Picking colors for your next creative project doesn't need to be stressful or difficult. Simplify the process by making magnetic fabric swatches for yourself so you can easily visualize color combinations and make fabric selections with confidence!
If you've been in the sewing world for long, there's a good chance you've experienced the goodness of Art Gallery Fabrics. This manufacturer makes fabric that is SO smooth (thanks to their fine weave and superior thread count) and has the dreamiest drape, making it ideal for quilting, garments, and really any project that you'd want to be extra soft!
Because I use their fabric so often, I purchased the AGF Pure Solids swatch card and made it into an accessible magnetic fabric swatches board that hangs right in my sewing room. I can't tell you how convenient it is to have all of my favorite solids available and well organized when picking out colors for upcoming quilts.
This tutorial for organizing fabric swatches can be applied to any of the fabric swatch books sold. And to make your life even easier, here's a handy list of some common solid swatches based on manufacturer:
AGF Magnetic Fabric Swatches Supplies
Note: Short on time and want even faster magnetic fabric swatches? Woven and Woolly has fabric swatches precut and ready to use in her shop.
She has Kona and Art Gallery fabrics PURE solids, and is always adding new colors as they come out. One of the best things about Woven and Woolly fabric swatches, or color chips, is that whenever new colors are released, you can purchase just the new colors in an “expansion pack." No need to purchase the entire color card again. Check out #wwcolorchips to see quilters using their color chips.
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There are SO many Suzy Quilts projects that feature Art Gallery Fabrics! Here are a few of our favorites:
When purchasing your Art Gallery Pure Solids color card, keep in mind that it's updated every year! The version I purchased was the 2020 version, and featured 110 swatches. The newest version updated in 2021 includes 10 additional colors for a grand total of 120.
Typically the fabric manufactures will sell swatch extensions so you don't have to buy a whole new card.
Step 1: Cutting the Cardstock Squares
Using your rotary cutter, cut one piece of cardstock into three 2 1/4" strips going the long way, then subcut into twelve 2 1/4" squares.
One piece of 8 1/2" x 11" cardstock will yield 12 squares, so if you will need to cut up 10 pieces to yield 120 squares for the 120 swatches.
Step 2: Cutting the Color Card into Columns
Just looking at the color card in its perfect rows might make you want to leave them in tact, but magnetic fabric swatches really are so much easier to use when you can move them around and mix and match!
First, align the edge of your ruler 1 1/4" from the edge of the first column of swatches. Cut along this line using your rotary cutter.
To help myself stay organized, I only worked with one column of swatches at a time. That way, I avoided mixing up the fabric swatches and their names, which would be very easy to do if you worked with ALL of the columns at once.
Step 3: Remove the Fabric Swatches
Next, gently remove the fabric swatches from the card by pulling them carefully off. It is VERY important that you keep them in order so that you can match up the correct label with each one in the next step.
Step 4: Cutting up the Swatch Names
After you have removed all the fabric swatches from the column, align your ruler with the edge of where the swatches were stuck down. Cut along this line with your rotary cutter.
Next, trim each name to 1/2" tall. To do this, center the 1/4" line on your ruler between the two lines of text, trim the top, then cut again below the name so that it measures 1/2". Place the name next to its corresponding swatch, making sure to keep them in order. Repeat for the rest of the names on the column.
Step 5: Press the Fabric Swatch
When you peel the fabric swatches off of the color card, the edges may roll a bit. To combat this, gently press the larger side of the swatch. If some of the adhesive came off with the swatch, be very careful not to touch that with your iron, and do not press out the crease.
Step 6: Attaching the Swatches to the Cardstock
Take one swatch, the corresponding name, and one 2 1/4" square of cardstock at a time and align the crease in the swatch with one edge of the cardstock square as shown above.
Take a piece of double sided tape and attach it to the cardstock on the side with the shorter piece of fabric overhang. This will be the back of your AGF swatch card. Peel off the protective layer, and press the fabric firmly down to adhere it to the tape.
Repeat with a second strip of tape on the side of the swatch with the larger fabric overhang. This will be the front of your AGF swatch card.
Step 7: Adding the Swatch Name
After your fabric is attached, it's time to add the swatch name! Adhere a piece of tape to the back of the name of the swatch.
Peel off the protective layer, and center the name on the front of the AGF swatch card.
Step 8: Adding the Magnets to the Fabric Swatches
Last but not least, depending on the size of your magnets, you may need to cut them up. I'm using these larger magnets so with my paper scissors I'll cut them into thirds. Take one piece and stick it to the back of your newly completed swatch card.
And just like that, you've completed one of your magnetic fabric swatches! Only 119 left to go! It may seem like a lot, but this is the perfect project to work on while binging Netflix or listening to an audiobook or podcast. I did one or two columns a day, and it came together really quick without getting too monotonous.
Now, the entire rainbow of creamy, dreamy, Art Gallery Pure Solids is right there when I need to work on a new color palette or order some new solids. Plus, who doesn't love looking at all those gorgeous colors hanging in their workspace? These AGF swatch cards are the perfect mix of form and function!