What Connie has to say about Cuddle

Connie Palmer is a legend in the Martha Pullen world and we have the pleasure of having her teach for us this year, and she’ll be teaching a Cuddle Blanket Workshop that features a pre-cut kit from one of our amazing sponsors, Shannon Fabrics!

What does Connie have to say about working with those tricky plush fabric? Here’s some great pointers:

  •  Use a large needle – 100 / 110 if needed, and be sure to use good thread, preferably polyester, not cotton.
  • Use Press N’Seal® on one side so that the nap stays more flat
  • Try to be sure to not cut the furry part, but cut the reverse side so that, as Connie says it, “you don’t have to think as much!”
  • Fun trick: You can put batting in between the plush materials to make it more padded!

Connie says she loves this specific project because it challenges you which allows you to be more creative. This is not everyday work – it’s FUN!

Here’s a picture of what you can expect to make in the Cuddle Blanket Workshop:


More from Connie at the Expo:
Working With Non-Average Fabrics
Notions You Can’t Sew Without
Trims and Embellishments for Garments, Gifts and Home

More from Shannon Fabrics:
Check out their website at http://www.shannonfabrics.com!

Hey Atlanta, we’ll see you this week!

A Q&A with Evy Hawkins

Marlene Ingraham, Founder of Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, is continuing her series of interviews with various faculty members and sewing personalities for The Maker’s Experience (Did you catch part one featuring Linda Lee?). Today, we learn a little more about Evy Hawkins of A Bit of Stitch.


From Marlene: I had such a great time talking with Evy about her sewing life and her business and how she keeps so many balls in the air (and is always smiling, even in on the phone, I can tell).  And while we were talking we discovered we could do something really extraordinary in her workshops – take a look to the photos at the bottom of this post to see just how great these workshops really are!  Meanwhile, you’ll get way more than you thought!  We can not only send everyone home with a complete embroidery design file with project directions (did you even know these projects are all in-the-hoop projects?), but also give ALL the kits from a class to EVERYONE!  Evy is using Riley Blake fabrics, so you know they’ll be great ….. and so for instance, the Boot for Loot class has three kit choices and you’ll get to choose one to complete in class and take home the other two!  Complete!  Same with the Happy Day Banner (3 choices) and Foliage Frolic (2 choices).

Rileyblake kitting

Fabric cuts from Riley Blake kits

I guess the more we talk, the better things get … and so without further ado, here’s my first interview with Evy –

From Marlene: Where do you find your inspiration?

From Evy: Everywhere! I love to see the beauty in our world, even in unexpected places and unexpected things, don’t you? There’s a spider web on my porch right now that keeps telling me “Sashiko stitching on gray – quilt, quilt quilt!” And then there was the pot of burnt corn last week (well, I was SEWING, not pot minding!) and I noticed how pretty that yellow looked against the black charred pot. Now I need to make a yellow and black something, it’s was a stunning color combo.

MI: What are your top three sources for creativity?

EH: My eyes, my hands and my crazy brain. Well, as for eyes I’m guessing that like most folks what I see is my greatest inspiration. That’s why we love magazines and books and quilt shows! (And shopping, ha!) And have you ever been in a fabric store that you were told not to touch anything? They know us. We need to fondle the fabric! It speaks inspiration to us through our fingertips, right? Sometimes just picking up a skein of yarn makes my brain go CLICK, and there it is, all laid out for me in my minds eye – a new project! Then there’s my brain which some nights just won’t go to sleep along with the rest of me and keeps me wide awake thinking of “wonder what this would look like” “wonder if I can make that stitch look like this thing on that fabric?”

MI: What’s your favorite part of creating?

EH: When all the materials are gathered, the plan is hatched and the first step is waiting. Ahhhhh…. It’s like the first bite of really good chocolate. Just perfect.

MI: And your least favorite?

EH: Cleaning up the mess afterwards. I have to put on really funky music and talk myself into it. Usually I bribe myself. “If you clean up this table you can go have a cup of tea and a cookie!”

MI: Your favorite color?

EH: When you asked me this one a couple of colors popped in my mind and then they kept popping. Well, huh. I thought I had a favorite color, but you know what, I think I just love them all! I do tend to gravitate to a certain color family for a few weeks and then find myself moving on to a new one. Right now I’ve been fixed on aqua blues. Right before that it was pink. Next I have a feeling it is going to be yellow, charred around the edges!

MI: Favorite food?

EH: Something that someone else has cooked for me. Well, I don’t think I can live without Earl Gray tea and dark chocolate, but other than that if I don’t have to cook it, it’s my favorite! (Tell me again what this boxy thing with knobs is in the room with the refrigerator?)

MI: What do you think would surprise most people about yourself?

EH: For the last few years I’ve been Baby lock’s Sashiko spokesperson and that’s been awesome. I mean, have you SEEN what that machine can do with that one sweet little stitch? And then there’s also Baby lock’s Embellisher – a needle felting machine – which in my humble opinion is right next to the Sashiko in being brilliantly creative. My work and teaching events have revolved around them so much because I am totally in love with what I can create on these two unique machines. Many people are surprised to learn that my main business is actually machine embroidery design. Figuring out what I can teach my embroidery machine to do next is one of life’s greatest pleasures for me. Plus the fact that I can take the art that is running wild around in my head and put it in stitches that someone else can stitch out too – bonus fun! I am tickled pink six ways of Sunday that I’m getting to teach three embroidery classes for the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo! Can’t wait!

Evy’s workshops taught in Fredericskburg, VA:

First picture: Foliage Frolic
Second picture:  A Boot for Loot
Third picture: Happy Day Banner

Foliage Frolic


A Boot for Loot

Happy Day Banner

A Q&A with Linda Lee

Marlene Ingraham, Founder of Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, is embarking on a series of interviews with various faculty members and sewing personalities for The Maker’s Experience.   She loves to learn about people, and finds everything adds to her enjoyment of their art.  We hope you feel the same way!  Today, we learn a little more about Linda Lee.

From Linda:  Hi, I’m Linda Lee, the owner of the Sewing Workshop Pattern Collection. I have been producing patterns since 1991 out of a need to make clothes to wear that are flattering to a my maturing figure while still high-style and fashion forward with an avant garde edge. Plus, I live in a town with limited clothing stores, and I don’t fit in most clothes on the racks in the stores anyway.

MI:  Oh my, does ANYONE? Here’s what interests me today, and I quote from your website:  “She (Linda) loves to investigate the engineering of garment sewing — thus the geometry of the patterns. And she likes to watch the transformation of her students’ views of themselves as she works with them to create wearable wardrobes that complement how they want to express themselves.”

I’d like to explore these two thoughts with you today….

Let’s start with your background and how that influences your pattern designs and how you dress yourself.  How much of your architecture/interior design background shows up in your patterns and clothing?

LL:  I owned an interior design business for almost 40 years, and I find that I still bring some of the strategies and concepts as a designer to my style in patterns. I love interesting architectural shapes in garments. I’ve sewn enough “two fronts, a back and two sleeve” garments in my lifetime. Now I am interested in sewing pieces that are more like a puzzle – angles, asymmetry, surprise details. Follow the directions and magic happens. And that magic transforms how I feel about myself and am portrayed in this world.

lindaI like for people to ask if I have made my outfit. I assume they are asking because whatever I have on is unique, made in an interesting fabric and fits me well.

MI:  That’s a very safe assumption – I’ve always been impressed by the expert finishing and small details – artful and precise, without being stuck up about it.  I don’t know how to say it, but the clothes have an approachable attitude even in their sophistication.

LL:  Maybe it’s because, just like the process I used as an interior designer of coordinating wallpapers, fabrics and floor coverings, I am comfortable with and like to mix textures, patterns and motifs. In order to bring that to my garment style, I am constantly perusing home decorating magazines and online interior sources plus fashion resources as well. I want my pattern collection to be fresh and on trend.

jacketpieced jacket

MI:  We are not all born with or have taken the time to develop a strong personal design sense, and it’s hard to see ourselves as other see us, too.  Do you see your retreat students’ self-image change during the time you spend together?

LL:  I love teaching workshops such as the Knits Workshop as part of the School of Art Fashion with Original and Sewing Expos because I get to see the pure delight of my students when they discover they can actually sew well using good techniques and equipment, plus they leave with completed ensembles that fit and flatter. I have actually had students tell me that a workshop has “changed their lives” and definitely given them the confidence to step out of their normal sewing box and sew on great fabric using patterns that are for real people.


Unknown-1MI:  What are your favorite features of the knit garment patterns you chose for the retreat?  I know you chose them for a reason ….. and not just that they’re pretty quick to make  — they are that too, I know.  But what else?

LL:  I chose the garments for this season’s knit ensemble for several reasons. First, I want my students to experience sewing on different weights and types of knit, from tissue weight to sweater knits. I insist on using the very best quality designer knits in order to get really good results. Then I want to ingrain the idea that knits don’t have to be intimidating. We wear knits almost every day. It’s time to hone our skills and sew what we really want to wear.

MI:  Oh, gosh, I love that idea!  We so often only sew ‘special’ things, and that’s just not satisfying enough after awhile…..

LL:  The eTee is the best-fitting and most flattering t-shirt I have ever had in the pattern collection.  The eShrug, made as a vest, is currently being shown in many forms in every catalog, fashion magazine, and style ad in the universe.  It is easy and fast to make, and super flattering on everyone from ages 25 to 75+. The variations are endless. And the pants, well, no doubt they are the most versatile and wearable pants with today’s tops and tunics, and everyone who has made them is in love with them and has made more than one pair.


MI: I’ve been backstage dressing models during your fashion show at the Expo, and am always amazed by how very lovely – that’s the word I want to use, lovely – your garments are.  Not fussy, but distinctive.  Made simply and perfectly, made using high-end fabrics.  And they look so great on all the models, who are not all “model size and shape.’’  Please explain….

LL:  I sew to replicate the great clothes that I can’t afford in the best stores, and I sew for the love of the process and the challenge of the engineering. Every woman of any size or figure type deserves to look amazing. Every year I have to re-evaluate what looks good on me and my customers. I am of the age that if something feels good and looks good on me, then most likely it will work on a lot of people. While I don’t have to have the very latest design craze, there are definitely silhouettes of the time that I want to have represented in the pattern line.

So….. I hope to see everyone who sews in a workshop or lecture somewhere along the way.  To me it’s about sharing our love of the art of sewing and feeling good about ourselves.

MI:  Amen!  And thank you for your time today, Linda.  I think I need to be in your Knits Ensemble retreat myself….. see you in Fredericksburg!



Cuddle With Shannon Fabrics

Hello, everyone, we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Fabrics. We are partnering with them for our Expos and they have lots of goodies. Find them at the Expo!

Shannon Fabrics, Inc, founded in 1995 and headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, is the leading US importer and distributor of all types of plush fabrics. Shannon Fabrics carries the world’s largest selection of comfy Cuddle fabrics and ultra plush minky fabrics. Website-Landing-Image-Kozy-CuddleThe company also offers fabulous Faux Furs, super soft Silky Satin fabrics, Terry Cloth, Cuddle Suede, Embrace Double Gauze embrace double gauzeand novelties. With its signature Cuddle collection, Shannon Fabrics has become a household name. The company works diligently with independent and in-house designers to develop and create unique fabric collections. Shannon Fabrics caters especially to independent fabric stores and quilt shops offering yardage, kits and precuts.Cuddle kitsThe Shannon Fabrics website has a wealth of information: free patterns, tips and tricks, PDF tutorials and video tutorials and a blog!

Shannon Fabrics is proud to announce its release of new Embrace double gauze. This fabric collection was released in early May 2015 and is available at independent fabric stores and quilt shops. Embrace Double Gauze has a very soft hand, is 100% cotton, and comes 52/54” wide. Embrace is ideal for baby blankets, swaddle blankets, quilts, apparel and accessories. This collection is offered in 15 prints and 8 coordinating solids. The prints come in simple geometrics, baby themes (baby animals), sophisticated modern designs, and more —- in shades of pastels, jewel tones, and neutrals. There are eight coordinating solids in colors of Blush, Ivory, Lilac, Opal, Sand, Silver, Sky and Snow White. The Embrace collection may be viewed here on the Shannon Fabrics website.

You can find Shannon Fabrics at local quilt shops and independent fabric stores. Not sure who carries it your area? Try the NEW Shannon Fabrics Store Locator to find shops near you!

Or find the Shannon Fabrics collections online at fabric.comtheminkyboutique.com, and fabricdepot.com.

To stay up-to-date on what is happening, Join the Shannon Fabrics mailing list and Subscribe to the Shannon Fabrics blog, My Cuddle Corner. In addition, follow Shannon Fabrics on social media! Like Shannon Fabrics on Facebook, follow them on Pinterest, connect with them on TwitterYouTubeGoogle +Instagram, Flickr, and more…

Comment below for a chance to enter to win a free Cuddle Kit. We are giving away this adorable Ziggy Cuddle Kit Duck.

Ziggy Cuddle Kit Duck

Comment with the hashtag #CuddleOSQEkit. Winners will be chosen randomly and announced here. Two winners will be chosen one week from today July 23, 2015 and announced July 30, 2015.

“Hello Everyone! The Ziggy Cuddle Duck Kit Giveaway is now closed. We are excited to announce the winners! There were two random winners chosen: Cassandra L. and Connie L. Congratulations to you both! Each of you have won a Ziggy Cuddle Duck Kit http://bit.ly/1OQYlVG. Thank you to everyone that entered and shared this with your friends! If you didn’t win, don’t worry…stay tuned for more Shannon Fabrics giveaways like this….”

Meet Laura Murray

Meet Laura Murray in Lakeland, Atlanta and Cleveland this spring!


My artistic aspirations are similar to the Star Trek mission: “Going where no one has gone before”, and I also want to get there at warp speed.
Complexity and speed are not always easy partners. For me, paintstiks perfectly suit both my need for speed, and attraction to complexity, plus serving as the medium for my personally designed stamp designs and techniques. I’m offering two new workshops in 2015 for a fun, and rewarding learning experience.

Shapeshifting – Register today at sewingexpo.com



Can you see how the three squares above the image morph into the collage above? Actually, there are countless variations with, no fail approach to collaging. All the materials are supplied; students need only bring their scissors and sense of adventure.
As a bonus, learn a few basic design principles that can be applied
to any of your projects.

Kaleidoscope Magic – Register today at sewingexpo.com


Love kaleidoscopes but are daunted by the challenges of precision piecing? No worries; my Kaleiscope Magic workshop provides paintstiks and kaleiscope rubbing plates which allow you to quickly create a series of charming 7” squares in class for future use in quilts, bags, or whatever.

Here’s a work in progress by my husband Jim who continues to hone his paintstik skills.


Jim, my husband, really fell in love with the kaleiscopes, as shown here with our friend Shelley Stokes at the IQF Chicago show. He used his spare time at the show to work on a yard of overlapping kaleiscope rubbings. Upon finishing, Jim signed a corner…just as all artwork should carry the name of its maker.


I’m still thinking how best to use this spectacular fabric. Although, perhaps it should be left alone as a fine example of art cloth.

What’s in the Laura Murray Designs booth?

If your interests lean toward standing out from the crowd, you won’t want to miss our booth, especially since many of our one-of-a-kind goodies are not on the internet. We carry only products which I personally like and use, with strong emphasis on the unique, including:

• Silk batiks, overdyed kimono silks, handpainted Chinese pintuck, handcrafted buttons in polymer clay and resin, handyed ribbons/cording, and more.
• Paintstiks and accessories, along with my stencils, stamps, and instruction books.
• Display of over 30 garment /handbag samples, illustrating our pattern collection by my favorite independent pattern designers.

We provide paintstik demonstrations upon request, and are happy to answer any of your application questions.

Visit www.lauramurraydesigns.com for patterns, paintstiks, stencils and stamps, and the Learning Center and Project Center for free technique and project information.

Sew Happy Quilting!


Welcome new Expo faculty Member, Kaye Koler of SewHappy Quilting in Cleveland this Spring. Her classes include:

Make Mini Mini! BYOF
Tee Shirt Quilts the Easy Way
Tee Shirt Quilts the Easy Way: The Workshop BYOF

What’s Kaye working on currently? Read more to find out!

I decided to get my much loved, 1923 Singer “Annie” hand crank machine dusted off and hummin’! And yes, I name my machines!

HC 2

Currently I’m working on a log cabin project started a few years ago stitched entirely on this beautiful machine.  Annie’s decal is a Memphis Sphinx… especially fitting since I was born in Memphis, TN! Actually this old machine is just one in my whittled down collection. I use a treadle, featherweight, a 404, 185J among others.  I’ll choose a project and complete it using one of them.

HC 1

At one time I had at least one machine from each decade beginning in 1900. Now, I’m down to just a few, but love them all for their simplicity and the absolutely beautiful stitch they make. After all, that is what they were made for….straight stitching! It always brings me great joy to sit down behind one of them electric or not and wonder about the lives of the women in past who used them and what they created with them. It somehow connects this old soul with the past.

SewHappy and see you in Cleveland!

See Indygo Junction in 2015!

2015 has really started off with a bang over here at Indygo Junction. Our main focus for the last few months has been designing new patterns for our 2015 release. For months we have been creating and refining our pattern designs. The process usually begins when I find inspiration for a new pattern. It could be seeing a designer bag in a magazine, a vintage piece that I picked up at an antique store, or finding a product to fill a need. For instance, our Micro-Safe Hot Holder pattern was designed because we all had the same problem of burning our hands when we took dishes out of the microwave.


I meet with my design team and we go over all the ideas for new patterns. Together we decide which designs we really love, and which we think our customers will love. Then we start on the initial samples. There are usually 2 or 3 mock ups made between the initial sample and finished product. Each new sample is refining the design. Should this band be a little smaller? Is the strap the right length? We also take the time to test the design using different fabrics. Quilting cotton of course, but what about voiles and rayons for garments? Or maybe we should try that purse in wools? This way, when we have our final design, we know just how the pattern will work for the customer.


We also really enjoy working with licensed designers. Some, like Mary Ann Donze and Jerilynn Lijewski have been designing for us for years and have created some beautiful patterns for us. Mary Ann is an incredibly talented garment designer and has created some of my favorite patterns. The Cutting Edge Jacket and the Urban Tunic are both Mary Ann designs that are staples in my personal wardrobe.

IJ977CR-6T PIJ972-5T

Our best-selling garment pattern, The Modern Silhouette Vest is a Mary Ann design. She has a knack for creating garments that are flattering and fashion forward.


Jerilynn has a special talent for incorporating fun techniques into her designs. Her patterns inspire sewers to learn more about their sewing machine and take advantage of the decorative stitches offered. The Stitched Top Tote is a great example of that.This simple tulip shaped tote is taken to the next level with the Scandinavian inspired stitching on the band.


The Store and Go Zipper Case, one of our best-selling patterns, uses the circular attachment for sewing machines to create a jewelry or sewing tool pouch. So clever!



I am looking forward to sharing with you everything we are working on. I hope you will come visit me at the Sew Expo show in Lakeland, Florida and Cleveland, Ohio where I will be emceeing The Magic Pattern Fashion Show. Hope to see you soon!

Nelly’s Got the Spotlight!

Congratulations to Nelly on her wins at a recent quilt show!

See Nelly Vileikis of Artelas Quilts this spring in Atlanta and Cleveland.

I entered “Northern Lights” (featured in Modern Patchwork Magazine Winter 2015) to the Lake Farmpark Quilt Show, where every year the competition is fierce and you never know what the judges will pick. I am proud to have won a second place in the Art category.

Nelly Wins!

Second place overall was awarded to a quilt I quilted for a customer who does the most exquisite hand appliqué, named is Elaine Roth.

Here is the picture of her quilt:

When I am not creating new patchwork designs, I am creating quilting designs as a canvas.

Have you worked with Nelly or been in one of her classes before? Share your comments below on how great of a teacher she is!

A True Fashion Industry Veteran


Joe of Fashion Supplies, Inc is excited to join the Expo for 2015! He’s a seasoned veteran to the industry and we are so excited for you to see him in the classroom as well as on the Expo floor at most of our spring events!
joe close up

Joe Vecchiarelli is the founder and president of Fashion Supplies, Inc. and has worked in the industry for over 40 years. From transforming the family business to building design rooms to working in the heart of the entertainment industry, He’s a man of many talents! He’s worked with shows like Dancing with the Stars, X Factor and Fashion Star.

Joe fitting a dress form 2014

Take his Dress Form Fitting class in Lakeland, Atlanta, Cleveland and Schaumburg to experience how to fit a dress form to your body shape.

Oh, and to all of you ladies coming to Lakeland this Spring Joe said to tell you – and I quote – “Hi, How are you? This is JOE VECCHIARELLI!!! I am excited to see all you fabulous women in sunny Florida!”

Sew Drapey for Spring!

Meet Rae Cumbie of Fit For Art Patterns.

cumbieHi, I am Rae Cumbie of Fit for Art Patterns. Today I am gazing out the window at a steady snow fall, dreaming of Florida. This is Fit for Art’s first visit to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Lakeland, and we will also be in Atlanta and Cleveland.  Carrie and I are looking forward to the warm weather (in Florida!) and the opportunity to meet you!

To freshen up the Fit for Art Patterns both for Spring, I am stitching up a Swing Variation of the Tabula Rasa Jacket in these fabrics. Carrie and I visited our favorite fabric haunts in New York City last week and found yards of beautiful new drapey and sheer fabrics we are anxious to share with you. They will become unique bundles of three coordinating soft fabrics that include just the right amount of fabric for you to stitch up a Tabula Rasa Jacket or Swing Variation of your own.


Above are Rae’s fabric choices.

Above is Carrie’s fabric choices.

Register for Sew Drapey, offered in each city, to learn more about sewing stylish, soft garments that go from daytime to dinner out and pack perfectly for travel.

To see more from us:

  • Visit us at the Fit for Art booth to see all our patterns and fabrics.
  • Enjoy a complimentary jacket sizing with the pattern’s purchase.
  • Sign up for a 30 minute pants fitting with Sarah Veblen or me to get you started sewing great fitting pants with the Eureka! Pants that Fit Pattern.
  • Visit our website to be inspired by our Photo Gallery of garment samples and our Sew! Let’s Get Dressed blog posts.

See you soon, RAE

Seven Sisters from a Seasoned Teacher

Today we’re featuring a class of long-time Expo Faculty, Debby Kratovil! She’s been teaching with the Expo since the Fall of 2007 (yes, that’s right!) and has been to the Lakeland, Florida show for 7 seasons. Has anyone taken a class with Debby each of those 7 seasons? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Debby will teach with the Expo this spring in Lakeland, Atlanta and Cleveland!


Here’s some fun insight into her class Seven Sisters ‘Scrap Buster’ Table Topper and you’ll see just how versatile this design really is!

Seven Sisters Table Topper Class is offered on Thursday, March 5, 2015. 8:30 – 11:30 am at the Lakeland Expo.
Seven Sisters Table Topper Class is offered on Thursday, March 12, 2015. 8:30 – 11:30 am at the Atlanta Expo.
Seven Sisters Table Topper Class is offered on Thursday, March 26, 2015. 1:00 – 400 pm at the Cleveland Expo.

I’m back again with my Turning 60: The Joys of Hex series. Don’t let those diamonds frighten you! Easily rotary cut and yes! There are NO set-in seams surrounding the diamonds as is true in traditional Seven Sisters quilts. This quilt uses easy-to-cut triangles that masquerade as diamonds and you will be DELIGHTED at how quickly this goes together.

Not crazy about browns and pinks? How about bright batiks!

Seven Sisters in bright batiks

And some other color groups . . .

Bright colored diamonds – select a uniform background color

And solids?

Select today’s popular solids
Two colors in an Asian inspired group of fabrics

With a printed background

One of the Seven Sisters

And finally, here is a mini done in embroidery with jewel tones for each of the seven stars:

Seven Sisters Mini done in embroidery

Can you tell I LOVE making these blocks? They go together so well. Choose your own favorite color palette and BUST out those SCRAPS!

Creating Celebration Quilts

Do you have boxes of clothing or linens that you are saving for some future project? Perhaps you have a few treasured belongings from a loved one that has passed, tucked carefully away in a drawer or on a closet shelf?

Cynd iSouder Headshot

I’m Cyndi Souder. I’m a teacher, lecturer, writer, and quilter. Most of the quilts I make are Celebration Quilts. I’ve made these quilts for myself, for friends and family, and for clients. So, what makes a quilt a Celebration Quilt?

Celebration Quilts are designed to honor or celebrate an event, a memory, or a life. Have you made a baby quilt? Then you’ve made a Celebration Quilt. Wedding quilt? Graduation quilt? Retirement quilt? Yup, these are all Celebration Quilts. I’ve made quilts to celebrate births, weddings, and anniversaries. When the tragedy of September 11th happened, I made a quilt to try to make sense of it. When I lost my sister to ovarian cancer, I made a series of quilts and I’m sure I have more of those in my head. The one pictured here is from a Judy Niemeyer pattern and earned thousands of dollars at a fundraising auction for cancer research.

20 Teal Beauty

Clients most often ask me to create Celebration Quilts to help them honor a lost loved one. They bring me clothing, pictures, jewelry, cards, books, glasses, and so much more. I try to make the quilt solely from the artifacts they have brought me so that the quilt is more personal and more meaningful. We talk about the person they wish to celebrate and I get to know the quilt’s subject. I ask a lot of questions and I design the quilt to reflect the personality of the person we’re honoring.

I know that sounds hard, but it’s something that everyone can do. In my book, Creating Celebration Quilts, I have a worksheet that will walk you through the design and decision-making process. The questions help you decide on the colors, materials, size, and design of the quilt.

Souder C Too Much Soul

I love to teach this workshop, because we go beyond the book. I learn about your ideas, how you want to proceed, and I help you overcome the potential speed bumps. Working with tee shirts? I have tips. Have lots of neckties? I can help with that. Are your keepsakes and artifacts three-dimensional? I have ways to overcome that. Do you have an idea but no specific artifacts? I can help you decide what to use that will create a meaningful Celebration Quilt. Join me in class in Lakeland, FL or Cleveland, OH and I’ll help you Design Your Own Celebration Quilt.

See more from Cyndi Souder in Lakeland,  Cleveland and Worcester (not quite available online) with classes including:

  • Tsukineko® Inks (Lakeland only)
  • Quilting with the Feed Dogs Down
  • Quilting with the Feed Dogs Up
  • Quilt Writing: Add Words with Free Motion Stitches

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Tinley Park Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Tinley Park at the Tinley Park Convention Center on November 20, 21 & 22, 2014. You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo! Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 3 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog thread for a chance to win! Comments will close on Thursday, October 30th at 9:00AM. 


Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Minneapolis Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Minneapolis at the Ramada Airport Mall of America on  November 13, 14 & 15, 2014. You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo! Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 3 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog thread for a chance to win! Comments will close on Thursday, October 23rd at 9:00AM. 


Indygo Junction + Amy Barickman at the Expo!

My name is Amy Barickman, you may know my pattern company Indygo Junction. I’m thrilled to be joining the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo this year! This has been an exciting time for me as I recently released my newest title, The Magic Pattern Book. I would like to tell you a little bit about how Magic Pattern came about and how you can see it at the Sewing & Quilt Expo!


My motto is Vintage Made Modern, and I collect vintage hand sewn pieces, sewing and dressmaking magazines, patterns, books and more. The search for timeless and endearing vintage content led me to discover Mary Brooks Picken and the school she founded, The Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences. I was compelled to share Mary’s story once I started collecting the school’s sewing courses and it’s newsletters, Inspiration and Fashion Service. The material from these publications had a timeless quality that I felt would appeal to the modern DIY audience. This led to the creation of my book Vintage Notions an Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion & Fun.

Vintage Notions

Vintage Notions featured 12 original Magic Patterns – those ingenious sewing ideas found on The Magic Page of Inspiration as well as in another Woman’s Institute publication, Fashion Service. The original Magic Patterns didn’t have any actual pattern pieces. Instead, the patterns included a cutting diagram as well as detailed instructions for the construction of the garment.

I was inspired to bring the spirit of Mary’s Magic Patterns into the 21st century. Working with my friend and Indygo Junction designer Mary Ann Donze, we created 6 master patterns for the book: a tank, skirt, dress, cardigan, jacket and accessory. Then we collaborated on how to transform those base patterns into 6 new garments. The Magic Pattern Book contains 36 fashion forward garment and accessory patterns transformed from those original base patterns. Read more about the story behind Magic Pattern here.


I was so excited about the projects in The Magic Pattern Book and looking for a way to share these designs with sewers nationwide, when I started talking to the folks at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, and The Magic Fashion Show was born!

The Magic Fashion Show will feature new samples (not shown in the book) of projects from Magic Pattern created in up-to-the-minute fabrics. The show will travel to each Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, but what I’m really excited about, is being able to attend some of the shows and emcee – I look forward to telling you in person about the inspiration behind each of the garments, construction tips and techniques, ideas for creating the projects with recycled fabric and more!


The Delia jacket made in Crossroads Denim Cactus Pink. The necklace is Indygo Junction’s Zipper Jewels pattern.

I will be attending the Fredericksburg, Overland Park, Minneapolis, Lakeland and Cleveland shows. Not only will I be emceeing the fashion show, but I will also be teaching two classes; Vintage Notions: From Inspiration to Income, and Crafting a Creative Business. In the Vintage Notions class we will explore how a single dedicated source, in this case Vintage Notions, can inspire the joy of sewing and domestic arts as an avenue for the entrepreneurial spirit. In Crafting a Creative Business, I will share my 20 year journey in the sewing and fabric arts trade with an eye toward inspiring and educating those who dream of starting their own business.

Indygo Junction patterns and products can be found in the Early Times Workshop booth at all the shows, except the Overland Park show, where we will have our own booth. I hope you will come see me at the shows – if you can’t make it, The Magic Fashion Show will be attending all the Original Sewing & Quilt Expos through June 2015, so be sure to stop by and add some magic into your sewing!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Fort Worth Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Fort Worth, TX at the Will Rogers Memorial Center Center October 16, 17 & 18, 2014. You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo! Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 3 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay! Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog thread for a chance to win! Comments will close on Thursday, September 18th at 9:00AM. 


Comments are now closed. Congratulations to Donna, the winner!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Overland Park Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Overland Park, KS at the Overland Park Convention Center on October 9, 10 & 11, 2014.

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 3 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

 Comments are now closed. Congrats to the winner!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Fredericksburg Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Fredericksburg, VA at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center October 2, 3 & 4, 2014.

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 3 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog thread for a chance to win! Comments will close on Thursday, Septemner 4th at 9:00AM. 

Quilting LIVE! Talent: Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Victoria Findlay Wolfe, who won QuiltCon 2013 with her Double Edged Love quilt ,a modern version of a double wedding ring pattern, will be teaching a (single ring) of a Double Wedding ring class at Quilting LIVE!


Also on View: Victoria curated an exhibit of Double Wedding Ring quilts from her NYC MOD Guild’s International Double Wedding Ring Challenge. Don’t miss hearing her talk on the Quilt walk about the quilts. Friday Sept 12, at 1pm

Victoria’s current works are a series of double wedding ring quilts based on happy childhood memories with her grandparents. Her Grandmother, Elda Wolfe, was a “crazy quilter” of sorts, who made beautiful “Jig saw- like” polyester quilts, that were very modern for her time. 15 of these quilts are on view at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts through October, and will travel on to the International Quilt Study Center in March 2015 before traveling to other exhibits internationally. Her second book based on this series of work, Double Wedding Ring Quilts: Traditions Made Modern will be released January 2015.Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 8.12.58 AM

Victoria’s classes at Quilting LIVE! include:
Playing in Miniatures

Playing in Miniatures

Single Ring Double Wedding Ring

Single Ring DWR

Check out more from Victoria on her website: Bumble Bees Inc


And, of course, don’t forget to register for Quilting LIVE! – happening next month! Visit the website for all of the details: QuiltingLIVE.com

Designer Joining the Expo!

Designer and teacher Karen Montgomery of The Quilt Company will be presenting every afternoon at the Pittsburgh Expo at the Monroeville Convention Center stage on August 14, 15 and 16th .


Not only does Karen design amazing quilts, but also the Creative Grid Rulers to make these designs quick and easy.  Always inspired by her customers’ desire to use their fabrics efficiently Karen has designed “Scrap Crazy” template sets.

Stop by her booth #216 and perhaps Karen will have a moment to autograph a copy of Quilts and More magazine with other of her fabulous new designs in the cover.


Used with permission from Quilts and More magazine. 2014 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Pittsburgh is just around the corner. Are you signed up and ready?

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for Quilting LIVE!


Will you be at Quilting LIVE! at the Cobb Galleria Centre September 11, 12 & 13 2014?

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Ultimate Quilting Experience!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 3 days of general admission and a Quilting LIVE shopping bag! Yay!

Comments are now closed!  Congrats to Janice Henninger on being the winner!


The Expo & F+W

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is now a proud member of F+W, a Content and eCommerce Company.

As part of the Events Community, the Expo provides the live experience for sewing and quilting enthusiasts. They enjoy all the inspiration, instruction, products and services found throughout F+W’s vast media and eCommerce network.

Imagine it this way: The Expo takes everything from the screen and the pages of publications, videos, books and shopping sites and puts it into 3-D, adding the sounds, smells, sights and feelings!

Here’s a preview of some of OSQE’s F+W partnerships:

Fons & Porter
Keepsake Quilting
Stitch Magazine
Quilter’s Newsletter
McCall’s Quilting
Quilting Arts Magazine
Martha Pullen Company

Blog is back up and running

Our blog was under repair but it seems to be back up and running. Whew! Just in time for our kick off in Indianapolis, IN at Marriott Indy East. If you are within a thousand miles, come check us out this weekend. Meanwhile, click over to our websites at:

SewingExpo.com                QuiltingLIVE.com            MarthaPullen.com

Best wishes and see you at the event . . .

Expo Staff

Have You Heard About Quilting LIVE?

Spring has sprung here at the Expo and the blog is back in action!

Have you heard about the new event, Quilting LIVE! happening September 11, 12 & 13, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia? You won’t want to miss this event…





fons_porterbMeet and create with your favorite personalities, legends and superstars from the nation’s top quilting magazines, TV shows, e-media sites and blogs.  See them together, for the first time ever, as they converge in Atlanta to share with you all that’s new in quilting – LIVE!


Explore the latest trends, techniques and quiltmaking pleasures in workshops and at the Make-It Center.  Catch what’s happening on the Quilting LIVE! Stage, full of inspiration, ideas and how-to hints all day long.


Sewing background
Wind your way through aisles filled with specialty quilting retailers from across the country, featuring all the finest tools, fabrics, books, DVD’s, patterns, ideas and supplies for more quilting creativity, fun and satisfaction.

Visit quiltinglive.com for a sneak peek of what’s to come!

Sewing Machine Shopping Advice

Cindy, staff member of the Expo, shares with us her (not-so-secret) secrets of shopping for a sewing machine at the Expo!

1.       Sign up for Workshops before the Expo.  There’s nothing like actually sewing a project on a new sewing machine to see if the machine meets or exceeds your expectations.  Not to mention that you’ll learn some fun, new techniques along the way.

2.       Make a wish list… what do you have trouble with on your current machine?  What do you wish it could do?

3.       In the Expo Exhibit Hall, ask for demonstrations to compare features.   Use the Expo Program you’ll receive when you arrive at the Expo to locate sewing machine dealers quickly.  Bring a notebook and pen to take notes.  The Expo is your chance to compare all major brands with the convenience of everyone being under one roof.

4.       If you sew on specialty fabrics at home, bring some scraps of fabric with you to check out how a new machine would do the job.  Leave your project at home, though; focus on the machine at the Expo.

5.       Ask if there is an Expo special price or special financing offer.  Be prepared to take advantage of special opportunities offered only at the Expo.  Have a budget in mind, but be flexible.  Bring along any family members you might need to help with the decision.

6.       Be open minded.  Perhaps there are new features you weren’t even aware existed that would make your sewing easier or more fun.  Test drive the “heated seats and heated steering wheel”.  Someone once asked me, “Why should I buy a new sewing machine when my 30-year-old machine works perfectly well?”  I asked if she had bought a new car in the last 30 years.  “Of course,” she said.  When I asked, “Why?”, she said, “Because new cars have new features” (the CD player, heated seats, etc.).  It’s the same thing with the sewing machine industry.  She loved to remind me of this story as I would continue to see her over the years to come.  She bought a top-of-the line sewing machine, and never looked back.  In fact, she traded up to the next top-of-the-line when it came out.  Her enthusiasm for sewing definitely turned a corner that day.   J

7.       Ask about a trade-up policy.  What happens if you don’t buy “X” model today, but decide you want it tomorrow?

8.       Ask about operation classes and warranty service.  Are classes offered at a time that will fit your schedule?  Will you be able to repeat classes if you want?  Is there a local service person if needed?  Are other classes available for a fee if you want to learn more?

9.       Establish a connection with your local dealer that will go beyond the Expo.  Remember — you are not only paying for a sewing machine… you are also paying for your dealer’s knowledge and experience.  Only an independent sewing machine dealer will spend time to make sure you are comfortable with your new sewing machine and answer all of your questions.  This value for you is priceless.

A special thank you to our sponsors and dealers that provide machines for us in the classrooms! Our sewing machine sponsors include:

Husqvarna Viking
Baby Lock

Visit www.sewingexpo.com for more information!

A Loving Quilt of Valor

Liz, staff member of Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, has quite an inspiring story to share today, sharing the real vision and heart behind one of the Expo’s most beloved exhibitors, Quilts of Valor.

“My daughter-in-law Captain Nicole Zorn Fredrick returned home safe and sound from Afghanistan to Anchorage, Alaska.  She was greeted by my son, her mother and a beautiful Quilt of Valor. This quilt was created by quilters at Trinity Lutheran Church on Washington Island where the Zorn family has had a home for many years.  Nicole spent many happy summers there with her grandmothers.”

Nicole with her Quilt of Valor quilt.

Liz’s quilt group is working on a log cabin quilt top for Quilts of Valor.

Do you have a touching Quilt of Valor story you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.


We want to give a special thanks to those that serve our country. See Quilts of Valor at the Expo this spring to catch more of the vision.

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Worcester Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Worcester, MA at the DCU Center April 10, 11 & 12, 2014.

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 2 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog thread for a chance to win! Comments will close on Wednesday, March 5th at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Brightening Lives at the Baltimore Expo

What could be better than spending a little time with your sewing friends creating a cheerful pillowcase for a sick child?  ConKerr Cancer is coming to Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Baltimore (Hunt Valley), Maryland!  Together we can stitch fun pillowcases to bring smiles to sick children.

ConKerr Cancer is a non-profit organization with a mission to brighten the lives of children battling cancer and life threatening illnesses by giving them colorful, cheerful handmade pillowcases.

Even if you’ve no time to sit down at a beautiful Bernina sewing machine while you are at the Expo, you can make a monetary contribution or join a local chapter.  Check out their website at www.conkerrcancer.org.

Cindy Kerr, the founder, is an avid quilter who started ConKerr Cancer after her son Ryan passed away from cancer. She made him a cheerful pillowcase each time he was hospitalized. Then Cindy made them for the other children in the oncology department.  It is truly an inspirational story which she has taken her love of sewing and has created an international mission for children.  More information may be found at www.conkerrcancer.org.


The Artistic Eye of Helene Weber

Join Helene Weber as the featured guest blogger today. She takes us on an adventure of looking at the world through an artist’s eyes.

Here’s a glimpse of some of her class projects:







My passion is Art, I live in a world surrounded by Art.  Every morning when I rise the first thing I see is the colors of a wonderful new day, if the sun is shining I see the colors that are portrayed across the sky, the play of sunlight through the leaves creating creating intense color, and the change in color values as the sun climbs above the horizon.  If its a cloudy or winter day I see the monotone of color that creates a starkness to the objects existing in that realm.   I explore each day finding something new that I didn’t know yesterday.


In our daily fast paced life we can form tunnel vision – too often our sight becomes so narrow its as if we are traveling through a perpetual tunnel and miss all the beauty that surrounds us.  The old adage “stop and smell the roses” is more so true now then ever.  We walk around with our sights glued to cell phone screens, tablets, computers, bill board advertisements, and other electronic gadgets so much that we literally miss the beauty in all the small details that make up our world.


As an Artist I love to record what I see through my eyes – sometimes it might just be a line drawing or a simple sketch or even some quick color blotches conveying what I felt at the moment I saw it.  Other times I file the vision in my mind for reference to use when needed at a later date.  I am constantly studying my surroundings – like taking snapshots with my mind.


Quite often I hear students state that they can’t draw or have no artistic talent – maybe when they were younger someone told them that they had no artistic ability and so they quit drawing or coloring.  But Art is not a talent given only to a few, it is a learned experience, Art like any activity in our life takes practice and commitment, just like in sports, some are better than others but it doesn’t mean we can’t all play.


The first step to practice is to see what we are looking at (similar to hearing someone talking but not actually listening to what they say).  In our lives we may look at flowers but its not until we stop and study them do we really see the flower.  When looking at a subject, it also helps to break it down into simpler forms, this way we can easily see each component and not be overwhelmed by the whole.


Look at a tree do you see the patterns formed by the bark or how the limbs grow from the main trunk.  Did you ever notice that a deciduous tree looks like an upside down rootball?  Its because what you see on top is the same as what the roots look like in the ground.


Here is a simple exercise on drawing a tree -


Take a piece of paper, draw a horizontal line across the paper 1/3 down from the top- this is the ground line

Now draw the main stem of the root (we are only drawing whats below the ground line) and then begin to branch off from the stem – picture the fibrous roots from a plant you just pulled out of the ground.

Continue to add more roots – When you have added all the roots -



Rotate your picture so that the horizontal ground line is at bottom of page – you will see you have just drawn a tree – you can keep the branches bare as winter or add leaves

This is a simple picture but it can help us understand that composing a picture isn’t so hard, sometimes we just have to view our subject in a different form or spacial configuration.


When it comes to Art, I can’t remember not ever having some form of art medium or tool in my hand, I have painted, drawn, or sculpted in some form or other all of my life.  When I moved into Fiber Art, it just seemed so natural to pick up fabric and literally paint with it – I love the texture, the colors, the ability to manipulate it into various forms and to further enhance it with thread, dyes and paints.  Painting with fabric is as natural to me as painting with pastels or acrylic paints.


I also love teaching about Fiber Art , I enjoy creating new designs and techniques to share with my students.  Some of these techniques include working with fabric and embellishments to get form and texture, creating depth and dimension with threads and paints, and alternating patterns to make a design uniquely our own.  It is my hope that students will leave my classes with lots of inspirational ideas to be able to continue to create their own Fiber Arts.


Inspired by Helene Weber’s thoughts?

See Helene in Baltimore, Atlanta, Lakeland, Schaumburg and Cleveland this Spring!


Some of her classes include:
Bluebird in Spring
Yellow Daylilly
Free Motion Quilting for Art Quilts 


Register today!

A One-Woman Quilt Show

Expo instructor, Jean Ann Wright, is being honored all during the month of February with a one-woman quilt show sponsored by the Paulding Fine Arts Association in Dallas, Georgia (yes, Georgia). The PFAA is housed in an historic 19th century courthouse in downtown Dallas. The show is in the restored courtroom.

Jean Ann is known for her innovative strip piecing techniques and for the Creative Grids® trim tool rulers she has designed to make sewing strip pieced blocks faster, easier, and more accurate than traditional methods. Her no-math, no-measuring techniques are simple enough for beginners and variations in making the blocks are appealing to experienced quilters.

Wings, the quilt on the left shows the versatility of combing two trim tools to make one quilt. Waterfall, the quilt on the right uses the original Log Cabin Trim Tool. Both quilts incorporate Jean Ann’s innovative color “wedgies” to insert slivers of color to break up the straight lines of the log cabin blocks.

Jean Ann’s adventures into strip piecing began with three miniature quilts in traditional designs. They are Courthouse Steps, Log Cabin and Chinese Coins.

An overview of the courtroom shows a larger view of the quilts in the exhibit.

Jean Ann will be giving a program for the PFAA meeting on Tuesday night February 25th at 7 PM. The meeting is open and guests are welcome to any quilters in the area who would like to come. www.pauldingfinearts.org

What a great honor, Jean. Congratulations! See more from Jean Ann at the Expo this spring, including Baltimore, Atlanta, and Schaumburg!

Featuring Barnes Sewing Center

Carla Reale from Barnes Sewing Center in Cleveland, Ohio is excited to share her passion for sewing and embroidery! She’ll be teaching a class at the Cleveland Expo called Embroidery Business Beginnings

I have the best job in the world! I love selling sewing machines. A friend once asked me what my favorite part of my job was and after thinking about it, I realized that I really enjoy getting people started with their embroidery businesses best of all. Sending them out the door with all of the equipment, tools and support that they need for their new adventure is very satisfying for me.

At Barnes Sewing Center, we provide thorough machine training, tech support, software support and even provide them with the business information they need to get started. They can buy with the confidence that if they have questions about any of those things, we will be there as a safety net for them. Barnes Sewing Center has been in business for 34 years. We value the good reputation that Bob Barnes has built through the years and take seriously our responsibility to our customers. The sale is the beginning of the relationship, not the end.


See Carla and Barnes Sewing Center in Cleveland on April 3, 4 & 5!

Tuesday Tip: Keeping Warm

Today’s Tuesday Tip features one of the Expo’s sponsors, The Warm® Company!

Insul-Bright®,from The Warm® Company is a great insulating material for use in home sewing and crafts.

The polyester fibers are needle punched through a non-woven material and through a reflective metallized film.  The fiber resists conduction and the metallized film resists radiant energy. Energy, either hot or cold, is reflected back to its source.

When using Insul-Bright®, add a layer or two of cotton batting, like Warm & Natural or Warm and White, to absorb condensation.

Insul-Bright® will be used in the Flying Geese potholders you can make with Jean Nolte, Editor of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting Magazine in the Cleveland Expo Make It Center.  The batting is all cut and ready to sew!

Insul-Bright® will also be used to make a handy kitchen Table Trivet in the Expo Class Embroidery 101 at the Expo in Baltimore, Atlanta, Lakeland and Worcester.

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Cleveland Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Cleveland, OH at the I-X Center April 3, 4 & 5, 2014.

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 2 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog thread for a chance to win! Comments will close on Wednesday, February 26th at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Featuring Fit & Fashion

Oticca Beamer, creator of FIt & Fashion, is going to share some of her stellar sewing expertise with you! With over 40 years of fashion garment sewing experience, let her share her passions with yours! Come visit her in Schaumburg this March to catch all of the industry tricks!

FIT & FASHION….you CAN have both!

“Wow, I can’t believe how easy this is!”….which is the typical reaction I receive from the many students who have taken my Fit & Fashion pattern classes.  I love showing how easy it is to design patterns to fit your measurements.  Most everyone who loves fashion sewing struggles with fitting issues.  Commercial sewing pattern alterations can be very tedious and time consuming, not to mention knowing the correct way to actually make the alterations!  We developed the Fit & Fashion system to address and resolve these fitting issues.  By combining the knowledge of slopers and pattern grading, the Fit & Fashion templates (Dress, Pant and Shirt) were born.  All of the garments for your wardrobe can be designed with these three templates.  There is also a Children’s Template for those who love to sew for the children in their life.





Bodice Front Template





Shirt Front Template

Sewing enthusiasts are interested in being able to cultivate a beautiful, unique look on their own.  And looking good makes you feel good. That’s why we’ve created a variety of pattern design templates to help you give your fashions a unique touch while ensuring that your garments fit your personal measurements.  Designing your own patterns is the ideal way to create your individual style and achieve a fabulous fit – every time!

The key to the Fit & Fashion system is our exclusive Sizing Template.  This fabulous tool is used to mark your personal measurements on a master pattern template.  Then, all you do is connect the dots to get your own personalized foundation pattern.




Your foundation pattern is used to design all of the patterns for your wardrobe.  Your creations will fit because they are designed from the foundation pattern made specifically for your shape and size!  The instruction booklets contain step-by-step illustrations for all of the styling techniques.  We are currently working on instructional DVDs to partner with our template instruction books.  We are very excited about this endeavor.  The first DVD will cover our Dress Template!  DVDs for the Pant Template and Shirt Template will follow soon after.  We expect to release all three DVDs before the end of the year.

In addition, Fit & Fashion Design Sheets provide illustrated, step-by-step instructions for achieving the same look of many fashions found in commercial pattern books.  Beginning with your personalized foundation pattern, you will be able to design each look with a perfect fit just for you!  Here are just a few examples of the Design Sheets currently available:













See more from Oticca in Schaumburg! Register for her classes today, including:
Magic in Minutes: 5 Sleeve Variations
Design Your Own Dresses and More
See you in Chicago!

Sewing It All in the Make-It-Center

Here’s a sneak-peak of what’s to come this spring in the Expo Make-It-Center.

Look at the cute new project featured in the Make It Center at the Expo in Atlanta and Schaumburg!

Right from the set of Sew It All TV series 700, this really cute, handy, fully-lined To Go Box Zippered Bag, made with luscious fabrics from Westminster Fabrics and thread and zippers from Coats & Clark.

We recently had a “test sew-in” at the Expo office and had 100% success. It was so much fun to sit and sew together. We have lots of different sewing levels among our Expo team. And, yes, even Holly finished hers!

At the Expo in Atlanta, stop by the Make It Center and sew with Jessica Guiardino from Sew It All TV and Sew News Magazine. In Schaumburg, sew with Beth Bradley from Sew It All TV and Sew News Magazine.

They’ll guide you through the project and share the latest news from the TV show and magazine as you sit and sew at one of the great new sewing machines provided by our generous machine sponsors!

Just drop by the Make It Center. It takes about 45 minutes to complete the bag and you’ll learn a lot! And have fun! And you can make more at home!

Everyone will want one – and everyone needs one! Don’t forget the guys in your life, too. They are great for sunglasses, electronic cords and plugs, spare change and whatever else goes along with your friends on the go.

Join the Make It Center festivities in Atlanta and Schaumburg this spring! See you there!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Schaumburg Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Schaumburg, IL at the Schaumburg Convention Center March 27, 28 & 29, 2014!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 2 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Comments are now closed. Congrats to Francine M!

A Journey to New York, NY

Aly here.









I had the privilege of traveling to New York City last week to visit the DG Expo. This is a two-day show providing an exhibit location for businesses owners looking to buy needs at wholesale cost and includes different workshops on promoting their businesses.


Walking the rows were designers, manufacturers, private label retailers, party / event planners, retail fabric stores, and others that buy fabric and trimmings wholesale; people from literally all over the world! Quite the place to be in NYC in the heart of the fashion district. I made great connections with some talented people.











I, of course, jaunted over (or, rather, ‘subway’ed over) to some other areas of the city, including:

Times Square







The Empire State building







The F + W office







The stars of Grand Central Station





Even making a super connection with The Sewing Studio, NYC’s leader for sewing instruction. They have also joined with F + W Media, and since we are now ‘co-workers,’ I thought I’d introduce myself.

If you’re in the city or the surrounding area, this place will hook you up with everything you need to know about sewing and the related crafts. Great classes, great services, great staff. This is really an enthusiastic space with incredibly knowledgeable and energetic staff members- not to mention it’s just nested on the 8th floor of a high-rise, which makes it notably cool.


Despite the winter storm that emerged while I was there, it was a productive and fun week! Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited about the merge with F + W media, the largest craft and hobby publisher in the world, and the many different communities we now get to be a part of!


Next trip planned: the Baltimore Expo! See you in March!


Let’s Have Some Stitching Conversations…


We’re excited about Nancy Shriber being the featured guest blogger today! Check out more from her at the Baltmore Hunt Valley Expo next month! Here’s an in-depth look at her Stitching Conversations event that’s happening during the Expo. You won’t want to miss it.





How do you start your day?  Perhaps the better question is how do you end your day?  Like many of us, some of my days offer an opportunity to “start” at such a frantic pace that I know I would be playing catch up until the point of exhaustion.  I know that this type of a day will not offer an opportunity for me to feel creative, to be productive, or feel that I am in charge of my life by any stretch or effort on my part.

So, how do I find a way to prevent that from happening?  Join me on Thursday evening, March 6 and let’s just relax, sip a little tea, talk, and sew.  I find the physical act of picking up a piece of cloth, threading a needle, and taking a stitch, or two helps me settle, breathe deeply and relax.  We have been provided with a very unique opportunity this year, at this venue, to come together and experience something wonderful – a discussion with fellow sewing enthusiasts, an opportunity to share, do a little stitching and bring closure to our active day of learning, shopping and visiting.  Don’t miss this opportunity to stop, breathe deeply and stitch.


Who’s excited? What a great way to un-wind! Thanks, Nancy.

See what else Nancy is teaching. Sign up for these classes today!
Sashiko: The Original Slow Stitch
Sashiko: Creating an Artful Garment 

For more classes and information, visit www.sewingexpo.com!

Sewing ABC’s and 123′s

Thread is  one of the most basic things you need for any sewing or quilting. There are all-purpose threads, cotton quilting threads, bobbin threads, hand sewing threads, upholstery threads and they all come in a wide array of colors.

There are so many kinds to choose from, but how do you know which is the best thread for your project?

Thread is sold by weight. But what does THAT mean?

The answer can be confusing because a finer thread has a higher weight number than thicker thread. It seems confusing, until you know how thread weight is calculated.

The thread weight is determined by how many meters of thread it takes to weigh 1 gram. It takes more yards of fine thread to weigh one gram, so finer threads have a higher thread weight.

For example, it takes 70 meters of 70 weight bobbin thread to weigh 1 gram.For a 35 weight thread, like Coats Cotton Covered Dual Duty XP™ All Purpose thread, it takes only only 35 meters of Dual Duty XP thread to weigh 1 gram.
Dual Duty XP is suitable for most hand and machine sewing.

Thanks to Coats & Clark for helping us learn more about thread and for generously sponsoring all the sewing thread used at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in the classrooms and in the Make It Center.


Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Lakeland Expo!


Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Lakeland, FL at the Lakeland Center March 20, 21 & 22, 2014!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 2 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Comments are now closed. Congrats to Lois Anderson. 

Add Some ‘Magic Dust’ to Your Quilt

If you’re an avid ‘The Maker’s Experience’ blog reader, you’d know that Nelly Vileikis and her Almost Whole Cloth class was featured in a post last fall.


Well, here’s another (re-vamped) look at Nelly’s new and improved version of the class! She’s offering the class in Lakeland, Florida! Be sure to check it out!

Here’s a step-by-step look at what the class will consist of:

1. Start from a pre-made kit.

2. Press everything and understand where each piece goes.

3. Stitch the pieces together, then press.

4. Throw in some ‘magic dust’, as Nelly calls it.

5. Adding more ‘magic dust helps you decide what to quilt on your piece.

6. Let the magic happen!

We all have the power to produce ‘magic dust’! Sometimes we just need a little help.

Come to Nelly’s class and she will help you release your magic!

Check out all of the classes and workshops, and see more of what Nelly’s teaching in Lakeland at www.sewingexpo.com !

Delightful + Fun: Felted Zipper Art Pin!


Expo teacher and staff member, Tammie Cambell is sharing the makings of her fun, new hands-on workshop for 2014, Felted Zipper Art Pin! The office is simply delighted with these amusing zipper shapes. Sign up for Tammie’s Expo class today!




If you’re like me, you like to try many different ways to use ordinary things.


Come join this fun class where you use simple craft items and your imagination to create a one of a kind piece of art to wear anytime.

You’ll be doing some hand sewing, felting, gluing and cutting.

Let the zipper guide you and the colors are yours to pick. Embellish with beads as you like and at the end of class you will have a wonderful piece of art.

You can manipulate your zipper into whatever shape you’d like!

Delightful, don’t you think? The kit is provided in the class, and you’ll leave with a finished product to share with your friends!

See Tammie and her other classes at all of the Expo locations!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Atlanta Expo!


Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Atlanta, GA at the Gwinnett Center March 13, 14 & 15, 2014!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 2 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Comments are now closed. Congratulations to Candy Lovelace!

Paintstiks®, Stamps and WOW!

Laura Murray is an award winning quilter, with a keen interest in surface design techniques such as dyeing, foiling, screen printing stenciling and stamping. She teaches a variety of methods on ways to use Shiva Paintstiks to create original designs on fabric, for use in garments and quilts. These techniques are easy to learn and require no artistic talent. Laura has developed her own line of stamps and stencils, and created several breakthrough techniques using her stamps, fusible web and paintstiks to create amazing, layering designs without the need for piecing. She teaches and vends at large quilt and sewing shows across the country, and is known for her paintstik expertise, along with the hand dyed silk fabrics and handcrafted buttons found in her booth.


For those who want a hands-on experience on the basic Paintstik® techniques of rubbing, shading, stenciling and drawing directly, the Wonderful World of Paintstiks provides students with the ability to transform a plain fabric into exactly what they need for a project. Using stamps and paintstiks provided as class supplies, learn how to make a kaleisdecope design in Laura’s StarBuilder Sensations class — no sewing required. The technique can be used on garments or for quilts.

Laura’s newest class, Tantalizing Tileworks (pictured below), combines square and curved stamp designs to produce the effect of Mexican Painted Tiles. Blocks completed in class measure approx 5 1/4”.

Feeling inspired? Catch more from Laura Murray at the Expo this Spring! Take these classes in Atlanta, Lakeland and Cleveland! She’ll even host her own Stage Presentation!

See you at the Expo – coming to a location near you! See the full calendar here.

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Baltimore Expo!


Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Baltimore, MD at the Hunt Valley Inn March 6, 7 & 8, 2014!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 6 class sessions, 2 days of general admission and an Expo shopping bag! Yay!

Comments are now closed. Congratulations to Melissa Porter, blog giveaway winner! 


Mitering Like Magic!

Want to see some magic from Expo faculty “wizard” Debby Kratovil?

Special thanks to the special guest blog from Debby this week!
Magical Mitering – Attic Windows with Savannah Fabrics

Lovely garden themed fabrics: Savannah Collection by Benartex

One of my most requested techniques is that which I refer to as “Magical Mitering.” The Savannah Collection is perfect for this in that I will treat groups of 4 small panels as a “window” unit. For example:

 Two sections of 4 small panels
Two groups of panels with “attic window” strips

Each set of 4 panels measures 9-1/2″. I commend Benartex on making sure that the black sections between each panel measures 1/2″ so that I didn’t have to destroy one panel to cut out another. I was able to get the required 1/4″ around the outside.

I cut the two contrasting strips (yellow and black prints) at 2-1/2″ x wof. Because I am mitering, the strips have to be longer that the 9-1/2″ sides by at least 2-1/2″ twice. So, I cut them at 9-1/2″ + 2-1/2″ + 2-1/2″ , which equals 14-1/2″. You can throw in an extra inch for safety. So, what does this look like?

The first strips extend at least 2-1/2″ beyond the two sides as shown

Center the first two strips (yellow) and sew with 1/4″ seam to panel center. Note that my stitching goes BEYOND the end. We do NOT begin and end 1/4″ away as in traditional mitering. This is important, as you will see in the next photos. I used black thread for demonstration only, so you can see the seam.

Press seams TOWARD the center, so you can see the inside edge of the strips
You now see the extended stitching AND the inside edge of the strips
This stitching will be your visual guide when placing the next set of strips.

Now it’s time to add the next set of strips. Using the extended stitching as your guide to place your sewing machine needle EXACTLY, begin sewing at the stitching and end at the stitching on the other side.

Begin stitching as shown; it’s ok to backstitch to lock in place

How do we press the seams of this second set of strips? AWAY from the center. Then we fold the black strips at a 90 degree angle as shown, which amazingly resembles a miter.

This magically forms the miter without having to wrestle an alligator
Remember I told you that pressing the first set of strips TOWARD the center was important? Here’s why: You use the raw edge of that strip as your guide for aligning the second set of strips (in this case, the black floral). That’s how you get a true 90 degree miter:
Notice how the fold begins right at where you dropped your machine needle
This works on ALL corners
All corners can be folded in the same way
Fold back, pin and get ready to stitch.
Yes, this is stitched with a tiny zig zag and monofilament thread.
Wait? Can I see the back?
Look closely; you can see the stitching. Trim away the excess folded under fabrics.
And now for the reveal of the entire block using my Magical Mitering technique:
Magically mitered strips. You can call this Attic Windows, also
Remember: First two strips get pressed TOWARD the center. The last two strips are pressed AWAY from the center.
I made 4 of these panels. Two of the blocks have yellow on the side and two have yellow on the top and bottom. This way the same colors don’t touch. Well, what does it look like?
13″ blocks and YES! I mitered the borders, too!
 For some reason I get carried away when I start sewing. I almost never make something small. Don’t these Savannah panels look like window panes viewing a lovely English garden?
Want to see more from Debby Kratovil? Come see her at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Baltimore, Atlanta, Lakeland and Schaumburg! Debby will teach Vortex Quilt (BYOF) and other piecing and quilting classes.

Tuesday Tip featuring Expo Faculty Jean Ann Wright

A quilter’s fabric stash is a palette of color for making a quilt…be it traditional or modern. For years my stash was piled haphazardly in teetering stacks that threatened to collapse in a chaotic pile when I tried to search through a stack for a particular color or print I knew was there…somewhere! I thrive in the chaos, I am most creative when I have everything everywhere, but I don’t want to waste hours and hours of time on the hunt for the fabric I need to make a quilt. When I get a new idea for a quilt I want to start sewing right now! I don’t want to waste time looking everywhere for the fabric I need. I want to be at the sewing machine.

Then I attended a presentation by Anita Hallock on organizing and storing fabrics. Her system was so simple I couldn’t believe it. Simply take a length of yardage folded over as it comes off the bolt, wrap it around your 8″ x 24″ Creative Grids® ruler, slip the ruler out, fold the fabric in half from folded side to selvedge side and wella! You have neatly folded fabric. As you wrap more and more of your yardage into individual “folds” you will love the way they all come out the same size and stack ever so neatly on any bookshelf.

I spent one summer folding my huge fabric stash. Every evening I would sit on the sofa and fold fabric as I watched TV. Surprisingly this was a very soothing activity that settled me down at the end of a busy day and put me in a calm frame of mind before going to bed. Folding is a repetitive activity that brings peace of mind and what could be better than stroking all that lovely fabric!



Here is what my newly organized stash looks like. You can see that I chose to store my fabric by color family in the bookcase with fewer storage shelves. I can now find any piece of fabric I need at a moment’s notice saving hours of time when I am ready to start a new quilt.

In the taller bookshelf I stored specific fabric collections from the fabric companies that I have designed quilts for using those collections. The empty space is for new fabrics I may buy in the future. The long folds in the three shelves adjacent and below are at least five yard cuts that I buy on sale for quilt backings. By the number of backings I have stashed it looks like I have lots of quilts to make in my future.



Check out more from Jean Ann Wright:




And, of course, come see her at the Expo at any of the first 3 locations teaching a variety of classes including:

See the entire list of classes and workshops online at sewingexpo.com!

The Expo in 2014: What do YOU look forward to?

What do you look forward to at the Expo each year?
What is your highlight each time you plan your sewing get-away?
How can Original Sewing & Quilt Expo make 2014 the best year yet?

Three of the Expo’s 16 cities of 2014 are now online! Join the Expo in Baltimore, Atlanta and Lakeland this March! And check out the full calendar of events to see the other Expo locations.

Do you love the Classes and Workshops? What’s your favorite?
In Atlanta, Georgia, Original Sewing & Quilt Expo has over 130 class titles for you to choose from! Register today!






Do you love the Quilt Display Galleries?
In Baltimore (Hunt Valley), the Expo will be showcasing Mary Kerr‘s curated quilt exhibit, ‘Quilt as Desired’. Click here for more details.






And shopping? Of course! What’s been your favorite Expo purchase?
In Lakeland, Florida, shop at over 100 vendor booths!






Leave a comment with your favorite thing that ever happened to you at the Expo, and be entered in a drawing to win 4 tickets to any 2014 event. What a deal!

Drawing will be held on January 17. 

Looking forward to seeing you this year at the Expo!

Will you ‘Almost Whole Cloth’?

Join Expo teacher, Nelly Vileikis, in one of her great new classes, Almost Whole Cloth.


This astounding teacher is taking her students to the next level. With an advanced background in mathematics, Nelly has a tremendous passion for quilting and teaching. She has won numerous awards in local as well as national quilt competitions. For over ten years she has taught in several quilt shops, at many Quilt Guilds throughout North Eastern Ohio, Quilting Get-A-Ways and private classes.



This class is available for quilters at all levels, with all of the project materials provided for you! Join Nelly for this class in Minneapolis, Tinley Park, and Overland Park!









Click the link below to view more details from Nelly’s YouTube video:

Almost Whole Cloth – Nelly Vileikis


You’ve Got To Try THESE At The Expo!

Have you heard of the exciting new Features and Events the Expo has added this year? If not – it’s not too late to join in on the fun!

Join us Friday evening from 6-7 for a fun, social, informal gathering showing off what you’ve made, want to make, or come if you just need some general sewing inspiration! It’s been a hit this year – attendees have so enjoyed the creative environment (not to mention there are great prizes and tasty snacks!)























Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a style makeover experience? Get a one-on-one experience with a fashion expert! This showcase features some of our fashion teachers that work with participants to create a whole new look and instill fresh confidence! Some fashion personalities featured include Barb Callahan of Barb Originals, Cynthia Guffey, Carol Steinbrecher of Style Solutions LLC, and Linda Lee of The Sewing Workshop!













Come see young, enthusiastic sewers show off their projects at our Sewing’s Next Generation runway event. Each Saturday afternoon at the Expo, youth ages 9-18 have the opportunity to present their handmade goods, whether it be fashion or quilting related. Know of a young sewist who might be interested in participating? Visit our website to get all the details!













OSQE has three locations left on the calendar for 2013. Join the Expo in Minneapolis, Tinley Park, or Overland Park – or go ahead and join in on all three!

See you at the Expo!


Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Overland Park Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Overland Park, KS at the Overland Park Convention Center on November 21, 22 & 23!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yay!

Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog thread for a chance to win! Comments will close on Monday, October 14th at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Get to Know Zentangle® Art

Meet Kim, certified Zentangle® instructor and Original Sewing & Quilt Expo staff member!

Kim is a gifted teacher who travels to each Expo, bringing with her the knowledge and expertise of the Zentangle® technique and craft!

Being a stay-at-home mom of four, Kim loves her job because of the relationships that have grown among the staff, vendors and students. (We love you too, Kim!)  Kim wanted to bring a high-quality class to a company that’s committed to a high-quality standard. She says that each city is an opportunity to reconnect with former students, catch up with them and see what projects that have finished or are working on from previous classes.

What is Zentangle®? The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.




Here are some example tiles of Kim’s “Intro to Zentangle®-ing” class. In this class, students will learn basic language of Zentangle®. They will learn how to draw several basic tangles, basic shading and color and combine them with high quality paper tiles.






















Inspired, but not an artist? It is assured that you do not have to possess ANY artistic ability, in fact, it is even better if you can’t draw at all! Anyone can do it. It’s a mediative, relaxing process.

Kim went off to Providence, RI for 5 days to learn from the founders of Zentangle®, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Kim quotes, “It was a magical experience…”.

Kims class, “More Zentangle®-ing”, is all about putting the different designs onto fabric and learning about the circular design form called Zendalas. These patterns are twisted and turned to create undulating patterns. Adding color, shading and other features, here are some examples:














Zengangle®-ing is perfect for any of your household/home-dec creations! You can use patterns on t-shirts, quilts and other fabric projects! Get wild and get inspired in your tangles!

Join Kim in her Zentangle® endeavors at one of the Expo’s coming up in the fall! Visit www.sewingexpo.com for a full list of Expo locations, classes and workshops and all of Kim’s class details! “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.


Have you taken a class with Kim in the past? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Tinley Park Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Tinley Park, IL at the Tinley Park Convention Center on November 14, 15 & 16!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yay!

Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog thread for a chance to win! Comments will close on Monday, October 7th at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Minneapolis Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Minneapolis, MN at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest on November 7, 8 & 9!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yay!

Comments are now clsoed. Congrats to Lori O’Shea on winning the Value Package for Minneapolis!

Tuesday Tip: Fall Fashion Must-Haves

With fashion week’s recent conclusion, a Tuesday Tip is most definitely necessary to highlight the DOs of fall fashion 2013.

Must-Know Fashion Highlights:

1. Put a beanie on it.
Don’t be afraid of hats. Embrace them! (And the hat hair that comes with it!)







2. Dark nail polish.
The go-to color: Oxblood







3. Chunky sweaters, especially gray.








4. Fall’s fashion color: Emerald Green









Original Sewing & Quilt Expo’s fall is busy, busy, busy with SEVEN Expos on the horizon! To get your fall sewing and fashion into gear, check out our website, www.sewingexpo.com to see all of our locations, classes and workshops and so much more!



Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Fort Worth Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Fort Worth at the Will Rogers Memorial Center on October 17, 18 & 19!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yay!

Comments now closed. Congratulations to Rita S. on winning the Value Package A!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Birmingham Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Birmingham at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center on October 10, 11 & 12th!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and check out other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yay!

Comments are now closed. Congratulations to Marva Goodman on being the Value Package winner! 


Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Fredericksburg Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Fredericksburg at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center on October 3, 4 & 5th!

You can take Classes & Workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and see tons of other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yippee…

Comments are now closed. Congratulations to Sharon Mueller, the winner of a Value Package A!

Tuesday Tip Q & A from New Expo Teacher Rachel Griffith!

What a pleasure it is to have a little  Q & A time from the lovely Rachel Griffith for our Tuesday Tip! segment, today. Owner and designer of P.S. I Quilt, check out www.psiquilt.com for more from this creative lady! She will be joining us for her first show in Pittsburgh, so let’s give her a hand!

And please don’t mind the lower-case letter style of Ms. Griffith. It’s totally her thing :)

What/ who first introduced you to sewing? Was it love at first sight?
it was my home ec teacher. in class, i made a simple baby “quilt” that used 1 yard of fabric for the front and 1 yard of fabric for the back. it was more of a blanket, honestly. and i still have it.

Tell us a bit about your blog and how it all got started.
ps i quilt was started because i wanted a place to share my thoughts, inspirations and projects. i also wanted to be able to talk with other people.

What was your first project ever made?
the blanket from question number 1. 

What have you always wanted to make but haven’t had the chance to yet?
i’d like to make a quilt like my great grandmothers did. something vintage, but with a lot of heart. i think about them a lot while i design. whether it comes out or not in the end result, who knows. so, maybe the correct answer would be a dresden quilt of some sort. 

Your favorite color combination? 
oooh. grey, aqua & coral.

Your favorite sewing/quilt pattern?
 hmmm. this is a tough one. i’m a sucker for simplistic designs. and i love pinwheel blocks. i know that’s not a specific pattern, but it’s the truth. 

Your design inspiration?
i like to think of myself as a nowadays quilter. i like to mix traditional with modern. it depends on the design itself. it could be a shape within an old door or window frame or even the way 

Why you do what you do—what motivates you to be in this industry?
 i do this because i love it. and because it helps provide for my family, i can devote myself to it completely. 

What you’re most excited about in teaching with us?
i love teaching. i wanted to be a home ec teacher. i love the interaction. and i love the satisfaction of helping people. 

Favorite food?
 i’m a pasta/bread/potato kind of girl with a sweet tooth. my favorite meal is beef stew with white rice. and my favorite desert would be cheesecake or peach pie. mmm.

 Favorite hobby apart from sewing?
 the correct answer would be reading. or baking. or maybe photography. 

Favorite holiday/day of the year?
 i’m a fall/winter girl. my most favorite day of the year would be the day after thanksgiving. it’s the perfect mix of fall and christmas. we eat leftovers, shop and decorate the christmas tree.


Rachel will be teaching three classes in Pittsburgh, Georgia Quilt Show, Fredericksburg, Fort Worth, Minneapolis and Overland Park!

Next week’s Pittsburgh Schedule:

Thursday, August 22: Impromptu Quilt








Friday, August 23: Pinwheel Sampler Quilt








Friday, August 23: Facade Quilt








Thanks, Rachel. See you at the Expo next week, everyone!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for Georgia Quilt Show!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo and Georgia Quilt Show is excited to see you at the Georgia Quilt Show at the Cobb Galleria Centre on September 19, 20 & 21!

Explore dozens of wonderfully made contest quilts and additional quilt displays! You can take workshops, , and see tons of other Features and Events at Georgia Quilt Show!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, and an Expo shopping bag! Yippee…

Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Cindi C, the winner of a Value Package A!


Tuesday Tip: Cotton Sateen

This week’s Tuesday Tip comes from Original Sewing & Quilt Expo staff member and super-star seamstress (a pro at anything ‘wedding’-related), Liz!

Today’s Tuesday Tip:

From figuring out tricky dilemma’s to jacket linings, to finely tailored shirts, Liz tells us her best tip for her new go-to fabric: Cotton Sateen!

Liz says,

“It all started when my son picked a dark blue map print for his Drunkard’s Path quilt, which left me with a dilemma.  How could I combine it with white and not have little blue thread ghosts show through the white? Cotton sateen is so perfectly opaque.  The white is so white it makes the blue even “bluer”.  It felt so great that I even used it on the back.  The end result is a lustrous, high contrast quilt that feels like butter.”

Cotton sateen as a jacket lining? Why, yes!

She continues…

“Meanwhile, I was looking for jacket lining for a cotton jacket (yes, it was repurposed quilt fabric).  After having the Drunkard’s Path in my hands for weeks, the choice was clear.  Cotton sateen is an ideal lining for those of us who have achieved a certain age, perfect for those on again, off again moments.”

Tailored shirts?

“When my favorite pink tailored shirt bit the dust, my only consolation was I could now make a new one in petal pink cotton sateen.”

And she even goes far enough to say…

“This week is the ultimate – cotton sateen sheets.  Ahhh . . “


This sounds just lovely! Thanks, Liz!


Also–be sure to check out our Pittsburgh show, happening THIS MONTH! See you there!

Tuesday Tip: Lost and Found

This week’s Tuesday Tip may seem highly generic, but could also be highly important and even life-saving to those of you whom it applies!

Origin of our Tuesday Tip:

Lost and Found. It’s a beautiful thing…when you remember it. Since we know our shop-savy attendees have lost things at the Expo, we provide a Lost and Found service.

Today’s Tuesday Tip:

Located at the Registration Desk, Original Sewing & Quilt Expo’s Lost and Found is host to things like prescription glasses, dolls, coats, wallets (!!), forgotten shopping bags (shown below) and even the occasional iPad or iPhone! Don’t forget to check the Lost and Found when you attend an Expo and have misplaced an item. Our awesome Regi-Team is there to help!

Pictured are some contents of a forgotten shopping bag from Raleigh, NC. What great Expo purchases from vendor Superior Thread that are just longing for their home!

Please call us if you think you may have forgotten something at the Expo. We may have it in the office or we could provide some information to direct you further.

Thanks for tuning in! Now we hope you’ll never forget to check the Lost and Found.

Also–be sure to check out our Fredericksburg show, happening in October. Over 40 faculty members! Our biggest class catalog ever! Want to request additional information or a class catalog? Click here!

Tuesday Tip: Walnuts

Are you all enjoying our Tuesday Tip segment of our blog?

We hope so!

This week’s Tuesday Tip comes from staff member, Kari Eckel. Her not-so-secret chocolate stash at work has filled many a chocolate-craving of mine. At this very moment she is driving across the country with her family. Safe travels, Kari!

Kari’s Tuesday Tip:

If you are thinking of making a pin cushion and the pattern calls for ground walnut shells and you don’t know where to get them – check out the local pet store in the bird and reptile departments.  Ground walnut shells are used as reptile and bird litter.


I’ve made some pin-cushions and filled them like this and it has worked out wonderfully!
Want to check out more accessory projects? Visit our website and select your city to view all of the great classes and workshops we offer!
Upcoming Events:
Pittsburgh – August 22, 23 & 24
Georgia Quilt Show – September 19, 20 & 21
To see all of our events, glance at our calendar!
Thanks for a great tip, Kari! See you again next week!

Tuesday Tip! The Colleran Way

This weeks Tuesday Tip! is brought to you by Original Sewing & Quilt Expo staff member, Holly Colleran! Travel expert and organization extraordinaire. Seriously…she’s quite good. Just check out her office:

Equipped with color-coated binders, sorted folders and not a hint of dust or grime to be found. Teach me your organizational-ways, Holly…

Holly’s Tuesday Tip:

“Use the project pouches sold at the sewing expo to organize your sewing area.  Each pouch can hold different projects ranging from holiday calicos to tatting supplies.  I like to stack them zipper side up on a shelf and put a label with their contents on the side of the pouch.  You can see at a glance your stash of projects and supplies!  And your supplies stay dust-free and organized.”

Inspiring, don’t you think?

She’s right. Those Expo Project Pouches are quite handy. Order now on our website and see our other Expo Products as well!


Thanks, Holly!

See you next week!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for the Pittsburgh Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Pittsburgh at the Monroeville Convention Center on August 22nd, 23rd and 24th!

You can take workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, and see tons of other Features and Events at the Expo!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yippee…


Congratulations to Joyce Singer, the winner of a Value Package A for the Pittsburgh Expo!

Giveaway is now closed for comments.


Tuesday Tip: Sewing Friends

Welcome back to our weekly Tuesday Tip post!

This week we are featuring another Original Sewing & Quilt Expo staff member, Cindy Costello! A lady with stashes of chocolate wherever she goes (which makes for a very nice friend to have around!)

Origin of Cindy’s Tip:

This is something she did recently that she enjoyed enough to share as a tip!

Cindy’s Tuesday Tip:

We all have those UFOs tucked away, and it feels like such an achievement to finish them.  If there is a project you need to complete, but have just lost the enthusiasm for it, ask a friend to cut the fabric for you.  It is much more exciting knowing that it will be done in no time if all you have to do is piece the fabric.  It always feels good to do something for a friend, too.  You both benefit!


I’d trade some of Cindy’s chocolate stash for some fabric-cutting duties for sure! ;)

Want to do more sewing with your friends? Bring them to the Expo! We have a Bring-A-Friend and Get a Free Class offer so you can cut and sew together! Sewing is better when it’s together.

Thanks, Cindy!

See you next week!

Introducing: Tuesday Tip!

Original Sewing & Quilt staff member, Lynn Lunoe, is highlighting our first-ever,

Tuesday Tip!


Fun Fact about Lynn Lunoe:

She loves driving, and if you have any questions about restaurants, hot-spots, and go-to’s in the greater Cleveland area, she’s your lady!

Origin of Lynn’s Tip:

Lynn is in the process of making flower girl dresses for her son’s wedding in October. This tip is derived from her experience with the treacherous fabric we all know as, TULLE!

Click here for the flower girl dress idea from Pinterest!


Lynn’s Tuesday Tip:

When gathering tulle for poufy tutus for costumes or for flower girl dresses, sew a wide zig zag stitch over 12 weight thread or gimp cord and pull that thread or cord to gather. Then, sew the gathered tulle onto a waistband. Makes it quick and easy – and poufy!


As a side-note, Lynn suggests singing broadways show tunes to make the process go faster.

Now you can sew that tulle with confidence!


Check out more from Lynn Lunoe in Pittsburgh in August where she will be teaching!

Be sure to visit Whatever’s Quilted at the Raleigh Expo!

Do you have a lot of UFO’s in your sewing studio?  Quilters often have a hard time finishing their projects…

If you can relate, be sure to visit Donna Sontag of Whatever’s Quilted at the upcoming Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Raleigh on June 20-22th at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Donna is all about “getting the quilter done.” She is an authorized Handi Quilter Representative who’ll show you the ropes on several different Handi Quilter models at the Expo.  Whatever’s Quilted is your one stop shop for all things finishing – from midarm machines to longarm machines, all the accessories you might need, and even wide backings – you can find it all!

Not quite ready to buy a Handi Quilter?  Talk with Donna about renting time on a machine in her store.  You’ll be hooked in no time!

Win a Trip to the Georgia Quilt Show…


Have you always wanted to go to a real live quilt show?  Now’s your chance!  Win a trip to Georgia Quilt Show compliments of APQS, Original Sewing & Quilt Expo and Quilters Newsletter.

You’ll enjoy three days of fun filled workshops, lectures, and amazing quilts as well as airfare and ground transportation.  Read all the details and enter for your chance to win HERE!

Classes, Classes, Classes in Raleigh!

Well – I’m officially a part-time “empty nester,” and it’s time I start sewing again.  There is no longer a bed or evidence of a teenage boy living in my sewing room!  I have organized all my “had-to-have” patterns and fabrics and I’m ready to roll for Spring and Summer sewing.  But first I think I need some refresher classes that sound great at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Raleigh this June 20-22.  I checked to make sure the following classes still had plenty of room in them (often the hands-on classes sell out early), so here is what I plan to indulge in:


What Does This Fabric Want to Be?  – how great will this be for my HUGE stash of had-to-haves…9:00 – 10:00

Laminated Beauty Bag:  Let’s Make Up  -  this sounds really fun!   12:30-3:30

Downtown Bags  -  you can never have too many fun bags, right?   4:00-5:00

Hipster Chick  -  sew many techniques in this class – I’m excited to have a travel e-reader sleeve and learn how to do a monogram!  6:00-9:00 PM –will sleep well tonite!


Mix it Up  -  Another class with ideas for using different fabrics (different teacher, also)  9:00-10:00

Soup to Nuts Bracelet

Bead Soup to Nuts Bracelet  -  I saw a sample of this….so awesome!!  12:30-3:30

3:30-6:00   -  SHOPPIN TIME!

Color Me Confident  -  I’ve always wanted to know if the colors and fabrics I love are good choices for me.  I’m bringing lots of swatches!  6:00-9:00 PM


Seven Core Sewing Skills  -  Fabulous sounding class from an impeccable seamstress  10:30-11:30

Seams Make the Difference  -  I’d REALLY like to know more than serged finishes!   12:30-3:30

Sew,  I am bound and determined to push myself with a pretty strenuous schedule, because I KNOW I will come home with completed projects, samples and knowledge to get myself back on the sewing track.  Next time I go to an Expo,  I think I might dabble in some beginner quilting classes!!!!   RALEIGH,  here I come!

Giveaway! Free Value Package A for Raleigh Expo!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Raleighat the Raleigh Convention Center on June 20, 21 & 22, 2013!

You can take workshops, explore quilts in the Display Gallery, make quick projects in The Spot, and much more!

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a FREE Value Package A. 

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yippee…

Giveaway ends on Monday May 13th at 9:00 AM EST.

The giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to Ginny Sharrow, the winner of a Value Package A!  See you in Raleigh…

Do You Sew For A Cause?

Our team is off to Baltimore, Maryland this week, and we have the privilege of showcasing a wonderful internationally-known not-for-profit organization called, Dress for Success®.


Baltimore’s Chapter of Dress for Success® responds to the needs of women in the Baltimore area by providing programs that help economically disadvantaged women acquire jobs, retain their positions, grow into new positions and succeed in the mainstream workplace by building a career.

The mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.


Join us each day at the Expo this week for a Dress for Success® SEW-A-THON!

Stop by the Make-It Center anytime between 2 and 5 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, to join other volunteers in sewing easy-fitting professional-style clothing. The garments that are made will be donated to Baltimore Dress for Success®. Come sit and sew, and you can be a key part in the transformation of clients into empowered, professional women who will excel not only in their careers, but in their lives as well!

There are also tons of other ways to get involved! With over 120 affiliates all over the world, check out your local Dress for Success® chapter and see what’s needed.


If you are inspired by these kinds of stories, and want to hear more about what you can do, check out some of these items that were made to help others in need.

What are you passionate about? Easy-to-make items like this Infinity Scarf can  be made and sold, with profits going to a charity of choice. (You can also learn to make your own at the Expo!)




Like to travel? Get your garment-sewing juices flowing and make some simple-dimple pillowcase dresses. These were some dresses donated to little children in need in Africa. (Check out  Little Dresses for Africa for some great information, and build some core sewing skills in some of our expo classes!)






We have a number of charities and not-for-profits that often host a booth at the Expo.


Quilters Comforting Kids: Volunteers provide quilts made to comfort kids battling life-threatening illness or victims of abuse.





Project Linus: Providing comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”



Quilts of Valor: Seeking to comfort all combat service members and veterans touched by war with healing and meaningful Quilts of Valor.






If you have been a part of or know of a great helping-cause that you want to give a shout out to, or you think should have the opportunity to be showcased at the Expo, write a comment and let us know!


See you in Baltimore!


Georgia Quilt Show

Have you ever entered a quilt contest?  Once a year, the hard work of quilters from around the world is showcased at the Georgia Quilt Show. Now’s the time for you to pick what masterpiece you want to enter!  Read all about the Contest Rules on our website.  The Online Entry Form will be live in early May, so you have a few weeks to finish up that special project!

Georgia Quilt Show will be at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, Georgia on September 19, 20 & 21, 2013.  Attend in person, or vicariously through your quilt!  Submissions due by August 2, 2013.

If you need inspiration, check out the winners from the 2012 Georgia Quilt Show…

Crimson Promises, Sharon Schamber- Best in Show

Forever in my Heart, Lahala Phelps – Best Hand Quilting

Storm at Sea – Bay View, Sheri Schoenebeck – Best Machine Quilting

Symphony of Roses, Barbara Clem – First Place Bed Quilt

Everlasting Bouquet, Molly Hamilton-McNally and Cindy Seitz-Krug – First Place Large Wall Quilt

Buried Treasure, Mary Kay Mouton – First Place Small Wall Quilt

Coming Home to White Oak, Kathryn Zimmerman – Second Place Bed Quilt

Butterflies Flew to my Garden, Marie Anne Coadic – Second Place Large Wall Quilt

The Palmetto Quilt, Carolyn Friedlander – Second Place Small Wall Quilt and Judge’s Choice

Ever After, Linda McCuean – Third Place Bed Quilt

Rainbow Nouveu, Margaret Solomon Gunn – Third Place Large Wall Quilt

Cowgirls Just Wanna Have Fun, JoAnn Camp – Third Place Small Wall Quilt

Sunflower Serenade, Marlene Shea – Judge’s Choice

The 2012 Georgia Quilt Show was judged by NQA certified judges Beverly Fine and Holice Turnbow.

Spring is here!

To all the fashionista’s out there–I (Aly) figure it couldn’t hurt to have an overview of some major spring trends happening right now!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE checking out all of the Runway’s for fresh fashion trends and ideas. We’ve even got some stellar fashionista’s in the office here that are always representing great style and swag.


This is straight from some hopping sources (i.e. Glamour, Elle, and Bazaar and E!)

Here’s what you NEED to know:

1. Bermuda Shorts

  • Slouchy, almost oversized shorts for the way-cool girl.

2. Funky Stripes

  • I’m loving this look from Christian Dior. Such an interesting way to add appeal and flatter with the skirt overlay and the red stripe throughout the look. Way fun!

  •  Or even this Oscar de la Renta gem. I’m in love.
  • Don’t be afraid of the bold black and whites!

3. Pale Nails

  • Going even further than just garment fashion–let’s not forget to look at the whole look, ladies! 
  • It’s not necessarily about the bold, obnoxious brights, but the subdued, calm pastels. 


4. Bomber Jackets

  • Woah…throwback!
  • An easy way to streamline a look toward a luxury, sporty look. Throw over and go!



5.  Oversized, White Shirts

  • An interesting one, that’s for sure. But definitely not worth neglecting. Thoughts?


There’s so much more to look at and chew on! But I hope this inspires you to dabble in some fashion trends and check out what we have to offer at the expo!

Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

What are your must have’s for spring? What are you most excited for?


To check out some happening trends, check out what we’ve got to offer at an Expo!

  • Make-It-Center: featuring Amy Butler’s new Alchemy Collection by Rowan Fabrics to make a super-chiq Infinity Scarf!

  • Teachers and Classes: featuring some of the greatest faculty in all of the fashion-sewing world!
  • Shopping: take home some trendy, fun items from all over the country!
  • Fashion Show: Get some real-life inspiration from our New Designer’s Fashion Show that happens at each location!
…and so much more! Check out our website, www.sewingexpo.com for all the stylin’ details!




Make Me Over!

In case you haven’t heard, Original Sewing & Quilt Expo has started a new initiative this year called the Style Makeover!


Yes, you read right. Attendees who come to our Style Makeover event at the show have the opportunity to participate in style transformation right before your very eyes!  This is an unforgettable opportunity to refresh your look! One of the lucky attendees will be chosen to working with one of our talented Expo designers to create a whole new, flattering look with style, color and pinnache. See the “before” and the fabulous “after” and learn how to create a new look for yourself this season.
Do you want to be part of the Style Makeover?

Well you can! Our designer will work with you to find the most flattering styles, colors, fabrics and details to make a whole “new” you. If chosen, you will receive a $100 Expo Shopping Spree so you can start creating your new fashion trend right away.


If you would like to become part of the Style Makeover, be sure to attend this unforgettable event at the show! Check the The Spot and Studio schedules at the show to see when it’s happening, or ask one of our staff members for more information. 


Check out some of the transformations that have happened so far this year:

Meet Ruth– our participant in Atlanta! She was so encouraged by stylist Carol Steinbrecher!


Meet Tami–our participant in Cleveland! Overall, her experience was so positive, she even said this about it:


I just wanted to say thank you so very much for the style makeover! [You and] Carol were wonderful. I learned a great deal. Again thank you! Next year we are going to bring a larger group to the show. It was beautifully set up and very inspirational!



See you this week in Schaumburg! To see our up-and-coming locations, visit us at www.sewingexpo.com!


Giveaway! FREE Value Package A for Baltimore Expo…

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Baltimore at the Baltimore Convention Center on May 9-11, 2013!

You can take classes, see amazing quilts in the Display Gallery and enjoy all kinds of activities in The Spot.

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a FREE Value Package A. 

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yippee…

Giveaway ends on Friday March 29th at 3:00 PM EST.

The Giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to Gee Maszczenski who won the Value Package A!  See you in Baltimore…

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo: Atlanta!

3 days. Gwinnett Center. So. Much. Fun.

Filled with joy, inspiration and so much creativity, the kick-off of Original Sewing & Quilt Expo shows for 2013 began in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here’s a sneak peak into some of the highlights and happenings of this awesome event!

Check out Amy Butler’s Alchemy Collection by Rowan. The show included 10 esteemed garment designers – including some of our own Expo faculty. With Linda Lee commentating, the audience saw unique pieces from the fun, print-filled fabric, really taking our fashion show to the next level of excitement! Join us at the next Expo to be one of the FIRST to see this great collection!

Dawn shared this amazing quilt with us as part of Go Tell It.  We’ve teamed up with the Quilt Alliance to collect stories about quilts.  Dawn made this amazing quilt over a few years, following a watercolor technique to manipulate color.  We’ll link up to the video story soon so you can hear about the secret of this quilt…

A new feature at the show this year is The Spot, a hub of activity on the show floor.  Part of The Spot is dedicated to the Make It Center with a rotating schedule of fun activities from infinity scarves featuring Amy Butler’s Alchemy Studio Collection from Rowan to zipper flower pins.  The picture above is of a BRAND NEW SEWIST!  This was her first project – quick, easy, fun and DONE!

Last night was our first “I Made It Myself” event too!  A Friday evening social hour with food, drinks, new friends and all kinds of great handmade items. Hope to see you at the “I Made It Myself” meet ups at upcoming Expos!

Check out more pictures of the Atlanta Expo on Facebook!

Next stop…Lakeland, Florida! Then, back to Cleveland, Ohio!

Feeling inspired? Let us know how!

Alchemy – A New Collection from Amy Butler & a GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Amy for giving us a peek into the creative process behind Alchemy!  Leave a comment about what you sew (garments, bags, quilts, all of it?) on this post for a chance to win a one yard cut of each of Amy’s new substrates – Voile, Sateen Bliss, Velveteen, Rayon Challis, Linen Cotton, and Linen Rayon. Giveaway ends on Monday March 11th at 9 AM EST.

Congratulations to Mary Arsenault, the winner of the fabric giveaway!

MY ALCHEMY STUDIO COLLECTION –  my first premiere collection dedicated to fashion sewing and created exclusively for my independent quilt shops worldwide!

Supple rayon challis, silky sateen bliss, flowy voile, buttery velveteen and soft linen cotton fabrics designed to all work as one stunning (and easy to buy) fashion group. Everyone is getting into fashion sewing, for themselves and for their homes! I want to make it easy to inspire fashionistas at every level by offering a cohesive collection in 12 skus . Imagine a pencil skirt and a voile blouse to go with, or a gorgeous rayon challis dress combined with a natural linen cotton jacket. Perhaps voile curtains with velveteen pillows and quilt. I had a ball with creating this mix! My idea is that in only 12 skus there is tons of versatility and variety in fabric substrates to allow sewists to make a wide variety of projects for garments, accessories, quilts and even home decor. The other key ingredient is the mix of colors and prints and that all of these different substrates coordinate and make one big beautiful story that allows the sewer to make a rayon challis blouse that will look gorgeous with velveteen pants, all from fabrics in this one core collection. My naturally inspired prints & bohemian graphics on these luscious substrates creates a new, fresh pattern mix to poetically layer and personalize. We all need great new ideas to get the fire going, and this is an exciting time to introduce the bright spark of fashion!

Dalynn, Katie and I move you through an exciting experience where you get to the see the fabrics “in action”. It really does give you a whole new perspective and it was so much fun to create! Have fun watching!


The Liverpool Tunic
The Emily Bag

The Drawstring Dress – Sew Red

Bag – Umami’s Fabric Canvas World
The Drawstring Dress – Sew Red

The Charm Clutch

The Roxanne Top – Victory Patterns

The Drawstring Dress – Sew Red
Bag – Umami’s Fabric Canvas World

Bag – Umami’s Fabric Canvas World
Dress – The Roxanne Top – Victory Patterns

The Charm Clutch

Fitz Patterns – Fabienne Shirt Dress
The Emily Bag

Lavender Sachet

Weekender – The Weekender Bag
The Drawstring Dress – Sew Red

AND MY DECORATOR FABRICS –  a brand NEW substrate mix of rayon and linen- it’s delicious and versatile!  I created this 8 sku mix to coordinate perfectly with my Alchemy Quilting cottons to add in that versatility piece again. Mixing and matching across fabric substrates gives us all so much flexibility and tons of ideas  The weight of this decorator linen makes it an exciting and versatile substrate. Heavy enough for upholstery, yet has a wonderful drape for all kinds of sewing projects!  I am planning on backing my new quilts with it.. it’s soft enough and very easy to sew with. I think this would be a great time to get everyone excited about home décor projects this winter! You can see by my illustration how easy it is to mix the decorator with my quilting fabrics.

I snapped a pic when my fabric yardage first arrived. OMG it’s like Christmas!!

I love this shot! The beautiful Kelsie is zen like in this sea of color. The bench, couch cushions and gumdrop pillow in the foreground are all made with my Alchemy Decorator Linen/ Rayon.

MY ALCHEMY LAMINATED FABRICS – I love working with these laminated fabrics. The soft texture and ease of use is the perfect combination for so many fun sewing and crafting projects. These 6 skus are some of my favorite prints! I love mixing my laminated with my new Decorator linen and my quilting cottons. For hot tips on working with laminated fabrics and links to great tutorials check this link out from my web site.
This is the “Emily Bag” from Ithinksew.com and it’s perfect for my laminated prints. I used my Decorator linen for the lining and handles.

The Emily Bag – The Emily Bag

The Emily Bag
Dress – The Roxanne Top – Victory Patterns

For loads of laminated inspiration you can check out my ‘Wonder” story in Blossom

Download my “Creative Project Suite” which has fabulous instructions for repurposing a vintage table and covering the top with laminated fabric.

MY ALCHEMY ORGANIC QUILTING COTTONS – 8 buttery beautiful prints! This collection launched in September 12′ and has been so well received!

Creating an organic collection has been a long time dream of mine and I’m proud to get to work with Westminster Fibers on developing and growing this category of material. There is an ever increasing demand for organic fabrics and I’m proud to offer this petite and powerful mix of prints.
This is a  sweet collective of my favorite botanical inspired designs translated in brilliant hues that are irresistible on my yummy 100% organic quilting cotton. This luxurious material makes the most delicious quilts and just keeps getting softer and softer with every wash. The incredible feel of the fabric & uplifting prints will have you dreaming up special projects for the ones you love! Printed sustainably with low impact dyes, my Alchemy fabrics  are certified organic through the G.O.T.S. affiliate Control Union Certifications – Netherlands  To see my full collection and loads of inspiration and project ideas check out my Blossom Magazine story “Indian Summer”
This is the end of my visit and I wanted to thank you for having me pop in today.  Thank you too everyone for your time. It’s been a joy to share my Alchemy Collections with you. If you’d like to connect or have feedback for me, hot tips, suggestions, I’d love to hear from you! You can drop me a note at amyb@amybutlerdesign.com or visit me on Facebook, Twitter – @amybutlerdesig1, Instagram – amybutlerdesign, and now on Pinterest.  Wishing everyone love, light, peace and wonderful creative adventures in 2013! XO AMY


See Amy’s new fabric at the Expo!


Alchemy – A New Collection from Amy Butler

We are so excited to feature Amy Butler and her new Alchemy collection for our blog! Enjoy!

I am so grateful to have this opportunity to share with you about my new Alchemy fabric collections!  I love the whole process of designing my lines and at the same time thinking about new ways to have my collections work for my sewing friends. When I think about what my sewists need,  it’s passionate color, beautiful prints and lots of versatility in materials and types of fabrics to sew with. There’s a massive jump happening in our sewing world and we are all hungry to work on all kinds of sewing projects like fashion garments , home decor pieces, quilts, bags & accessories and all kinds of fabric crafts!  No surprise.. my full range of Alchemy substrates aims to meet all of these needs. I consciously kept the total number of fabrics smaller and concentrated for this collection so it’s easier for my sewists to mix and match prints and fabrics weights so customizing their projects would be fun and creative.  My goal was to design in total versatility, beauty and ease. Where can you find my Alchemy Studio collection?- at independent quilt and fabric shops worldwide! It’s here where you can have an amazing supportive and creative experience and find the highest quality education and materials.

Another fun piece in the creative process for me is coming up with new ways to share inspiration and ideas, this is one of the key reasons I created my “Blossom Magazine” & “Blossom Club”  so they could be a resource that offers you tons of creative opportunities and to be a voice that supports your heart and soul’s creative nudges… a way for all of us to connect and share about the things we value most and the things that call our passion forward. The other ingredient in the creative process that I love is story telling with my photography and marketing to give loads of ideas on what you can do with my fabrics. I know this is an important piece, it’s the emotive element that hits home and gets us all excited to create! I love it because it’s another way for me to express my vision and ideas and how I want people to experience the materials and I know it’s a great jumping off point that ignites quality creative time.

Here’s a link to my “Blossom Magazine”!

Now I’d love to ” tour” you through my Alchemy Collections! For an extensive and fun tour from me in my Fall Quilt Market Booth, check out my YouTube video here that gives you my personal first hand descriptions and inspirations for all of my Alchemy substrates.

MY ALCHEMY QUILTING AND FASHION – 12 prints total and completely yummy for all kinds of quilting and sewing projects!  I designed Alchemy around the idea of transformation, and infusing elements of nature with exciting color and vivid graphic stories. My vision is to achieve a lovely chemistry of print, color, and texture. I love using my quilting fabrics for everything! The idea of multiple uses really feeds into the versatility concept and provides unlimited ideas and inspirations. I really am that girl that loves to make everything under the sun.. quilts, fashion accessories and home decor projects. It’s really how we all live and what we all love. So much fun!  You can check out my full range here!

Top Left – Free Alchemy Pillow pattern
Top pillow in stack – The Liberty Book of Home Sewing 
Bottom pillows in stack – Honey Bun Poufs

Middle Pillow – Free Alchemy pattern http://amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/SSlicesPillowPattern.pdf
Bottom Pillow –  The Liberty Book of Home Sewing 
Left Pillow – Free Alchemy pattern – http://amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/SSlicesPillowPattern.pdf

Gypsy Sling

Honey Bun Pouf 

Weekender Travel Bag 

Free Alchemy Quilt – http://amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/ALCHEMY_Quilt_Pattern.pdf
Honey Bun Poufs
Gumdrop Pillows

The Swing Bag by Amy Butler

The Birdie Sling

The Weekender Bag

The Spice Market Tote

The Gypsy Sling

AND… please be sure to enjoy my FREE quilt and pillow patterns!




See Amy’s new fabric at the Expo!

  • Fashion Show – Garments from some amazing designers grace the runway at noon each day.  In Atlanta, Lakeland, Schaumburg, Baltimore and Raleigh.
  • The Spot – join us to mix and match Amy’s great prints and fabric types in infinity scarves! In Atlanta, Lakeland, Cleveland, Schaumburg, Worcester, Baltimore and Raleigh.

Giveaway! FREE Value Package A for Worcester Expo…

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Worcester at the DCU Center on April 11-13, 2013!

With classes, shopping, displays and all the sewing and quilting enthusiasts in your area, you’re sure to have a wonderful time!

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a FREE Value Package A. 

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! Yippee…

Giveaway ends on Friday March 1st at 9:00 AM EST.

Comments are now closed.

Congratulations Fran!  You are the lucky winner of a Value Package A for the Worcester Expo!

Giveaway! FREE Value Package to Schaumburg Expo…

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Schaumburg at the Schaumburg Convention Center on April 4-6, 2013!

Coming only once a year, the Expo is THE place to be for great classes, tremendous shopping, lively displays and not to mention a great community of sewing, quilt, and creative fanatics! It is a place where your wildest sewing and creative inspirations can come to life!

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a FREE Value Package A. 

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! [An amazing deal!]

Giveaway ends on Friday February 22nd at 9:00 AM EST.

Best wishes and best of luck!

Comments are now closed for the giveaway.

Congratulations to Ronnie Summers for winning the Value Package! Look forward to seeing you there!

[Re]Introducing: Linda Lee!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is welcoming back Linda Lee of The Sewing Workshop to the shows this year!

Linda will be in Atlanta and Chicago this spring, and will be featuring some of her new ideas and product that she has been working on.

One of the main products being her new SewConfident! Program!


Wait. Sewing classes on a flash drive? What?

Yep, downloadable tutorials on a handy flash drive, ready to use on your computer, iPad, Kindle or other portable device.

SewConfident! is Linda’s new way of teaching people at any skill level to sew and look at patterns in a different way. These are timeless techniques that she has honed to perfection and is presenting them in a  fun way that people can access the information at their own leisure.

These monthly classes are emailed to you and include things like:

  • How-To Tutorials
  • Step-by-step format
  • Fitting Tips
  • Pattern variation suggestions (The Trio Tee turns into The Swing Tee)
  • Sewing Fun Tank Tops!
  • Inserting Invisible Zippers (eeek!)
  • Sewing with Linen on the Nine Lives Vest
  • Sewing with Silks on the Stella Top
  •  Even sewing with fabrics like crinkles, gauzes and lace!
Linda will be teaching a variety of classes in Atlanta and Chicago, including Tanks Again, Downtown Bags, Sewing with Silks, and Building A Core Wardrobe. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced seamstress, Linda’s years of skill speak to foundational principals at any level! And, she will of course have a booth featuring her esteemed pattern collection, fabrics, kits, and of course, SewConfident!



Show and Tell

There’s always inspiration around the office. Kari brought in a colorful quilt…

She did a great pieced back, love those colors!

Kari’s next quilt is based on this big bold fish print.  She is going to free motion quilt on print.  This is a great way to use large scale prints.

Liz’s quilting group is working on creating pieced houses for an auction.  Liz paper pieced this cozy home, complete with some cats in the windows.

All ready for quilting!

Ellen is a quilter, but she is making the jump to garments.  She’s making Barb Originals’ Cowl Girl top with a great stretch linen from The Wool House – both found at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo!

Feeling inspired?  Take a class at an upcoming Expo…See the calendar to find a location near you!

Even More UFOs…

That’s right, we have MORE UFOs!

Ellen had countless UFOs to pick from, but this coordinated, wrinkly trio represents the most recent additions to that bottom shelf that might someday get quilted…

Aly is just jumping into quilting, working away on this bright, paper-pieced project…

Holly brought this cheery blue and yellow fabric into the office a few weeks back.  Technically it wasn’t even a UFO yet, just supplies gathered for a duvet project.  That said, Holly had a deadline, and it looked like she was going to finish her project before anyone else…

She had already made a cover for her sewing machine and serger.

Along with some coordinated window treatments.

And, just in time for her house guest, Holly finished the duvet!

Giveaway! FREE Value Package to Cleveland Expo…

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited to see you in Cleveland at the I-X Center on March 21, 22 & 23, 2013!

Are you ready for exciting classes, the opportunity to shop til you drop, and seeing all your sewing and quilting friends?

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a FREE Value Package A. 

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet!

Giveaway ends on Friday February 8th at 9:00 AM EST.

Good Luck!

Comments are now closed.  Congratulations to Patty Pierce, the winner of a Value Package A in Cleveland!  See you soon Patty…

Giveaway! FREE Value Package to Atlanta Expo…

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is coming to the Gwinnett Center in Atlanta, Georgia on March 7, 8 & 9!

If you like all things stitchy, the Expo is the place to be!  There’s all kinds of shopping, quilts galore and tons of classes about quilting, garment construction, surface design, machine embroidery and more!

Leave a comment below and you might win a FREE Value Package A for the Atlanta Expo!

Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet!

Giveaway ends on Thursday February 7th at 9:00 AM EST.

Comments are now closed.  Congratulations to Robin Grant, the winner of a Value Package A for Atlanta! 

More UFOs!

Variety is the spice of life and our staff dabbles in all kinds of stitchy projects.

Kari is an accomplished doll maker.  Like quilts and garments, dolls take time to construct too and they can creep into the UFO category.

It’s amazing how Kari manipulates the fabric to create this expressive face.

As Kari works towards finishing her dolls, Liz is knitting away on a great hat.  The yarn is leftover from a cozy sweater that Liz wears on cold days, and soon she’ll be so chic with a hat to match!

Liz is also in the midst of making a pink blouse with some pink cotton sateen.  She even had enough fabric left over to make some house blocks for a project she’s working on with her quilting group.

All this pink and red, will Liz be done by Valentine’s Day?  When will Kari finish the dolls?  Keep sewing Liz and Kari!

Giveaway! FREE Class Package to Lakeland Expo…

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo returns to Lakeland, Florida on March 14, 15 & 16!

There’s all kinds of shopping, quilts galore and tons of classes about quilting, garment construction, surface design, machine embroidery and more!

Leave a comment below and you might win a FREE Class Package A for the Lakeland Expo!

Class Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet!

Giveaway ends on Friday February 1st at 9:00 AM EST.

Comments are now closed!  Congratulations to Frankie Guthrie, the winner of a Value Package A for Lakeland…

UFOs – We all have them!

The initial rush of starting a project is ohh-so-exciting!  Sometimes you just can’t stop, and sometimes, well weeks, months, even years can fly by before you make your way back to finish it.  Unfinished objects, lovingly referred to as UFOs by quilters, sewers, and crafters alike are everywhere…

Just around our office we discovered many projects waiting patiently to be finished.  Over the next few days, you’ll see a sampling of the projects that haunt us!

Cindy is almost finished with a great batik apron.  In fact, it even looks finished in this picture, but the bib and apron aren’t sewn together just yet…

And, why sew just one apron?  Cindy has three others started!

The ruffled edge is a great detail.

While Lynn may have an abundance of UFOs, she is very organized with this tote labeled and ready for a rainy day, or week!

Lynn’s oldest UFO is from a few years back.  A friend gave her embroidered flower blocks as a wedding present. Lynn pieced the blocks together and dreamed of using similar flowers out as the quilting motif.  Now, Lynn has all the tools to digitize this design and finish the quilt!

Who will finish their project first, Cindy or Lynn?  What UFOs are you hiding?

Jean Ann Wright: Courthouse Steps Quilt

On a recent visit to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, CO, I was intrigued by an antique quilt made entirely of velvet. The quilt inspired me to make a quilt using Courthouse Steps blocks stitched in the new, modern style. I used the antique quilt as a guide, substituting white for red and adding other colors in approximately the same positions as the antique.

Inspiration Quilt from Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

Using my Log Cabin Trim Tool to make the blocks so that each block would be perfect when finished. I slipped in slivers of color in some white blocks and bits of white in the colored blocks, taking the traditional Courthouse Steps blocks into the realm of modern quilts. I inserted the color slivers in various rounds of strips sewn around the center square. After squaring up a round of strips I simply sliced off one edge at a random angle with my rotary cutter and ruler, then stitched the chosen color strip in place. Then I squared up the round of strips again using the trim tool before starting the next round of strips or finishing the block. All of the slivers of color were added at a whim. There was no plan, just what was pleasing to the idea at the moment.

To continue the marriage of traditional and modern quilting I made the quilt to hang over my antique Victorian fainting couch. Here is a vignette of the quilt that completes the seating area of a small library-media room in my 100 year old house in Marietta, Georgia.

Learn more about Jean Ann Wright at her blog.

Take classes with Jean Ann at Expos in Lakeland, Florida.  She is even teaching a class about log cabin quilts!

BYOF: Bring Your Own Fabric

People who sew LOVE fabric.  From batiks to novelty prints to reproductions and beyond, quilters have endless choices when it comes to fabric.  With choice comes a difference in taste, so while the neon trend might be your favorite thing, your fellow quilters might be leaning towards a more restrained palette.

Because we know you know what you like, and since you probably have yards and yards and yards of it in your stash, we are offering some of our classes as BYOF, which stands for Bring Your Own Fabric!  Look for the BYOF icon online or in the class catalog, and use this as an opportunity to use your favorite fabrics in a classroom setting!

Besides making something that fits your unique aesthetic, BYOF lets you see what other quilters think looks good together, who knows, you might be surprised that you like an unlikely combination of fabrics.  Here’s a sampling of what a few ladies from our office would use for a BYOF class:

Kari chose a palette of warm and cool batiks for a quilt for her sister.

Ellen dug into some new prints!

Liz is planning a project with this rich fabric she picked up at Some Art Fabric at an Expo a few years back…

Marlene’s fun prints are ready to sew!

Bonnie had these fun prints leftover from an apron project – perfect for BYOF!

Fingers crossed that we all sew, sew, sew this fabric up!

If you are interested in a BYOF class, here are some options:

The Chameleon Block Quilt with Holice Turnbow is offered in Atlanta, Lakeland and Cleveland.

Debby Kratovil’s Arrowheads Quilt also allows you to pick your favorite fabric!  Join Debby in Atlanta, Lakeland and Cleveland

Peruse the full class catalog for Atlanta, Lakeland and Cleveland to find more BYOF classes, and stay tuned for more classes and more cities throughout 2013!

Class: Sewing Machine ABCs and 1-2-3s

Is it a new love, or are you in an enduring relationship with your sewing machine? Either way, do you really know all it can do?

Join me and cover the basics in Sewing Machine ABCs and 1-2-3s.  Your machine may be able to take you to projects and places you never dreamed possible.  Did you get feet with it? Why? What do they do?

Learn bobbin basics, essential stitches, standard and advanced settings and, well, why are there so many different needles?

Lynn Lunoe has a lifetime of experience maximizing her sewing machine.  Learn her tricks in Atlanta, Lakeland, Cleveland and Schaumburg!

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo presents…The Maker’s Experience!

There seems to be a magnetic field between people who sew and people who blog that is only growing!  Sewists, sewers, seamstresses, quilters, piecers, whatever you want to call them, there are millions of people who make meaning in their lives through sewing. 

In many ways, sewing is a solitary pursuit.  Whether you have a sewing room or a little nook you’ve carved out your dining room table, once you are in front of the machine, time stops.  You can forget to eat, clean the house, whatever is on your list, just to complete that new outfit or the quilt you’ve been wanting to finish for weeks! 

Many people who sew also spend countless hours online perusing fellow sewing addicts finished (or not-so-finished) projects.  Inspiration is endless online…

But, inspiration also exists outside your sewing room and off your computer screen!  Original Sewing & Quilt Expo hosts 15 events a year around the country to inspire and engage makers who sew and quilt.  We invite you to join us, both online and in person, to explore what people are sewing and why…

So, to embrace the relationship between sewing and blogging, we are diving into the blogosphere, but hopefully you’ll join us at the Expo too!