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. What a fabulous post! I read every word with great interest. You provided a lot of food for thought. I ordered both books by Twyla Tharp, pinned both images of Carolyn Friedlander’s booth (I am going to make wall hangings and group them the way she did – just love that look!!)

    The most exciting thing for me to see is the introduction of cute knits, and the garment sewing. Love the Jordan Jacket and what I could see of AMH’s booth, and Amy Butler’s Duster. I primarily sew garments, but the quilting world gives me a lot of free-floating inspiration.

    View Comment
    RobinDenning

    November 1, 2013

  2. I am happy about the slower, fewer, better. I am newish to the sewing, quilting, fabric stashing thing and I see so so so many collections I love but there is no way I could have all the ones I love when designers were releasing 2 collections a year of 20+ fabrics per line. I don’t think it is sustainable creatively for the designers either to go that hard and that fast constantly. Hopefully it will give more of my favourite designers a greater longevity in their creative life.

    View Comment
    Jodi R

    November 1, 2013

  3. The new pre-cuts sound cool & I was glad to see more knits. I love Rashida Coleman-Hale designs, so I’m excited to see her new venture. The Carolyn Friedlander booth looked beautiful. I’m glad to hear the manufacturers are slowing down. I find it overwhelming, so I can’t imagine how a buyer would feel!
    Thanks!

    View Comment
    Beverly Hittle

    November 1, 2013

  4. I am excited about the 2 1/2 inch charm packs because I can collect a little of everything I like.

    View Comment
    Vicki Krausz

    November 1, 2013

  5. Loved the review and love that the craft keeps evolving.

    View Comment
    Pat Pike

    November 1, 2013

  6. I love the celebration of creativity.
    I would have really enjoyed class “The Sucess of Passion”.

    View Comment
    Cindy

    November 1, 2013

  7. I love, love all the solids that are coming! It is heartening to see the embracing of the modern aesthetic.

    View Comment
    Melissa

    November 1, 2013

  8. Loved you discussion around the concept of “modern”. I’ve been drawn to your website and online shop and realize now that it’s probably because it reflects your philosophy so well. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    View Comment
    Kathy Brady

    November 1, 2013

  9. There is a lot to take in, but I like many of the new colors I saw-not super saturated, nor super bright, but very intense and lovely.

    View Comment
    Val Larson

    November 1, 2013

  10. I’m with you on fewer new fabric lines coming out — I want to be able to enjoy time with so many of them it’s been hard to keep up. Also appreciate the clothing patterns and want to amp up my skills there.

    View Comment
    Lucinda

    November 1, 2013

  11. #3. Slower, fewer, better. I feel that in my own quilting experience. Quilting should be enjoyable and with all the new products, techniques, books, etc. vying for my time and dollar, a little slower pace and reflection is welcome. I’m going to quilt better and enjoy more. I’ll still search out ways to use my time wisely though.

    View Comment
    Julie N

    November 1, 2013

  12. I’m behind so much of what you said: the fewer and slower, the community of quilters. You gave such a great report on Market–thanks!

    View Comment
    kathy jake

    November 1, 2013

  13. Wow,what a great show. Thank you for the tour.
    I’m liking the new 10″ triangle pre-cuts. I wish they would slow down on new fabric lines also. Before one line hits the stores they are showing us the next line that will be coming out. I’ve found that changes how much i had plan on buy of the first one i’m wait for. I would also like some to enjoy time with it.

    View Comment
    Gina S.

    November 1, 2013

  14. I love the new modern solids and love that anchor quilt. I live in sailing country!

    View Comment
    Carol Stearns

    November 1, 2013

  15. Thank you for the market udate. I like the idea of slower being better. It was overwhelming to see lines come out fast.

    View Comment
    Laurie

    November 1, 2013

  16. I think being inundated by fewer collections is a good trend. It definitely was getting hard to keep up and not “break the bank”. I’m liking the collaboration trend, and can’t wait to see Cotton + Steel evolve!

    View Comment
    Ellen Ban

    November 1, 2013

  17. I am excited about the solids. The Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids collection looks gorgeous. Hope you will order it when it is available. Thanks for the great report!

    View Comment
    Alison J

    November 1, 2013

  18. I am excited to see that making clothes is coming back. I used to sew all my kids clothes and then it was hard to find the fabrics and patterns. Happy to see good knits making a come back. Thanks for the peek into what is coming.

    View Comment
    Margaret R

    November 1, 2013

  19. I’m so glad to hear that things are slowing down and that the term Modern is not being thrown at everything now. Whew! It will be nice to be able to catch my breath. Thanks for a very thoughtful review of market!

    View Comment
    Anita

    November 1, 2013

  20. Very interesting article. Can’t wait to see the new collections in the website.

    View Comment
    Norma

    November 1, 2013

  21. Beautiful displays and so much talent! Thanks for the tour!

    View Comment
    Kathy

    November 1, 2013

  22. I’m excited to see the modern trend evolve as you are. I think it’s great to see the tradional elements get pushed in new and innovative ways!! (and I’m always excited about what Ringle and Kerr are doing!)

    View Comment
    Becky Moyer

    November 1, 2013

  23. Slower, fewer, better is what I find am trending here at home. I am inspired by Kathy Doughty and I am trying to channel her thoughtfulness in fabric selection. I admire that she finds time to hand quilt some of her work and how that changes the look of things. On the other side of the coin, I have been a solids fan for years so the increase in those fabrics truly delights. I am excited to see Cherri House back with a new book!

    I am loving Botanica and Garden and I am very much looking forward to the Charley Harper fabric.

    View Comment
    sue

    November 1, 2013

  24. The modern solids and more knits are my favorite trends. Thank you for your great report from market and the chance to win!!!

    View Comment
    Peggy O'Connor

    November 1, 2013

  25. The most exciting for me was Cotton + Steel; exciting, new, different, collaboration, innovation! I cannot wait to see what they come up with! Thanks for the report.

    View Comment
    Christina

    November 1, 2013

  26. Love Houston and so wish I could attend the trade show but will be there once things open to the public. I love the new solids! Can’t wait!

    View Comment
    Miranda

    November 1, 2013

  27. Thanks for this update! It was great! I also like the idea of fewer collections–how can anyone keep a handle of them? And I’m happy to see lots of apparel options. I’m excited!

    View Comment
    Audrey

    November 1, 2013

  28. Thanks for the report! Something I have really appreciated about learning to sew over the last two years has been the incredibly generous and open online community. Sure, there are people trying to sell you things but mostly, it is free information, kindness, support and inspiration. This kind of interpretation and sharing spirit has been most helpful and I’m sure it’s a major reason for the upswing in new sewists.

    View Comment
    Kristin S.

    November 1, 2013

  29. I’ve love good quality solids in beautiful colors, and it looks like more are coming! Mostly what warmed my heart was the celebration of creativity and the glimpses of young women daring to go outside the box and thrive. Bravo!

    View Comment
    Jen

    November 1, 2013

  30. Thanks Kathy for the great recap of quilt market. I am looking forward to learning more about Cotton+ Steel. This is a group of very talented artists.

    View Comment
    deb

    November 1, 2013

  31. What a great post! I really love the idea of fewer but better put together fabric releases. The amount of new ranges coming out over the last couple of years has been mind boggling!

    View Comment
    Jessica

    November 1, 2013

  32. Thank you for posting your thoughtful insights. Almost as good as being there. I’m excited at the new lines and patterns coming to your shop.

    View Comment
    Pamela L.

    November 1, 2013

  33. Your comment about “Community” really resonated with me. As a relative newcomer to the sewing community (I just received my first machine for Christmas 2012), I am drawn to seeing what others create and find it so inspiring. I’ve been able to self-teach using YouTube, blog tutorials, Instagram and the like and my sewing experience would have been totally different without these tools. Part of why I love sewing is the ability to share with others and be inspired by what others are creating. I certainly do hope this trend continues to grow into the future!

    View Comment
    JF

    November 1, 2013

  34. the notion of slower and fewer collections sounds good to me. it is hard to keep up and so many wonderful fabrics make it hard to decide what to make and then hard to get things made before you are distracted by newer things.

    View Comment
    pam

    November 1, 2013

  35. one of my dreams is to go to market one day and just study it. I am so so happy that you saw a trend of focus among manufacturers. My head as been spinning for awhile with all the new fabrics being released. My machine and my wallet can’t keep up! I am also REALLY looking forward to the new moda slice packs. Seriously…why did it take this long?!? lol

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    View Comment
    Natalie

    November 1, 2013

  36. Great, informative post, thanks! What I love is all the YOUNG faces I see in your photos. Quilting is alive and well in the next generation(s), that is exciting to me!

    View Comment
    Sharon Robinson

    November 1, 2013

  37. I am happy to see the slowdown in fabric lines. It seemed like there were so many collections and some seemed so similar and I started experiencing burnout instead of inspiration in looking at fabric. It made me want to quit reading quilting blogs. All these previews pique my interest and make me curious again. Thanks for such a thoughtful review of what exciting things we have to look forward to!

    View Comment
    Beccy

    November 1, 2013

  38. i love the new collection of DS solids. i am trying to build more solids into my stash.

    View Comment
    Farah R.

    November 1, 2013

  39. Thank you for the great summary of market. The options of basic solids from many sources is very exciting. I am hoping that your thoughts about fewer lines coming out holds…it has been overwhelming to try to see, touch and perhaps own it all!

    View Comment
    Denniele

    November 1, 2013

  40. I think the trend of fewer, more thoughtfully curated collections indicates that designers and manufacturers are listening and watching to see what is happening in the world of sewing and they have stopped casting out random nets and are starting to purposefully deliver what works for the current market.

    View Comment
    Anne

    November 1, 2013

  41. Thank you for sharing your trip to market. I love the new line if of fabrics by Carolyn Friedlander and wish I could see them. Learning that I’m free to express myself thru fabric and not following a pattern is a new experience I’m looking forward to trying.

    View Comment
    Sandy T

    November 1, 2013

  42. Kathy – Your intelligent and thoughtful Market Reports are always fascinating. Interesting about ‘modern’ usage. I always took your tagline meaning to be “fresh, independent and innovative”. Truthfully, the pace at which new lines have come is overwhelming to process and I feel that some of my choices have been like throwing a dart and seeing what I get. The frenzy is the opposite of what quilting connotes for me. I love all the available solids choices but appreciate your help in deciphering what goes with what.

    View Comment
    Vicki K

    November 1, 2013

  43. I love all of the solid (modern) quilts that are coming out. So simple yet beautiful. Also the botanical patterns from Carolyn Friedlander.

    View Comment
    Kolleen

    November 1, 2013

  44. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word. Now that several designers have released solids that are dimensional rather than flat perhaps the bias against solids will be broken. Thanks for all you do and share.

    View Comment
    Dottie Y

    November 1, 2013

  45. Terrific market report! I am all for the slower, fewer, better trend. I always want the new stuff and with so much–just not possible! Tanks for the give-a-way!

    View Comment
    Kathy Doran

    November 1, 2013

  46. I’m so glad to hear that collections will slow down. I hate falling in love with a fabric and never seeing it again!

    View Comment
    Joy Kendall

    November 1, 2013

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