Swatch Cards (+ Giveaway)
I love my Kona colour card. I love seeing all the fabulous colours available for whatever project I might be dreaming up, or dreaming up a project based on all the fabulous colours available. ;)
There’s a catch, though. Each sample of fabric on that colour card is a pesky one square inch, and they are all fixed in place. It can be difficult to really get a sense of how a particular colour will look with the prints you’re using, and even more difficult to compare the solids with one another. The ideal solution would be to have a bolt of every imaginable colour, ready and waiting in my sewing room (wouldn’t that be fantastic?!), or to move next door to The Workroom so that I could pop in whenever I needed a quick colour consultation, but since neither of those things is possible, this is the next best thing!
What I’ve decided upon is a system for storing larger swatches of fabric, based upon two standard index card sizes, 3″ x 5″ and 4″ x 6″. You can either use blank index cards, which can be readily purchased at a office supply store like staples, or you can cut your own out of heavy card stock. I chose the second option since I still had a stack of paper left over from the wedding invitations I did for my brother’s wedding in May. If you have a printer that can accommodate photo paper then printing these out should be easy peasy.
Once you’ve made your paper choice and printed your cards, you will need to cut out your fabric swatches. If you decided on the 3″ x 5″ cards, then you’ll need 4″ square swatches. If you picked 4″ x 6″ then you’ll need 5″ square swatches. The larger size would be perfect if you bought a bunch of the sampler charm square packs that most manufactures sell.
To attach the swatch to the card you need to line it up on the front first, by overlapping the fabric ever so slightly past the registration marks on the cards. In the picture I left them visible, but they should be covered by the fabric.
Next, just fold the fabric to the back of the card and fix it in place! I told you it was easy!
I tried a number of different options for fixing the fabric to the card, and each had its pros and cons. Using a glue stick on the card was quick, but the least precise (although I was using a large glue stick, so perhaps that was the problem…). Double-sided tape meant for scrap-booking was the least messy, and the most time consuming. But if you are only starting out with a few swatches then that might be the way to go. My personal choice was to use a permanent spray adhesive. It can definitely be messy (I used an old box as a spray booth…an old trick from building architectural models), but quick and ultimately secure. I would recommend experimenting with some scraps of fabric and paper to figure out what works best for you.
So there you have it! I’ve created a new pattern shop over at Craftsy (I’ve got lots of other ideas that I want to produce, too!), so if you’re interested in giving my system a try you can find the printables there. There is a small fee for them because it took me HOURS to work everything out, but I think it’s a fair price and I hope you will, too. So far I’ve produced cards for Kona Solids by Robert Kaufman, Pure Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics and Designer Solids by FreeSpirit Fabrics. I’m working on Bella Solids by Moda, but I’m having a heck of a time figuring out the scope of all the solids they offer. If anyone has any insight into that one I’d love some help!
Finally, I’d love to give away a set of these printables, so leave me a comment here (about anything you’d like!) and I’ll pick a winner next Monday. (But go ahead and get the files now if you really want them. I’ll refund your money if you’ve already bought them and I pick your name.)
Oh, and if you end up using my printable to put together your own set of swatch cards I’d love to see them in action! You can add pictures to my Flickr group here: thought & found designs.