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Liberty of London Swatch Portraits

In our teeny-tiny fabric shop, Purl Patchwork, it is a challenge to find fresh ideas to display our favorite products in customer-friendly ways.  We were really scratching our heads when a bunch of new Tana Lawn prints from Liberty of London arrived last week on unruly five-foot-tall bolts!   Our solution:  we filled a handful of simple wooden embroidery hoops with swatches of fabric and displayed them all on the wall like a family portrait gallery. 

These swatch portraits are so easy to make and they make great gifts too! Enjoy!


The Materials

To make one portrait:

The Pattern


Place fabric in the hoop, pull taught.


Turn to wrong side, run a small line of glue around the inside hoop, just next to the fabric.
Press fabric into glue, all the way around.


Allow Glue to dry.


Trim fabric to edge of hoop.


Reader Comments (46)

What a nice idea! Instead of hanging fabrics on a line or tacking them up I think I will try this. I quite enjoy visiting this site. Thank you for the inspiration!
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjess
stunning! What a beautiful display. I've got several of those liberty prints on my wishlist. :)
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjulie
I sooo adore Liberty of London fabric. What a brilliant idea of how to display it !! Clarice
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterclarice
This is the cutest idea ever. I posted a link to your site on mine so others can see it too.
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkm
Very clever stuff girls.
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjuju
what a brilliant idea - and what a gorgeous display of wonderful fabric. I've recently made a blouse from the fabric in the very bottom lefthand corner.
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercaroline
What a fantastic idea! It looks fabulous.
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMaritza
GREAT idea! Something to try in my sewing room! I love it!
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkate
brilliant! I love it!!
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterhillary
i keep coming back to the computer to look at this. i am in love with this idea. thanks
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenternancy
This is a super idea! It looks fantastic and serves as a wonderful display to showcase the fabrics.
March 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJune
I love this idea!! I see embroidery hoops all the time when I'm thrifting, now I have a reason to buy some!
March 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCassi
This is so pretty - simple and adorable! Thanks!
March 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMary-Heather
March 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
That is such a fantastic idea! Could I perhaps use one of your pictures to profile said idea in my own blog? I won't have the funds to try it myself for a while, and I'd like to include it in a post I'm writing up of crafters/artisans/ideas I admire.
March 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCorvus
What a great idea! It makes a change from the photo frame displays- in fact it has given me a great idea to actually use the hoops as photo frames - Can't wait to try it now!
March 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMissLaurence
March 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercheryl
Wow, thank you all for your wonderful comments. We've had such a positive response to this idea, we've gone ahead and made a flickr group for swatch portraits. If you decide to make one, or two, (or 10!) please share your photos here:

thanks! --purlbee
March 5, 2007 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
i really really love this idea. another thing you could do is paint the hoops different coordinating colors. also - could you use double-sided tape instead of glue incase you wanted to swap out the fabric for different seasons or looks?
March 5, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercristina
Love the embroidery hoop idea, I know what I'm going to do with my favourite fabrics.
March 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJennie
i love the idea, too!
March 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercindy k
Brilliant idea and wounderful fabric!
March 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRedwork in Germany
What a stunning image! You do great things with fabric, ladies!

I do a similar display with my knitted swatches using small 5x5 shadow box frames. Might as well use them rather than just have them lying around!
March 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterThe Steph
What a wonderful display of fabrics! I have some that I will share in your new group!!!

love your blog--keep up the great work!

March 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersheree
I love the bird and cherry blossom fabrics...such a sweet, simple idea that looks gorgeous. Well done Purl!
March 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
I saw this linked over at Decor8 and love it--it's perfect for those of us *compelled* to buy pretty fabrics but not enough projects to use them up! Thanks for the idea!
March 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermel
I discovered your blog on the Adorn blog site when they posted a link to this.

What a lovely idea!
March 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
What a lovely cut !!!
March 14, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbribri
this is AMAZING! gorgeous!
March 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjoy
i love this idea...i want to use it in my bedroom.
March 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpunky
I may very well be the last person on the planet to blog about your framed fabrics idea, but here it is:

As usual, you set the bar! Thanks a ton!
March 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChristi
Wow what a great idea! I saw this featured on Alicia Paulson's blog, Posie Gets Cozy.

I have some remnants and beginnings of quilted fabric that belonged to my mom who is now deceased. Till now I haven't known what to do with them . Thanks so much. Plan to look for hoops after work today. I have a Flickr account so if I may, I'll post to your group when they're done. Thanks again, Josie
April 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJosie Soho
I was inspired by your brilliant idea so I put up a few in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing!
April 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMona
You're a genious! Fabulous idea!
April 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSofia
I am *way* behind the times here! I am dying for that bird print (brown flowers) but I couldn't find it on your fabric list......
June 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Unfortunately, that fabric was a seasonal print by Liberty and is now completely gone... We loved it too!
June 10, 2007 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
How cool!! Great idea!
October 18, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterstyle saves the world
This photo inspired me to make some frames with embroidered linen. See photos here:
January 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthelongthread
Wow, I am in love with this idea, finally a way to enjoy the fabric just for the fabric you know.
March 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramerica
I've been wanting to do this for a while but haven't found a good stash of reasonably priced embroidery hoops yet. Then to decide what fabrics to put in them!
July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeaghan
Just love this idea and love your blog. I get so much inspiration by visiting. Keep up the good work!!
September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJamrah Crafty Creations
This wall is gorgeous. I'm going to do a small wall with embroidery hoops going up my stairs. Thanks!!
January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie
I just found this site and am so glad I did. I love the idea of putting fabrics in my embroidery hoops of which I have several in many sizes. Love the fabrics on this site also. A little pricey for me but maybe someday I can afford to buy a little bit anyway. I'd like to have something little different than usual. I'll be back often to look into what all is on this site. I love sewing and hand work. Must have been meant to be for me to find this site, so glad I did.
May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaneEllen
Thank you so much for this neat idea. I'm a seamstress, crafter, quilter, etc....... Lived in Hawaii all of my life and retired now at age of 65. I love thrift shopping. I'm so inspired
by your blog. That's a great project to start
January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulie K.
Gasp (puts head between knees to recover from such a beautiful thing). I love Liberty of London so much. I can see this being so pretty on a sewing room wall...what about using a bunch of pretty vintage fabric for this?
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCW
Hi CW-

Sure. This works with any woven fabric.

Thanks for writing in!

March 3, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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