Fall Quilt Market 2013 Trend Report

on Oct 31, 2013 in Quilt Market | 302 comments

Fall Quilt Market 2013 was held last weekend in Houston, Texas. This open-to-the-trade wholesale show takes place twice per year. Houston hosts the Fall show which is then followed by Quilt Festival (open to the public). Each May, the Spring show rotates between 5 cities located across the US making it more accessible to quilt shop owners in different regions of the country.

I attend the show to keep current on market trends, network with other shop owners, and breathe! It’s so easy to get caught-up in the day-to-day operations of the shop that I forget to do all three. As a bit of an introvert, it seems odd that traveling to a large industry show would give me the solace I need to think but it works. I’m topped-off with enthusiasm, ideas are swirling, and I’m feeling centered and balanced. All these things fuel my effectiveness as a small business owner.

Based on a feeling I got from everything I saw and what I’ve been turning over in my brain for the last several days, following are my three big take aways from market:

1. The Word Modern

At last year’s Fall Market, vendors appeared to be incorporating the word ‘Modern’ into their product labeling everywhere I turned. To the point I had no idea what meaning the word held anymore. Since the tag line for Pink Chalk Fabrics is ‘cloth, pattern + tool for the modern sewist’ I’ve always had a few opinions about this topic!

When I started the shop 5 1/2 years ago my use of the word ‘Modern’ related to attitude over aesthetic. An attitude of fearless experimentation, pushing boundaries, redefining what it means to sew, personal expression through our work, and defining for ourselves what we like and how we go about making it. A passion for individualism and unique creative endeavor.

This is not to say I’m the only person that has an appropriate definition of the term. Exactly opposite. Other uses of the term Modern within the quilting and sewing world embody the idea and further expand and define it. I’m going to refrain from shouting out my opinion with examples on this point because it ultimately lies in the eye of the beholder. There is no single way to define the word and no one owns it. I do think I can spot a good use when I see it and vice versa, when it’s maybe a stretch and used for marketing rather than to genuinely express a point of view.

Well, I’m here to report, that I observed an almost overnight cessation of the practice of plastering Modern on anything and everything. I saw some amazingly great new things that were tagged ‘Modern’ and that gave me hope that the movement in its truest form will continue on. It will evolve, grow, progress, and become what it will. Just as we do as sewists.

2. Market Innovation

I have about a gazillion experiences on why this theme emerged for me. I’ll try to convey it in words:

From the heart. I attended a class entitled The Success of Passion. The panel included Jo Packham creator of Where Women Create, Kaari Meng of French General, Nancy Soriano, and Eileen Hall. Each shared their story of creating a business and making a living through their creative passion. Incredibly inspiring. It reminded me that I have gifts and, equally important, choices on how I use those gifts. Often times it’s a wild ride of intuition, doing the next right thing, and nurturing our creative vision through persistence, hard work, and perseverance. And, of course, a few lucky breaks sprinkled in along the way to keep the faith. Innovation comes when we combine courage, faith and action.

Kaari Meng recommended two books both by Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit and The Collaborative Habit.

In action. Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Kim Kight, and Sarah Watts teamed with RJR to launch Cotton + Steel, a new division of RJR Fabrics. Fresh, innovative, brave. Watch the video for the story.

Simple, practical, perfect. Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids, 75 modern solid essentials hand-picked by Denyse Schmidt from the Free Spirit Fabrics Designer Solids collection. Pre-cuts and bundles will be available in 2014. This was an announcement, no specific dates on when they’ll ship. I can’t even order yet.

Community. Every time I turned around I was having a conversation with someone about a retreat, a class, an online sew-along, a guild event, you name it, it is being planned, organized and executed by quilters and sewists all over the world. It’s about bringing us together to share our passion. Do good works. Connect as individuals. Positivity through creativity. Cristy Fincher was handing out buttons she made that carried the message ‘Quilting Matters’. It truly does.

3. Slower, Fewer, Better

Whew. It was getting to be a little crazy there for awhile. So many new collections being released in rapid fire. Multiple collections from the same designer in a single year. I literally have not been able to keep up. Uncle! Well, I think the manufacturers got a little tired trying to set that pace. I observed a marked reduction in the number of collections I was being shown and in the number of designs in each collection. Thank goodness! I saw many well curated, thoughtfully produced collections. Let’s hope this trend has legs!

Now of course, there’s also a lot of cool stuff to highlight. Fun new products coming soon:

1. Moda Slice. Delicious 10″ triangles. A layer cake cut in half diagonally. Some of the collections will be available in this pre-cut. I was most excited about this Make a Splash set that contains 48 10″ triangles of 12 assorted Bella Solids. Quilt pattern included.

2. Modern Quilt Relish. Two new quilt patterns, Torte and Cutlery. Cutlery features 12 Solid FQs for the throw size.

3. Carolyn Friedlander. Botanics, her latest collection for Robert Kaufman fabrics was the talk of the town! Fabulous samples and presentation. New patterns too including one with a center medallion applique design. (pattern coming soon to the shop)

4. Monaluna Knits. Jennifer Moore is both a talented designer and organic fabric manufacturer. Exciting to see the addition of knits.

5. Lizzy House Cat Nap. One of my favorite collections from market. Also one of my favorite people along with her extremely talented and lovely mom Cherri House who I got to see too.

6. Modern Solids II by Alissa Haight Carlton for In The Beginning Fabrics. Modern Solids from ITBF is my favorite new basic in 2013. The addition of these brights designed by Alissa push my LOVE over the top. Yahoo!

7. Sew Serendipity The Jordan Jacket. Totally caught my eye. Totally want to make it. Kay Whitt’s fabric selection and workmanship always impresses! (pattern coming soon to the shop)

8. The Color Call by Modern Quilt Studio. A set of 30 tone-on-tone basics spanning the color wheel by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle. Supports the value techniques they teach in their patterns. Innovative – taking things to another creative level.

9. Bella Duster. New pattern from Amy Butler. (pattern coming soon to the shop)

***

See full gallery of pictures on our Pinterest Fall 2013 Quilt Market Board.

***

Are you still with me? I brought back a couple of goodies for giveaway (really good stuff!):

  • A signed copy of 1-2-3 Quilt by Ellen Luckett Baker!
  • Make a Splash Slice Stack from Moda (used to make the anchor quilt above)
  • Botanics 2 1/2″ charm pack by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman

Leave a comment sharing what you think is most exciting about the trends coming out of Fall Quilt Market 2013.

Thanks for being a part of this community and sharing my creative journey. I love you all. xoxo Kathy

    302 Comments

  1. I love all the fabrics, especially some of the solids collections. I’m probably most excited to see more and more adult clothing patterns. That’s where I started and the big 4 pattern companies had started getting a little boring for the most part

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    DianeY

    October 31, 2013

  2. I love seeing all the new quilt patterns. Although I didn’t go to Market, I have been reading lots of updates. Between those updates and other postings, it seems like I have seen a lot of really new patterns. And the number of new fabrics that I have seen are less overwhelming to think about.

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    Anya

    October 31, 2013

  3. Thanks for a great report! I always look forward to hearing your take.

    I think Carolyn Friedlander’s new line and patterns will be huge. Her last collection was so refreshingly light and different from everything else… Very graphic and textural without being heavy and linear. Can’t wait to see more of what she does!

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    CitricSugar

    October 31, 2013

  4. Thanks for the report! I think there’s this trend of various new modern solids being released… Not sure if it’s really that good of an idea to direct that much resources on cotton solids since there are already lots being offered on that area… (sorry for being so serious here!) in any case, I love seeing April Showers, Botanics, and the new Echino:)

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    M

    October 31, 2013

  5. It is refreshing to read that there will be be fewer and better thought-out fabric lines this year. I agree that it became overwhelming the past few years. Hopefully lines will stay around a bit longer too.

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    Gretchen

    October 31, 2013

  6. I’m actually excited to hear that there will be less fabric released next year. All of the new collections can be overwhelming, and the push to buy what’s new right now is ever present. It will be nice to see fewer, better collections! Also, I’m very excited to see what Cotton and Steel will come up with. And I always love new garment patterns.

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    Margo

    October 31, 2013

  7. I’m looking forward to some solid collections other than Kona. What bright colors I see in your photos. Love them.

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    Kathie L

    October 31, 2013

  8. this cotton+steel is really intriguing, can’t wait to see what they come up with!

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    Leyda

    October 31, 2013

  9. Cotton & Steel -definitely, can’t wait to see what they do!!

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    lisa

    October 31, 2013

  10. Selfishly I’m most excited about the new solids because I don’t adore Kona’s (though I don’t have a LQS so I’ll probably end up buying them sight-unseen from you!). Big-picture, fewer collections sounds good — I’ve had some overload this year and pretty much stopped buying even stuff I liked, as sewing time was so undeniably slipping away from the pace of acquisition!

    View Comment
    mailergoat

    October 31, 2013

  11. Thanks for posting about Cotton & Steel – I just loved watching that video. I hope they can bring that intensity to life on fabrics and with projects – so inspiring.

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    tracy_a

    October 31, 2013

  12. I CANNOT WAIT to see what comes out of Cotton+Steel. Amazing talent there!

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    MistyBee

    October 31, 2013

  13. The most interesting thing most people are talking about is personal freedom and creativity that was a little more visible to most of the bloggers I have read. Less fitting a mold, more what the artist likes.

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    Penny G

    October 31, 2013

  14. Im thrilled to see manufacturers embracing new ways of doing things (cotton and steel) while responding to trends in moderation.

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    Melissa

    October 31, 2013

  15. Thank you for such an informative article!
    I think the most exciting thing about this is the collaboration of makers, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what Cotton + Steel do.

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    Jane

    October 31, 2013

  16. I’m increasingly becoming interested in making garments, so I like seeing patterns, especially in quilting fabric. Thanks for the lowdown!!

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    Kathy Zelazny

    October 31, 2013

  17. Yes, fewer collections, I like that! Sounds crazy, but I like to have a fighting chance at being able to keep up with what’s coming out. I’m looking forward to the new solids, too, esp Alissa’s. Thanks! I’d be so excited to win — I’m a big fan of Architextures (who isn’t) and I can’t wait for Botanics!

    View Comment
    Jenny

    October 31, 2013

  18. I love that more clothing patterns are being produced and in styles that I actually would like to make. But don’t look like I could never manage. And I also love the continuation of bold strong colours, wonderful jewel tones that just appeal to me totally.

    View Comment
    Susan

    October 31, 2013

  19. Best Market wrap-up I’ve read so far! All your thoughts are spot-on, in my opinion. I liked a lot of what I saw at this Market.

    View Comment
    Lee @ Freshly Pieced

    October 31, 2013

  20. community and passion – that’s what I’m feeling regarding quilt market “trends.” As someone who has been a quilter for many, many years, I share the excitement of evolving, being a life learner; learning from others and challenging myself.

    View Comment
    Mary Stanfield

    October 31, 2013

  21. it looks like bright colors in simple graphic formatting seems to be the trend for modern contemporary quilts. love the orange highlights.

    View Comment
    Francesca

    October 31, 2013

  22. Oh,oh…must have that Botanics line by Carolyn Friedlander! And the tone on tones from Kerr and Ringle. I much prefer tone on tones to high-contrast fabrics for basic patchwork. Thanks!

    View Comment
    JaneR

    October 31, 2013

  23. Thanks for the report. I’m especially glad to hear that the trend of slapping “modern” on everything is waning. And excited to see more solid options coming out!

    View Comment
    Jill

    October 31, 2013

  24. i was so excited to see many of my favorite designers launching cotton + steel! though i wish we could have seen even a peek of their collections. this is seriously my dream team.

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    ara jane

    October 31, 2013

  25. I just read the post on Quilt Market. I especially enjoyed the video from Cotton+Steel. I will be looking to see what comes from these talented ladies.

    View Comment
    Cheryl

    October 31, 2013

  26. Most comprehensive and thought-provoking post I have read online about Quilt market. Thank you. Most definitely excited by less and better curated fabric collections. At times it seems as if we quilters have been bombarded with an incessant stream of mediocre fabric releases with only a few gems in between. It’s not inspiring.

    View Comment
    Alison

    October 31, 2013

  27. Great post! Thank you for sharing your take on market for those of us who couldn’t go 🙂 I’m excited about the idea of fewer lines and coming out at a more reasonable pace. To be honest I have given up trying to keep on top of what’s new, I have fabric fatigue and buy less as a result. I look forward to what 2014 brings!

    View Comment
    Gemma

    October 31, 2013

  28. The new solids look wonderful! I’m so happy to see the clothing side of sewing coming back too–more ways to use beautiful fabric.

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    Sally

    October 31, 2013

  29. Wow! Great thoughts and recap here. I have totally felt we have been bombarded with collection after collection over the past year. I’d much rather have some well curated and impressive lines than more quantity over quality. From the pictures I saw colour trends also seem to be more sophisticated, in a subdued, off-centre tonal shift. (Botanics being a great example of this). An interesting journey 2014 will be!

    View Comment
    Molli Sparkles

    October 31, 2013

  30. I’m excited to have more solid color options and I can’t wait for Botanics!

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    Allison C

    October 31, 2013

  31. Although I love all of the fabric – how could I not? – I think that the sense of community strikes me as most important as it endures and sees us through all kinds of stuff.

    View Comment
    Lynne MA

    October 31, 2013

  32. I’m really excited by new solids, tone on tone & blenders as options outside of or within fabric lines. I’m also glad to hear that manufacturers are slowing down the new release frenzy & that many lines will have fewer individual fabrics in the line. I love working with fabric lines adding in blender, neutrals, & solids to the mix.

    View Comment
    Belinda

    October 31, 2013

  33. I love that they’re coming out with new collections less often – it can get to be too much! Love the idea of the tone-on-tone collection you mentioned!

    View Comment
    Heidi

    October 31, 2013

  34. I do like the less fabric lines coming out trend. It got to the point where I wasn’t interested in looking at fabric because there was just too much!

    When Quilt Market comes back to Salt Lake City, I shall take you out to lunch/dinner/breakfast/drinks.

    View Comment
    Kim

    October 31, 2013

  35. Fascinated and excited about the emergence of cotton+steel. I just love these young designers with their fresh ideas

    View Comment
    Susan Clayton

    October 31, 2013

  36. These pick your one thing questions are so hard… I love Alissa’s “solids”. I saw her post a few days back and loved crossweaves as they aren’t “flat” solids.

    View Comment
    Tamie

    October 31, 2013

  37. I see more interesting use of solids, quilts made totally of different solid colors but the design is so special that you don’t initially notice it is all solids.

    View Comment
    Cathy

    October 31, 2013

  38. I am glad to see the pace of new lines slowing a bit, and hopefully we will continue to see some truly beautiful collections as a result. And… there is something about the Botanics (and preceding Architextures) designs that really speak to me with both their depth and simplicity at the same time.

    View Comment
    Charity

    October 31, 2013

  39. I would love it if they really did slow down. I can’t “make” fast enough to keep up with all the “must have” fabric. And by the time I decide I want some more, it is gone. Thanks for your thoughtful analysis.

    View Comment
    Sonia B

    October 31, 2013

  40. I’m excited by the thought of …give us some time to appreciate the great new fabrics coming out

    View Comment
    Littlegreydog

    October 31, 2013

    • What I meant to say is “I’m excited about the thought of less fabric collections coming out”

      View Comment
      Littlegreydog

      October 31, 2013

  41. The idea of releasing fewer fabric collections will give all of us an opportunity to truly relish in our purchases (and perhaps even make something with them) before another new line presents itself.

    View Comment
    Gina

    October 31, 2013

  42. I think the thing I am most excited about is the possibilities behind the Duster jacket by Amy Butler and the 10″ triangles…OH – and how excited you are to have gone. I can hear the excitement in your typewritten words. 😀

    Totally FUN!

    View Comment
    Leslie Jewkes

    October 31, 2013

  43. Wowee – after watching that Cotton & Steel vid I challenge anyone not to be exited about it! I can’t wait to see what the girls come up with and love the idea of 5 lines that play well together, something that every quilter dreams of.
    I’m also excited about all the solids coming out. I love being able to find that exact, perfect colour I’m looking for. I also love the ‘like solids’ that AMH will have out soon. It’s nice to have a little background interest in there, much like all the cool Alison Glass single colour fabrics.
    Thank you for the great tour of Market. Have to get to one of these one day!

    View Comment
    Kirsty@Bonjour

    October 31, 2013

  44. Thanks for the great pics, Kathy. I think my favorite of all the trends is that there won’t be SO many new lines! I love so many of them and have trouble resisting, but it’s hard to decide what I “can’t live without” without having to start living in my car.

    xo Linda

    View Comment
    Linda

    October 31, 2013

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