Book Report + Giveaway: Fabric For Fashion… The Swatch Book!!!!!

Friends, I’m a fabric addict. So it should come as no surprise to you that I’m in love with this book! It’s the brand-new second edition of Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book! I had my eye on the first edition, but it’s been out of print for some time, so I was really excited to receive this from Laurence King.

The book is packed with information about different types of fibers, and it’s all very clear and well-organized. The book is divided into sections about animal fibers, plant fibers, and man-made fibers, and is subdivided into smaller groups within each section. It’s easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for.

But the stars of the show are the swatches! There are 125 swatches, an almost shocking amount! I’m not sure I could’ve named 25 different types of fabric, let alone 125, before picking up this book! But I really appreciate that they sampled so many variations of fabric because it’s the variations on similar fabrics that are really hard to tell apart, right? It’s really easy to tell cotton twill from silk charmeuse when they’re both in front of you, but can you tell the difference between silk habotai and silk crepe de chine? Cotton satin and cotton sateen? Lawn and organdie? You can with the help of this book!

I really appreciate that the book gives good information on which fabrics are more ecologically sustainable (hemp, ramie, and jute are three examples… none of which are easy to find in my neck of the woods!) and which ones need lots of processing. I also really like that the qualities and best uses for different fabrics are listed (so you can decide whether to use silk, viscose, acetate, or polyester satin for your garment, depending on whether you need your garment to resist wrinkles, be very colorfast, wash well, or mold to the body).

The swatches are, for the most part, undyed (read: beige). I was hoping for a rainbow of colors and prints, but the authors were probably right- you want to notice the qualities of the fabric, not the colors and prints! But dudes, I still love the swatches. I’m a touchy-feely person and when it comes to fabric, even more so! You can read pages and pages about a fabric’s qualities, but nothing is quite so telling as touching a swatch!

I really, really like this book and wish that everyone could grab a copy. However. The big drawback is the cost- $95 USD retail price (although you can preorder it from Amazon for $63). Yikes! I understand why it costs so much – it can’t be cheap to produce and assemble – but still, it’s expensive. Better put it in your letter to Santa and cross your fingers that you’re on the nice list, not the naughty one! Or request it for your local library- it’s a great resource!

Good news: I can give away a copy to a US reader (I’m sorry, international friends… I’ve got another giveaway coming up that you’ll be able to enter)! Please use the Google form below to enter. I’ll draw a winner on Sunday, November 9th.

One last item of business- I forgot to announce it earlier, but the winner of the Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress giveaway is Sarah Moum! Yay!

What have you guys been up to lately? Picked up any good sewing books lately?

57 responses

  1. HOLY CROW! Just today, I was feeling some fabric in a thrift store, wondering what it was!!! And sometimes, I hear at the words lawn… voile… batiste… and I just want a feel so I know. I’m a kinesthetic learner, you see πŸ™‚ I would love to win. As for sewing books that are new to me… “Pattern Drafting and Grading” By M. Rohr It’s an encyclopedia of good stuff.

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  2. OMG, I need one. Why must I live in Australia, where books are even more expensive?? I’m totally asking Santa. 125 swatches you say? Sweeeeeet!!

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  3. Ooh thanks for the heads up, I’ve been eying this book up for a while, how great that they’ve decided to make a second edition and just in time for Christmas! This will definitely be on my list!

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  4. That sounds like fun! And exactly like something I really need. πŸ˜‰ Sadly US books are hard to get here in Europe. But it’s on my “Someday when I visit NYC” shopping list, like many other things! πŸ˜‰

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  5. I would love this book-especially since I do so much online fabric shopping. I hold my breath and hope the fabric works.
    I just bought the Alabama Chanin books, I love the fabric created by stenciling, beading, applique.

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    • It definitely takes time and exposure to lots of fabrics! But hopefully I’ll get better at figuring out what fabrics are… some of the vendors in the Garment District fib about the fiber content!!

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  6. This has to be THE book for us fabric nerds! I had to check immediately, and I can get it here in Finland for 62,50 €. It’s not cheap, but maybe as an early Christmas present for myself…? Thanks for the review!

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    • Christmas gifts to yourself are the BEST gifts! I just bought a scarf as a little birthday gift for myself… I felt a little naughty doing it, but every once in a while, a little gift doesn’t hurt, right?

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  7. That’s really cool! I wonder how accurately or reliably descriptions of fabric from online stores will translate into descriptions/swatches from the book, that would be super helpful for those of us in fabric deserts who can’t always touch the fabric before it arrives. πŸ™‚

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    • That’s a good question. I’m never certain how reliable different descriptions are, and things like fabric weight seem so subjective sometimes (is this lightweight, or is it medium?). But it’s got to help at least a little!

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  8. I have been wanting just something just like this. I’m pretty new to clothing sewing and I love all my sewing bloggers, but when ya’ll talk about this fabric or that fabric, I have no idea what it means. Being able to feel the different types of fabric will be so helpful. Also, taking advantage of on-line shops is really difficult when you don’t understand names and weights and textures. Thank you for hosting this give away.

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  9. Want this sooooo bad! Luckily I have some Amazon points that should cover the cost, if I don’t win that is πŸ˜‰ haha!

    I also like that you did that Google Form thing for the giveaway. I’m going to have to try that out for my next giveaway!

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    • Sweeeeeeet, Amazon points! Awesome!

      Hopefully people don’t mind the Google Form! I don’t know if other people can see all the other entries or if they care. It was just getting too hard to count up all the comments and then try to find people’s email addresses! This is much, much quicker!

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  10. WOW… the main reason that would be an ideal book to have is because I seem to order way more fabric online than at that “local fabric store chain.” (Their choices are severely lacking!) But I hesitate because I like to FEEL and touch fabric to see if it is the right thing for what I want to make… I wonder if I am on the naughty list? Sigh…. I hope not!

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  11. This book looks great. I’m a total nerd about textiles and do already have some textbooks on the subject… but I’ve read them many times and like to read all the sources out there! This one looks like it might have different info and visually interesting, too. It’s probably a really good price- the swatch book and companion text I had to buy in school totaled almost $200! And you had to staple in the swatches yourself! (actually a good learning exercise, but AH so annoying. πŸ™‚

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  12. Wow! I love color too but w/these undyed swatches I can feel w/my eyes open and learn texture, depth, warp&weft, or w/my eyes shut and try to figure out what the fiber is. Awesome. I’m in!

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  13. I am lucky enough to have a first edition of this book, so I don’t need to be in the drawing, but I want to say that I love having it on hand and have used it countless times to check the difference of fabrics. And maybe just to sit and pet the swatches for an undisclosed amount of time πŸ˜‰

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  14. Fun stuff! Now I’m going to have to get this book you know. You are quite the enabler. I think it would be a fabu addition though since I do pick up fabric now & then from the thrift store. I just posted a pic of a couple recent thrift store fabric hauls on my blog a couple days ago. Oh…& as for books…I also threw a few of my fitting books & a DVD in that pic too. I need to spend more time with them most definitely. And also, b/c of you, I’ve been meandering around Mood’s website more lately. I do think I should buy more from them since they have a Boston named Swatch, don’t you agree? πŸ™‚

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    • Yes, yes, how can you not support a Boston Terrier family?? Swatch is HUGE! He might be mixed with something else because he’s way bigger than any Boston I’ve ever seen… like, he’s nearly pit bull sized!!!

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  15. Oooh, great review and terrific give away. I have entered (although I live in Canada) cuz my family lives in the US and I can ship it to my mother in the lucky event that I might be the winner πŸ™‚

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  16. I probably have enough fabric to assemble one of these books myself and yet I want it… Does anyone else buy fabric online just because the description sounds like something you’ve never seen before? Hmm, linen knit… I wonder what that feels like… and then it’s in my cart.

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  17. This is a really great book. I bought the first edition and love it. Yes it is expensive but really great to help learn about fabrics.
    p.s. I’m an international so can’t enter, but good luck to the ladies who can πŸ™‚

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  18. Pingback: Ginger Made: Honey Cardigan « Ginger Makes…

  19. Hi I am so thrilled I found your blog, I really found you
    by mistake, while I was browsing on Google for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a incredible post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute
    but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.

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  20. I want this book so badly!! I live in Canada so I hope you have the international giveaway soon πŸ™‚ !!! It would really help me improve my fashion/sewing skills!

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