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 our Alabama Chanin 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.
To participate in the club, place an order in our online store. 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.