I’ve written before about our Fabric Library, a collection of sample blocks and swatches that our company has created over the years. Each swatch starts out the same way, as a basic 10” x 16” rectangle of our organic cotton jersey. Then each one is embellished with embroidery, stencils, beading, and/or appliqué. These sample blocks, or swatches, are the basis for all of our designs and collections, and have become our most valuable asset, our intellectual property.
We have designed over 500 swatches to date, in various colorways and patterns and, though many of them may never become part of a collection, I value each and every one. They are a testament to the principles this company was built around – of sustainable, responsible, slow design. The swatches often travel to our trunk shows, where they are used as inspiration for custom orders. They also show workshop attendees what can be accomplished using our techniques.
For those who want to sample a variety of our techniques and designs, we are launching a Swatch of the Month Club. At the beginning of every month in 2014, participants will receive a DIY kit featuring a unique swatch to be made using The School of Making stencils and techniques. Each kit comes stenciled and ready-to-sew with all of the notions needed to complete the swatch. Colorway options include Navy/Black, Natural/White, Neutrals (pictured above), Reds, and Blues (pictured below). Techniques and instruction can be found in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. We will also be sharing the swatches, our design choices, and options for different techniques on the Journal each month.
I recommend archiving your finished swatches in a 3-ring binder and starting your own library of design. Instructions for creating your own binder can be found here. If you don’t want to save your swatches that way, all 12 completed swatches can be made into a quilt for a twin-size bed, as seen in the top photo. We used approximately 4 yards of additional fabric to create the border and spacers for our quilt.
The club officially launches in January 2014, but if you place a holiday pre-order by Friday, November 29th, you will receive the first swatch kit by December 23rd, just in time to give your favorite maker the membership as a gift (or treat yourself) this holiday season.
Follow along on social media and on our Journal with the hashtags:
I found looking thru the swatch books at a verb to keep warm store one of the most fun creative days I have ever had. most impressive and beautiful. love sara
Oh wow, what a great idea! I love it. I can’t afford to buy the club membership, but would love to follow along- I’m glad you’re going to be posting about each swatch every month.
I want to do this so badly I can taste it!
I love this idea and will definitely be following along. In the meantime, I’ll be working on a wrap as well, from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. It will be a wearable sampler when done. It’s so nice to have something you can use after all that work. Who wouldn’t want such a lovely quilt? Thanks for the post and for running the DIY series.
I was awed by the library at our memorable Factory weekend just three weeks ago. What a fabulous idea! Why didn’t you think of this before!
I was hoping to order this today, especially with the Black Friday sale, but the links are working for me. Is there a different way to place the order online through the store? Thanks! Looking forward to this club! YAY!
The Swatch of the Month club is excluded from our Black Friday discount/online sale. It will be back online on Monday. But if you want to place an order today, we will be happy to take your order over the phone.
I think this is a great idea and would love to take part, but it’s mostly unaffordable. I guess I’m just not the demographic you are looking for. I will instead do as Katie S. and follow along.
If you cut your fabric swatches 10″ x 16″, how does it fit in a 3 ring binder? I went to the binder page and you sew the 10″ edge into the cardstock header but that means it goes 16″ in the horizontal direction and notebooks are 8.5″ in that direction. Thanks.
You are correct – our fabric swatches are longer than the binders we use. We let the fabric extend the cover, so that it can be easily thumbed through, and then fold our fabric in when we close and store the binders. You can find more instructions and detailed photos in our post about January’s Swatch.
Hello … I would love to be able to participate in this project but the initial cost is out of my budget! Any chance that it could be made available in a payment plan … Or maybe on a month to month basis? I would imagine that would make it much more accessible for many more of us.
I agree! I would love this as a monthly auto-pay purchase. $440 is a huge chunk of change for the average person in this economy. I love Alabama Chanin, the designs, techniques and philosophy, but the DIY kits and workshop pricing seem to be aimed at only the most well-heeled clients. This is one product that can offer price options rather than turn away interested customers.
Thank you for your input. We will certainly take this into consideration when planning for next year. We will be launching a few new ways to customize your own sample blocks for individual purchase. Expect to see this with the launch of Swatch of the Month for 2015.
I would be interested in a payment plan for this as well 🙂
Thank you once again, for your inspiration! L
I saw your swatch books at the workshop in Beacon NY. They were awe inspiring.
I love your swatch of the month club and hope to order 2014 before 2015 ends! Does the kit come with the fabric needed to make the border and sashing? I too would love to see the color ways!
If you would like to make the quilt shown above, you will need to purchase 6 additional yards of fabric for the border and sashing. You can view the fabrics included in each colorway by clicking the Color Chart link underneath your colorway choices on the product: http://alabamachanin.com/swatch-of-the-month-3.
Please let us know if you have any more questions. Happy sewing!
For some reason I don’t get anything by way of color when I follow your link and instructions. All I see is the sample in blue. If I select “red”, for example, the image does not change, and I do not get an additional photo of fabrics that are included in the red color way kit.
If you click directly on the words “Color Chart” a box will appear with the colorway options. Hope this helps!
Are you still offering a Swatch of the Month Club?
If so I would love to join the next group. Can you provide details?
Thanks in advance for your time & help.
Hi, Theresa! While we no longer offer the Swatch of the Month, we do offer our Design Bundle. Like Swatch of the Month, the Design Bundle is curated by our School of Making team and comes with a variety of fabric, thread, embroidery floss, beads, and sequins (all in complementing colors) that will allow you to practice treatments and bead designs of your choice or to create your own Swatch Book for your home fabric library. You can find the Design Bundle here: https://alabamachanin.com/products/curated-fabric-and-sewing-notions-for-design?taxon_id=41.
Hi, my name is Maureen McGivern and I have just discovered your swatch of the month and an wondering if you are still running it, I would be very interested in joining in
Hoping you can help, looking for to hearing from you
Hi, Maureen! We no longer offer the Swatch of the Month, but we do currently offer the Design Bundle. In the Bundle, you receive a total of 20 10″ x 16″ fabric swatches, as well as beads, sequins, thread, and embroidery floss in a curated selection of colors. You can explore the Design Bundle here: https://alabamachanin.com/products/curated-fabric-and-sewing-notions-for-design?taxon_id=41.