Just last night I was reading a Wall Street Journal article (thanks for sending that, Mom!) about the uptick in stores specializing in goods that aren't necessarily expensive, but that come from far-flung corners of the globe. Now that dressing in flashy labels has finally jumped the shark all the way into gauche-land, people are more interested in conversation pieces and things that can't be found on your home turf (they are still expensive, given the cost of travel). There's an aspect of threatened extinction at play, too, because if artisans working anywhere aren't supported, they will go away. I mention this because Columbia River Sewing, the Portland chapter of the American Sewing Guild has an upcoming daylong fundraiser for Sewing Hope, a Fount of Mercy's Vocational Development program to teach sewing to women in rural Uganda as a means to support themselves. On Saturday, September 17 at McGuire Auditorium, Warner Pacific College (2219 SE 68th) the day will get started with a seminar titled "Tips from the Power Sewing Toolbox," led by Sandra Betzina, "an internationally known pattern designer, sewing instructor, and author." She'll also emcee a fashion show/competition open to designers from all over the US. The winner, determined by a panel of sewing experts and instructors, will win a Baby Lock Imagine serger from Montavilla Sewing Center, with second and third place winners taking home gift baskets valued at $150 and $100 respectively. There will also be a silent auction running throughout the day, and lunch is included in the price of all tickets. They're a little high, but hey: charity. To attend the fashion show only is $35, $50 for the seminar only, and it's $70 to attend both. They're still accepting submission from designers, which you can find signup info for here, along with tickets and more specific info.