Do you keep sewing samples?

Hello friends,
There two types of samples in my sewing room: New techniques trial-outs & materials/tools reference.
Every time I sew a new fabric or technique, I make a little mock up with a sample of the fabric to test various stitches, interfaces and techniques. I love keeping those for later reference. I write the machine feet, the optimum stitch length and even tips on the fabric. When I don’t have a project/fabric in mind I would use muslin as the seam finishes mock up above.
The other type are samples I keep of materials I order on the internet. Particularly great to use later for my trials. Stabilisers are particularly helpful because I will trial a variation of those on the final project sample material and then decide what result suits my purpose before I order the right amount. This can help realise repeated choices. If the case, ordering bolts would result in a cheaper price.
Another fun & useful sample I own are a visual reference of the various types of stitches available on my machine. Instead of having to refers to my manual, I can see a visual representation of the result stitch. That’s very helpful for me as my machine has 294 different stitches…
I’m interested to know, do you keep samples  and how useful they are for your sewing?
  • My samples of fabrics are my ‘drooling-over’ fabrics! Usually those I just love to rub my fingers and eyes over, but would find it hard to pop into my wardrobe.

  • I don’t usually keep my samples but I definitely do them. One of my sewing machines is very moody and I have to test sew on scraps before new projects or when I change needle and/or thread just in case. Your samples are very pretty.

  • I always seem to throw my samples out when I do a big clean up! I really should keep them though, I was given all of my husbands Grandmothers sewing stuff and she kept them all stapled into a notebook with handwritten notes next to each sample and its such a cool thing to flick through her books!

  • I keep a book of each make with sample fabric and photo of item – I also list where fabric and notions are sought and the costs. I always feel virtuous when I have kept the costs down or used a pattern again. However I don’t keep samples nor do I record when things go wrong which on hindsight maybe I should.

  • How organised you are! 🙂 I really like this idea and may just have to do it too. 🙂

  • The only samples I have is a half tailored jacket following a course and my jean muslin

  • This is a great idea, I’ve done this recently for jersey and I’ve stuck a bit of fabric with stitches in my sewing diary and written about the settings I’ve used. I only have 5 stitch options on my machine so I don’t have so many variables! I do keep my sewing diary with project notes and samples of fabric used. Very helpful if I am remaking something, so I can remind myself of any problems.

  • Wow, you’re so organized! Love this idea!

  • Anonymous

    Sim, eu também guardo amostras embora não tenha tantas. Organizo mais os modelos (patterns) utilizados separadamente, com um papel tipo ficha técnica do modelo, tamanho, revista ou fonte, eventuais modificações e uma amostra do tecido usado e a data em que acabei o projecto. Adoro folhetar a minha “folder” de costura!


  • I take my little sewing samples and use scrapbook double sided tape to tape them to a 4×6 index card. I write all the stitch length and width and foot information on the card. I keep them in a little photo album in my sewing room.

  • That’s SOOOO much more organized than I am. I do a lot of testing with each new project, but I rarely save samples after I’m finished with the project.

  • Oh my, you are organised Rachel! I’m afraid I do nothing of the sort… I also only test if its a completely new to me fabric or particularly precious for whatever reason. I’m too impatient I guess!

  • Great idea! I don’t do it, but maybe I should ;o)

  • I make loads of samples in an effort to get the stitching or technique just right. Once I’ve worked it all out I do as you do and on each sample write the needle, tension, stitch length, stitch number, type of thread and even the page number and title if it came from one of my trusty books. I keep two boxes of samples, one for heirloom and the other for non heirloom techniques. These have come in VERY handy when I go to make a new garment but want to use a proven technique.

    Great minds think a like!!!

  • If it’s a tricksy fabric I’ll test, but not keep the sample. You are so organised!

  • I always do samples, or else the sewing gods will smite me. I have never kept them. Now, I see a binder in my future, full of samples and notes. This is a very good idea Rachel, I’m sure it will be handy to have on hand, or at least fun to look through every now and then. Thank you.

  • This is a really great idea! I’m really bad at trying things out or sampling before I get started, I’m too impatient to get things made!
    I’ve nominated you for a blog award! Here’s my post about it