Thursday, April 14, 2016

On Swatching - Hint: you're doing it wrong.

Where have I been?  A bit caught up with life messiness and other stuff, but trying to crawl out, slowly but surely. Many changes in my life and business that I may will chronicle shortly, but I hope you are all well, happy, and excited for a weather change, wherever you are! (Unless you're in a place where your weather doesn't change... )

Inspired by a conversation with a sewing friend about swatching, I thought this information would be of benefit to the many who aren't already thinking this way. 

Example. NY Elegant Fabrics.  Still in my wallet... MONTHS(?) later.

Let's say you've gone to a fabric store and fallen in love with a certain fabric.   The way it feels, stretches,  and its color are just magical to you! Whether unable, unwilling, or uncommitted to buying yardage right away, you might have chosen to take a swatch.  You've stroked it lovingly in your pocket for a few days/weeks/months, and now you feel you MUST go and retrieve it. 

What store was that again?  Now, where was that fabric?  You tentatively stretch out your hand to reveal a mangled swatch to store staff, who shrug and show you something "close" (softly mumbling their annoyance to themselves).  And now, even you're not sure if they've found the right one or not.  

Then again, frankly, if even YOU can't remember it well enough, what difference does it make?

Well, it matters if you need MORE of something, or if you need to match something.  So then, what do you do?

Okay... Unless it is wildly unusual...

Take the selvedge edge! This is not always an option when the swatches are pre-cut, but when you can ask or be more specific, get the selvedge.  It will help identify the fabric in a way that makes it more specific and unique to the store staff when you try to find it again.

And... really, don't be a swatch-hog!  It truly is just a lovely courtesy these stores are willing to extend to help you make your purchasing decisions.  Take swatches of only the things you are realistically considering. We'll all be better off, okay?


  1. Whenever you get swatches be sure to staple them to the stores business card. That way you will always know where you found it.

  2. I usually go fabric shopping only with an imminent need, but the last time I took a photo of the information on the bolt. I bought some fabric, but unfortunately three weeks later when I needed more it was sold out.

  3. Swatching is great, but some expensive fabrics won't give you a swatch understandably so. In that case I use my phone for picture & send to my client! Works well, however you should be ready to purchase soon before it's sold out! Good luck to all!! 😀


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