All in…

Cutting-Table - Jelly Roll Tied Up

The worst part was that ModaLissa used really good fabric – some of it new! – because she knew that would keep me from trying to cut or gnaw my way out.  I’d surely want to keep the strips intact and “all nice and pretty” so I could use them for something… and yes, I plan to do that.

After Quilt Market.

Which is coming soon… fast.  Too fast.  And not fast enough.

Aren’t the Frivols amazing?  The tins in the pictures are the paper-covered mock-ups and if they look this good, the real thing is going to be A.W.E.S.O.M.E.  The days and weeks ahead are going to d..r…a….g  as we wait for them to arrive… in August?


Can a person learn “patience”?  Or is that something genetic – you either are or you aren’t?  (I’m an “aren’t”.)

The pace here at the office is different – it’s hectic and everybody is crazy-busy so it’s mostly very quiet with random bursts of conversation, laughter and activity.  The quiet is because everybody is hard at work… or off in another part of the building pitching in to help get some of the big, time-consuming, must-be-done tasks – something like assembling the fabric samples for the Moda sales reps.


This is a cap-set.

It’s also called a header.  I have started thinking of them as “flippers” because Susan calls the small swatch-things we use in the office to reference the collections before they’re on catalog pages or pdf. downloads to reference the stock number – also called a SKU.  The cardboard header at the top includes all of that the information, listed in order for the fabrics in the individual cap-set.  The  first piece of fabric – the one on top – measures 13″ wide by 10″ long, and each successive layer of fabric is 1″ longer.  The fabric used for the cap-set is the same fabric that will be in shops on bolts a few months later so it is accurate for feel, color, value and scale.

To make a cap-set, a length of yardage is cut on a large cutter that can put a pinked-edge on 102 layers of fabric in a single cut.  The length of each fabric is determined by where in the assortment that piece is – e.g., the length of yardage required for the top piece is smaller than the length needed for successive pieces.  It is folded and layered according to the size needed, and then it’s cut and stacked in the order of the cap-set.


There are a few carts like this in the sample room and warehouse, it’s fabric that is waiting to be assembled into cap-sets… by hand.  One at a time.


These tables aren’t usually here but when it’s a couple weeks before Market, it’s the only way to get it all done.  Twenty-five new collections for Market – multiplied by 102.  If you go back and look at the picture of the Polka Dots & Paisleys cap-sets, you’ll see that those edges are very neatly aligned.

When the cap-sets are finished, they are rolled to keep the edges nice, and to make them easier to pack and ship to Minneapolis for Market.


Not all of these will go to Market, some are shipped overseas and some stay here in Dallas for the archives, the lobby showroom and for “just in case”.

Do you know what makes me chuckle about all this?  The amount of lint it produces!  Seriously.  Just try not to think about this the next time you swipe your hand across the surface of your cutting table after opening a charm pack or jelly roll.

I’m sewing this weekend… must sew faster.  There are several little things to finish before Market and Schoolhouse… something Frivol-ous.

The Frivols sample quilts?  Those are done.  This is something else… but you’ll have to wait a little while to see it.

Patience.  It’s supposed to be a virtue.

At least that’s what people keep trying to tell me.

Happy Friday!

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26 thoughts on “All in…

  1. Wow, that is just amazing! I can see all the hard work going into fabrics and that’s just Moda! It has become a Multi-billion dollar business. I guess I feel kind of proud that Moda, from the designers to the shops do this so I will buy their fabric! I am in AWE! Thank you Ms. Nelson!!

  2. Oh how very exciting! I can’t wait for the frivols, what a neat idea. Love all the work that comes from Moda and all you worker bees. You keep us inspired and sewing on!

  3. Thanks for the lesson on the cap sets. I love that those women assemble them by hand. Such a valuable service to Moda, and it’s wonderful to know that the sets have a personal touch to them.

  4. OOOOOH! I can’t wait to see the Frivols samples. And what do you do with all of the cap sets AFTER market? I’ll take the leftovers! 😀 Wouldn’t it be fun to have some of those to quilt with???? Droolllling…….

  5. Nice to see the process for the cap sets. As I read the post, I had the same thought as lauralee, a quilt from the cap sets.

  6. I just love your posts! And yes, I did go back and look at those neatly aligned edges! Your office looks very good in Color Theory, too 🙂

  7. If you ever figure out the patience thing, let me know. Minick & Simpson cap set – what can I say?!! (sigh) Frivols – I’m in. Moda cap set ladies – fabulous! Another great post by Carrie – check!

  8. Am I patient? Depends. When it comes to laundry I can be really patient;-)
    Wkat do you (Moda) do with the flippers when you don’t need them any longer? Do you recylce them as Layer Cakes (like with the chocolat santas become chocolate bunnies at least rumors has it)? If not, I think we all would love a cap giveaway:-)

  9. Hey Carrie. It’s sharon, one of your old “stable of quilters”. I got turned on to your blog and love to hear about all things Moda. Happy linting.

  10. Love your blog and your patterns. Look forward to meeting you in OKC in Aug.
    Regret I can’t take class, but it conflicts with my only grandchild’s birthday. He will
    be five. Again, I love your blog.

  11. Thanks, Carrie, for the “behind the scenes” look at Moda Fabrics. I enjoy your blog! Wish I could visit the quilt market some day!

  12. Thank you for sharing with us. It is very interesting. My dream job would be a fabric rep in the Michigan area so this is like pretending. Even with a much reduced paycheck that job would be worth it. Oh Carrie, wanted you to know something. I was not going to participate in the Frivol tins but when I saw from Lisa ‘s post that this was your “project”; well I’m in now.

  13. I noticed that the quilt I wish to vote for wasn’t listed on the ballot. I wanted to vote for the quilt by Shelly Daley- Honey Bee Quilt Store.

  14. That photo at the top reminds me…

    Once you open a jelly roll (assuming your pattern doesn’t use the whole thing) how do you store the strips?

  15. Wow! By hand?? Who would’ve thought. Thanks for the little lesson, very interesting.

  16. I absolutely love your posts! I love getting to see some “behind the scenes” happenings and how everything works. Thank you!

  17. Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to see these great quilts….Can’t wait to see who the winner is…….

  18. I love the quilt made by Bethany Martini! Beautiful work! Can’t wait to see who wins!

  19. The blog take-overs were just so much fun! All your blogs are just very wonderful. Thank you so much for providing us so much light and information in our lives. I already have two Frivols ordered and have paid for two more. Do I actually need these? No, but I want them. Case closed.

  20. Just starting to get back into quilting. Does,anyone know the pattern under Cutting Board. It is the 6th quilt picture down on the page. Has different sized squares in diagonals. Thanks.

  21. In my church, we have a saying about not praying for patience because then the Lord sends things to try your patience so you can learn it. So yes, you can learn patience. =) But I don’t think it’s all that easy. Still working on it myself after quite a few decades! My mother had a saying, too. All things come to those who wait. =) And here you are at Market on opening day!

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