at the time - talk about editorial coverage! You can't get any better advertising than that! Right place...right time. Certainly the 'buzz' in the industry at the time.
She and her staff of 9 experts were traveling and doing seminars all over - 900 per year in those days. At 40, in '86, she became a Mom to Melissa - and anchored the business to the Fabric Depot in the Portland area I believe, where people go to them to learn. She complimented McCall's highly as the 'company with a heart' for giving her the time she needed to grieve and recup when her husband suddenly died in 2000. McCall's kept her patterns going, and today, is a great website - offering a FREE newsletter chuck full of info for styling for different body types.
She was VERY excited about her newest book - The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner - Easy meals for Dinner every Day of the Week. She feels (and I agree) that the way to take back the family is one meal at a time. It has beenproven that drug use decreases and so does obesity if a family will just make it a priority to eat together for dinner 5 times per week. This bookisn't yet released - but soon. Dr. Laura Schlesinger and Debbi Fields both endorse this book! When it is available, I'll be proud to offer it on my site - so I'll let you know!
Truly, truly a wonderful luncheon - and in many ways, a walk down a sewing memory lane for me. How blessed we all are to have women like Patti - and now her daughter, and Cindy's daughter, blazing the way for a new generation of sewers!

Speaking of the new generation - there were several young sewers flaunting their stuff with great pride at the fashion show on Friday night. One even attended my jacket class.

I was able to slip in a class called 'Cool Edges' by Linda Lee and took many notes of inspiration on different and 'unfinished' edges. Watch for my interpretation in new jacket patterns!

It was specially fun to hear sewing friends say that they inspired by my jackets - and were planning to utilize some of my design ideas on their 'regular' jackets - not just sweatshirt bases. That made me excited!

Another new thing gaining in popularity are the sewing 'lounges' around the country. First one was in San Fransisco. Now there is one in Houston. Check it out at: If I had another life - and wanted another storefront (which I do NOT) this is the way I'd go - for sure.

Packing up a double booth takes 3 hours- then packing the van....suffice to say that at 8 pm we just went to eat - and then came just out of Chicago to a motel for some badly needed rest before coming the rest of the way to the Champaign area - home on Monday. I've been catching extra winks all week long :) Midst filling orders like crazy for the new just-available Create-a-Bag Templates by Nancy Zieman for Clover Notions. More on those later...

ASG will be in Albuquerque, NM next year. Consider putting it on YOUR calendar too!

Webisode Taping Report

Lasat week was sure a whirlwind. But... Fun! I started it out flying from Bloomington, IL to Cleveland, IL. Once I was in the hotel, my wonderful hostesses called inviting me to dinner - which is always fun with a bunch of sewing-crazy women! The next morning I was the first one to 'tape' my webisode - but BEFORE that - I got my makeup professionally done!!! Guess where she started??? With my eyes! Before even any foundation was applied. Reason? The eye stuff falls on the cheek anyway - so that is her technique. Full of praises and compliments(which, I noted, she was with everyone), it sure elevated the confidence factor. I had 'done' my hair - which she said was great - but then the microphone doohicky behind your neck and around up to your mouth was weird - and had to be adjusted over and over, so I really wonder how it will look - anyway, I know we are all our own best critics. Sew...I'm sure it will be OK. Of course, I prepared PLENTY to share/teach about my creation of my 'Creative Sweatshirt Jackets' - but it seemed to all go very well.

This is all for the Pfaff-sponsored Since I personally sew on a Pfaff, it was especially 'special' for me. This site began as an education vehicle for dealers only in 2007 - but was so well-received, that it expanded then to a subscription site.
Just click on the site above and go read all about it. Definitely worth it if you are 'into' sewing!!!
They put up a new 'webisode' every 2 weeks. No - I don't know when mine will 'go up' -0 but as soon as I do, I'll let you know!

It sure was all as different as you could get from my basement, down-home taping we did for my DVD with being in a full fledged Studio with Director, numerous cameras, sound, background, etc., etc. The saving grace was knowing that they EDIT! Not a 'live' event by any means.
I had to run off pretty much as soon as it was done to catch my plane back to Illinois - WHICH of COURSE was late - making me miss my connection in Chicago - so instead of staying overnight at O'Hare, I opted to fly 'home' to Champaign airport - and then wonderful hubby drove me to Bloomington to pick up my precious checked box of samples, and my car.
The next day was spent packing for the American Sewing Guild Conference - check out the next posting.

All-in-all, lots of fun. NOT nerve-wracking at all - and definitely looking forward to seeing it!

As seen on Oprah... 10 Things a Woman Must Have in Her Wardrobe?

Caught Oprah the other day...not that I usually do. While I admire her, I feel she has become a 'god' to many in her own rite. Not mine, thank you. Too many choices are 'ok' in her book. Not mine.
Anyway -
She had a fashion 'expert' on there and I scribbled notes while he showed his version of the '10 Things a Woman Must Have in Her Wardrobe". Made some sense - but in my 'book', just because some mortal says it doesn't necessarily make it true. Truth in fashion? Little, I'd say. My comments follow...
1. Trench Coat - a Bright 'kick' color - I'd say: in a color that is good for YOU (your hair color, perhaps your eye color).
2. A Turtleneck - black or white - I'd say: a basic top. If you have a real short neck, perhaps a turtleneck is not your best - maybe a mock turtleneck, or a cowl. DO be careful of what 'neck' you show depending on the shape of your neck though - and that was his legitimate point. Also - I ? black or white. I was taught in my color training never to wear a white whiter than your teeth - and though many have beautiful (worked on) smiles these days - I believe that is still true - whatever 'white' your teeth are (or have become) don't go whiter than that. Black is good, but that close to your face - if you've aged, or have lighter, softer coloring - I think not. Other dark basics may be MUCH better for YOU.
3. Black Trousers - if petite, tapered. If hippy - fuller. Now - THAT I AGREE FULLY WITH!
4. Tunic - Yep - agree. Belting or not belting may be key for you though. Be careful on length - BEware to NOT cut yourself in half!
5. White Jeans - not on MY hips, thank you. Perhaps light khaki - but not white. Again - my humble opinion.
6. Dark Jeans - Yep - agree. If a choice between too large and too small - I'd rather look like I lost weight rather than I need to lose weight - thank you.
7. Black Dress - Yep - agree. If black is not your best color, just expose some skin between 'you' and where the dress starts to 'soften'. Jewelry could be all important to bring light colors in 'you' - your hair, etc., down into the 'dress'.
8. White Denim Jacket. Why white? Again - see my comments above. I'd opt for a color in tone with the jeans - or both pair myself.
9. Black Skirt - Yep - agree. Careful of the length! Be sure it ends at a place on your leg where it indents - not a wide portion on your leg.
10. Timeless Cashmere Sweater - I suppose. I've lived this long without one though. Do not wear well. High maintenance. I'd say any classic sweater style- or better yet, any classic sweater set in your eye color.

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