Every year (well, last year, at least), the coolest of cool Sewing Summit attendees hit the pavement for a little pre-Summit shopping spree. Since I wasn't there last year, I'm not sure how to get in on that party, so here are some tips for starting your own.
Make a Game Plan: If you want to make the most of your outing, you had better come with a map. I recommend printing out a Google map and carrying it with you on the plane. Nothing could be worse than losing your precious shop hop map along with your luggage. Keep it on your person! And if you make notes on it, try not to use any pens made in Australia. I hear they may contain lead which could set off the metal detector in the airport leading to an embarrassing and uncomfortable full body cavity search in the airport security line. Don't think it won't happen to you. They will violate you in front of everyone. Americans don't take poisonous Australian ink in airports lightly.
If you are anti-Google (which after their attempted global internet take-over, who could blame you?), you should go the GPS route. It will be far better for you to be caught on the street talking back to an automated GPS voice than to be caught cursing at and wrestling with a map that folds out to the size of Times Square. Plus, who uses real maps anymore? Get with the times people. If I see you on the street with a giant map, I will denounce you.
I will also denounce you if you wear a fanny pack, but we don't need to talk about that.
Entourage: What's shopping without your best buds, am I right? I personally find it creepy when I see someone walking around a store, drooling slightly and murmuring to themselves as they caress everything in sight.
They are the kind of people I would try not to make eye contact with. But if there is a whole group of them, it's a little more bearable. It makes sense. Crazy traveling in packs is endearing; it's acceptable. Crazy venturing out on it's own means there was no other person in the world who could stand being with them. That's scary Crazy. The kind of Crazy that reminds you to lock your doors at night. And that's what you'll look like if you go out onto the streets of SLC on your own. Be smart. Don't drive the cool kids away. Get your entourage together!
Money: Make sure you have ample funds before going to SS! Not only will you be tempted by the gorgeous, voluptuous bolts of Bella, you'll have the added pressure to make large purchases in the presence of your friends. But, let's face it: better to go broke than to be pigeon-holed as the crazy lady who pets fabric in the corner by herself. If you are broke, it's best to steer clear of any quilt shops while in SLC. I hear they lace their bolts with enough pheromones to cause even the most budget conscious shopper to drop the Benjamins.
Or maybe they lace it with Sex Panther... I can't remember. All I know, is it's made with real bits of panther and studies show, 60% of the time, it works every time.
Be Prepared: You will be shopping in a foreign city. Wear appropriate clothing! Don't wear a skirt. I know you worked really hard to create an exact replica of Anna Maria Horner's feather skirt, but let's be real. Girls have thighs. Most girls have thighs that touch. And when they walk, they chafe. Don't be a hero on the shopping spree. Wear jeans and you won't have to walk around the rest of the weekend like you've been riding a horse. Win-win.
Also, the cute little vintage pumps you decoupaged made for a great blog post and probably look great with that little 1960s inspired dress you found at Goodwill three years ago, but they don't have a place at SS. You're going to want tennis shoes; something to walk long distances in. Anything that will give you blisters or cuts or abrasions of any kind just aren't worth the pain. Fabric shopping is supposed to a fun-filled experience, not to be tainted by the pain of a rough shoe. I have some Toms I like to wear when I'm walking around places and I need lightweight shoes. As an added bonus, the nasty rank they emit when I take them off will keep anyone far, FAR away from my stash at SS. (Oh... right... Guru Laura, you may want to bring along a gas mask.)
Since there aren't shopping carts at these stores, and I'm thinking Wal-Mart will frown upon anyone stealing one from their parking lot to walk around downtown SLC with, I would recommend bringing along a rolling bag. Like a suitcase. Or your kids' little red wagon. Guru Katy has asked to borrow Miss Maze's stroller so she can have a drink carrier for her cherry-mango fizz wine cooler and a place to rest her legs as the excursion rolls into it's last hours. If you are lucky enough to own one of those ride-on scooters or a golf cart, perhaps, consider putting together your business plan now for how to sell rides. How terrible would it be to have to decide between giving Guru Laura a ride in exchange for a FQ of a rare Garden Party print or Guru Katy, who has just offered you a scrap pack of original FMF off cuts? By planning it out now, you can avoid these nasty decisions in the moment.
Also, just remember: shopping in person employs a completely different etiquette than your usual online shopping.
I think that about rounds up the pre-SS shopping experience.
PLEASE send us questions. Pretty please?