Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Fabric Book I've Been Dreaming About!


Hurrah! The book I've been waiting for the whole of my sewing life has arrived! "What can it be?", I hear you plead. Well, my friend, it's a fabric guide and swatch folder rolled into one - Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book

It's a folder containing tons of information outlining the raw materials, construction, processing and finishing of different fabrics, as well as touching on issues of sustainability. More importantly, over 100 sample swatches are included for you to stroke, most of them in their unbleached raw state so you can focus on tactility without getting distracted by visuals.


I'm slowly learning how to recognise a type of fabric by feeling it and this book is going to be a massive help. I've already got a hefty fabric reference book, but there's only so much you can learn from a text description of fibres and drape. And as much as I enjoy standing in fabric shops fondling shantung whilst trying to commit the name to memory, there's only so long you can do that before you get mistaken for a fruitloop. I also tried taking some bloggers' advice to collect a stash of fabric samples for reference, but I didn't get very far with that and found I got distracted by the print or pretty colours. Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book solves all those problems.



The book isn't cheap, but for me it's worth the price to understand what fabric a pattern or blogger is referencing and to develop a deeper sense of suitable choices for garments. If you need to grasp the basics of interlock knits, want a quick comparison of silk charmeuse and sandwashed silk habotai, or always wondered what cotton domette feels like, I'd recommend checking out this extremely informative and well-presented guide.

23 comments:

  1. For what it is, I think $50 is a great deal! I just took a fabric recognition class and if I'm not mistaken this is the new textbook for next semester.

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  2. Wow, it looks amazing!

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  3. Love your blog :) Question: Do you have the "All About..." series (silk, cotton & wool), & if so, how does this book compare in terms of the info?

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  4. Ok, I think I know where some of my birthday money is heading... :)
    ~Alana

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  5. Gah! This book is brilliant! I felt a little out of my depth amongst all the rows and rows of (and rows and rows and rows) of fabric in the Goldhawk Rd shops. In the sense that I knew what I was looking for. What I had in my minds eye. But had no idea what to ask for and little hope of finding it hidden amongst the masses of fabric.
    Knowing the qualities of a fabric and how it behaves surely must be a key part of achieving a pleasing end result. Great find. Thanks for sharing. This is going on my Christmas list for sure!
    Px

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  6. This looks like a must-have for me Tilly! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Goodness! I need one of these! Fabric shopping is pretty stressful for me because I worry about picking the wrong type! (Plus I get distracted by all of the quilting fabrics.)

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  8. Fun fun FUN!!! Thanks for sharing; it's already on my amazon wish list.

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  9. Oh Tilly, you are a bad influence!! I've been waiting for you to post about this as I saw you mention you'd ordered it. It was worth the wait - it looks amazing!! This is exactly what I was after - in particular I'm excited to see that it gives comparisons of the natural and synthetic versions of the same fabrics (I too have been known to fondle silk chiffon in John Lewis to try to commit it to memory!).

    So, of course, I've just ordered it! Only 3 left on amazon.co.uk now!! Thanks for sharing your review (though I'm not sure my bank manager or my groaning bookshelf will join me in those thanks!)!

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  10. This is absolutely brilliant. I can understand the cost completely. Imagine how long this takes to put together... all that hand finishing too. I will have to get my hands on a copy of this. I feel a real ignorance when it comes to identifying fabric. Thanks for sharing Tilly x

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  11. Isn't it a brilliant book?! I bought it for my birthday money, as I usually haven't a clue when bloggers, fabrics shops or pattern descriptions recommend one fabric or the other! I think the money is absolutely worth it. Text can only tell you so much on a fabric, I mean, Holland Linen is starched. But feeling it makes all the difference to understand what it might be used for.

    Have fun with it!

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  12. Jilly Be - I don't have those books, no. I was put off from buying them because, in the UK at least, they are expensive for references that only focus on a single fabric type. Are they good?

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  13. that sounds like a great book i can use... hehe now that goes into my birthday wish list!

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  14. Tilly thanks for getting back to me :) The All About series is fabulous! Jam packed with information, and you place the swatches yourself - lots of fabric petting!

    They were gifted to me (bought directly from the author/publisher, which does give a nice discount, but still very pricey!)

    Honestly, this book sounds like another really nice addition to the library, but I can't justify all those fabric books! I would love to have a hands on look at it though. It sounds like the info on telling the difference between similar natural/synthetic fabrics would be really nice - do you find that aspect of the book helpful?

    hmmmm...... I should do a review of the All About series on my blog.......

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  15. Tilly, I nearly passed out when I read this post - I ordered the book before I'd even finished reading your post properly! I seriously can't WAIT to play with all those fabric swatches. x

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  16. Wow, this looks promising. I hope the swatches are good enough to get a feel for the fabric.

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  17. whoa! that's a really great book! Thanks for the suggestion...maybe in a future shopping spree.

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  18. I just got the same book. Carry it around everywhere so I can look through it whenever I have a spare moment. Being able to feel the weights and textures of the different fabrics makes it much easier to order fabrics online.

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  19. I just put it on my Amazon wish list! I was just thinking about how it's so hard to understand what a fabric description is talking about without having a swatch in front of you. What an awesome learning tool!

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  20. I too have often tried to start to amass a collection of swatches and either forget or get too distracted! lol. This is totally going on my wishlist for Christmas... I already have my favorite fabric book, but this would be sooo handy to have swatches of to feel. I'm a very tactile sewer, so knowing how something feels by touch--rather than reading a description of it--is invaluable. Thanks for the review, Tilly!

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  21. this book is clearly the stuff of wet dreams for crafters ...well, this crafter anyway...how awesome. Thanks for bringing it to my attention...i dont dare peek at how much it costs but if i start saving now i might have it down by 2020.

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  22. My knowledge regarding fabrics is fairly limited... it's definitely something I need to work on. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  23. Thanks for posting about this! I just bought one from Amazon today. The fabric choices in my area are just sad and I am beginning to buy things online, which can be difficult with the limited exposure to quality fabrics and their numerous variations. I am thinking this will be a great resource so I know what to expect in the mail. Thanks for the info Tilly!

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