Have you ever bought fabric online, only to be disappointed by its actual color when it showed up on your doorstep? Representing fabric color accurately online is notoriously difficult due to a number of factors, including monitor calibration. But even if you calibrate perfectly, you still have to trust that the fabric was scanned in/photographed properly and color-corrected. Yeah, I was lost back at monitor calibration.
The last time I went to my machine quilter, Deana and I had a discussion about Pantone colors and the textile world. The Pantone Matching System “is the definitive international reference for selecting, specifying, matching and controlling ink colors.” Deana buys a lot of thread and fabric online and said her life would be a whole lot easier if wholesalers and retailers mentioned the closest Pantone color match. We also both talked about how we’d love to have some sort of fashion+home cotton swatch set, but these products range from $495 to $4,200! Colors look different on fabric than they do on paper, hence the different substrates.
Later Deana sent me this link, which mentions that Gorgeous Fabrics and Emma One Sock specify the Pantone color(s) of the fabrics they sell. It also linked to the Pantone Shopping Color Guide, a $19.95 color fan geared toward consumers for situations just like the one we’re talking about here. But if you’re serious about accurate color, the full guides (uncoated paper would be the best representation next to the actual Pantone cotton swatches) are not too much more of an investment.
The comments on the Sewing Divas post bring up the fact that Pantone is a proprietary system, and the colors/numbers are their intellectual property and cannot be used without a licensing agreement with the company. Does anyone know more about that? I will research and post my findings.