How Do You Make A Fabric Swatch Book?

We recently organized our fabric collection because I couldn’t recall which ones were prewashed. After prewashing some fabrics multiple times, I decided to create a swatch library to keep track of the details!

After pre-washing all the unwashed and unsure fabrics, I created an organizational template to keep everything organized. Creating a swatch book is a great idea, so here are some notes on the process and why it’s a good idea.

Key Takeaways

  • Fabric swatch books are essential for understanding different fabrics:
    • They enable sewists to physically feel and compare fabrics, aiding in learning fabric names, types, and behaviors.
  • Collecting fabric swatches can be done in various ways:
    • Use scraps from current projects, take classes that provide swatches, order swatches online, or join a fabric swatch club for a diverse collection.
  • DIY fabric swatch book creation involves several steps:
    • Cutting swatches to size, printing out a Fabric Swatch Book Template, labeling and organizing swatches, mounting them on cardstock, and writing down fabric details.
  • A DIY fabric swatch book requires basic supplies:
    • Swatches, stick-on labels, a binder, cardstock, pinking shears, a 3-hole punch, an ink-jet printer, double-stick tape or a stapler, and a ruler.
  • There are resources to help get started:
    • Elizabeth Made This offers a Fabric Swatch Book Template and a guide to online fabric stores for ordering swatches.
  • Alternatives to DIY swatch books are available:
    • For those preferring not to create their own, pre-made fabric swatch books like “Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book” offer a comprehensive reference, though other resources might be more suitable for beginners.

What Is A Swatch Of Fabric?

A swatch of fabric is a small cloth used for testing colors. The term comes from the French word “soufflet,” which means “a puff.” Swatches were originally made by hand, but today, they are usually printed onto paper using a computerized machine. Swatches are also called samples, mockups, or proofs.

It’s a small piece of fabric. You can get it from:

  • Your stash of fabrics.
  • Fabric shops (online).
  • A wholesaler.

Why Do You Need Fabric Swatches?

It’s a great way to determine whether the fabric is a good match before you purchase several meters, especially if you haven’t started your project yet. It’s essential if you’re shopping online!

A fabric’s feel, color, drape, washing, or handling are never known until you touch it. Taking a chance is OK for some projects, but I’m not willing to do so when working with expensive fabrics.

You should save a swatch of your fabric if you own it or use it for a project. When looking for similar qualities online or for future projects, you can use them as a reference.

How Do You Get Fabric Swatches When You Shop Online?

Most online stores offer fabric swatches you can buy or request from a fabric store. There is often a small fee and shipping charge.

It was free to pick up a small strip of fabric at our local fabric shop, but I had to buy 10 cm / 4 inches of fabric in other shops. Visit at a quiet time, not at peak shopping hours, and ask about your shop’s policy on fabric swatches.

Organizing and storing fabric swatches can be difficult once you have a lot. Swatch libraries or fabric swatch books are great places to store your samples!

What Is A Fabric Swatch Library Or A Fabric Swatch Book?

Fabric Swatch Book

Keeping a swatch library and writing down the details of fabrics for future reference is similar to cataloging your fabric swatches.

Why Create A Swatch Book?

  • You can easily see what you already have without rummaging through neatly folded fabrics.
  • When shopping online for fabrics, keep them with you.
  • This tool can help you keep track of how many meters/yards of a particular fabric are left.
  • Keeping a log of pre-washed fabrics is a good idea.
  • You can track where fabric is stored if you have multiple locations, boxes, or drawers.

How Do You Make A Fabric Swatch Book?

It can be straightforward. Write down the fabric details next to the swatches using double-sided tape, pins, paper clips, or staples. I usually procrastinate and put off ironing the pre-washed fabric while I work on my page layout. You can also attach the swatches to a piece of paper with staples, double-sided tape, pins, or paper clips.

Once attached to a piece of paper, the swatches can be stored in a binder. A binder can hold everything, or clear plastic sleeves can hold the pages.

It is more convenient for us to use clear plastic sleeves. They’re easy to flip through without ripping the paper, and I’ve got tons of them lying around from my college days, so I can reuse them. The paper with swatches could also be stored in an accordion file folder or expanding file organizer.

It is common for shops to send you little swatch books that combine all your swatches and staple them to cardboard. I usually keep the booklet in a plastic sleeve or accordion file folder.

What Information Can Be Included In The Fabric Swatch Library?

There are countless possibilities, but it depends significantly on what you need. These ideas can inspire your system.

  1. The type of fabric (batiste, poplin, denim, gingham, tweed, jacquard, boucle, voile, double gauze, taffeta, etc.).
  2. The name of the design (printed designs often have names)
  3. Designer’s name (prints can include the designer’s name in the description)
  4. What store did you buy it from?
  5. Material (100% cotton, 97% cotton + 3% elastane, 100% linen, 100% tencel, etc.)
  6. Guidelines for care.
  7. The location where it is stored.
  8. If you have prewashed it.
  9. The amount you have or have left.
  10. Its price.
  11. The fabric’s weight.

How Do You Organize Your Fabric Swatches?

Swatches are randomly placed in our library, but you can arrange them. There are several ways to group them:

  • Assortment of colors
  • Fiber content
  • The store
  • Type of fiber (stretch, non-stretch, knits, etc.)

What Size Is A Swatch Of Fabric?

Depending on the shop. When I bought wholesale, I often received fabric swatches as large as A4/letter size instead of the usual 5×5 cm. The majority of the time, however, I cut off a very small amount of fabric when cutting into a new piece of fabric.

What Is A Fabric Swatch Book?

A fabric swatch book is a collection of samples from different fabrics. A fabric swatch book aims to help you find the perfect fabric for your project. You’ll want to look at the swatches if you’re looking for a particular color, texture, pattern, etc.

What Is A Fabric Sample Book Called?

A fabric sample book is called a swatch book. They measure fabrics and other materials such as leather and plastics. The swatches are usually made from strips cut out of the material.

How Do You Make A Fabric Swatch Book?

The first step is to create a fabric swatch book. This is done by taking a piece of paper and drawing out all the fabrics you want to use for each project. Next, cut out the pieces of fabric from the patterned paper. Finally, place the fabric pieces in order according to color.

How Do You Make A Swatch Board?

To create a swatch board, first, you need to find some old boards from when you were younger. Then, cut them up into strips. Next, glue them together using a hot glue gun. Finally, paint the entire thing white. This project is fun for kids and adults alike!

How to Assemble Your DIY Fabric Swatch Book

Collecting Swatches

Start by gathering fabric swatches that interest you. Aim for a variety, including different textures, weights, and fiber contents. You can cut swatches from your existing fabric stash, order them online, or join a fabric swatch club for a diverse collection.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Fabric swatches (30-50 recommended)
  • Binder or notebook
  • Card stock for mounting swatches
  • Labels for detailing fabric information
  • Double-sided tape or staples to attach swatches
  • Fabric Swatch Book Template for a structured layout

Step-by-Step Assembly

  1. Cut Your Swatches: Aim for a uniform size, such as 3″x 3″ to ensure consistency throughout your book.
  2. Print and Prepare the Template: Use the fabric swatch book template on card stock to mount your swatches on a durable base.
  3. Label and Organize Swatches: On the back of each swatch, detail the fabric type, fiber content, and any other relevant information.
  4. Mount Your Swatches: Securely attach each swatch to the template using double-sided tape or staples.
  5. Organize in a Binder: Arrange the pages in a binder for easy access and reference.

DIY Fabric Swatch Book Ideas

Personalization and Creativity

Customize your fabric swatch book to suit your needs. Consider organizing swatches by color, fabric type, or project. To make it even more useful, add sections for notes, project ideas, or fabric care tips.

For Cosplay and Special Projects

Create themed sections in your swatch book for specific projects, such as cosplay, to streamline the fabric selection process for each costume or piece.

Swatch Book FAQs

Where can I find fabric swatches?

You can cut swatches from your own fabric, order them from online fabric stores, or join fabric swatch clubs.

How do I label my fabric swatches?

Use stickers or labels to write down the fabric type, fiber content, and any other useful notes.

Can I include fabric samples I don’t own yet?

Absolutely! Including samples of fabrics you’re interested in can help you plan future projects and purchases.


Now that you know how to make a fabric swatch book, it’s time to start gathering your materials. Choose a selection of fabrics you love that work well together. Once you have your fabrics, follow the steps outlined in this article to create a beautiful fabric swatch book that will help you keep track of your favorite fabrics and plan future projects.

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