Friday, November 2, 2018

Virtual Booth Fall Quilt Market 2018

Woman Selling Patterns
A Classic Business

Quilt Market in Houston is later than usual this year, November 3-5, which has given me time to do a little research for a virtual booth. My inspiration---a giant trade show in  Philadelphia in 1876, otherwise known as the Centennial Exhibition, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the United States.

Centennial Exhibition Main Building

I thought it was smart to get a booth near the benches where people are resting their feet. Can you see how many fabric displays there are in those elegant cases?

Several fabric mills stacked the latest 1876 prints.

The Library Company of Philadelphia has an online file of hundreds of stereographs which I have pirated here. Do go look at their site:


I searched for words like
and found great pictures.

Coats's display of thread spools
We've got Deb gluing hundreds of spools into a mosaic.

Clark's thread with the same idea.

As soon as she gets the spools done Deb's doing a few button mosaics.

Wheeler & Wilson's machine demonstration area

My favorite is Madame Demorest's Pattern Booth. The woman pictured at the top of this post appears to be selling patterns from a desk between the mannequins. The kiosk on the left may be full of pattern envelopes.

A Madame Demorest pattern

So we appropriated Madame Demorest's layout and built a pattern kiosk just like hers. We've got our tried and true patterns & books for sale in our Sunflower Pattern Co-Operative virtual booth.

If you go around the back you'll see the machine classroom where Karla will be demonstrating her machine applique every half hour using techniques from Our Quilters Guide to Machine Applique book. She hopes those Wheeler & Wilson chain-stitch machines have a blind hemstitch built in.

Update: See the comments as these are not chain stitch machines.

You'll find me over at the English Furniture booth

Well, our patterns and books are real even if the booth is not. You can actually buy them in our virtual store.

And if you can't go to Houston do a little time traveling by looking through the Centennial Expo photos.


  1. Loved the old photos and your booth.
    However the Wheeler & Wilson (W&W) sewing machines pictured were not chain stitch sewing machines. These sewing machines use a curved needle and were rotary lock stitch machines with a large, but skinny bobbin. W&W stopped manufacturing these sewing machines, but shirt makers complained so loudly that W&W began to manufacture them again for over 70 years.
    All Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines were the top of the line machines. Not only did W&W manufacture high quality domestic sewing machines, they built many industrial machines.

  2. Phyllis--thanks for the technical info. I am guessing they don't have a blind hem stitch either. (Let's not tell Karla.)

  3. Love these images! Some of those wonderful cases were still around in the Smithsonian castle in the 1980s - wonder if they are still there and being used?