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?
6 thoughts on “The importance of a swatch”
ummm….how do you know which side is the ‘right’ side and which is the ‘back’ in the black and red fabric? I would have just assumed that the second photo in the post was the backside.
If you were making light of the situation, I apologize. I really am interested in how to tell the right from back in instances such as this when it is a woven fabric and not printed on one side.
Well, sometimes you really can’t tell. In this case I know it’s right because this is the side that was used by the designer (Rebecca Taylor.) It’s also called striped in the description, I just assumed that was a typo since it doesn’t look striped in the picture. Sometimes the weave will be different looking on the back, or the colors and sheen will be less. It’s really a judgement call though… I always say that the right side is whichever one you like best.
It seems like swatches help a lot. I haven’t really ordered fabric online much, but I’ve been really frustrated with the selection at Joanns and Hancocks lately. Have you ever done a post on some of your favorite sites to buy fabric from? I don’t really know where to start.
I order fabric on line all the time (I’m supposed to be on self imposed restriction!). I have only ordered a swatch once because the fabric was expensive and I needed a lot. I’m glad I got the swatch because it wasn’t what I wanted at all. I have been happy with my fabric about 80% of the time.
I don’t muslin. I don’t make a gauge when I knit. And if I were to order fabric online, I probably would not get a swatch. What if I hold back, order a swatch and by the time I’m ready to order MY fabric was out of stock? Na huh, no swatch for me…
I’ve never ordered swatches. But also, I haven’t really bought fabric from actual stores online, just on Etsy. I’m also too impatient! Being in Canada means things take weeks or even a month to arrive here. I couldn’t wait that long for a swatch 🙂