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Nifty Notions - Product Review : Swatch Buddies

- Swatch Buddies 4 piece

How many shades of grey? Of course there are many more than just 50 … Judy Hall reviews a clever product which will help quilters and dressmakers organise all their colours and shades, and make fabric selection in stores easier.

Picture this… are in your favourite patchwork shop and you know what shade the fabric you have at home is, so it won’t be difficult to match it. You browse the fabric shelves and choose exactly what you need to co-ordinate with those left at home to make your ‘story’ complete.
Great, you’ve found the perfect match, so you return home, proud of yourself, thinking about your sewing weekend ahead. You lay all your fabrics out on the cutting table but ‘oh no!’ disaster strikes. They don’t sing together at all. What you should have done was take a sample of each fabric with you so as you didn’t have to rely upon your excellent memory, but that’s bulky or, if you did cut little samples you can’t find them now.

What you need are some Swatch Buddies. Some what?

Swatch Buddies are a set of reusable plastic tags on a chain with adhesive strips to attach your fabric swatches – similar to a paint sampler which allows you to match a paint colour with your furnishings, curtains and carpet etc. Swatch Buddies allow you to match one fabric with another, co-ordinate a story, avoid duplicate purchases (at least you are consistent if you buy the same fabric twice in error) keep track of your stash and just keep yourself organised.

- Swatch Buddies compare

- Swatch Buddies 12 piece in packet

- Swatch Buddies 12 piece fanned open


How to Use:

Peel and stick the adhesive template which comes in the pack to the wrong side of your fabric. Cut out the swatch with pinking shears or regular scissors leaving some fabric surrounding the template. Peel the protective film off the template and adhere it to the plastic swatch card. Peel and stick the label to the back side of the swatch.

Because Swatch Buddies are mounted on a ring, it is easy to fan out the cards and place one or more upon the fabric you are considering purchasing to make it easy for comparison matching. They even have packs of bulk cards which are easily added via the ring joiner.

- Swatch Buddies 24 piece back

- Swatch Buddies open ring

- Swatch Buddies refill kit

- Swatch Buddies Refills

Swatch Buddies come in a choice of 12, 24 or 48 per packet plus a bulk pack of 100 cards and a packet of extra adhesive tape and labels. They are one of the best new products I found at the Houston Quilt Market because I could appreciate the practical use to save time and money whilst fabric shopping as they will take the guesswork away allowing perfect fabric choices. I also liked the compact sizing for easy portability and was given the idea of attaching them to my bag with a d-ring. (How did some stranger know that I was forever searching for items in my bag?) Another suggestion was to attach a Swatch Buddies to the outside your fabric stash boxes with a list of what you have inside.

- Swatch Buddies on bag

- Swatch Buddies on box

Did you ever forget where you purchased some fabric?

Of course, all the time, particularly when you run short of a fabric which you need to complete that last block! Never again, because the labels on the back of each card allow you to fill in where you purchased that fabric, which collection, who the designer was and how much fabric you purchased? You’ll be surprised how valuable this recorded information may be. The plastic cards are extremely durable and will last for as long as your project takes to complete and that can be years!

Better news still is that they are reusable. When one project is finished, simply remove the label and fabric swatch and reload new ones for your next project. Do you have more than one project on the go simultaneously? (and who doesn’t?) then create Swatch Buddies rings for each project.

You can even create colour palettes to help build your stash by loading swatches of different colour groups on different rings. Once you have a collection, it will be easy to design fabric colour themes using your swatches.


- Swatch Buddies blue palette

I hope that this review of an exciting new product, Swatch Buddies, will help dressmakers and quilters alike with the ease of matching fabrics whilst shopping with greater accuracy, saving time and money in purchasing the right fabric the first time. I know you will realize how easy they are to use and how extremely portable and flexible they are to adapt to any size collection of fabrics.

Thanks are offered to Missy & Dave Azen for having such a great idea and making available such a high quality product. Swatch Buddies will be readily available at most good fabric stores in the New Year but Punch with Judy has advanced stock arrived already.