The Greatest Sew on Earth, the first national home sewing extravaganza,
has its Texas premiere in Houston this month.
Sew on and sew on
By Karey Bresenhan
Women painters, photographers, poets,
potters, weavers and sculptors have come
in for their share of glory, but until now,
women who plied their art with needle
and thread have been largely ignored.
Till Ann Vaughn came on the scene.
Vaughn, the entrepreneur behind the
nation's first consumer sewing show, the
Greatest Sew on Earth, decided in 1975
that it was high time women who chose
textiles as their art form got the recognition they deserve.
Today, with two major shows in Atlanta and Los Angeles' behind her,
Vaughn can take pride in the fact that
thousands of people have been introduced to home sewing as a creative art
form instead of a penny-pinching necessity.
Houston's Greatest Sew on Earth will
be held March 31-April 2 in the Albert
Thomas Convention Center. Tickets are
$2.75 at the door. Hours are 10-6 Friday,
10-7 Saturday, and 11-7 Sunday.
"The show is geared to anybody with
any interest in making anything," says
Vaughn. "It's an idea show, a learning
experience, a showcase to demonstrate
the creativity and techniques of today's
Vaughn's shows are professional, in a
field that's not been known for professionalism and still suffers from the
"loving hands at home" stereotype. But
she sees all that changing, because the
home sewer herself is changing.
"Sewing consumers are becoming very
quality-oriented," she says. "They want
to be sure garments will stand up to use.
They're paying close attention to guarantees, names and fiber content. The show
is a tremendous consumer education tool
aimed at a group of consumers who are
really eager for new information."
To get the rules for entering the sew-
off or to obtain special coupons for a $1
discount on the $2.75 tickets, contact
any of the participating Houston-area retailers: Cloth World, Foleys, Sears,
Singer Sewing Centers, TG&Y, Solomons,
Southern Fabrics, and Wonder Frabrics.
Karey Bresenhan, owner of Great
Expectations, will put together a major
exhibit of antique quilts, new quilting
projects by Houston women, and stitch-
ery-craft projects with some demonstrations for the Greatest Sew.
Vaughn, a confident, ambitious
woman, won't be satisfied until the
Greatest Sew is as much the prestige vehicle for the sewing industry as the Pills-
bury Bake-Off is for cooking.
Short-cuts, tricks and techniques
translated from professional garment-
making to home sewing are all part of the
educational portion of Greatest Sew.
Seminars will run continuously all three
days of the show, covering over three
dozen topics such as wearing needlepoint,
fitting and alteration, creative applique,
sewing sweaters, stitchery and craft,
sewing lingerie, working with stripes and
plaids, and machine embroidery.
Highlight of the show will be a sewing
marathon on Saturday, April 1, which
will feature 400 talented amateur dressmakers competing for prizes in an eight-
hour sew-off. Winner of the sew-off will
get an all-expense paid trip for two to
Hawaii; other prizes include expensive
sewing machines and fabric gift certificates.
Vaughn is quick to credit other women with the success of Greatest Sew,
lavishing praise equally on participants
and "the women behind the scenes in
New York -the fashion coordinators and
corporate home economists. It was their
cooperation and willingness to innovate
that really got the show on the road,"
There are very few women entrepreneurs in national trade shows, and
Vaughn has experienced difficulty in
selling her shows-"because I'm a woman
and they're not used to dealing with
women. The home sewing industry is still
a very chauvinistic world."
Proud of the scope of the show and of
its reception in Atlanta and Los Angeles,
Vaughn emphasizes that "the show is
definitely planned by women for women
to recognize women's talents and an
almost exclusively woman's art form."
She's evidently quite a success at the
requisite selling, too, even if the exhibitors are initially wary of a "woman's
show." The list of exhibitors in the Houston event include American Thread, Bur-
lington/Klopman, DuPont, McCall's, Mil-
liken, Simplicity, Singer, Vogue-Butter-
ick and Sears Roebuck, and she's
amassed prizes totalling more than
60% Off Casual
ghat's JUnda JOrazv
Are we nuts to sell for
less? Not really. All it takes
is smart buying from well
who have overproduced,
or, are closing out their first
quality garments ... some
with original labels, some
without... never stale,
always in fashion.
This, along with sales
men's samples, enables us
to have some fashions
even before their arrival at
major stores. If you don't
think that's crazy enough,
individual dressing rooms,
layaways, an exchange
policy, and Visa or Master
Charge will have you
committed! Now, that's
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You re Krazy to spend more! w
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