Fabric Swatch Swap – An Idea for Group Meetings

As I started receiving my envelops of fabric during our recent FanU Fabric Swap, I couldn’t help but think swapping would be a great way to build or expand a swatch reference. The more I thought about it, I realized a swatch swap in person would be fun for reenacting groups to do at a meeting.

Here is my thought process. (You are welcome to steal this idea.)

  • Each person attending chooses a fabric s/he has documentation for. This could include the dating, type of print, colors, an example of how/where a similar fabric was worn, etc. The fabric may or may not be an actual reproduction.
  • Each person brings several (according to the size of the group) 3″ swatches of the fabric. The size of the fabric swatch depends on what the group decides with guidance from the fabric. (Smaller groups of people may wish to have each person bring more than one sample of fabric.)
  • Each swatch should be accompanied by the documentation. This can be pre-printed on a cards to which the fabric swatch is pinned or a single larger card from which people can copy the information. (determined by the group.)
  • The members of the group exchange swatches and documentation.
  • This will start a swatch reference book for each of the members.

*Note – Tech friendly groups could try a digital approach for those swatches not requiring feel. Each member brings a larger sample, say 10″x10″ and a large print card with the documentation. The fabrics are all layed out in a well lighted with their card sitting on the fabric in the lower right corner. Members then use the cameras or phones to take photos of the swatches with cards creating a digital swatch.

Swatch Cards and Books

There are several ways you can approach your swatch book.

  1. A pre-bound book can be used for handwritten notes. This format allows the keeper the freedom to write whatever she wants about a particular fabric. The fabrics can be pinned or handstitched onto the pages. The downside is pages can not be rearranged or sections added to.
  2. Three ring binder as those which are half-size can nicely hold punched swatch cards. Cards can be pre-formatted with fill-in areas about the fabric. These lines work well as prompts to remind the keeper to include particular information. (This can be helpful for those just starting.) Swatches can be pinned or sewn to the cards. Loose cards can be sewn through a sewing machine. Cards can easily be rearranged as catagory needs change.
  3. Card boxes are another way of holding cards. An advantage is the cards can easily be pulled out and looked at in different groups.

Each person will want different information on their swatch cards. Here are the swatch cards I did a few years back. For new swatch cards, I would want to include information on the print (block, roller, etc), colors/dye, finish and dating as well as how a fabric might be used. That could look more like 2013 Swatch Card.

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Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Great Idea! Really helps to develop an eye for the right time period fabrics!


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