A Touching Moment

A Touching Moment

Recently I had the opportunity to pinch hit in the sampling process.  What a joy! I was instantly transported to that wonderful place where vision begins and creativity takes over.  Just the ability to feel the whole experience of each fabric is so transformative.

Insert photo of layout here. Woops, we lost it…you’ll have to use your imagination on this one.

My office is filled with fabric samples…some are small scraps of solids, others are about 10 inches square,  most are about ½ yard strips.

Sample Rack
Receiving strips help with copywriting

These receiving strips help me when I write the copy for the mailers and the web store. It is enough fabric to identify colors, motifs, drape, and hand.

I never write the copy without a look at the full piece.  I take seriously the responsibility I have to be the “eyes” of my customers.

Swatch samples
Pairing coordinates

The full view allows me to see what is not visible in a small strip of a print…the overall effect of the print. You will find words to that effect in my copy, but nothing can replace the benefits of a good photo…thanks Colleen! Look at the swatch in the middle of the box above.  The print paired with a solid purple is our viscose knit from France.  Now look at the photo below for the full impact.


Jagged--viscose jersey knit

What is harder to explain is the experience of handling the fabric. If you have a swatch of the fabric, you miss out on the full display of the print, but you win in that you can judge the hand of the sample.  I do my best with words like soft, creamy, crisp, substantial, etc. to help our customers understand the drape and we use “matilda” our resident model.

Watch the fall from the shoulders to judge the drape

It sounds like I’m making a case for shopping locally…well, in a way I am.  Wouldn’t all of us prefer to view the full piece in our own location, even at home if we could?  But this isn’t possible for most of our customers.  They rely on us and have come to trust us with that responsibility.

Here are two fabrications that I think look somewhat similar in the photos, but are very different fabrics.

Burnt Cork Texture
Burnt Cork Close Up
Textured Silk
Treebark-Close Up

The yarns in Burnt Cork, above, are thick and soft, woven with textural contrasting wide ribbon-like sections. The resulting weave is slightly loose making it ideal for less constructed jackets.

Treebark features a rustic tweed in tan and white alternating with fine yarns in sesame tan.  Separated  by thick earthy brown variegated yarns that are stitched together giving a rough hewn look to the stripe. Crisp with lots of surface interest, this stunning jacketing will work up in  structured top or suit.


Best Match Service
Best Match Service


We are always available for questions.  We can match two fabrics that you’ve chosen and tell you if it works.  We can respond to questions about drape and applicability to a certain silhouette.  We can match thread, lining, interfacing, zippers and buttons.


We do our best to give you a virtual touching moment.



5 Responses to “A Touching Moment”

  1. Jenny


    Feeling and writing about fabrics, and pairing them up sounds like a fun job!

  2. Lizgoldgraber


    I am a relatively new customer, and love this site and your descriptions.  I live 7000 miles away and have my purchases sent to my son’s house, where I pick them up on my next visit.  Without your wonderful descriptions and Matilda’s photos, I would never be able to make an educated decision about my purchases.  Actually, I just wouldn’t purchase.  I have returned to sewing after many years, and in part have you to thank.  Thank you so much for this incredible site! 

    • Sawyer Brook Fabrics


       So good to hear this from you!  We are glad to get to know you and appreciate your comments about the site.  We are constantly working at better ways to show off the wonderful fabrics that we find. 

  3. Lynda Alford


    I have just read your blog from top to bottom and just want to say  a few things.  I have been a now and again customer since SB got started in the 1970’s.  In those day I sewed for myself and a bit later for my daughter whose in now what my Mother would call a ‘clothes horse’!  I got away from sewing my clothes because I went back to work and didn’t have the time and about 15 years ago I started making quilts so that was my sewing time.  Now I have grandchildren but would like to go back to sewing for myself. 

    Last night I watched a program about the designing and sewing of Princesses wedding dresses and wondered what my life would have been like if I had chosen sewing as a career.  I was taught to sew at school (I was bought up in the U.K. and everyone did it) but the teacher was ‘not a match’ with me and so I went into another field.  I often think about her when I finish a lovely quilt which she wouldn’t have liked!!

    My love of fabric is just what you say – going through my stash and patterns fills me with excitement and even when I haven’t got much time I can just sit and dream.

    I am recovering from heart surgery right now and am grateful that I can still do all the things I love and hope that you all will continue to inspire me.


    • Sawyer Brook Fabrics


       Thanks for your comments Lynda.  We hope your recovery continues and that you find the solace you need in your sewing room.  I love your musings about the road not taken.  I always say I plan to come back in my next life as a textile designer…now that would be fun!

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