Swatchbooks were made and used for a variety of purposes: fabric manufacturers, agents and merchants assembled large swatchbooks to record and promote the latest fabric designs to markets at home and abroad. The books were also prepared by pattern services who sold fabric designs by various manufacturers. With the increasing variety of fabrics available in the early 20th century fabric shops also held swatchbooks from which their customers could choose the fabric lengths they would like to order.
Some of the swatchbooks in the Powerhouse Museum’s collection have come from textile factories where they were used by generations of printers, weavers and designers as a continuous source of inspiration. Through this site we are providing access to this rich resource for future generations of designers.
Use the Powerhouse Museum’s electronic swatchbook of fabrics as part of your next design project and share with us how you’ve incorporated the designs into your work. Send an email with an image and description to firstname.lastname@example.org.