Quilt Shop Demos
  • Plan your demos so they are organized, succinct, and presented in a sequential manner.
  • Use demos as mini-learning opportunities to present new techniques, tools, products, and ideas.
  • Vary your demo subject offerings.
  • Display a variety of products that relate to your demo topic during your demo.


Other Demo Suggestions
1.  Scheduling your demos as regular monthly events, such as the first Friday and Saturday of each month. This can be a very popular offering for your store, which will be beneficial to both you and your customers.

2.  Do not overcrowd the demo space. Use a table that allows everyone the ability to see the demo clearly. If your shop space is limited, determine an attendee limit; then have attendees reserve their places at the demo.

3.  Try to time your demo between 20 to 30 minutes. Keep it interesting and informative.

4.  Always use a pattern as the basic vehicle for demoing the tool, technique, or product. Also, use fabrics that work well with each other, so attendees can see the beauty in An actual project is easy to relate to when learning something new. Also, it gives you an additional product to sell.

5.  Have demo tools, products, and ancillary items well displayed on the demo table, if there is adequate space or on a nearby table or counter. Include the obvious items, as well as regular products that people might be interested in, such as scissors, fine sewing pins, good sewing machine needles, rotary cutters, mat, rulers, and many machine appliqué tools and products, if applicable.  

6.  Include at least two fabric groupings in your demo display that works well with the pattern you are using in your demo. If you think the combination of demo, pattern and fabric will make a hot seller, make kits for the demo project.    

7.  Keep the demo space available for browsing for at least 30 minutes after the demo, so attendees can look at the products without feeling rushed. Sales can be lost if people have to wander through the store in search of the products you have demoed or mentioned. 


Below is a collection of sample demo ideas. We hope they will get your demo juices flowing. Have fun creating your own demos.


Sample Demo: Fusible Machine Appliqué:
Select a happy pattern to use when demoing fusible machine appliqué. Show a variety of fusible products, giving pros and cons of each; give advice on when to use each. With previously cut motifs from your selected pattern, show how to fuse a motif to the background fabric. To show differences in fusible products, use different fusible web for each motif. To further expand your demo, provide ideas for finishing the fused appliqué edges. Demo your favorite finish, such as machine buttonhole stitching. By showing both fusible and finishing techniques, attendee will have enough knowledge to create her own fusible appliqué project.

The demo display should include demo patterns, other patterns using the same technique, a collection of fusible products, embroidery threads, sewing machine needles, etc.  Also display one or more fabric groupings that work well with the pattern you used to demo. If you selected a hot pattern for your demo, consider making up kits, so attendees and other customers can make a quick purchase.  

Demo pattern possibilities include: The Nine-Patchers---A Family Reunion, Popsicle Treat, Ashley’s Flower Basket, Jessica’s Flower Basket, Friends in High Places, and Reverie Rhapsody Album. 


Sample Demo: Technique: Chain-piecing
Select a pattern to demonstrate how to chain-piece.  If possible, select a pattern that has several possible chain-piecing units for you to demo. Then have at least four of each type of unit ready to sew during the demo. Show each unit being sewn with the chain-piecing technique.

Have at least one grouping of fabrics and the demo pattern close at hand. A few kits may be made up of the pattern too. Also show several other patterns that are good candidates for chain-piecing. Include cutting tools, rulers, cutting boards, thread, pins for construction, and other possible tools.

Demo pattern possibilities:   Fantasia, Mi Cabina, Star Celebration, Memories of Monet, Star Party.


Sample Demo: Using Square Rulers with Theme Fabrics:
Demonstrating how to use square rulers with theme fabrics is a perfect demo to help attendees see how to work with a theme fabric. Kids’ Night In is a perfect theme-fabric pattern. First, demo how to determine yardage for theme fabric quilts by using a square ruler to count the needed motifs (plus a few extra motifs to allow for unexpected happenings). Show how to figure the yardage for at least 3 theme fabrics, as each will vary even though the pattern is the same. This is due to the motif’s size, its placement on the fabric, and how many adjacent motifs are unusable because of being cut into.   

Kids’ Night In uses 5 ½”, 7 ½” and 9 ½” square rulers (Creative Grid rulers or other square rulers). The smallest ruler is used to cut the motif fabric yardage while the other two sizes are used to trim the block, as it progresses. Demonstrate how to use all three rulers with a Kids’ Night In block. Also demo how you can use the largest square ruler for all three block angled cuts. This will give attendees the option to purchase one large square unit or purchase one of each size for the pattern.

In this demo, have two partial blocks sewn with the first round of strips completed. Then show how to trim each block in an angle using both the 7 ½” square ruler and the larger 9 ½” square ruler. Have an additional block ready to be cut for its final angle, using the 9 ½” square ruler. Expand your demo by showing how to stay-stitch around the finished block’s edges to stabilize the block edges. Remind attendees not to use a steam iron when working with angled (bias) edges.

Display several theme fabrics with coordinating fabrics close by. Include theme fabrics featuring sports, kids, animals, dinosaurs, flowers, food, etc. Have tools nearby that can be used for this pieced project, including 3 sizes of square rulers, construction pins, machine needles, thread, cutting tools, thread-cutting scissors, etc. 


Sample Demo:  Special Holiday Demo Days:
In November and December, do special demos for holiday gifts on each Friday and Saturday.  If needed, have quilters register for your demos.  These demos should be geared toward simple gifts and holiday decorations. Gifts to make could include such items as eye-glass holders, pillowcases for children, totes, aprons, , placemats, table runners, wall hangings, etc.  Make certain you have patterns, kits, and all needed equipment and supplies on hand for people to pick up to purchase.