Monday, August 25, 2014

ETA Sewing Expo - Rutherford, NJ

This weekend saw the arrival of the ETA Sewing Expo to the Rennaisance Hotel in Rutherford, NJ.  (ETA stands for Education of the Textile Arts.)  The expo was held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 22, 23 and 24.  Compared to other sewing expos (such as the one in Pallyup, WA and the one in Novi, Michigan), this one is tiny.  There were only 12 instructors and the vendor hall consisted of one room.

However, even though it was small, it carried quite a punch!  The instructors were top notch.  The vendor hall was packed with fun sewing items and there was quite a selection of fabric.  There also was a fashion show on Saturday evening.

This event was organized by the amazing Peggy Sagers who is also the owner and designer of Silhouette Patterns with Exclusive B, C and D cup sizing.

Here is Peggy in her gorgeous jacket based on Silhouette Patterns #1912:

My Saturday started by checking in to the lobby where Peggy was busy greeting attendees.  Since I had arrived early, I decided to check out the vendor hall.  On my way there, I found a hallway full of beautiful fabric:

When I got to the vendor hall, I was greeted by Debra Kreiling, Design Development Director of Simplicity Patterns:

and saw tables and tables of sewing books, tailoring supplies and patterns:

I resisted buying fabric since my fabric stash is much too big for my space and I do not want to buy anymore fabric until I start using what I have (it was tempting though).  However, I did buy some useful sewing notions and tools:

No, those aren't buttons on that card that says Maude C.  Those are a pair of cute earrings created by the fabulous Lauryn Bray.  I put them on as soon as I purchased them.  They coordinated perfectly with my crazy top - it was just meant to be!  Check out her Etsy store.   Lauryn is an inspirational young woman who taught the class, All in the Chicest Details, in which she spoke of what you can do to bring interest to your garments.  She had quite a knack for mixing various fabrics, prints and textures and making them all work.  She brought many garments she had made and it was great fun to be able to see these garments up close.  My favorite was the jacket she is wearing in the photo below. 

Lauryn Bray and Me
I also took a class taught by Kathy Ruddy, One Pattern, Many Looks "Pants."  (You can find her on  Kathy is an excellent teacher who was very informative and quite knowledgeable.  She helped me think of pants fitting and design in a different way which I believe will be helpful when I decide to tackle pants again.  Each student was given a quick pants assessment. You learn so much just by watching her analyze different body shapes.

I then took a class by Carol Steinbrecher, The Wrap Dress, in which she spoke to us about the origins of this iconic dress, designed by Diane von Furstenberg in 1974, and how it is still popular today in many variations.  Carol was a dynamic and energetic speaker whose enthusiasm was contagious.  

My last class of the day was taught by Lorraine Henry, Pants:  Different Cuts for Different Curves.  In this class, I gained a better understanding of why so many ready-to-wear pants don't fit (it has to do with the shape of the crotch curve and angle of the center back seam.)  She demonstrated what a useful tool the 40" flexible ruler is in discovering your particular shape and how to use this information when working with a pattern.  I of course purchased the flexible ruler and look forward to putting what I learned into practice.  

I also ran into so many sewing friends such as Amardeep, one of my friends from the ASDP.  Amardeep has a lively and fun personality.  You can't help but be in a good mood when you are around her:

Saturday ended with a fashion show / challenge.  Three contestants were sent a box of fabric.  They had no idea what fabric to expect but they all received the same fabric.  They had to create garments appropriate for 3 different scenarios.  It was great fun to see the different interpretations and designs by each contestant showcasing each one's own sense of style.

It was an absolutely wonderful day full of all things sewing and fashion.  I am heartened to have learned that the ETA Expo will be back around the same time next year at the same location.  There's nothing like being surrounded by like-minded sewists.  Food for the soul.


  1. Thank you for writing such a detailed recap of this expo! Your recap makes me interested in attending it next year. Also I think it's neat that you get name badges--there's nothing like that at the ASE, just wrist bands (or, the first year I attended, hand stamps!!)
    I have met Deborah before, and taken classes with Kathy and Lorraine too. :) I also have some of that knit stay tape. :)

  2. that sounds like so much fun! what a great day out :)

  3. Wow looks very interesting. Looks like you had a great time and picked up some great tips. You are fortunate to live near NYC. I am sorry I didn't meet you while I was there last year. What interesting notions did you see for tracing?

    1. I am sorry I didn't meet you either! Well, the ETA expo will be back next year and I will definitely attend…hope to meet you then? I wasn't looking for tracing notions so since they weren't on my "radar" I don't remember. However, they had many basic supplies so they most likely did have basic tracing supplies.

  4. The expo looks like heaps of fun. And you got so much out of just one day too.
    That flexi curve ruler is worth it. I use my to check my shape from time to time.

    1. I am glad to know you find that flexi curve useful. I am glad to know I made a good purchase. I am hopeful that it will help me with my pant fitting issues.

  5. Hi Tomasa! glad to find your blog... Will enjoy reading about your sewing experiences
    and learning from you....

    1. Thanks so much! I am glad you found my blog too!

  6. I loved meet you at my class! You were a gem! And I'm living reading your blog! Us, bloggers have to stick together right? Thanks so much for my in my "all in the chicest details", I think about it daily! -Lauryn

    1. I loved meeting you too. Yes, we bloggers certainly must stick together. You have such a creative energy - so inspiring!