Monday, January 30, 2012

Lylal Messinger Profile

I SOOO LOVE IT WHEN PEOPLE PLAY MY BLOGGING GAME...To thank the 8 members of the IPCA for bringing their exciting "Midnight Magic" event to Sew Expo this year -- I have been "profiling" the IPCA members on this blog. I asked her to tell the Sew Expo audience something they might not know about her -- and Lyla Messinger sent picture of herself and her husband -- Zip Lining in Costa Rica!!

She also sent this:

Lyla Messinger is the owner of L.J. Designs, of Reno, NV. She started her business in 1994. She is the author of Ordinary to Extraordinary: Terrific Treatments for Garment Sewing. She has also written numerous booklets and written articles for the major magazines. She is currently working on an article on Sewing Sheer Fabrics with Sew Stylish magazine.

Lyla’s three children are Westie Terriers! They are her sewing buddies and can usually be found in their beds in the studio while she creates!

Lyla Jean hails from Washington. She was named after her father, Lyle and her Mother, Jean. She used her initials L.J. in the name of her business to honor her parents, who always supported her sewing efforts! She grew up in Everett, WA and enjoys visiting each year for expo. Lyla started sewing around age 10. She noticed her Mom sewing doll clothes for the three family Toni dolls on a Graybar cast iron sewing machine! Her Dad took her to the store and she picked out red fabric for a vest and royal blue for a skirt. She followed the pattern instructions and proudly wore her creation. That was the beginning. She has sewn avidly since. When the sun would shine, she would move a card table and her machine to the back yard, and sew in her bathing suit. Washingtonians know you don’t pass up sun time! She made her sister’s wedding dress and all the bridesmaids dresses between grades 8 and 9. Lyla had to have 4 teeth removed before she got her braces on. When she woke up from the surgery, her Dad took her to the Singer store, where he had purchased a brand new portable Singer machine with decorative cams for her. She thinks it was less expensive for him to do that than buy a wedding dress & bridesmaids dresses! She had an awesome home economics teacher in 8th grade, who encouraged her. Her 9th grade home ec teacher was the opposite, and discouraged her from taking any more home ec classes until she went to college. She was graded down from adding eyelet lace to a small print fabric….Lyla has a rebel inside! No creativity allowed = no more home ec classes! That didn’t stop her from sewing, however. She won second place in the tailoring category in the Make It Yourself with Wool contest in 1965. That was pretty exciting considering she had never had any formal training in tailoring. The thing she remembers most about that beyond the green suit with brown trim, it the hat her Mom and Dad bought her to complete the outfit!

Lyla studied the binary system in junior high school, in a room all by herself. She loved it! Math was always a strong suit. She started out her college studies in computer programming. After spending a year punching cards to write programs, and staring at a computer that filled a room, she decided she needed a people job! She walked the campus, from department to department and ended up in the Home- ec Department, teaching knit sewing techniques. She graduated with her degree in Home-ec/Math Education.

Lyla moved to Reno in the fall of 1974. She was sought out by a professor at the University to work on a fellowship and earn her Master’s degree in Clothing and Textiles. When that was complete, she started teaching home-ec and math. She did that for 10 years, and decided she needed to move on. (She had always promised herself if she started in any way to resemble that 9th grade home ec teacher she had, she would move on!) She retired from teaching to open a Bernina dealership. She had fabrics, notions and a sewing school. In 1990, she entered the Bernina fashion show and won Best of Show for her original jacket. That would have to be at the top of the list of favorite garments sewn! She took solid color fabrics and added detail to each section with decorative techniques she could do on her Bernina machine. She spent a week by herself at her Dad’s beach house, went out for breakfast and dinner every day, and sewed the rest of the time….heaven! She met so many wonderful people through her business experience, like Marci Tilton and Gale Grigg Hazen, that she started traveling to The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco and The Sewing Place in San Jose to teach on the weekends. That is when she started to see all the possibilities in the sewing industry.

One of her favorite stories is how she met Marci. A Bernina dealer from Half Moon Bay, CA, told Lyla she needed to meet Marci, because they had so much in common. One day, a personal style consultant friend of Lyla’s asked her if she wanted to go to a consultants meeting in California. Lyla decided she could always learn something she could use, so she went. Lunchtime came and she walked in to a room with round tables. She picked a spot, didn’t see her friend, and decided to stay there. The meeting started, and Marci Tilton was called to the podium to speak. The person sitting next to Lyla was Marci herself, and they had been having a great discussion through lunch. Lyla didn’t connect the two until afterwards, when she found out that this Marci owned the Sewing Workshop and was in the sewing industry! Small world!

Her first time to Sew Expo, she shared a booth with Gale Grigg Hazen of The Sewing Place, and had only a couple of patterns. She sold her business at the end of 1993 and founded L.J. Designs in 1994. Her business has grown beyond what she envisioned when she started. Sew Expo was a place to meet people with a like love of sewing and the sewing industry. Karen from Karen’s Kreations (who has since retired) produced wonderful boiled wool. When Lyla worked on the first piece of boiled wool she got the idea to try the same techniques on fleece. She loves fleece!

Linda Kubik’s beautiful handwoven fabrics inspired Lyla to use fringed trim and embellishment on one of the jackets featured in her book….way back when. There are so many people she has met at Sew Expo, it is impossible to list them all!

Lyla has had the good fortune of traveling to Switzerland twice to see the Bernina factory. The trips were nearly 20 years apart, and everything has changed so much! She was fortunate to be able to add to the “what do you want your ideal sewing machine to have” meeting with the engineers, as they worked on the design of the new 830 machine (Lyla’s first Bernina was the “old” 830!)

Here comes Sew Expo 2012! Lyla is teaching a class called “Hourglass Accessories”. (#1067 B&D) She will show accessories and gifts you can make in an hour or less. She has been having so much fun with the development of this class that you will see some really great techniques and ideas you can tweak to make your own. You will see re-makes of existing items, fabric take on a new life, scarves, necklaces, belts, bracelets and so much more! She has used a lot of things from her stash… a side bonus! We all need those easy projects when we want to be creative, but are too tired or stressed to work on something critical, like fitting or sewing a garment. You will have plenty of ideas after this. Lyla’s creativity is contagious, so don’t miss this class!

She is also teaching a brand new class called “Fashionable, Functional Fleece.” (#1066 A & C) Lyla loves to play with fleece. It has so much potential beyond sportswear and super casual. Fleece can look sophisticated with a little bit of this and that. See new fabric combinations, 3 dimensional techniques, and joining and edging options. Find out how to take your fleece garments to the next level. As usual, this will be an idea packed, fast paced class with lots of inspiration to take home to your own projects. Fleece is so easy to sew with, and has qualities that make it a blank canvas. Open your mind to the possibilities as Lyla guides you through these techniques.

Get lots of new ideas in this NEW class! No reveals…….you need to see the whole enchilada in person….

Lyla’s Three Needle class called “Twist Me Softly Vest” is sold out. Sorry about that. (WHAT A NICE PROBLEM, EH?) You can request that she teach it again next year on your evaluation sheet! Participants with take a Pashmina shawl and make it into an interesting vest in just 2-1/2 hours! Visit her booth 523-525 to see samples. There is also a pattern available for purchase.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Admission Tickets

FYI -- if you buy your admission tickets in advance -- they are $10 per day. If you purchase them at the gate the day of the show -- they are $12 each.

AND YOU CAN BUY THEM in advance at many local stores -- saving yourself the $4 handling fee.

ADVANCE Admission tickets may be purchased at the following fabric stores:

Fabric Etc., Bellingham, WA
Fabric Depot Inc., Portland, OR
Hancock Fabrics, Tacoma, Kirkland & Lynnwood, WA
Pacific Fabrics, all locations
Quality Sewing, all locations
Quilters Junction, Centralia, WA
Quiltworks Northwest, Bellevue, WA
Rochelles Fine Fabircs, Port Orchard, WA
Sequim Sewing & Vac, Sequim, WA
Shibori Dragon, Lakewood, WA
The Quilt Barn, Puyallup, WA

Monday, January 23, 2012

Connie Crawford

I AM LOVING THIS...Because this month many of you are working on your sewing projects for the IPCA challenge, Midnight Magic -- I have been profiling the designers who are IPCA members. Janet Pray (Islander Sewing) started the ball rolling...then Marsha McClintock (Saf-t-Pockets) and now Connie Crawford. WHAT FUN!!

To view complete details about the IPCA's Midnight Magic challenge -- be sure to visit the website: Pattern

I met Connie Crawford many years ago -- I was a sewing show newbie and Connie was so gracious. I have fond memories of the time I visited her home and sewing studio in Sedona, Arizona....hey -- it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it!

For this blog -- I asked Connie to tell the Sew Expo audience something they might not know....beyond the official "bio & headshot".....AND HERE'S WHAT SHE SENT...

From Connie Crawford....

I was born in downtown Los Angeles. I stayed in Southern California until 15 years ago when we moved to Sedona, Arizona. Eight years later, we moved to Hansville, Washington to be closer to our grandchildren.

Here's a photo of our present house. WE have 5 beautiful acres and it looks like we live in a well manicured park. We actually have a gardener (who is out of work during the winter) and he comes here in the winter and trims back everything. Anyone who lives up this way knows that everything grows wild as weeds if not cut back regularly. We have no visible neighbors and the small city cemetery is our next door neighbor.

Like many of my customers, I started sewing around 8 years old. The most memorable thing that I made was my prom dress when I was a senior in high school. It was a Vogue pattern with boning and everything to support a bustier styled dress with one shoulder strap. I modeled this dress in the "Girls Week" fashion show. When I came out on stage, the audience made a sound of "whoo". I will never forget that day.

The best thing I did was to put myself through college (working as a medical secretary) in a fashion design program. I loved the work from the get go.

During my many years in the fashion industry, I made some very good friends. Karen Kane (famous designer in Los Angles) is a very good friend of mine. I hired her for her first design job and introduced her to her future husband. Through her I met George Burns.

I was very good friends with William Pearson who was a couture designer in Los Angeles. He always did gowns for the presidential inaugural ball. I miss him very much since his death in the late 1980's.

During the 23 years I taught at The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, I taught many students who have gone on to fame and fortune. One of them is Marlene Stewart who did all of the costumes for Arnold Schwartzneger's movies.

Another is Kevan Hall who is a famous couture designer in Los Angeles.

Sometimes, we are able to travel with our friends Gene and Shirley Biehl. We met Gene and Shirley while they were vendors at many of the sewing expos that we were also vendors. They needed a ride to dinner and we were willing to accommodate them. The photo here is of Shirley and myself in Glacier Park, Montana. We love to travel with them. They are funny and love to play chicken foot dominos. Sometimes we will stay up until midnight to finish all 15 segments.

What I am most happy about is when I travel the country I meet up with ex students who have made a success of their lives with the sewing industry. Last year at Puyallup, I was crossing the street to come to the fairgrounds, and a lady said to me, "Are you Connie Amaden" (the name I used before I married Mr. Crawford). I of course, replied "yes". She then told me that she also had a booth at the show. I went over to see what she was doing. Her art talents had created a special computer program to paint by using fabric swatch any photograph you would input into the computer. I was so impressed and delighted to see such talent.

Also, last year when I was giving a special program in Chicago, another ex-student of mine came to the reception that evening. He told me that he was the lead designer for XOXO for years. He had moved to Chicago and was teaching fashion design at Columbia College.

Due to back surgery, this last fall I had the privilege of visiting my couch for 2 months. I have never had that chance to just lay down and watch tv. My favorite programs were on HGTV. I have learned how to redesign a house, select colors, see how the gourmet cooks work.

I love to bowl. I am now trying to go bowling every Sunday. The closest bowling alley is down in Silverdale. This is helping me strengthen my back muscles and get some of the fluff under my arms tighter. It is working!

My husband, Wayne, has a 1966 Squareback Volkswagon. This past two years we have had it restored. Now we can travel to car shows and show off his wonderful car. As he tells people, this car is its original owner and older than his son.

I enjoy my grandchildren very much. Attached is a photo of my son's oldest boys. They are licking the beaters after making chocolate chip cookies.

Note from Rita: Read on...because Connie is so modest, she didn't write about HOW POPULAR HER CLASSES ARE...

So I'm putting up another blog post about Connie's 2012 Sew Expo seminars. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THE OPPORTUNITY to take a class from Connie Crawford....

Connie Crawford's Classes

Here's the thing.....I asked Connie to send some behind-the-scenes stuff for this blog. And she certainly did!! GREAT JOB, CONNIE.

Connie's three needle and four-needle classes all SOLD OUT on the first day of online registration. That's strictly the power of WORD-OF-MOUTH, ladies. Anybody who has had the privilege of taking a class from Connie knows the depth and breadth of her knowledge....and apparently -- they tell their friends, who tell their friends, and so on...

Last year -- we put her WAY OUT IN THE PAULHAMUS building...It was drizzling that day, and I provided a few ladies with a "ride"....

But Connie is like the Post Office USED TO BE...neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow...shall keep her from her mission. Last fall, she had a very serious back surgery...but there was never a doubt that she'd be teaching at the 2012 Sew Expo!!

If you've taken a class from her -- you know what a HUGE LEARNING CURVE a Connie Crawford class can be...she has provided thousands of avid sewists with their own "AH HAH" moments...

Even though Connie's hands-on classes sold out quickly (remember -- they only seat 30 people) -- you still have the opportunity to get a taste of Connie -- because we DO HAVE ROOM in her One Needle and Two Needle seminars...Here are her 2012 topics...

One Needle Seminars:

#1029 A -- Fitting Sleeves & Armholes

#1030 Princess Seams Are Your Friend

Two needle Seminar:

#2005 Styling Made Easy: Drawing from her 35 years in the fashion industry, Connie will teach you how to draft and make your favorite princess seams, collars and custom necklines. She will illustrate fitting the princess seams as well as removing the gaposis of a neckline and how to match the collar to your necklines. Connie will demonstrate the convertible collar, the 2-piece stand collar, the Peter Pan collar, various necklines with ruffles and flounces. Your handout will be a packet of 1/3 scale patterns and Connie’s extensive notes regarding specific adjustments for your personal needs.

Three Needle Seminar: #3008 Grading: Making Your Pattern Larger or Smaller (sold out)

Four Needle Seminar: #4005 Fitting the Girls (sold out)

How could she miss with a seminar title of "Fitting the Girls"

Thanks, Connie, for playing my new "MEET THE TEACHER" game...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Marsha McClintock

Today, I'm going to highlight Marsha McClintock. The owner of Saf-T-Pockets Patterns -- a member of the IPCA -- and one of the companies sponsoring the Midnight Magic event. Here's a picture of Marsha at last year's Coats & Clark Pro-Am Sewing Exhibition...with her sewing rookie...

Marsha McClintock is owner of SAF-T-POCKETS Patterns where she designs patterns with hidden pockets suited for travel or every day wear. In addition she organizes and leads her Sew Many Options Tours for sewing enthusiasts to places like New York, Portland, OR and Toronto. Her experience in locating fabric and notion resources has been incorporated into her tours. She wears her SAF-T-POCKETS garments for her trips and has found the two companies are a natural combination. She enjoys traveling the country teaching at sewing shows, guides and the national ASG conferences. Marsha is an active member in the American Sewing Guild and the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals (Portland, Oregon Chapters).

I thought it would be fun to start with a few questions...(Rita in red -- Marsha's answers in black)

When did you start sewing? I started sewing at about age 10 with 4H.

How long have you been coming to Expo? 15 years and over 10 years as a vendor

How does sewing improve your life? I helps me to think outside the box. I like having the ability to making clothing that doesn't look like every other person walking down the street. I've been fortunate to turn my passion into a business.

What’s your favorite part of your job? I love talking with the customers and hearing all the wonderful, creative things they have done with my patterns.

What’s the BEST thing you ever sewed for yourself? That's difficult. It's probably a striped jacket I made while taking a couture class from Roberta Carr. I pleated out every other strip to create solid fabric for the collar, cuffs and yoke. It turned out wonderful. Isn't it great when that happens?

For somebody else? When I did custom dressmaking I made several gorgeous wedding dresses. It was an honor to create someone's dream dress and see their face when they first slipped into it.

What are you teaching at this year’s Expo? My classes this year are:

Accessories A-Z (Quick and easy items you can make for yourself or friends) (Thur & Sat 2:30pm or Fri & Sun 9:30am 1 Needle

The Versatile Vest-S-Cape Thursday It's a cape, vest or scarf! 3 Needle

Sew Let's Pack Up Free Stage Fri-Sunday 2:30pm It will help you pack for your next trip!

Because I ALWAYS PERK UP when somebody says "NEW YORK CITY" -- I asked Marsha to send some pics and more information about her trips there...she sent this...

Sew Many Options Tours creates tours to New York and Portland, OR that feature fashion, fabric and fun. In New York we visit the garment district for fabrics, visit Koos van den Akker's workroom, FIT's costume collection, go behind the scenes of "Wicked" for a look at the costumes, tour McCall Pattern Company, visit a Broadway costume shop, attend a Broadway musical and lots more.

This is a picture of Marsha and her group in Koos van den Akker's workroom...HEY -- BRING HIM TO PUYALLUP, MARSHA!!
This is a picture of a group on the steps of the fabulous Metropolitan Museum of Art!

Portland, OR is a mecca for sewing & fabric enthusiasts. We'll visit many great fabric stores, see the Theatre de la Mode mannequins at the Maryhill Museum, go to the Pendleton factory and lots more. I have three tours for this spring. New York with American Sewing Expo April 15-21, 2012, New York with ASG May 20-26, 2012 and Portland, OR with Marla Kazell June 19-23, 2012.

To find out more about Marsha's great patterns and wonderful tours -- visit her Saf-T-Pockets website.

You still have time to make your garment for the Midnight Magic event!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Midnight Magic

For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to post specific teacher bios and information...Today's big winner is JANET PRAY. At the 2012 Sewing & Stitchery Expo, she'll be teaching:

4 needle on Wednesday – Double Green Shopping Bag,
1 needle every day is Galaxy of Sewing
2 needle on Saturday – moebius scarf
Sunday two needle is Sew Me the Money


Janet Pray's bio:

President of American Sewing Expo, Inc.
Owner of Islander Sewing Systems
Executive Director of the National Sewing Council

Janet has an educational background in business and fine art. Self employed since 1981 as a Fiber Artist, Fiber Arts teacher and Sewing Instructor. Ms Pray began her career in the sewing industry creating a unique line of artistic women’s clothing. Her specialties were coats and scarves sold at fine art fairs and boutiques. While creating her clothing line she found that dyeing the fabrics became a passion and added tremendous opportunities for creativity. Janet soon began teaching dyeing and discharge techniques and created the video, “Bleach or Dye”. She also taught industrial sewing techniques developed by her aunt, Margaret Islander.

Janet’s next venture was developing the largest independent sewing expo in the United States, The American Sewing Expo held annually in Novi, Michigan. Soon after that she took over the operations of the Islander Sewing Systems Company. As the owner of this company Janet published several of her most popular patterns from her clothing line and went on to design many more garment patterns all with industrial sewing techniques included in the pattern guides. Ms Pray wrote the book, Islander Sewing Systems and co-authored the popular DVD, Easy Zippers.

Recently Janet’s enthusiasms for the sewing industry lead her to establish The National Sewing Council, a non-profit organization focused on encouraging more people to experience the joy of sewing. Janet serves as the Executive Director for that organization.

To view complete details about the IPCA's Midnight Magic challenge -- be sure to visit the website: Pattern

They just announced that the IPCA will be giving away $2500 worth of door prizes to our attendees who participate in the Passport-vote-for-the-winners Midnight Magic sewing challenge.

It's up to YOU -- OUR FABULOUS SEW EXPO AUDIENCE -- to determine the fan favorite. And YOU COULD BE A BIG WINNER, TOO.

BECAUSE the IPCA will be providing a gift for the first 200 attendees of the Midnight Magic show!! (Sunday -- on the Expo Runway!)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

Here is the direct link for the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.

Remember -- every dime of your $10 (suggested donation for Charity Event) goes directly to Mary Bridge. Once you donate, you print the receipt -- and that will serve as your ticket INTO THE CHARITY EVENT. (It is not your daily ticket into the show...)

Our goal is to raise $5000 for Mary Bridge and we're off to a great start.

The event itself will take place at 10:30 AM on Sunday morning on the Expo Runway. It is the Coats & Clark Pro-Am Sewing Challenge. Our Sewing Stars have been paired with young sewing enthusiasts -- and they'll be PUTTING ON A SHOW!!

Last year, you sewed over 2800 pillowcases for the children of Mary Bridge. That was barely a three month supply....

We will again be accepting pillowcases for the children at the START WHITTLING DOWN THAT STASH...

And if you are looking for a good cause this year -- please consider our charity event. Go to the Mary Bridge link to read about what they do with your money. Then -- BRING ALL YOUR FRIENDS. It's the last day of the show -- and what a wonderful way to end the BIGGEST SEWING PARTY in America...

P.S. -- Remember -- this year -- SEWING MACHINE DOOR PRIZES. Two of them!! And in the next week or so -- I'll announce what Coats & Clark is doing. Did you know it's their big anniversary??


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Online Registration is OPEN

Yes -- online registration is OPEN...

You are officially invited TO THE BIGGEST SEWING PARTY IN AMERICA!!

This year, many teachers sent pictures of their finished projects -- so you can ACTUALLY SEE WHAT YOU'LL BE MAKING.

Don't forget -- the teacher biographies are also all up on the website. Under "Speakers" -- there's a subject line that says "Speaker bios"...

So -- you can go there right now. To the show website -- and click on the "Register" button in the upper right hand side of the page.


Coats & Clark Pro-Am Charity Event

This is just a reminder..

When you register for the show -- AFTER you have checked out -- you will have the opportunity to go directly to the Mary Bridge website to get a ticket to the Sunday Coats & Clark Pro-Am Charity Event.

Please DO COME to this wonderful, worthwhile event. We are delighted to have some of the biggest names in the sewing industry mentoring our young sewists. Sue Hausmann, Pati Palmer, Martha Pullen -- well -- you get the idea.

Remember -- Mary Bridge Children's Hospital receives every penny of your $10 (suggested donation).

Be sure to print out your "receipt" FROM MARY BRIDGE -- BECAUSE that will actually be your ticket into the event!!

AND YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT TIME...please support Mary Bridge, our young sewing stars-in-the-making...

This year -- instead of goody bags (which some people actually complained about -- yes -- I know it's hard to believe!! THIS IS OUR CHARITY EVENT, PEOPLE!!). We are ramping up the door prizes!!

Coats & Clark, our wonderful sponsor, will provide valuable door prizes -- AND FOR THE FIRST TIME -- we also HAVE BOTH A SEWING MACHINE AND A SERGER as door prizes...!!

Your chance of winning a major door prize at the Charity Event is way better than any lottery or casino game!!

AND TO ADD TO THE FUN -- Coats & Clark is celebrating their 200th anniversary in 2012!! SO THEY WILL BE PROVIDING A FREE GIFT to the first 200 people in the door at the charity event!!