One of the many issues we deal with in the sampling process is to access the information our customers need from us in order to make an informed decision about their purchase. We look at the length of the fabric from a number of different angles. Is there a discernible repeat? Is the overall story one that is dramatically vertical or horizontal? What are the dominant colors when determining coordinates, etc. We do our best to get this information out to our customers both in catalog copy for the subscribers and in the descriptions on the web site.It’s really one of the most interesting parts of the process for most of us who are sewers. It draws our attention away from the overall beauty of the fabric to the practical side of working with it in the sewing room.
Recently, we laid out a stretch velvet for the Winter Collection. To our surprise, the gradation of color was in fact more like an ombre effect than a splotchy one that we had assumed from our sample piece. We needed to relay this information to our customers. Some will want to match at least light area to light area; others will want to match exactly which is a much longer repeat. So we will list a repeat and a half repeat to accomodate both personalities. Where do we stand? Most of us would choose the half repeat match, finding that it is ample to make the garment look well made without spending arduous time and possible waste in laying out to the full repeat. Of course, much depends on the type of garment being constructed. Our feeling is that if we give the customer enough information. s/he will be able to determine the best route for her/his project.
Another discovery in that layout was with a beautiful brocade in brown and black. The motifs that we thought were paisley are actually more paisley-esque than actual paisleys and they line up soldier style rather than randomly across the width of the fabric. This too will require attention to matching that we would not have known before seeing the full piece. We are very sensitive to the fact that our customers are making their buying choices from a small swatch of fabric and a photo on the web site. We do everything we can to make the process fool proof. We are always open to calls or email requesting more information about the fabric.