5 Steps to Make a Cute Fabric Swatch - Free Printable

Feb 2023

Make a quick and easy fabric swatch to keep a useful record of your fabric stash...sew cute!

I have a fun and quick no sew project for you today! Yes, we’re making fabric swatches!

Scroll down for the free printable, and video that shows you how to make them.

Let's start with why would you even need to stick pieces of fabric onto card?

Let me tell you that this is much more than just a cute little accessory, a fabric swatch can become another hardworking friend in your sewing space.

If you’re one of the rare breed of sewists who don’t have a fabric stash, meaning you only buy fabric that you need for a specific project, and you generally use it all up, then fabric swatches are probably not for you.

But if you own even a small stash, then you’ll realise how quickly it can get out of hand.

When you own a lot of fabric, it doesn’t take long before it’s hard to keep track of what you have and how much you have of it.

I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to looking for ways to get more organised in the sewing room, and swatch making is one of those great tools that can help you along in this area…so you can find and use what you’ve got much more easily.

Making a swatch can be a great way to keep a record of what fabric you own, and all the relevant details about it.

If you find yourself collecting favourite fabrics that you come back to again and again for projects that you make, at some point you’ll need to refer back to the name of the fabric, designer or fabric house so that you can reorder it.

After all, if you’ve forgotten the name of the fabric you need more of, how do you search for ‘small blue floral fabric’ and find what you need? You might stumble across the image online, but chances are you won’t.

When you make a fabric swatch, you can solve all these problems, and have all the information you need.

Have you ever had a friend ask you for the details of the fabric you used in your quilt? This happens to me allll the time, and it's frustrating when you can't answer!

With a swatch record, the answer can be right there at your fingertips.

Another great use of fabric swatches is for the first audition of a fabric pull.

Fabric swatches are a great way to see the balance of colours, contrasts and scale and you can do all that before you need to rip out a heap of neatly folded fabric.

Save that for when you’re more sure of what you’ll be using.

Depending on the type of sewing that you do, there can be a range of important information you can keep with your swatch.

I like to write the name and maybe the fabric house on the front, as that’s often enough for what I need.

Then if I need to record more information, I’ll put that on the back.

Other sorts of details you can record are:

  • the composition of the fabric and weight of the fabric
  • where you bought it from
  • where you bought it from
  • the date you bought it
  • how much you have of it
  • whether you’ve pre-washed it or not
  • record whether you've washed it or not
  • washing instructions

Now it's time to create something!

To make these swatch cards, you’ll need to download and print out the free printable below onto cardstock.

You’ll also need up to a 3” x 3” square of fabric for the swatch.

Watch the video to see how easy these are to make!

For best results in cutting out, use a craft knife and a metal ruler to achieve lovely straight edges. Trim along the crop lines shown on the printable.

I like to press my fabric, and then hopefully just use a scrap piece left over, otherwise I cut out either using a rotary cutter or a combo of pinking shears.

The pinked edges aren’t just a design effect, they also helps the fabric not to fray.

Then simply glue on your fabric to the centre square, and record the name on the front, and whatever other details you wish on the back.

I like to pop them onto a split ring or tie them up with some string.

Then you can add to them as you make more, or store by collection or type.

Other people paste them into a book kept for this specific purpose.

A book can also give you room to record what you’ve made with the fabric, and other specifics like matching thread colours and notions.

Then keep them close to your fabric stash for easy reference, either on the shelf or in the box, wherever suits you best!

I hope you make some of these – tag me on socials if you do with #SwatchCatalogue and show me how you’re using them!

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