Quilt Shops · Quilts

A Visit to Missouri Star Quilt Company


This past week I accompanied my husband on a long weekend, when he went to a scientific conference in Kansas City, Missouri.  I’ve been going to this conference with him for many years, and have a close friendship with Beth, the wife of another scientist.  When she found out the meeting was in Kansas City (the venue changes every year), she looked up on the map how far it was to Missouri Star Quilt Company (about an hour from the city center). Tuesday morning I hopped in her car and we were off to see the Wizard Missouri Star Quilt Company.missouristarquilt_1a

Missouri Star Quilt Company is in Hamilton, Missouri, a small one-blinking-stoplight town in the rolling plains of the Midwest.  I snapped this photo while walking in the crosswalk underneath the blinking red light.missouristarquilt_1b

It does have other shops than the Missouri Star Quilt company, such as the grocery store above (pronounce the name out loud), as well as a bank and a park, which notes it is the site of the boyhood home James Cash Penny, the man who started the J.C. Penny stores.missouristarquilt_guide1Here is the merchandise bag, when you buy a T-shirt or other such souvenirs at the main shop.  They also hand you a brochure, and you fill out a badge that you let them scan in every shop, saving you the hassle of giving them your email every time, and also helps you acrue their quilt bucks, or whatever they call it; every time I made a purchase, I’d gathered a bit more savings, which I applied to my purchase.  I didn’t get all this until the third shop we stopped in, but I put it here to give you an overview.missouristarquilt_guide2missouristarquilt_guide3We parked in front of Shop #24, and walked across the street to begin our fun.missouristarquilt_2 We start with Florals.missouristarquilt_3Nearly every shop is like the one above, long and narrow, as shops were back in the day.  The fabrics are in slightly tilted shelves along each wall, with bins/buckets/containers in the center, near the cutting tables.  All the quilts that you’ve seen in Block Magazine are lining the walls, which made me feel like I was in quilt heaven–and that I needed to add about 20 more quilts to the Get These Made Before You Die list.missouri-star-fabric-collageWe soon realized that we could be in serious financial danger if we bought as we went, so we decided to browse, then buy.  To keep track of what I was interested in the first time through all the shops, I started snapping photos.

Next up is what we called Vintage, but looks like on the map is Mercantile.  It was filled with lots of Civil War, reproductions and 1930s prints.missouristarquilt_5

I don’t think this character is part of the Missouri Star Quilt displays, but I loved his look.missouristarquilt_6

I was consistently impressed with the little touches–like these fabric butterflies in the Main Shop window.

Sometimes I kind of felt this was like a cross between a quilt shop and Pottery Barn, which is really fun.  Lots of light, well-curated extra touches (like the seating area up above by the woman in the pink) and great displays with lots of charm.  In the Main Shop, we picked up our badges, looked at all the merch (see below) and noticed that around the edge of this shop were sections of fabrics that matched the shops around on the street: florals, baby, primitives, modern, etc.missouristarquilt_6b missouristarquilt_6c missouristarquilt_6d

Quilts are everywhere…even under the cutting tables.missouristarquilt_6e missouristarquilt_7

Moving on, we enjoyed the murals on three of the buildings.  The first is above, and I laughed when I saw them painting the side of this building (below) with BRUSHES!missouristarquilt_7a missouristarquilt_8

We were headed to Penny’s.missouristarquilt_9

Store front window, because this place is filled with solids, or near-solids, of every kind (just not my favorite solids: Paintbrush Studios).missouristarquilt_9a

Again, there are lots of small vignettes of color, and lots and lots of quilts and quilt tops.  The big crime was that because my plane was leaving that night, we only had a few hours to spend here, but I could see that a quilter could save up all their money and stay for a long day or two.  You’d better drive, though, because you’ll be hauling a lot home.  Since both Beth and I had small suitcases, we limited our purchases (another crime), which was hard to do, because everything is so beautiful and well-displayed.missouristarquilt_9b missouristarquilt_9c

Above each section of shelves is a small round blackboard, with the name of the manufacturer written in chalkboard paint, and framed by a small embroidery hoop.missouristarquilt_10

We peeked into the Man Cave, or as they call it, Man’s Land.  It is equipped with big recliners, wide screen TVs, and a pool table.missouristarquilt_10a missouristarquilt_10b missouristarquilt_11

Upstairs, above the row of shops on the Penny’s side, are four side-by-side upstairs quilt shops: Kids & Baby, Backing and Trims, Sew Seasonal, and Modern.missouristarquilt_11a missouristarquilt_12 missouristarquilt_12a missouristarquilt_12b

Access is via these steps, or another set of wide ones (with a bright yellow wall–the colors here are really fun and bright) in the Licensed to Sew Shop, or via an elevator.  They’ll get you up there every way they can.  About this point, I asked about all the charms I was seeing: different ones in every shop.  If you spent more than $50 (pre-tax) in any one of their shops (you can’t carry the total forward between shops), you get a free charm.  I ended up buying a few, instead of qualifying (I told you I had a small suitcase).  They give you the little bracelet at the Main Shop, when you print out your badge.

Okay, lunchtime!  J’s Burger Dive was highly recommended for great burgers, but we went with Mama Hawk’s Kitchen, where we each got a salad.missouristarquilt_13a

Another mural and a couple of locals.missouristarquilt_14

We circled back around through the shops, picking up the fabrics we wanted, where I snapped this last picture at the “Machine Shed,” where they had notions and machines.  One other place is the Sewing Center, but they had a retreat, so we couldn’t go in (but we peeked through the window–it was packed!) I also heard that Rob Apell was around somewhere, but I didn’t spot him.  Beth and I tucked our goodies and ourselves back into our car and headed back to Kansas City, happy to have stolen a few hours to browse Hamilton and visit the Missouri Star Quilt Company!

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29 thoughts on “A Visit to Missouri Star Quilt Company

  1. Wow, what fun! I had cruised the MSQC online but had no idea the extent of the brick and mortar shop and nearby shops. I have a cousin attending art school in KC, Mi so no have an additional reason to visit.

  2. I was there about 18 months ago, and I can see that it’s changed a lot since then. Guess they’re doing well! At least I hope it’s better than last month. As you know, an online order I placed took 16 days to get to me. Not good customer service by my way of thinking. But it sure looks great in person! Glad you got to go there and find a few goodies.

  3. Ah! So jealous! I checked the map when we were in St. Louis, but Hamilton is totally on the other side of the state! I would love to visit there. You’ll have to share a picture of the charms – I’m curious.

  4. Thank you for the tour! Visiting Missouri Star Quilt Company is on my list of places to visit in the next two years…it’s quite a drive from Western Massachusetts.

  5. Thank you for sharing your trip with us! I totally enjoyed your visit. We’ve been planning a trip to see the city ourselves and I can’t wait to go. It looks WONDERFUL!

  6. Looks like fun. I don’t know how you restrained yourself. I’m absolutely terrible when confronted with that much fabric. First off I can’t make up my mind and secondly I spend too much.

  7. Thanks for the nice “windshield tour”. I bet it was fun! Bucket list item for sure. Love the quotes on the steps. It all looks so neat and tidy, the kind of place I love to shop. Can’t stand a jumbled quilt store!

  8. Thanks for the tour Elizabeth! What a treat that was! I doubt I will ever get there, but I can dream! We have nothing like this in Australia. A little taste of small-town America, just as i image it would have been like in the fifties- in the nicest possible way, of course!

  9. You need to write a “Quilt Shop-Touring America” book. I loved the t-shirt that said, “Irony, the opposite of wrinkly.”

  10. My friend and I were there in July last year. I cannot believe how much they have added since then. We were on sensory overload!

  11. What a great post! I had no idea the operation was that large (makes their slow delivery of orders more understandable, I guess) and it’s nice to see the town thriving thanks to quilting! Roxanne’s is still my first choice in trip stops, but MSQC is on that list, too.

  12. What a wonderland of fabric/quilting shops. I think I’d just find an apartment over one of these shops and move in! My hubby is probably happy I never found this town when we in that area!!!

  13. This is such an interesting post thank you! I’ve heard about this shop, but to see all these photos is great. I’m unlikely to ever get there myself, but at least I know what it looks like now. Those streets are so wide it really reminds me of all those scenes in outback movies. The choices must have been overwhelming.

  14. Wow! I’m adding this to the bucket list. What beautifully well-conceived shops! What do your charms look like? I enjoyed touring vicariously. I also find it ironic that MSQC is more wildly successful in this location than a J.C. Penny could ever dream to be at this point. When I grow up, I want to curate displays in a place like this.

  15. I had read that there were different shops for different styles of fabric. I have wondered what it would be like shopping in that manner. Unusual. And with my bad back, I don’t think I would last long. Seems like it would be hard to pick a variety of prints for one quilt. Say you want a floral, a plaid, dots, etc. all to go into one quilt. And you don’t know what you will find that will fit color wise, etc.

  16. I was there with my mom and her best friend in June – I thought I was going to pass out from happiness! Luckily, we drove, so lots of room to take home fabric. We got to meet Jenny Doan as the time we went coordinated with a talk she was giving – so cool!

  17. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for giving us a little taste of Missouri Star. I’ve seen pics, but you went the extra mile to show each shop. Would love to get there someday, but don’t know if the Mans Land would keep my man happy while I spent our money!!!:)

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