Hey, Crepe

“I don’t like you,” I say to a fabric header as I look at a hairy, spun rayon crepe, before tossing it in the trash. Riley, thinking I’m talking to her, is momentarily offended.

“You are amazing,” I say to an intricate antique-inspired fil coupé. Without looking up, Riley says, “Thanks!”

Talking to fabrics can help curate a fabric library. It forces us to carefully look at each fabric sample, and think about whether it would make something nice, or at least be worth a spot on a design table. If it’s not, we can toss it, and not waste anyone’s time inquiring about it, sampling it, or even filing it away.

Anyone working in fabric research knows that stuff piles up fast. We tend to keep things just-in-case we need it someday. But what happens when we keep more fabric samples than we immediately need, without having enough time to file the rest away? Piles of swatches grow into mounds of chaos. And when the time comes to pull that one that we kept just-in-case, we can’t even find it. 

So, I have developed this lo-fi system of organizing a fabric library. I talk to each new fabric and ask it if it’s special, or if it’s not worth the trouble. If I need it for a current season, then great! It moves along to the next stage of consideration. If it’s for a future season, then I ask it where in the library it would like to live, and where can I find it when the time comes.

This system is overly simple and a little weird, but it actually works. And Riley, you’re amazing too.