Sunday, January 13, 2019

Fabric Swatch Tags Tutorial!

Well hello there!
 I thought I would talk a little
 about how I audition and 
pull fabrics for a project...
and how I use these
 fabric swatches to do it:)

My latest fabric collection is 

It's full of many prints
 in happy vintage colors 
that I love to use.

So of course...
I made a fabric swatch tag
 for each print in the collection.

These three prints are not in my
 Farm Girl Vintage collection
 but are the 3 new widleback (108")
 prints that co-ordinate 
with the collection.

The prints are called 
and it comes in these three colors.

This is the print that
 I am using for the back of my 
during the sew along.

I made the swatches and
 added them to my
 Farm Girl Vintage swatches
I do not use these 
for backing only...
but I love to piece 
with them as well!

These are the four prints from
 Farm Girl Vintage that I call backgrounds.

Here are the aqua prints...

The yellow prints...

The denim prints...

The browns...

The teals...

The reds...

The grays...

The oranges...

The greens...

and the coral and pinks.

I keep all alike colored swatch tags 
together so that when I'm 
looking for a certain color...
I know they are all there
 in my swatch collection.

I make swatch tags for each and every collection as soon as I get it.

These are my swatch tags from my

This is my go to collection 
when choosing backgrounds and...

I use these swatch tags
 all of the time when 
pulling a project together.

There are several colors to choose from...

in a variety of prints and 
I always find something that works!

I love having a little piece 
of my fabrics at my fingertips 
for quick and easy reference.

I must admit that when I'm 
going through my 
"swatch tag files"
I sometimes feel like a librarian lol

I've had several questions about
 how I make them.
So here is a quick and easy tutorial
 on how I do it:)

I use kraft tags that you can get
 in the paper crafting section
 of any craft store.
These are ones that I got at
 Michaels and they are 3.00 per pack.

I use fusible web to iron the 
fabric onto the tag.
Heat and Bond has several different kinds...
this is what I use the most:)

From the Heat and Bond...
I rotary cut one rectangle
 for each swatch...

 a little bigger than I want
 the swatch to end up.

For my size tags that means
 I cut the fusible web 2 1/4" x 4"

Most of you probably know this...
but if you have never 
worked with fusible web...
it has a smooth side which is paper 
where you would trace your pattern onto etc.

Of course for this there is
 no pattern to trace:)

Here is the "bumpy" side which
 is the fusible part that irons on.

PS. Yes I DO use vintage irons and 
NO it is not turned on and 
sitting on my cutting mat lol... 
scared you didn't I?

I grab a piece of the fabric...
I don't really take the time to cut it
 a certain size because I will
 just trim it down anyways...

 I just press the rectangle
(fusible side down)
 onto the wrong side of the fabric
 making sure that there is 
at least a little fabric 
hanging over all edges.

Then I use my little 
Cute Cuts Rulers and Mini Cutting Mat 
to trim it down to 2" x 3 3/4"

I trim 2 sides first and then 
turn the little mat around and 
trim the other two sides 
with out picking up the rectangle...
easy peasy!
I do these a bunch at a time 
so it's sort of like chain piecing 
but instead it's chain trimming:)

Next step is to peel the paper backing off.

Sometimes that is easier said than done.
I like to use my longer pins for this...
the ones that I usually use to
 bin borders and larger pieces
and "score" a mark in the paper.

Then I can start peeling from the 
score line and not the corners...
which are hard to start peeling from.

Once it's peeled off you will
have the other fusible side exposed 
and can press the fabric swatch
 directly onto the tag... 

like this!

I like to mark the name of the fabric 
and also the SKU for easy reference 
when needed for ordering etc.

I use my Planner Pens for this...

of course they come in lots of happy colors!

I wrote on the info on the back.

Remember this Gunny Sack print 
from my Autumn Love fabric collection?

Now it is a Riley Blake Basic 
and comes in these colors so far...
more color combos than these will be 
coming in about 6 weeks.

It really is a big time saver 
for me to have a swatch tag 
for each print that I use frequently.

 I can mix and match colors 
and collections easily.

Like for example...
when I am creating and I need
 several reds and pinks 
for a valentines project...
I just go through my swatches 
of those colors in all different 
fabric collections and see which 
reds and pinks out of all
 go together well.

It's much easier than pulling out
 every piece of red and pink fabric 
that I have.
Once I have chosen the prints 
from the swatch I know which fabrics
 to grab and cut.

That is how I have chosen which fabrics
 to use in each of my 
vintage blocks for the

It's easy peasy...quick and fun!!

I hope that this explanation of 
how and why I use my Fabric Swatch Tags 
and also the Tutorial has helped to 
answer those questions that 
those of you have had about them...
and you may even want to give them a try!

Until next time...


Quilty_me_ said...

This is a great way to stay organized!! I have to agree about not wanting to pull every fabric in a color to choose the few I would use. Love your tracter pin cushion!!

Little Quiltsong said...

Love this system, and will have to do this too! Thank you for sharing the tutorial. Also love the cute box you set these tags in. My husband is always creating little wooden things for us - I'll have to have him make some of these :)!

debbie bryant said...

Thanks Lori. This kind of organizing is right up my alley.

Marta said...

Where can I get a tractor pin cushion?? My daddy drove a tractor all of his life and I would love something like that.

Jackie said...

Thank you for the great tutorial!

Harriet H said...

thank you very much..... it is such a great idea and one that I am going to begin using.....thanks again....

Tina said...

This was such an interesting tutorial! Thank you!!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Lori. I love your tags. I would want to play with them all the time!

I'm even more jealous of your tractor pin cushion. May I make a John Deere version for my vintage farm?

Irene said...

Love this idea! I'm an organize freak, lol! With that being said..As soon as I receive my fabric, I label each folded piece w/the name, number and keep all together grouped from the line. So all is set for a project and I can research it if I need more and etc! After, w/the scraps..this would be perfect! TY

deb said...

That is such a great idea...thank you

Christine S said...

Love that denim blue!!!

Lynn Marie said...

I LOVE all your fabrics! I am a vintage girl at heart!! I also see several prints that I may have to make a summer blouse or sundress out of once Spring gets here--super cute!

Anonymous said...

Love your organizational and visual system with your fabrics. I will implement it in my sewing room, and add the size or amount of fabric available.

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