how I submitted my first quilt pattern design to a magazine.

Kim Soper/Leland Ave StudiosMy first-ever published pattern is now available in the May/June issue of Modern Patchwork Magazine. I had never submitted a design to a magazine for publishing before so this was a new experience for me! I can tell you that I learned a lot along the way, and even after going through it, I am by no means an expert! But, I figured if it would be of any help to anyone out there looking to try out the process, I’d share the way things went down for me, so that you could learn from my mistakes and victories.

Back in September, I submitted a design (which I created in EQ7) for publishing to Modern Patchwork Magazine through their online submission process. I tried to be as thorough as possible in my submission by including a digital image of the design, detailing the fabrics I would choose, providing a preview of how the quilt would be constructed, and the manner in which I planned to quilt it. I’m not sure what of this information was vs. wasn’t necessary, but in my case this particular cocktail worked!

Kim Soper/Leland Ave StudiosI heard from the editor that my design had been selected in early December, and a finished quilt (with hanging sleeve) needed to be in the magazine’s offices within approximately 5-6 weeks. Given that it was the holidays and I was preparing quilts to send to QuiltCon, this did not give me a lot of time! Had I maybe had more confidence in myself, I would have started making the quilt in the lag time between the design submission date and the selection process, but, alas — call it procrastination, call it superstition, call it lazy — I did not do that.

As I worked my way through the making process, I wrote down the pattern instructions. Prior to starting the construction process I had written a rough draft of the pattern. So, as I went along, I was able to correct that rough draft.

One thing I didn’t plan for, was submitting photos of the construction process. I wasn’t sure how that would be handled — would the magazine need me to submit drawings? would I need to create diagrams in a digital program that I didn’t know how to use? would photographs suffice? I was afraid to ask these questions because I didn’t want to seem naive. So out of fear of seeming like I didn’t know what I was doing, I just worked to get the quilt made and to the magazine by the deadline and figured I’d worry about the rest afterward. As a result, once I finalized the pattern instructions, I had to make a new set of blocks to photograph for my diagrams. (I don’t necessarily recommend doing this unless you have oodles of extra time on your hands — but let’s be honest, who doesn’t?!? “Time, time, time. Too much of it!” That’s what I always say!).

Anyway, moving on. I submitted my final draft of the pattern instructions through Word, my photos through Dropbox, and I mailed the quilt using a prepaid UPS label provided by Modern Patchwork. The whole process was simple and everyone that I dealt with at Modern Patchwork could not have been lovelier. When my quilt was returned to me, it was packed beautifully in tissue paper and someone from the magazine confirmed that I would be available to receive the package before it was sent. As it turned out, we were on our first vacation in ages, and they were very happy to hold on to it and ship it once we got home.

Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios
Sorry, package, I was here.

The magazine editors did an amazing job of cleaning up my text and converting my photo images into diagrams. The photos of the quilt in the magazine are also styled so nicely! It was such a fun experience to try, and if I’ve left anything out that you might want to know, feel free to ask! I’d also love to hear if anyone decides to try making the pattern. You can use the hashtag #dancingsquares or #dancingsquaresquilt on IG if you do!

Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

6 Comments

  1. I definitely worked too close to deadlines for my first magazine submission, too. I have since learned that once I have developed a relationship with an editor that I can ask if I can submit ideas based on their upcoming themes. That gives me more time to work on finding fabric support (which helps the $ earned be money in my account and not money immediately spent as well) as well as everything else. Congratulations on your first publication and on a vacation! 🙂

  2. Congrats on your first published pattern! It’s beautiful. I have a few questions based on experiences I’ve had with other magazines… Did the magazine offer you any fabric support? It sounds like they covered the shipping costs? Did they also pay you for your work? And how long do you have to wait before you can publish the pattern yourself? I find it interesting to see how different titles do things differently!

  3. It does take a lot of work! Congratulations and thank you for sharing your experiance with us. I’ve found that the contacts to magazines are very, very helpful! They are there to help and help they do!

  4. Thanks for this insider information, you “quilting rockstar,” you! The quilt is lovely, and I appreciate the pictures you provide here. The backing fabric is super cute and the perfect match for the front.

    I don’t know what it is about the palette you used, but I seriously dig it. I used a comparable one, with the additions of white and orange, in a quilt last year. I wouldn’t mind another project that homes in on those same color selections. Yum!

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