I was lucky enough to attend the ASG national convention in Atlanta recently. I worked for my friend, Londa, in her booth so I wasn't able to take any classes but I did participate in the fashion show and I attended the "gala" Saturday night to honor Shirley Adams.
I'm going to be brutally honest here. I was really disappointed overall. Maybe taking classes vs. being a vendor would change my mind, but for the cost of attending this convention…well, let's just say it's pretty pricey.
The best part of the convention is that is held entirely in a hotel. (In this case, the Atlanta Hilton.) So the accommodations, both convention facilities and hotel rooms, were really nice. It also helped me personally that the snack bar in the lobby served Starbucks. Another good thing was the food, mostly. Friday's breakfast and lunch were not so good, but after that the food was great, especially the desserts. The Chef would have been pleased with the presentation of the desserts.
Vendors: I don't have an exact count, but there were only about 40-50 vendors at the expo portion. And, they weren't big national companies or people. In my opinion the 2 biggest people there were Louise Cutting and Linda Lee. Oh yes, Peggy Sagers was there also. Mostly it was mom-and-pop businesses, which is absolutely great. But I thought that the sewing machine companies would have big booths. Also, I thought the Big 4 pattern companies would be there. What a great place to promote your stuff. Hardly any fabric for sale. Louise Cutting and SewKeyse had fabric, along with some smaller local shops.
Overall, the expo is much smaller than Puyallup. I've never been to the Novi show but I've heard that it is as big as Puyallup so this ASG would be smaller than it also.
Evening activities: On Friday night was the big fashion show. It was fun. Some of the clothes were amazing. Amazing not so much from the technical construction side, but the beading, the hand weaving, the putting together of different fabrics--that was amazing. I modeled the Genesis Too jacket I made with Londa for her new DVD, Creative Jacket Journey. Londa modeled the Worthy jacket from the DVD. Somehow, the ladies lining us up for the show switched Londa and me in line and the commentator read the wrong description for my jacket. What do you do when you're on the runway, under the spotlight and the description doesn't match the article of clothing? Just keep smiling and walking and smiling. My only other complaint about the fashion show was the lady doing the commentary. It seemed to me that she hadn't even read the script. She stumbled through almost all the garment descriptions. I heard this complaint from some other fashion show participants as well.
On Saturday night was the big "Gala" honoring Shirley Adams of The Sewing Connection. I hardly think "gala" describes the night. It was dinner and then Shirley talked about her company. (I found that interesting because had never heard her story.) There was a slide show but it wasn't accompanied with any talking or even any background music. Kinda weird. Then the night was over. That was it. I was expecting a big hoopla.
The show was pretty good sales-wise for Londa. But if I was just a plain attendee, I would hope that the classes were fabulous. I have to admit that if I have the opportunity to attend this convention as an attendee, I will go. I think the caliber of teachers is pretty good and I would be very selective about the classes I signed up for, but I believe it is possible to get some great training there.
I also want to put a plug in for Gail K Fabrics in Atlanta. Oh my gosh! A garment sewers heaven. The fabric is stacked floor to ceiling, literally! They had all price ranges from less than $10 to $100+ for bridal fabrics and great suit woolens. We spent about 2 hours there. Londa bought this absolutely fabulous red stretch velvet with a burnout design. It will be her New Year's Eve ballroom dancing gown. And she also bought this weird furry stuff to tickle her creative side. I was pretty restrained. I bought only 1 piece of tapestry-grey & pink-to make a jacket.