Dear ASDP Board
Our new chapter in British Columbia is up and running! At their meeting on April 28th the board of officers was elected. They sponsored a seminar in May on drafting perfect pants taught by Sabine David of Pacific Design Academy. They made their presence known at the Creative Stitches and Crafting Alive Show in Abbotsford and Victoria BC.
Their demonstration table was well received, Diana showed how to apply crystals to competitive dance gowns, Marion showed how her class can teach you to double yourself as a dress form, Brenda demonstrated some of the hand stitching used in creating a Chanel jacket, and Trish used her expertise speaking with people about home decorating.
The response let them know that people with the desire for creativity and quality classes is growing and they look forward to welcoming more new members in the coming months.
The New England chapter hosted a program meeting on April 27th on Fabrics and Fibers, open to the public. It was very well attended. The presentation by member Kate Shaffer was informative and thorough. As a weaver and spinner as well as a sewer, Kate had samples of yarns in both worsted and woolen varieties, along with fabric samples and a collection of swatches for purchase to demonstrate the qualities of fabrics and fibers. It was great to see so many guests at the meeting – they outnumbered the chapter members by about 3 to 1!
Weather has been a deterrent for members of the Great Plains chapter this winter, who have had to make the decision several times to cancel a planned meeting. They have opportunities coming up to visit an exhibit or two, and will be glad when the snow finally stops flying in the midwest!
New Jersey chapter members’ April meeting was a seminar with Pamela Leggett on fitting pants and skirts. This was part two on fitting, focusing on what correct fit should look like on the lower half of the body. Part I on bodices, with Sharon Butler, was held in March. The chapter will hold meetings in May and June, and an annual sewing retreat on July 1921st. Details will be on the ASDP website calendar as they are passed along to me.
Last but not least, the Baltimore chapter sewed garments for Dress for Success at the Original Quilt and Sewing Expo in May. Thanks to all the chapter members participating in this great endeavor – I hope to have a recap of the event to report on for the next issue.
Written by Janee Connor, VP of Chapter Relations
Why would anyone ever want to write a blog? It can be time consuming, frustrating and a very humbling experience. Thankfully, ignorance is bliss, and with no idea of the negatives, I began my own blog experience in the late fall of 2009.
There are a number of internet hosts for blogs. Blogger and WordPress seem to be the two most popular. I chose Blogger and have been quite happy with my choice. As with anything, there are pros and cons to the various hosts; so I advise you to read all you can about the different hosts and then make your decision. I found Blogger to be extremely user friendly. Within just a few minutes, I had my page set up.
Now that my blog has been set up for some time, this is the advice that I would offer before you set up your own blog.
1. Think about what you would like your blog to convey about you.
2. Are you looking to promote your business or just
find friendship with like-minded people?
3. If you are looking to promote your business, creating a brand is important.
4. Also, if you are looking to promote your business, read this book, The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin. Only one chapter is devoted to blogging, but I found it quite useful and informative. The book can be found on Amazon.
5. Research other blogs and take note of their layout and what they write about.
6. Start following blogs that you find interesting and take note of why you find them interesting. Most bloggers make it quite easy for you to follow them. Usually a button says ‘followers’ or ‘follow me’. Simply click on that button and you will be instructed about how to follow that blog.
Initially, a friend encouraged me to share my work. She didn’t offer how, but just gave me the encouragement to do it. I knew about blogs and decided that this just might be for me. At first, my blog was about my personal journey. With no idea of what I wanted to say, or where I wanted my blog to go, I wrote my first post about a rescue flight that I had just completed. I had flown to Kentucky and rescued a boat load of puppies. Maybe I should say, a plane load of puppies!!
That post was written in October of 2009 and I did not write another post until the end of March, 2010. I got off to a very slow start. During my first full year of blogging, I only wrote twenty-six posts.
It really wasn’t until August of 2011 that I finally realized my blog could be a vehicle to a dream that I have had for many years. That is when one of my weekly features was born: Fabulous Free Pattern Friday. Almost every Friday I post a simple garment made from rectangles, circles, squares, and or triangles. Since that first post in August of 2011, I have posted sixty-nine different garments made with simple shapes. My goal had been to post fifty-two pieces, one for each week of the year, but once I reached my goal, many followers wanted me to continue. Since I still had so many more ideas, Fabulous Free Pattern Friday continues. The most popular FFPF posts have been the posts I did on drafting the circular skirt and the 8-gored skirt.
Pattern drafting is a passion; and, since Fabulous Free Pattern Friday had garnered a following, I decided to start Sleeves On Saturdays. With these posts, I show the readers how to take a basic sleeve pattern and draft what seem to be complicated sleeves. I believe that drafting is not at all complicated; it’s just a matter of knowing what to do. It has been exciting to see people who have never drafted anything draft a sleeve, and share their excitement with me through their pictures. Another weekly feature that I write is called The Wednesday Showcase.
The old saying, “you must be a friend to have friends” holds true in the blog world. As I said in the beginning, my blogging experience has been extremely frustrating at times. In fact, so frustrating that I have contemplated closing the blog. However, on the positive side, one day a fellow blogger who has a very popular blog included my blog in her post. That day, the hits on my blog rose to an all-time high and the number of my followers grew by leaps and bounds. I am so grateful and to pass along my gratitude, I choose two bloggers every Wednesday who are following my blog, and
I write about their blog. I especially love finding the blogs that are fairly new or who have very few followers. I know first-hand how exciting it is to have your blog recognized.
Another of my regular posts is Monday Morning Inspiration. I love to start my week with something inspiring and I thought that others may as well. Some of the most popular past posts have been about the vintage Modes Royale pattern catalogues that I shared. At the moment, I am doing a series on haute couture.
I began this article with the negatives of writing a blog, but there are also many positives. The best things about writing a blog are the friendships that you will make. I have had the opportunity to meet a few of the people who follow my blog and whose blogs I follow in return. Upon meeting, it’s as if we’ve known each other for years; and in a way, we have. They write about their lives and I about mine. Over time, you grow to know them through their words. When we meet with friends in our everyday lives, we so often talk over each other’s words; but with a blog, each person has a chance to talk and be listened to.
More positives are the opportunities that have come to me. Most recently, I won a contest to be a guest on the television show “Sew It All.” In October, I will be flown to Denver where the show will be taped and then sometime after the first of the year the program will air. Starting the first of May, I will have a weekly feature on the Sew News blog. I am very excited about this. These posts will be about manipulating darts and drafting collars. Beginning in January of 2014, I will be writing for Sew News magazine.
A blog can be time consuming and frustrating, but it can also be a most rewarding experience. By sticking with it, I have found, it can also be the vehicle that will take you to places you never thought possible.
You can find my blog at www.rhondabuss.blogspot.com
If you’re anything like me you love to read blogs but how to keep from getting overwhelmed by email notifications each time someone has created a new post? A couple of years ago Google Reader came to my rescue. Recently though, Google announced that as of July 1st Google Reader will cease to exist. Now what?! Enter Bloglovin’…
Bloglovin’ is a free service that allows you to assemble all of your blogs in one place. It’s easy to sign up also. Go to www.bloglovin.com, answer a few questions and you’re in. Once you’re in, there will be an option to import all of your blogs from Google Reader. The import function even keeps them sorted into the categories that you’ve already set up in Google Reader.
You will be given several options for receiving email alerts about posts: one per day, one per blog or none. I chose one per day, receive a list of all the new posts, and can click on the ones that I wish to read to see the whole post.
I was a bit dismayed when I found out that Google Reader was being discontinued but now that I have Bloglovin’ – I’m good!
Written by Barbara Grace
What is CRAFTSY? Craftsy offers professionally created classes on all your favorite crafty topics such as sewing, quilting, photography, cake making, embroidery and so much more. The classes are online, so they are available at anytime to the student. You can watch an entire class or portions of a class, interact with the instructor and other students, as well as make notes on the video related to your questions and post pictures. Each class is taught by an acclaimed instructor and consists of several hours of HD quality video content. Launched in May 2011, Craftsy has over 500,000 users of all skill levels and is a quickly growing and changing company with a fun and flexible attitude. One of our favorite ASDP instructors Kenneth King has taped classes. You will also recognize Susan Khalje, Barbara Deckert, Janet Pray, Angie Wolf and I among many popular creative personalities.
Craftsy is powered by the Sympoz online learning platform, a dynamic, interactive environment that allows students worldwide to participate in a meaningful educational experience. Crafters and artisans everywhere come to us for inspiration and hands- on instruction. Our mission is to serve students who want to get better . . . and offer professional educators a chance to spread lifelong passions and expertise beyond their usual realm,” quoted from Craftsy. Just a few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to tape my class at Craftsy studios in Denver. I thought it would be easy to write about my experience. It was so amazing and our crew really meshed, so is it difficult to write how truly meaningful my experience was.
For over a year I had been contemplating taping videos for my website, but everyone takes short videos and posts them on their blogs and websites and I just did not want to be like everyone else. Quality and content are my passion, and I would rather have a few good videos than many with topics you see all over the internet. Fast forward a few months ago when CRAFTSY called me and I was hooked. I have been so impressed with the entire platform and organization from the beginning. I knew right away what my subject would be. They loved it, and we set a taping date immediately. From there I was connected with my pre-producer whom I feel like we have been sewing buddies forever.
We started outlining my class and had weekly conference calls and SKYPE meetings. Right away I created a very detailed outline of my subject matter and that made all the difference. I was able to provide lots of class content and she advised me on the order and setting up my individual lessons. Every class is broken down into smaller lessons like book chapters. They have found that 20-30 minutes of content is a good relatable time for students. I value all her expert advice and once I showed up for taping we had a well defined outline of what I was teaching so it went smoothly. She also helped me develop my ideas and concepts for visuals on camera and I even challenged the graphic artist on some new ideas. I spent two weeks developing all of my pattern samples that would be viewed on camera, making before and after step outs, as well as prepping what I would utilize during taping. From a film crew perspective they kept commenting on how prepared I was and how nice my step outs were. I would definitely guide anyone to be over prepared. Think of everything.
Taping my class was so much fun. I was so impressed with the detail my film crew put into the taping including things like: my jewelry, ruler placement, step out placement, color coordinating, model poses, photo shoots, sound (oh yes, we meshed in the thunderstorm sound to the background), room tones, and even eating chocolate behind the scenes. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. They were really professional and we all decided when I go back for my second taping I am requesting all the same people.
My producer asked me if I was nervous. I told him I felt very comfortable in front of the camera, but my biggest concern was forgetting something as I wanted to give as much information as possible. I love their fun atmosphere. I am not a stuffy person, so hoity toity is not for me. I am bubbly and working in that kind of atmosphere is very important to me. We had a balance of having fun, being serious, and still being myself. My most awkward moment was sitting down and having to reach up and show how to measure the lower body, I had had a funny moment where my glue stick literally jumped up off the table and flipped over like a magnet (that will be in my video), and some other taping funnies that you had to be there. You learn about all your subconscious hand gestures, as you have to position your hands in the same position if you stop or film and intro or outro. My class is titled FAST TRACK FITTING and will be available in June. I am so excited to share real techniques that I actually use successfully in my studio every day. Students will learn key body measurements and how to apply them to their pattern before cutting a muslin. Your pattern is in body proportion and you eliminate all the extra work of having to cut open a muslin to fit and having to create additional fit samples.
ASDP member Janet Pray also provided some insight to her Craftsy Experience.
Janet Pray, www.islandersewing.com
“A few months ago I was approached by Craftsy.com to teach a class on industrial sewing techniques, Islander Sewing Systems. After a brief discussion we decided that the class would involve making a project that included many opportunities to demonstrate those techniques. My newest pattern, Jacket Express, a jean style jacket designed to compliment most any figure, was the choice. In this pattern the student not only learns industrial sewing techniques (no pins, no basting) they also learn a faster production order for constructing any garment. The title of this class is: Sew Better, Sew Faster, Garment Industry Secrets. “Teaching a class in the Craftsy studio was a real pleasure. Having filmed classes and TV shows multiple times I can honestly say this was by far, the easiest and most pleasurable experience of them all. The staff was more than attentive, seeing to my every need including steaming my wardrobe.
“When I arrived, the on set producer was well versed in all of our plans and that made the filming run smoothly. She worked with a crew who filmed and edited while she directed. The nicest aspect of all; they trusted me, the teacher, to know what was best and gave me all the time I needed to execute a quality class. The relaxed atmosphere was complimented by all members of the team conveying a genuine interest and never trying to rush! Craftsy really understands how to work as a team and how to bring the teachers in as members of that team. I can’t begin to express how positive I feel about this experience. Craftsy is my kind of place!!”
Angela Wolf, www.angelawolf.com
“When I was first asked to teach on Craftsy I was a little leery, simply because of the term “Craftsy”. But knowing Tricia Waddell (whom I highly respect, as we worked together on the set of It’s Sew Easy TV) I thought I would give it a shot and I am so glad I did. My first class, Tailoring Ready-to-wear, was shot in my studio and the second class, Creative Serging, was shot in Denver at the Craftsy studios. Both had excellent film crews and if work could be fun, this would definitely fall in line!
Working with Craftsy was a little different from shooting It’s Sew Easy TV, as I was not constrained to 4 or 10 minute segments. The classes on Craftsy are detailed and informative. The class board allows students to ask questions, post photos, and create chats. The HD videos are open forever, so there is not a rush to watch all the videos at once.
As I am writing this newsletter, I am just shy of 10,000 students between both classes. With a click of a mouse I am intermingling with sewers from all over the world. I am so in awe. In fact, one student wanted to know how to source fabric in the Amazon! My goal is to inspire others to sew and sew with professional looking results, but not to be afraid of jumping in and getting started."
NOTE: if you plan to take one of our CRAFTSY classes click through our own personal websites and the link will direct you to CRAFTSY.
Written by Joi Mahon, www.designerjoi.com
In this article I want to introduce you to an online sewing community. This website has over 300,000 members and the main focus is garment sewing. In fact, I was able to meet quite a few of the members at the 10 year anniversary party in Chicago and let me tell you these people can sew. The website offers a plethora of information with reviews, blogs, contests, and online classes.
In an age of instant access, online classes are a perfect way to learn, interact with others, and get an opportunity to learn new skills on your own time schedule. There are a few different variations of classes on PatternReview: some offer live chats with the instructor, some include detailed PDF files, and most of them include video. Video classes are my personal favorite; I just find it easier to learn while watching. The classes remain open forever, so once you sign up you can watch at your own pace. There’s nothing like learning while sitting on the couch in your pj’s! All of the classes have a class board where you can ask questions, post photos, and interact with other students.
The classes offered on PatternReview are all based on garment sewing and fitting. Instructors include Jennifer Stern, Sarah Veblen, Kenneth King, Susan Khalje, Deepika Prakash, and me. The prices are very reasonable; if you compare the cost to a live class with an instructor it’s a great bargain.
Deepika Prakash is the founder of PatternReview and a great friend. This is what she has to say about her website: “I started PatternReview.com 10 years ago because as I started sewing I realized that I really enjoyed sharing and learning from others who sew. As my love for sewing grew, I decided that I wanted to do more to promote sewing education and (I) partnered with experts in the sewing industry. PatternReview.com helped these experts bring their offline skills online while helping them maintain that personal interaction with our members.
“At PatternReview.com not only will you learn new skills from a variety of online classes, but you will also make lots of new friends. In our classes, the teachers have a one-toone relationship with their students. You can watch videos, ask questions or take in-depth workshops in which our teachers will give you personalized fitting advice patiently while you perfect that garment or pair of pants. We take things slowly because we want to ensure that the students are actually learning.
Because PatternReview is a sewer-run website, my teachers and I take pride in what we do. I hope you will check us out."
Written by Angela Wolf
Do you have lots of inspiring images floating around in email folders, or sitting on your desk or coffee table? Do you find drawings wadded up in your purse or pocket that you forgot were there? Pinterest will help you keep all of these things at your fingertips and enable you to share them with others.
Pinterest is an electronic bulletin board designed to keep all your inspirations in one place and sort them into various categories called boards. These boards are yours and yours alone, so you can use them for whatever topics you wish and name them what you’d like. The names you choose describe what you pin on that particular board. Pin is the term used to describe transferring an item of interest from another source to your board. For instance, I have one board that contains corsets. When I see a corset that I find interesting or might like to make, or I just think is interesting, I pin it to this board and I am able to view it any time I look on my Pinterest boards.
Most anything can be uploaded onto Pinterest and shared. I took an item from the blog of one of our ASDP members, Rhonda Buss, and pinned it on my Pinterest board. By doing this, the items went onto my Facebook page and are now pins on Pinterest for others to find. I did the same with a photo from Angela Wolf, another member. Anything that can be uploaded can be put on Pinterest.
One of the options available when pinning to the board is to post these items on your Facebook page. This will let your friends know what you found and you can share ideas. I have seen many people sharing recipes, crafts, gardening tips, and other great ideas through pins. There is a small comment box below each picture for you to add a comment when you pin. One of the great things about Pinterest is finding someone who has the same or similar interests as you. You can become their follower, and their pins will show up on your Facebook page – provided you allow photos from that friend and vice versa... When people determine that they like your style, they will become followers of you.
This is a great way to expand you business’s visibility. People are very visual and occasionally like to look at images without ads or words. Pin up your pictures with a lead to your website or email. It’s a great way to get noticed and it’s free!
Written by Denise Liss
How many of you have a smartphone? When I got my smartphone two years ago, the sales person said, “You won’t believe how many things you will use this for.” My thought at that time was that it was just a phone; what more could I possibly use it for? I have since become very dependent on my phone for, of course, making calls and texting—never while driving. It is invaluable for weather forecasts either locally or, when planning a trip to another location, it helps me know what to pack!
I have read books on my phone, looked up information about any possible topic, used the GPS to help me find locations I am unfamiliar with, and my entire calendar is on my phone. Of course, I will happily show you photos of my kids and grandkids stored on it! Email is readily accessible, although I must admit that I would rather use a regular computer keyboard to answer correspondence, I will give short replies via my phone. If a client would like to use a charge/debit card to take care of a payment, I can do that on my phone and send them an email or text receipt that can include a photo of the garment!
My shopping and to do lists are very handy on my phone; I no longer forget my list on the kitchen table at home. There is even a Jo-Ann’s app, so I can pull up coupons to use at the store, just in case I forgot to bring them! Searching for a local restaurant and good gas prices, listening to music, sketching a design, using the calculator, scheduling a television recording of a favorite show, setting an alarm clock, checking Facebook, checking out e-books from the library, are all uses of this phone.
If it were not for my machine embroidery, I do not think I could be quite as comfortable with technology. When I purchased my first embroidery machine, ten plus years ago, I was forced to figure out how to use a computer. I remember the days working on an embroidery design on the computer and a text box would ask me “Do you want to save?” I promptly entered yes, wondering where it went. There was a lot of trial and error learning, but I must also thank those other more tech-savvy seamstresses and embroiderers who helped me along the way. I am proud of all that I have learned about technology; it is the way of the world today.
This month the blog is dedicated to technology, in its many forms. Enjoy the information and always keep an eye open for new technology. You may be surprised how much you can use it!
Written by Teresa Nieswaag, President
Most of the news in this issue had been borrowed from the chapters’ Facebook pages. Find them by typing Association of Sewing and Design Professionals in your Facebook search box – keep up with these chapters’ news by Liking their pages!
Members of the Oregon chapter recently had an archivist from Jantzen as guest speaker. The talk “Jantzen through the decades” covered the history of Jantzen, bathing vs. swimming suit, and how progressive and cutting edge Jantzen has been. The chapter’s April draping workshop with Catherine Stephenson filled so quickly that additional dates in May have been added. This seminar is open to both ASDP members and non-members. Details are posted on the ASDP Events calendar.
For the Baltimore Chapter, photography was the topic for the recent chapter meeting, held at a Baltimore photographer’s studio. Members were shown how to best photograph their work. A shopping stop nearby, A Fabric Place, was the natural followup, with members focused on knits for the knit dresses they’re making for their chapter challenge this year.
Several New England chapter members offered alteration services at the Princess Boutique in early March, making on-the-spot adjustments to prom dresses donated to local teens. Members all over the country have talked about similar events they’ve attended, either with other chapter members or on their own. I’d love to be able to share more news of ASDP members giving back to their communities!
In the Heartland chapter, a January meeting was devoted to a program on Personal Branding for Sewing and Design Professionals, entitled “Authentic Professionalism.” The presenter is an image coach and consultant, who gave members a personality profile and tips on developing and packaging a personal brand image for their businesses through clothing. The presentation included a strategic plan for building and maintaining that personal brand through consistent image practices.
This isn’t really chapter news, but speaking of the Heartland chapter –Donna Christian (at the urging of Joyce Hittesdorf) asked my help to post a project to the discussion list. The garment had members wowed! A custom gown made for a contest, designed by the client and executed by Donna, that’s simply out of this world!
Here is what she told me about this gown: “I have been working with a designer for the past month on a dress that she had designed and submitted to a competition run by a local fashion group.” It was an interesting design that had many challenges and pushed my comfort zone and skill set. This past Saturday, the designer entered a competition at the Palladium, the Performing Arts Center in Carmel, Indiana. It is not the usual type of dress I make for weddings. It is far from a modest dress that we would want our daughters to wear, but it was fun to have a good challenge. It took about 54 hours to construct. Since I had not worked with crocodile leather before, we had a master leather man construct the crocodile belts, but I sewed them onto the gown. The gown was presented, along with 6 other entries, before a concert by the Cameron Carpenter Concert and Carmel Symphony Philharmonic Concert this past Saturday evening. The 7 designs were voted on by the audience. Our dress won first place!
The dress in total cost over $3,000 for labor, materials, and leatherwork.
Written by Janee Connor, VP of Chapter Relations
The Master Sewing and Design Professional Certification Program was created to fill a gap in our industry. Many of our members are very talented dressmakers and alteration specialists who became proficient without the benefit of a college degree. Very likely, they had a natural ability in these areas. Often they learned the basics from a mother or aunt and continued to explore and experiment on their own as well as taking an occasional sewing class. As time went by, others recognized their talent through the beautiful work they did and often this was the springboard for a rewarding business.
I have spoken with many who began in this way and often I hear how they lacked confidence in spite of the evidence in their work that they are truly a professional. This was the gap that MSDP was designed to fill. It was created to validate those who became a professional in an unconventional way. Certification is a way to prove clearly to oneself that you really know what you are doing! It also lets new clients see that you are recognized by a professional organization as being a Master Sewing and Design Professional or a Master Alteration Specialist.
If this sounds like you, consider participating in one of these certification Programs. You can sign up now for the Master Sewing and Design Professional Certification program or the new Master Alteration Specialist Certification Program when it is launched later this year. Check us out on the ASDP website.
Written by Linda Macke
MSDP is proud to announce their first scholarship recipient, Blondell Howard. Here is her winning essay.
My name is Blondell Howard and I have been a member of ASDP since 2007. I own the Sassy SEWer- Sewing Lounge in Baltimore, MD. I learned to sew at the ripe old age of 22, LMBO! My mother sewed and I have an aunt who worked in the garment industry in New York and Connecticut. However, neither had time to teach me, so I decided to teach myself. I can honestly say it was a slow and sometimes painful process, but I persevered. In 1999, I took a part-time job with Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machines. My primary job was to sell sewing machines. My primary goal was to develop my sewing skills. Viking provided me the opportunity to teach sewing machine/serger operation and creative classes. I loved that job and met some amazing seamstresses. However, most of the classes offered were geared towards quilting and machine embroidery. I wanted to sew apparel. After Viking, I began teaching various sewing classes for Joann Fabrics.
To gauge whether what I had taught myself was correct, I enrolled part-time in Baltimore City Community College’s (BCCC) Fashion Design Program, all while working a full time job. I successfully completed classes in Garment Construction, Advanced Garment Construction, Flat Pattern Design, Fashion Illustration, Draping, and Textiles. BCCC’s goal was to prepare students to work in the fashion industry. My goal was to develop my sewing and fashion design skills.
In 2007, my employer was purchased by a national bank. Therefore, my accounting position was eliminated. I wasn’t worried because I knew how to sew and wanted to teach others fashion sewing. The time was ripe to open a sewing lounge. Project Runway had created a renewed interest in garment sewing.
Fast forward to today. I’m still in business, but need to take it to the next level. Finally, this year I attended my first ASDP convention and fell in love. It was the best sewing conference I had ever attended. I left inspired, challenged and in admiration of the members of ASDP. These were my kind of gals, garment sewers. The skill level of ASDP members was outstanding. I knew that this is what I wanted to do in my second career. Most members I had never met before, but they embraced and encouraged me to pursue custom sewing. Before the 2012 conference I was adamant about not sewing for people. After the conference I knew I could do custom sewing.
I believe that the ASDP Master Certification will benefit me in various ways. Master certification will validate my sewing and fashion design skills. Most importantly, Master certification will allow me to offer custom sewing with confidence. Master certification will announce to the public that I am a skilled professional who will deliver superior custom clothing. Master certification will further develop my sewing and design skills. Master certification will allow me to mentor, encourage, and attract sewers who want a career in fashion sewing. Lastly, Master certification will allow me to grow the ASDP membership.
Each season brings fabric wholesale shows to New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas… Admission to these shows is free and you can sign up online by giving your resale number. Usually they also offer half-day seminars at minimal rates: classes on Pantone colors for the upcoming season, how to deal with import fees for large orders, etc.
These shows can be daunting for the small business owner. I used to attend a show at the Javits Center in New York. There were dozens of rows of hundreds of vendors, many kilowatts of electricity, and thousands of buyers carrying attaché cases and wearing black. Most of the vendors were manufacturers or reps from factories offshore who could meet any or all design requirements if you ordered just ten thousand yards of a color. Yes, Exotic Silks would be there with their 17-yard or $100 minimum, but unless you knew a vendor, the only way to find out if they were appropriate for you was to ask. Asking meant politely waiting your turn, only to have your small needs greeted with contempt, a waste of your time and the vendors’. I found a few prized vendors who would sell 10 yards of an item, perfect for bridal work, but overall it was an unpleasant experience. I stopped going and for years relied on the vendors I had already found.
Then I saw an announcement for a new kind of show, DG Expo, which catered to small designers. Kitty Daly and I attended their show in February in New York. There were about 85 vendors with “low minimums and flexible ordering options, plus in-stock items and services.” This was our kind of show. Some vendors required a minimum of 1 bolt, most commonly 15, 25, or 50 yards. Some required 10 yards and some had no minimum at all. There were specialists in silks, wools, knits, Lycra, lace, and outdoor fabrics. There were button makers and button importers, embroidery specialists, and print-on-demand companies. I had the opportunity to talk in person to some vendors I’d met through internet orders – Test fabrics (chemical-free fabrics for dyeing), Wimpfheimer (velvets and corduroys), Renaissance Ribbons (trims), Batik Butik (Balinese rayon batik fabrics), Philips Boyne Corp (shirting) and Buttonology (imported high end buttons and made to order covered buttons). Alan from Stylecrest had his whole line there and it was good to re-connect with him, as I bought from him at his parents’ store, Art-Max, forty years ago. There were also vendors I was not aware of previously. A Lycra rep required 50 yards of a color, but said she’d be willing to drop ship to multiple designers if our order totaled the 50 yards.
There were vendors from Montreal, British Columbia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Missouri. We think we found Michael’s Fabrics’ source for wool boucle. All vendors were happy to talk. We are their bread and butter.
Kitty and I were on the fifth level towards nirvana. Some ideas to consider: Do we want to try to do some group buys? Do we want ASDP to have a booth at the next DG Expo? There were a few industry organizations with tables in the foyer and I’m looking into what costs would be involved if ASDP decides to have a presence.
Written by Rachel Kurland
2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303