Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Puyallup Sewing Expo 2014

I can now say that I've spent a couple of brief hours at the Puyallup Sewing Expo.

On Sunday, we piled my visiting mother and 20-month-old daughter into my Prius and drove through pouring rain and limited visibility to our destination at the Washington State Fairgrounds. We got a later start than I had been hoping for and were further delayed by hour-long side trip to IKEA in Renton to pick up a few pieces of play furniture for my daughter, so we didn't actually make it to the Expo until 1pm.

Puyallup Sewing Expo gate
How gray was it outside? The weather was so dark and misty that I had thought that I had accidentally turned on the black-and-white exposure setting on my phone when I initially previewed that picture; I couldn't see any color until I imported the photo to my laptop.

By 1pm, enough people had already left for the day that we were able to snag a parking spot in the front row of the lot directly in front of the main gate. I think that much of the well-publicized crowds had either decided to stay home or were gone from the inside of the Expo, as well, because it really wasn't horrendously crowded inside. Now, that's not to say that there weren't a lot of people, but outside of the Vogue Fabrics booth, you didn't have to elbow your way past people to get your hands on a bolt of fabric. So what did I think of the Expo?

Stuff I liked

  • I had a fun time wandering up and down the vendor stalls. As I had been forewarned, a lot of the vendors leaned heavily towards quilting. I admire quilts and can see myself wanting to give quilting a try at some point, but I do not currently quilt, so it was easy to walk right by ~50% of the booths (at least).
  • The Vogue Fabrics booth was impressive, both in size and the amount of fabric that they squeezed into the area. This was also our first stop, which was the only thing that kept me from blowing my whole vendor budget there. Vogue was also the only booth that had a fairly sizable crowd. 
  • Local Seattle-area stores had a decent presence. I had never been into Nancy's Sewing Basket before, and after fondling some of their fabrics, I will definitely need to pay them a visit. Pacific Fabrics, which I already knew was awesome, had a Vogue-sized booth, as well.
  • Parking was free. (Not something to be underestimated at a venue like this.)
  • This sign:

My disappointments

  • With mom and toddler in tow, I didn't get a chance to check out any of the runway shows or any of the classes. That will change next year.
  • I was a little bummed that the demographic of the non-quilting vendors clearly skewed a bit older than me. We had the usual suspects of indie pattern companies (Sewing Studio, Coni Crawford, Silhouette Patterns), but I would have loved to have seen some sewn-up samples from the "newer" kids on the block that skew a bit younger, like Colette, Sewaholic, or Victory patterns. Granted, I think the targeted vendor demographic could pretty easily be explained by looking around at the crowd in attendance.
  • On a related note, I was a bit surprised at the lack of vendors targeting people who sew for children. There are a TON of indie pattern companies for kids and several online vendors who specialize in kids' fabric. And even the older demographic sews for grandkids, right? I did run across one vendor--Sew It Up, out of Texas, who had the most adorable samples of ruffle fabric projects and pre-cut fabric lengths, and I bought several lengths of fabric from them.

My purchases

I managed to walk away with only 2.25 new yards of fabric, all of which were picked out by my daughter (they're all for her, anyway). Note that she LOVED the ruffle fabric!

From the top, going clockwise:
  • 7/8 of a yard of blue and white floral-printed corduroy remnant, purchased from Vogue Fabrics. This was a lightweight corduroy with a nice drape. I'm thinking that it will become an A-line jumper or dress for Eva.
  • 1/2 yard Bright green ruffle fabric. I may have steered her towards this--if I pair a skirt made with this with a navy blue t-shirt/leggings, she'll have a fun outfit for Sounders FC matches.
  • 1/2 yard gray/coral ruffle fabric. Another skirt or dress for Eva.
  • 1/2 yard coral ruffle fabric (sense a theme here?). Another skirt/dress for Eva.


I'm glad that I went, even if I was a little disappointed with the lack of shopping variety available. I would definitely like to go again, but next year, I will just take that Friday off from work and go by myself. I definitely want to check out some of the classes and runway shows next year.


  1. For the last few years, I've shared the same disappointments with the American Sewing Expo. The size of the expo has decreased dramatically and there no longer appears to be a focus on garment (non-crafty) sewing. And parking isn't free!

  2. Surprising they didn't have more kids' patterns vendors! But maybe the issue is partly that so many of the indie kids' designers are PDF and not paper? That leaves out sources like Peek-a-Boo and Blank Slate, neither of which to my knowledge, do printed patterns. But Figes, Oliver and S, Violet Fields, Clever Charlotte-- among others, of course-- are paper patterns and have some truly unique designs ranging from excellent basics-with-a-twist to fashion forward designs. Clever Charlotte's Raven jacket and pants, for example, are unisex and really fun.

    That corduroy you got is totes adorbs (ugh, I just used asinine non-words) and the cat seems to want a ruffled blouse too!

  3. That volcano sign...I wasn't expecting that. I meant to take a picture of it but forgot. I'm used to seeing hurricane evacuation signs.

    For my first sewing expo, it wasn't too bad. I too would have liked more garment friendly booths.

    My cat does the same thing. He's a bit pissed at me ever since I bought one of those cups with the built-in straw...

  4. Just realized the cat comment was supposed to go to your other post. Ooops.