A moveable village…


Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, May 2014.

I started with this picture for two reasons – I love the theme of this booth, especially those big quilt “blocks”, and Pittsburgh just might be my favorite convention center because of those big windows.

A lot has changed over the twelve years since I went to my first Quilt Market in October of 2002.  One thing hasn’t, a cool-looking booth gets a lot of attention.  And Moda has always had one of the best booths there.


I always knew it took a lot of planning, teamwork and woman-hours to build – I just had to consider what I did on my own for my single, low-tech, not particularly imaginative “booth design” and multiply it by a thousand.  Make that ten thousand.  Still, I was a tiny bit surprised to learn that planning the booth for Market generally starts the day after  the prior Market ends.

Whether it’s on the last day in the convention center or back in Dallas a few days later, booth planning essentially begins at the Market “Exit Meeting.”  One of the primary topics is the booth – What worked? And what didn’t?  What should be changed – what can be changed?  The idea of adding pockets to the table-covers so the sales reps would have someplace to keep orders, pens, candy bars, etc., came up during one of these post-Market meetings.


Tiny mock-ups are built… okay, not really.  Let it suffice to say – souvenir, meeting, playing with the tiny chairs.

The first thing to keep in mind – if it’s in the booth, it was shipped there from Dallas.

And before it could be shipped, it had to be designed, built, painted, sewn, counted, organized and then finally, packed into crates.  New crates have been built and will be used for the trip to Minneapolis next month – these are more “user-friendly”.  (That’s a nice way of saying they’ll be more easily packed and unpacked by women.)

Moda Fall Market 2013 - 1 Low

Fall Quilt Market, October 2013.  Make a Splash!

The theme and concept for the booth come from a variety of sources – sometimes from a single image from a book and sometimes it’s the result of a combination of images, products and ideas from a wide array of sources.  A single fabric from a designer’s collection can spark an idea for the theme, or a trend in the color palettes of several designers might be what starts the development of a cohesive idea that will include, enhance and showcase everyone.

Every step of it is collaborative – if you’ve got an idea, speak up!

Moda Fall Market 2013 - 2 Low

That dresser?  Shipped from Dallas.  It’s easier and less expensive than trying to find “just the right one” in a day, get it to the convention center, assembled and filled with “whatever” in a day.  And yes, the drawers often serve double-duty by storing “stuff”.


This is the Moda Photo Booth at Spring Market in Pittsburgh.  (Yes, we love those Ikea carts too.)


The bushel baskets were purchased and painted to coordinate with the “skinny bolts” of Bella Solids.  And the same Bella Solids were laser-cut into leaves and stitched together to make streamers.  Whether it is stitching the leaves to making the paper-mâché octopus, everybody in the office pitches in to help in the months and weeks leading up to Market.


It looks like fun, right?  Would you still feel that way after painting 1500 of them – and drilling a hole in the end so it can be hung?

So what gets shipped when Moda goes to Market in Minneapolis?

  • 5400 square feet of flooring.  That’s enough for the main area where the sales stations are location, the “designer row” booths and the United Notions booths
  • 110 chairs – and the chair covers that go with them.  That’s enough for the 40 sales stations with chairs on both sides.  One for the sales reps and at least one for the shop owner being shown the new collections
  • 40 table covers for the tables used by the sales reps
  • Catalogs / sales sheets / order forms for the sales stations
  • Quilts / props / furniture / quilt ladders and such for the displays in the Moda Booth and the Moda designer row area

It will take two 18-wheelers fully loaded with “poundage” to haul get it all to Market and back.  (It goes without saying that it’s just a tiny bit more neatly packed going than coming-back.)

As for people… there are 27 designers attending, 21 of whom will be in “designer row”.  The 35 Moda/United Notions sales reps will be there, as will  people working for and with the many overseas distributors.  There are more than a dozen people from the offices in Dallas attending.  All totaled – more than 116 people representing Moda Fabrics will be there.

Including me.

I’m pretty sure I won’t be allowed near the power tools or cutting implements.  But I have lots of recently acquired expertise in unpacking and packing so I’m sure I’ll be kept busy.

I’d best make a note to pack some stretchy pants and sneakers.

And my camera.  I’ll take lots of pictures – I promise.

Happy Friday!

(I’m sewing this weekend – I hope you get to do the same.)

Jump to Leave us a Comment

26 thoughts on “A moveable village…

  1. How interesting to learn about the process of having a booth at market. When visiting as a guest, one doesn’t give that aspect of it much thought. Sounds like fun!

  2. Thanks for all the insight into the planning, labor and creativity that is behind Moda booths. Can’t wait to see the lovely goods. Love,love, love the octopus. It really represents marvelous Moda.

  3. Great post, Carrie! I don’t know how they do it, but every market I’m impressed with the creativity of the booth. Thanks for the behind the scenes look at all the prep!

  4. Thanks for the fascinating behind the scenes peek at what goes into designing and implementing Moda’s quilt market booth…it sounds like a ton of work with 2 tons of fun.

  5. WOW. Never been to Market, bur the photos of your booths after each QM are so stunning. I can’t imagine what it looks like in person! So interesting to read what it all requires. WOW!

  6. I am forever grateful that I only had to help take down the small booth at QuiltCon! So much work!!!
    I cannot fathom how tired everyone is once they are finished!!!! But, I know it will be amazing, as always!

  7. One of the many things I love about market are the vendor booths. They definitely can make a spectacular impact if inspiration. Moda’s does that every time. Anothet great posting. Thank you Carrie.

  8. Incredible and amazing how all that comes together! So – hope you have a comfy ride for when they pack you up!!

    OK, here’s my question…….. why do I think of stupid things like this in the middle of the night???
    Is there a machine that folds all those lovely fat quarters for those wonderful bundles? I remember working at the quilt shop and we would make fat 1/4s and have to fold them– very time consuming! We have seen them fold and wind the bolts, but how the heck are all those cuties folded?? Answer some time, it’s just a curiosity thing. L.xo

  9. What fun to be behind the scenes! Of course, it’s a ton of work, but the talent at Moda coming up with year after year of awesome booths is amazing! Yes, take lots of pics for those of us who will probably never get to experience Market!

  10. I’ve never been to a quilt market, but I think I’d be overwhelmed – and smiling ear to ear all day long! Thanks for sharing the “behind the scenes” of getting ready for Market. Looking forward to seeing all your photos when you get back!

  11. I loved the photos of market. Beautiful! I have been sewing all week. A perk of being retired. Getting ready to start your Plan C quilt. I have not made flying geese like you do before so I am going to practice on scraps. Please discuss pro and con of the various ways to do this. I always love your posts.

  12. My family used to work fairs in the commercial buildings – what a lot of work to set up and tear down. I love the Moda booths…. all that color, pattern, and texture. It makes me want to buy fabric!!! 😀

  13. I loved reading this Carrie, thanks so much for sharing all the behind-the-scenes news and pics! – it’s so great to add to our own little pictures of Market in our head. 🙂 Cat

  14. how does one get a job with this fabulous company….oh how I would love to be part of this team…maybe as a sample sewer or quilter as I live in the northeast…..this is a great booth…love everything about it….message me if there is a spot for me in moda company….

  15. Wow, thanks for sharing the process. So amazing how much it all takes! And ditto Dee’s question… I would love to be a part of the team! LOL

  16. Do you happen to have any sources for the pins? I’d love to suggest this to the attendees of the Niagara Falls NY convention for thimble collectors. Thanks!

    1. Hi Barbara! We just did a Google search and these are some of the companies we found that others have used – in no particular order:
      wackybuttons.com / thepincreator.com / justbuttons.org / makepins.com / purebuttons.com

Comments are closed.