How to get your projects into Quilt Market

Thursday, November 5, 2015

In the weeks before and after the past two Quilt Markets, I've received questions about how I've gotten my projects into exhibitors' booths. Since it's a multi-faceted question, a blog post seemed like the best way to respond.

I made my first project for Quilt Market when I was a total newbie. I had less than 5 months of quilting experience, but I wanted to help my friend and fellow designer Patty Sloniger fill up her booth at Spring 2014 Quilt Market with lovely goodies. My Wing It baby quilt and a cathedral window pillow were featured in her booth and marked my first foray into market sewing.

When quilt market looms near and the #quiltmarketprep hashtag comes to life on Instagram, I see lots of enthusiastic sewists asking how they can get in on the action. I want to answer some of the questions I see pop up with market sewing.

Q: How do I get my projects into Quilt Market booths?
A: Contact the manufacturer or designer you want to sew for and offer your help! Market happens twice a year in May and October, so email the manufacturer 2-3 months prior to the show to introduce yourself, offer your help, and outline a few projects (which we call samples) you'd like to make. Include a link to your blog, Flickr, or Instagram account so they can see examples of your work.

Q: Do manufacturers / designers tell you what to sew or can you pick your own projects and fabric choices?
A: It depends. I've done both. I've had exhibitors who say, "I need X made with these fabrics" and I've also had samples where I was given free reign. If you have a specific pattern and fabric selection in mind, let them know.

Q: Do you get paid for your projects? Who keeps them when the show is over?
A: Once again, it depends on the exhibitor. In my experience, when I get to choose the fabrics and the project, I end up keeping the sample after the show and I do not get paid for it. I'm okay with this because I get the fabric for free (and they always send more fabric than I need for a project) and I get some exposure for my patterns and designs. When I'm being told what to make, I've gotten paid for my time and the exhibitor keeps the samples. There is no "normal" arrangement, so ask the exhibitor up front if you will be compensated and who will retain ownership of the samples.

Q: Do I have to design original patterns to make samples for market?
A: Not necessarily. Exhibitors definitely like having original, unique samples to show, but using an existing pattern is perfectly fine too.

Q: Can I attend Quilt Market if I sew samples?
A: Maybe. I attended my first Quilt Market on behalf of Michael Miller Fabrics after making samples for Patty. If you make a lot of samples for a manufacturer, you can try asking them if they will obtain a badge for you to attend. The worst thing they can say is no. Alternatively, you can get submit your credentials to obtain an Industry Professional badge.

1 comment :

  1. I love that blue bag in this post's photos. Is this your design? Looks like it would be super useful for guild gatherings and as a work bag - Love it. I have also enjoyed your Q&A about Quilt Market, very interesting and good food for thought. Thank you.