Fashion Major Problems: Early AM Swatching


The life of a fashion design major in NYC isn’t as glamorous as people would expect it to be. It’s a lot of late nights at the sewing lab, daily runs to the art stores, and very early mornings to go swatching. By Thursday, my class and I are borderline delusional, hardly making any sense, non stop giggling, and looking like we have been up for days (thank the lord for under eye concealer!).

After my 5ish hours of sleep last night, I woke up early enough to go to a fabric store, 10 blocks away, to go collect swatches to use in my portfolio. It would seem logical to just go later in the day and sleep an extra few hours, but of course my favorite fabric store only has swatching hours from 8am to 9am. A fashion major has to do what a fashion major has to do.

In case you are still confused about what “swatching is”… let me fill you in. When designing and illustrating clothing you have to take in to mind how heavy the fabric will be, which way the grain will go, how the fabric will look from different views, the texture, and so on… In order to have accurate illustrations, getting samples of your desired fabric, whether woven or knit, is necessary. The samples are generally 5 inches long and about 3 inches wide. These swatches will also be cut apart and added into a fashion portfolio.


Examples… (ABOVE) Fabric swatches can be displayed in a portfolio anyway the designer desires! I like to switch it up. Sometimes I place them randomly in a scrapebooky sort of way, or sometimes I cut them into perfect squares and place them in a pattern. (BELOW) I had a swatch of a lightweight woven floral print fabric a few years back and had to illustrate and render what it would look like as a scarf! (remind you, this was a few years ago and is also a picture taken of the project)


As annoying as it was to wake up earlier than usual it was also completely worth it. Imagine a kid in a candy store, that’s me in a fabric store. I’m also embarrassed to say I have a ton of fun looking at all the fabric and touching it all. Well, I guess that’s just another one to add to my list of “Fashion Major Problems”.

(The picture fabric all the way at the top is what I got today!)

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