Swatches : A Sourcebook of Patterns with More Than 400 Fabric Designs
By Dorsey Sitley Adler and Robert D. Adler Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95 This pleasingly chunky book is sized perfectly for flipping through, making the job of zeroing in on the right fabric for that chair or pair of drapes much less burdensome than lugging around unruly sample books. In fact, you’d have to juggle quite a stack to see the range of fabrics pictured in this excellent resource, compiled by a husband-and-wife textile-expert team. The Adlers are the founders of the largest privately owned textile library in the country, and their archives are bursting with more than 4 million pattern swatches, ranging from nineteenth-century historical patterns to contemporary fabrics. Though the book offers a mere fraction of those archives, the 400 fabric swatches pictured are well edited and helpfully organized by pattern type, including stripes (ombre, ticking, variegated, twist yarn), geometrics (polka dots, deco, op-art, foulard), ethnics (tropical, paisley, batik, overprinted madras) and plaids (tattersall check, herringbone, houndstooth). What’s more, there’s just one full swatch pictured per page, making it easier to see. The text is spare—this is a look book on the order of a fan of paint chips—but what little accompanies each chapter may help the truly undecided; it describes the origins of and typical uses for each pattern.