DIY Fabric Swatch Cards

Fabric swatch books

My current fabric storage is less than ideal – I have two giant plastic tubs shoved in my tiny walk-in bedroom closet that I share with my husband.  The closet is super dark, the tubs are stacked on top of each other, and are both ridiculously heavy and hard to pull out of the closet when I want to take a look at something.  At least they’re see-through, but it’s still hard to figure out what’s in there.

Well, it was driving me nuts that I wasn’t 100% sure of what fabric I had, or what yardage I bought of something, and I needed a new way to keep track of the fabric I owned – especially when it comes to planning new sewing projects.  I’m also guilty of thinking I don’t have a type of fabric for a project, and then come to realize after buying new fabric that yes, I already have fabric in my stash that would have worked!

The solution – a portable catalog of fabric swatch cards (you can download the file to make your own here!).


Fabric swatch book

After going through both fabric bins, I consolidated all of my full cuts of fabric into one bin and my scraps/leftover fabric into the other bin – turns out that I now have one completely full bin of fabric I already used for previous projects!  That’s something to tackle another time…

Then, I used my pinking shears and cut little square swatches of all of my fabric, stapled them to swatch cards I made and printed out on cardstock, and recorded all of the info I wanted to know/keep track of.  Did I prewash it?  Where did I buy it?  Did I have ideas for a project with this fabric?  I can record all of that info on my cards.


Fabric swatch book

I ended up dividing my swatches into two different packets, one for woven fabrics and one for knits.  Then, I punched a hole in the upper left-hand corner of each swatch card and used two binder rings to keep them all together.  That’s it!  Now I can flip through and see all of my fabric easily, and I can even throw these in my bag as I head out to the fabric store – very helpful if you’re trying to shop for coordinating fabrics for a project.




  1. Alena
    June 25, 2017 / 9:35 am

    Fantastic idea, exactly what I need and never thought of. Going to do this today. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lucinda
      June 26, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      You’re welcome, enjoy! 🙂

  2. June 29, 2017 / 7:32 am

    Great system! I did a crappy version of this when bringing things to a fabric swap. This is much cuter and easier to access; well done. FYI, I live in Somerville – you’re in Boston, right? – and there usually a swap once a year or so. I have trouble getting rid of “useful fabric” but the swap helped me let go (and I got some great denim and a whole bolt of metallic grey pleather!). I reduced the size of *my* second box (the leftovers) by about 2/3rds.

  3. September 12, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    Fabric swatches definitely make like a whole lot easier to find the pattern you are wanting to use. I know when I am wanting to start a project, digging through the fabric tub takes so much time! I really like how you wrote out the information to go along with the type of project, especially the purchased area. After so much time, I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast, let alone where I bought a certain swatch of fabric from! Thanks for the tips!

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