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If you are asking yourself, “What is Sew Pro? Why have I not heard about this?”
Take solace in that you may not be alone. Sew Pro is brand spank'n new and, if you're like me and hear about things 6 months after they happen, sadly you will have to wait until the next Sew Pro to hop in on the fun.
P.S. Have you heard of Meghan Trainor? 😉
Somehow though, by the wonders of fate and luck, I happened to become great friends with one of the most well connected gals in the sewing industry – Stephanie from Modern Sewciety. She clued me in on the action a couple weeks before showtime and BAM! I slipped in.
The Sew Pro Convention, right here in Chicago, is a two day conference + Thursday night mixer (...let’s just say I may have had a little bit of Chardonnay at the mixer which may or may not have helped me make TONS of friends...whether or not they thought of me as a friend afterward is left to be decided. Also, Amy Bradley from Purple Pineapple Patterns, I apologize for forcing you onto my IG stories....like seven times. You're a champ.)
Now where was I?
Oh yes. Sew Pro is centered around business in the sewing industry – budding fabric designers, pattern designers, authors, bloggers, graphic designers and photographers.
(The picture above is a gorgeous Free Spirit quilt I got to hang out with over the weekend.)
At this convention, industry professionals are not just teaching classes on applicable topics such as blog monetization and social media strategies, they are mingling and connecting with attendees all weekend.
Not to rub it in if you missed out this year, but have you ever wanted to grab a coffee with Alison Glass or casually joke around with Tula Pink? Well...Sew Pro is where you can do both in the SAME DAY.
I’m rubbing it in. I can’t help it! This conference is unlike anything that’s available for those in our sewing industry. Classes are small enough so that mid-lecture you can raise your hand and ask that pressing question you’ve been dying to have answered. You can actually ask Susanne Woods, founder of Lucky Spool Media, “What do you look for in an author….also, can I be an author?”
You can hear Jenny Fox-Proverbs, senior editor of two of the UK’s best selling quilt magazines, Love Patchwork & Quilting and Today’s Quilter, share exactly what to do to get your sewing patterns published.
Sidenote: she is incredibly humble while simultaneously oozing with talent and industry know-how, so if you’ve been on the fence about submitting one of your designs to Love Patchwork or Today's Quilter, I say go for it. She will handle your work with care and art direct her team to take a beautifully styled and stunning photo.
So much information and so much industry talent is crammed into this event that it would be rather overwhelming for me to try to tell you all about it. My solution is to break up the Sew Pro experience into two different blog posts.
This post is simply a general outline of the speakers. Sew Pro Part 2, which will be published in a couple days, selects a few of the classes I found particularly helpful and inspiring and dives into greater detail. So even if you weren't there you can still benefit.
Below is a list of the instructors and the titles of their lectures. I'll warn you, this list will have you crying out, “WHY WASN’T I THERE?!?”
Teachers & Topics
Alison Glass is a surface pattern designer for Andover Fabrics. She has created multiple fabric lines including Ex Libris, Field Day, the Handcrafted series, Insignia and Seventy Six among others.
In addition to fabric, Alison has published a book through Lucky Spool Media, Alison Glass Appliqué: The Essential Guide to Modern Appliqué, and these adorable temporary tattoos! So cute! Below is a selections from her Handcrafted collection.
Topics: (Fri.) It's a Wonderful (creative) Life, (Sat.) Creating Product Lines Around Your Brand
Brie Crawford is an attorney in the Chicagoland area specializing in intellectual property and entertainment law, including patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. Crawford has authored and published many scholarly legal articles about trademark and copyright law. She frequently lectures on trademark and copyright law to lawyers and business owners.
Topic: (Fri. and Sat.) 10 Intellectual Property Traps
Jenny Fox-Proverbs is the Senior Editor of two of the UK’s best selling quilting magazines. Love Patchwork & Quilting, which she launched in October 2013, is the No.1 best selling modern quilting magazine. Today’s Quilter, its new sister magazine, is a fresh take on traditional quilting, and was launched to great acclaim by Jenny in September 2015.
Topics: (Fri.) How to Submit Your Work to Magazines, (Sat.) How to Style Your Products for Photography
Karen LePage is a garment designer, pattern writer and author of Sewing for Boys. She co-hosts Sew Ann Arbor, teaches sewing and Adobe Creative Cloud to other crafters and designers and volunteers in the Ann Arbor and Detroit craft communities.
Karen is the Founder of Gentle Clothing – which offers handmade garments and sewing patterns to cultivate a wardrobe of clothes worth mending.
Topics: (Fri.) Software is Your Friend, (Sat.) Unsung Hero
Kristin Link is mama to two girls and the owner of Sew, Mama, Sew!, one of the largest on-line communities for sewing articles and free sewing tutorials. Kristin is a former educator who has adapted her love of teaching and training to focus on the wonderful world of sewing. Her favorite things to sew are bags, clothes and gifts for family and friends.
Topics: (Fri.) Blog Monetization: You Deserve to Get Paid Too, (Sat.) Building Relationships with Sponsors
Lora is a Certified Public Accountant practicing in Florida with two other partners under the firm DDF CPA Group. This full-service CPA firm provides tax consulting, bookkeeping and financial statement preparation services. Lora specializes in consulting with small businesses.
In addition to being a practicing CPA, Lora is owner of Dragonfly Quiltworks, LLC which operates as an online business with an Etsy shop selling quilting fabric, quilts, other finished goods and patterns.
Topic: (Fri. and Sat.) Taxpayer Compliance for Creative Business
Mimi G. is an award winning trend expert and editor-in-chief of the outrageously popular fashion, lifestyle, and DIY blog, Mimi G Style, as well as the Mimi G Style YouTube channel which houses tutorials, fashion and beauty tips, health and fitness videos, product reviews and more. Her axiom, “Buy It, Make It, Mix It, Rock It!”, is the mantra for her fully engaged daily followers, as well as industry professionals.
Garnering thousands of new followers by the day, Mimi G. has quickly become an international fashion icon, influencer, role model, and an in-demand speaker and panel member at blogging conferences across the country. Mimi G. has also developed her own line of products ranging from ready to wear collections to commercial sewing patterns such as these rad jumpsuits, jackets, pants and skirts.
Topics: (Fri.) Creating a Following and Brand Loyalty, (Sat.) Starting a Creative Business: How to Take Your Idea to the Bank!
Pat Sloan is a designer, lecturer, host of a weekly radio show and author of many well-known books including her "Teach Me To" series on sewing triangles, fusible appliqué and machine quilting, to name a few.
Topics: (Fri.) Opening Keynote Speaker, Taking Your Act on the Road, (Sat.) The Art of Self-Promotion: It's Not Spammy
Roseann Kermes is currently a quilt shop owner based just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She creates and implements strategies for business growth, determines long and short range goals, keeps up with industry trends and develops marketing opportunities with other local store owners.
Additionally, she organizes events like her annual Celebrate the Season quilt retreat with 90 attendees and the Quilt S’More retreat with 150 attendees. With experience working for large companies like American Quilt Retailer and OLFA, Roseann has become an expert in taking big-brand marketing strategies to bring greater success in small businesses.
Topics: (Fri.) Finding Your Social Media Voice, (Sat.) Social Media Strategy: Thinking Like a Corporation
Susanne Woods has a long history in the publishing industry, including Acquisitions Editor for C&T Publishing and Editorial Director for Interweave. Susanne was also an Acquisitions Editor for Craftsy. She is currently the publisher of Lucky Spool Media, which has published craft books by Carolyn Friedlander, Anna Graham, Amy Gibson, Jeni Baker, and many more. Lucky Spool has quickly become the premiere publisher of books in quilting, sewing, and knitting.
Topics: (Fri.) How to Submit a Book Proposal, (Sat.) Book Publishing: Exploring Options in a Changing Industry
Tula Pink is an illustrator, fabric designer for Free Spirit Fabrics, Bernina ambassador, quilter and author of multiple books including, Tula Pink's City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks, Quilts from the House of Tula Pink and this super cute coloring book!
Tula’s passion for fabric design has propelled her to adapt her signature style to not just fabric, but also woven ribbons, paper products, thread, needlepoint kits, embroidery patterns, scissors and sewing machines.
Tula is most recognized in the industry for her dark sense of humor and boldly unique use of color and pattern.
Topics: (Fri.) Closing Keynote Speaker, The Business of Designing Fabric, (Sat.) You've Designed a Fabric line – Now What?
If you were at Sew Pro and have thoughts, stories, pictures, anecdotes, anything, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!