Entering Quilt Shows

Thinking about entering a quilt show?  We have some tips and advice!

Originally posted on May 1, 2018 by Cheryl Sleboda

Putting your art out there is a scary thing, but at some point many quilters think about entering their work in a show.  The show could be one that is local, perhaps hosted by their local quilt guild.  It could also be a large show, like the one put on by the Modern Quilt Guild or International Quilt Festival every year.   Putting your work in a show is very easy, so here are some tips to get you started.

-Find a show for your type of quilt.  Your quilt is classified a few different ways, and it’s important to find the show that it best fits into.  If your quilt is appliqued and machine quilted on a domestic machine, those are the categories you want to look for.  All the major shows have a section of their website for exhibits they are opening for you to submit your quilt to.  You can also make a piece specifically for a show to their specifications.  A good place to look for open calls of entry is

-Take a really good photograph.  You will need a high resolution photograph of your piece that is taken in the best light, preferably natural light.  It’s not a good idea to alter the photograph afterwards for color because your screen may look very different versus the actual quilt, and the judge’s screen may also appear different.  You will also want to take your photo on a blank wall, and your camera should be center height of the quilt so the edges are not distorted.  Hang your quilt, don’t have someone holding it up.  There’s lots of tutorials online on photographing your quilt.

-Make sure your quilt complies with the hanging specifications.  Most shows require a sleeve to be sewn onto the quilt so it can be properly hung. Your sleeve needs to be made of good quality cotton. A few shows have proprietary hanging systems that can’t accept flimsy sleeves.  It’s ok to match the back of the quilt so when it’s not travelling it can be used normally.   You can also use that sleeve to hang your masterpiece at home!

Entering a show to share your work with the world is a good thing to try.  Yes, there’s the chance your quilt could not get in, but think about “what if it did?” instead!  Quilts in shows are there because someone like you decided to give it a shot, and we would love to see what you do, too.   Have you entered a show before?  How did it go?  Let us know on our Facebook page!


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