Perfect Swatches

On job descriptions for fabric interns and assistants, I always include “cut neat swatches.” Straight cut swatches are a great look for a fabric department. It makes us appear neat, organized, and professional, even on days when we are completely distracted and can only talk about tv shows and haircuts.

The fabric team cuts hundreds of swatches a season, probably a couple thousand a year. We pin them to design boards, fabric cards, production documents, and dozens of presentations. Until now, we had been using a ruler and rotary cutter to cut swatches. That was fine for most fabrics, but nothing worked for lightweight, soft, silky fabrics. No matter how hard we tried, those seemingly straight-cut swatches looked like amorphous nothings by the time we held them up.

During this past holiday break, I came up with the perfect swatch cutting tool, called the Swatchburger. 

For larger swatches I used a 3/16″ A36 6″X 8″ steel sheet plate for the base and a 6” stainless steel burger press for the handle, and glued them together with industrial strength E6000. For small swatches, I used a 1/16″ A36 3″ x 4″ steel sheet plate for the base and a 51mm espresso tamper for the handle, glued together with industrial strength E6000.

Use these tools to guide your rotary cutter and voilà… perfect swatches are made neater, faster. And with the larger one, you can also press your burgers.