crafts · fabric · Sewing

The importance of a swatch

I pretty much do all my fabric shopping online, excepting the occasional good fabric at Joann or Hancock’s.  And I am often guilty of buying without asking for a swatch, even though I’m pretty sure I could save myself trouble that way.  I’m just impatient, you know?  I make allowance for color difference – nothing is ever quite right on my monitor, and that’s ok.  But sometimes?  Things just aren’t as they seem.  Last week I ordered some fabric and swatched from Mood.  Here is the photo of the fabric I bought from their website:

And here is what showed up at my house:

You see what’s going on here?  Someone photographed the wrong side of the fabric!  Luckily, the back side is just as pretty, so I get to make my black and red suit anyway. I’m looking forward to wearing this in the fall!

I also ordered some swatches, and for 50c each they are nice and big.  I’m glad I did, because it helps me to decide.

Purple wool crepe for this vintage vogue suit.  I’m glad I got a swatch, because I feel like the fabric is too thin, and the color a bit too harsh for my plans (it’s lighter and brighter in real life, though on my monitor this photo looks like the colors I actually wanted… I will have to try again.  I love this pattern!)

Wool tweed, for this vintage pattern.  This is actually darker than I thought, and while it is blue technically, it’s so dark that it might as well be black.  I am undecided as yet… I may want to try again for something that has a bit more color to it (I do love black though…)

I also ordered some random swatches, and I’m going to be ordering a few of those.  I want to make a Chanel style jacket (possibly Vogue 7975, though I would love imput if you’ve ever made this sort of jacket.)  One of the swatches is a boucle that I love for that.

So what does this teach me?  Order swatches.  It’s not as though I don’t have fabric for 90 projects lying around anyway (ok, not quite that many…) so I shouldn’t be in such a hurry.  Almost everywhere I shop offers swatches, and unless I think it’s going to sell out, or it’s super cheap, I’m going to try (I’m actually quite happy with my suit fabric, once I figured out that I needed to use the wrong side… luckily that has a happy ending, unlike the time I ended up with 4 yards of Barney the dinosaur purple silk twill (still unused, but I might turn it into a tunic… it’s not so overwhelming that way.))

Do you order swatches?  Am I the only one who is so impatient?