Monday, January 11, 2010


As a designer, fabric samples are a part of almost every project. When you start picking fabric, you begin with your color theme and start pulling fabrics from within "the palette". You usually start by pulling loads and loads of them within your scheme.

As you check wear ratings, color lots, stock and your clients preferences, you start to narrow it down to maybe five, then three, then THE ONE. The one your client has to have for that sofa, drapery or toss cushion. Its is magic once you find that ONE. It is the jumping off point, the element that starts bringing other things together. You have your direction... the paint is selected, the drapery, co-ordinating fabrics.....

 You then return the samples to your supplier and they go back on the hangers.
Until they get discontinued, which they do all the time.

Color and style preferences change so often, the fabric houses have to come up with new and better ones. There are dozens of fabric houses, all of which send hundreds and hundreds of their samples to hundreds and hundreds of showrooms, designers, workrooms and upholsterers, in dozens of countries.

 So what happens to the truckloads of samples that are discontinued. Some go to design schools for project sample boards, and the bulk of them??? THEY GET THROWN OUT. Yes trashed. (I am sure somewhere, someone puts them to good use, so if you know, let me know).

Not one to see an opportunity go to waste, I rescued several boxes of these samples in some of the finest mohair, velvet, silk and cottons. I made a few toss cushions, and gift bags, but started to think of a bigger, better use for them.

I contacted my cousin Sam who works with women in Peru who sew to make a living for their familys. She thinks they could use them, but they need ideas and maybe samples of what they could do with them. Just think of the cottage industry these samples could provide to women around the world.

If you have a brilliant idea for their use, I would love to hear your ideas as to what you could do with the bits.  They are all 18" x 18", and are a mix of upholstery weight and drapery wieght.  I will post some of the ideas here later. Email me at


Examples of the gorgeous fabric samples thrown away.

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I love to read each and every comment and are thrilled that you take the time to send one. Thank you so much. Chania