SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. Yup – I had to look it up. Why should quilters even care about SKUs? Yes, we need them if we want to make a quilt exactly as designed. But what else does a SKU do?

If you are shopkeeper, designer or suppliers, SKUs keep your world running smoothly. You can ask for a XXXX-YYY instead of the blue thing-a-ma-bob. In my world, there are lots of whodiggies, whatchamacallits, and no the other ones….

And the men in my life, sorry guys, love to debate color with me. For you Monty Python fans – What is your favorite color? Its red, no blue – AHHHHH!

The SKUs help me explain fabrics in very simple terms. Honest, once you crack the code. They are like gold! So, do you want me to let you in on the secrets? Those codes really do mean something. What I am about to tell you is 90% true. So, please don’t get upset if you find a few exceptions to these rules. I know they exist, but these are really good guidelines.

Most fabric SKUs come in two parts. They vary in length and are separated by a space or a dash or something else noticeable. The first half of the code is the design on the fabric. The second half is the color.

Let’s use these four fabric swatches from Hoffman Fabrics Sparkle and Fade collection. The first two have U4998 as they design code, while the second two have U5002 as the design code. Pretty simple right? The white-silver swatches all have a color code of 3S (White is 3 and Silver is S). Meanwhile, the black-silver swatches have a color code of 4S (Black is 4 and Silver is S).

Let’s try another one. This time a little more difficult. These are three Northcott fabrics from the Avalon collection. The first two fabrics have the same pattern, therefore the same pattern code of 24847. The last two fabric have the same base color green, which is color code 49.

In the previous blog post, I mentioned there was a way to match fabrics without the registration. This is how. Say you fall in love with Northcott’s 24847-49 and you are looking for the perfect color to pair with it in a quilt. But you are not confident that you can pick just the right colors. The easiest way is to stay with the same manufacturer and find the right codes. If you are looking for green, pick a fabric ending in “49”. If you are looking for cream, pick a fabric ending in “12”. This trick works great within a fabric company.

Can you use this trick between fabric lines? I am not well versed in all the fabric codes, so it would definitely be challenge. That is not to say you can’t do it. But that may require a bit more advanced color theory. Stay tuned…. These will be more to come on that this fall.

Happy Quilting!