A Quilters Guide to Fabric Swatches!

If you caught my little studio tour that I did over on Instagram a few weeks ago, you probably saw my super awesome collection of color swatches, or color chips hanging on my wall. Not only is it super pretty to look at but it's oh-so helpful when planning quilts! I've since gotten so many questions about these! Let me just tell you, they're life changing!

 

I invested in fabric swatches several years ago, when I first started quilting. There are a few fabric shops around my house, but none of them really have a wide selection of solids. Therefore, I purchase most, if not all, of my fabric online. 

It's virtually impossible to get an accurate "read" on fabric colors through a computer screen. Have you ever ordered something online thinking it'd look a certain way, only to be disappointed when it turns out completely different? Yep. Been there, done that. 

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Most solids manufacturers have "swatch cards" for their solids. The 3 big ones that come to mind are Robert Kaufman Kona Solids, Art Gallery Pure Solids and Moda Bella Solids. These are typically my go-to companies for high-quality solids with a wide range of colors!

I turned my Kona swatches into an interactive magnet board, which allows me to physically arrange the colors into various color palates. I absolutely love this storage method! I first learned about it from KH Quilts!

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Essentially, you'll just use your quilting ruler and a rotary cutter to cut up the board into strips, then using (non-quilting) scissors, you'll cut up the strips into individual pieces. I've seen a few people suggest that you number the colors on the back of the swatch card so that you can keep them all in order. I think this is a great idea! Then once you've created the individual chips you'll add a magnetic square to the back, then arrange the chips on a magnetic board. It's super functional, plus it's really pretty. Win win!

A few months ago, I came across an Etsy shop, Woven And Woolly,  and she just so happens to make these fabric swatches for you! Don't get me wrong, while making my magnetic swatches was super easy, it was very time consuming, even with my dad and my husband helping me!

I was also really excited about these in particular, because she created swatch cards for Art Gallery's solids. They don't have a formal swatch card like Kona does, so the fact that she creates these little "chips" is invaluable! Once your swatches arrive, you can either store them in a zip-loc bag or add a magnet square on the back and you're good to go!

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If you come across a company that doesn't have formal swatch cards, you can always make them yourself. Glue a 3/4" x 1" piece of fabric to a thick piece of card stock, write the SKU and name and there you have it! Instead of storing them on a magnetic board, you could also store them in a hard-shell pencil box or something similar. You could also punch a hole in the cardstock and keep them on a metal ring. There are lots of possibilities, but the bottom line is that they are super super helpful when planning fabrics for your quilts! Just look at how my final quilt turned out!

This is for my newest quilt pattern, Nightingale. It's set to release November 18th, 2020!

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What are your go-to solids? Do you use fabric swatches? How do you store them? Let me know in the comments below!

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