Color Tabbing with Flaurie & Finch

Fabric shopping. Let’s not kid ourselves, is one of the best parts of quilting!! Seeing what is new, building that dream stash, not leaving empty handed because we wouldn’t survive without that fabric in our sewing room!

For me personally fabric shopping is part of my creative process. I love to see what colors are popular that year or letting my mind wander off with the endless possibilities of what I could make (or how beautiful it will be folded up in my stash). I often go with my mom or sister and make a whole day out of it. It’s really a time to sneak away, grab lunch and be with people that can understand my undying love of FABRIC.

As I have cruised the endless isles of heaven, I have often thought how does fabric come from an idea to my hand? I, like many of you follow designers closely waiting for their new lines to be released, to see what they have come up with next. So how does this happen? What are the steps from design to production to purchasing?


So I asked the lovely ladies from Flaurie & Finch how an idea becomes a fabric line and they gave me a crash course in color tabbing. After a designer’s idea for a fabric line gets approved it is then printed on high-quality paper. It has a color reference strip called a color window that has the correct and desired colors chosen from the fabric designer. This print is shipped to our manufacturers in Japan, color tested and a formula is mixed creating the colors that will be used to screen print the sample. This process takes six weeks and what is returned is called a strike off. In additional to the sample of fabric, there is a color window that will be used to match the intended color.


After the first strike off is received a process called color tabbing is performed for each individual piece of fabric that has been printed in Japan. Color tabbing is comparing the original printed color window and the screen printed color window to make sure that they colors match. If a color doesn’t match the desired colors the boards and samples are sent back to Japan with notes for the manufacturers and another strike off is sent back. Once the colors match up they are approved and sent into production. Many times it can take up to three strike offs to achieve the correct color. RJR Fabrics and our manufacturers in Japan strive to achieve the perfect product and make sure every piece of fabric is handled with care and respect before it goes into production and sent to you.


After learning about this process you can really see all the thought and care that goes into each and every piece of fabric. For me, It really shows that each piece is designed with intent and is a piece of art that we can cherish and make our own.

Happy Quilting,


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