I used to be OK with buying fabric online, based on the sometimes very poor picture(s) posted. But in retrospect it’s been a 50/50 proposition, and I have the bin of “unfortunate purchases” to prove it. There’s just no substitute for being able to see and touch the real thing. But if you live in the hinterlands like I do, that can be a challenge. I’m sure you know the scenario…. The fabric store that’s mostly quilting cottons, cartoon themed fleece, and fabrics to make “Frozen” costumes. There’s not much in the way of apparel fabrics, and certainly nothing even romotely “Armani-esque”.
My solution? Swatching!!!
I ordered swatches for my “phoney Missoni” jacket last year, and I’ve become a confirmed swatcher ever since. The small amount spent (we’re talking a few cups of coffee) has proven to be well worth it. No more “what was I thinking ??!” fabric, that’s destined for a bin in the attic.
For this project I’ve turned to Gorgeous Fabrics. They have the largest selection of “athleisure” type knits that I’ve been able to find online. The swatches came quickly and are a good size, 3×3. Certainly large enough to get the gist, both the look and the hand. I thought I was just going to make one pair of sweatpants, but in the end I ordered 3 of the 5 fabrics that I sampled! Thank you Gorgeous Fabrics.
First up is a marled medium gray with the typical fuzzy fleece reverse. Classic sweatshirt material. My plan is to make pants with this. The trial run, so to speak.
I was really drawn to this black and light gray “birch bark” looking knit. It has a creamy loopy reverse and is a little lighter weight than the sweatshirt knit above. I think this is called French terry?? My plan is to make an unlined shawl collared jacket / cardigan with this. To me it looks very modern.
Lastly, this fabric is almost a dead ringer for the Armani A/X sweatpants. Very soft, and super loopy on the reverse. It would be a luxe pair of sweatpants, but I want to figure out the fit before I cut into it. It’s too nice to waste.
I’ve washed and dried them all. Time to Athleisure up!
8 thoughts on “I’ve become a "swatcher" !”
Such nice fabric!! I appreciate the tip. I am going to learn from your experience.
I think that's very wise. I like your choices and can't wait to see the ultimate end results. Your blog is one of my must reads.
Great choices! My fave is the “birch bark” one. I find swatching useful, especially when I'm not familiar with a particular brand or type of fabric. That being said, I don't always swatch, but I do try to be deliberate in my purchases. Small space sewing means stashing has to be kept reasonable.
I know what you mean and also decided to always swatch first with online purchases. Too many “that's totally not what I thought it would be” purchases.
I just made my first sweatshirt last week, which I will blog soon, and am looking for appropriate sweatshirt fabric too. Thanks for this post.
Lovely fabrics. Can't wait to see your process and results.
Cool! I love the fabrics you chose. I'm a recently-converted swatcher myself!
The last swatch looks like the stuff my son's spendy Polo sweats are made from; the ones he bought because he couldn't find similar fabric to make a pair of.
Now I know where to go, and I thank you.
Love those fabrics. They look so comfy and warm – perfect for a sweatshirt or relaxed pants.