Friday, 5 August 2016

Review: Cora

I mentioned here that I’d been using the fabric catalogue app, Cora, recently. I have heard of similar things before, but have never felt the need to catalogue my fabric stash. It’s sizeable (and currently too big for the space I have available for it) but it’s not huge and generally I can remember what I have. That said, periodically I go through it, and find I have forgotten about something. I have also recently discovered that I have less of some fabrics that I thought, which has been frustrating. Around the time of discovering this, I read about Cora on Zoe’s blog and thought it was worth looking into. Given my current fabric buying restrictions, I thought it would also help in reducing my purchasing and better planning.

Before I discuss my thoughts, I will preface it by saying that I haven’t tried any other apps/systems/software out there that does similar. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever catalogued anything in my life before, so I don’t have much to compare Cora to, but I think it’s great!
The good thing about Cora is that you can try it for free. You can upload max 5 fabrics on the free version, which allows you to get a feel for whether you like it or not. If you do, it costs £4.99 for the upgrade. I very, very rarely pay for apps because I like to spend my money on fabric instead ;), so I have to really like it before I part with cash. The app lets you record a photo of the fabric, plus pretty much everything you’d need: knit/woven, weight, length, width, fabric type and composition, colour, where and when you bought it, how much you paid for it, as well as where you store it, and whether or not it is pre-washed (brilliant!), brand, designer and collection (phew!). There is also a notes section, which is nice for adding project ideas.  It’s clearly designed by, or with input from, a sewer. Most of it is free text, and you can fill in as many or as few sections as you wish.

The colour section is a drop down and the choice is pretty limited at present, although the Cora team have said they are working on improving this. There is also only one “main colour” section, which isn’t ideal for stripes or prints with more than one dominant colour. You can set your default  length and width unit (yards, inches, metres, cm etc), and it also has an acquisition length section – i.e. the amount you bought – as well as how much you have left.

As a cataloguing tool it works well. You can record all info about a fabric in one place and have it all to hand. What would elevate it to the next level would be a more detailed search function. Currently you can rank the fabric on a number of different criteria (e.g. date added, date acquired, type, total paid etc), there is a search function, and (actually I’ve only just realised this) you have the ability to filter (knits, min current length, all lightweight fabrics, fabrics with scraps etc). I think it would be ideal if you could select a couple of filters (e.g. all lightweight wovens where current length is at least 2m). This would really help with matching fabrics to patterns and I have suggested this to the Cora team. 

It obviously takes a long time to get the fabric catalogued, particularly if you are like me and have never recorded any of these details before. I ended up logging on to various stores websites to see if I could track down how much I paid, when I bought it and also if there was any fabric composition details. I found it enjoyable and quite satisfying though. So far I’ve recorded 25 pieces of fabric, or 33m (I buy short lengths!), which I reckon is just slightly more than half of my stash. I have yet to decide if I can be bothered to catalogue my scraps, although there is the ability to do so.
One other thing - you don't set up an account, so if you have more than one device, the info doesn't appear to sync. I have both an iPhone and iPad, and although I have the app on both, I can only see the info on the device I entered it on (my phone). 
All in all, this is a great little app. It’s currently only available on Apple, but they are testing an Android version (they were looking for testers, so get in touch with them if you are interested!), so fingers crossed that will released soon.

I should say, this is a completely unbiased and honest review. I bought and paid for the app and although I’ve chatted with the development team on IG, they have no idea I am blogging about it. I just thought you might like to know my thoughts. 

Have you tried it?


  1. It looks great, I'm patiently waiting for the android version....interesting that they were looking for testers, might need to investigate!

    1. Yes, get in touch! They might still be looking!

    2. Hello, I'm Hélène, Cora's developer/cheerleader/etc! First, thanks for the thorough review and the great suggestions, Helen, I've got them on my list and hope to address them soon.

      As I'm figuring out how to prioritize different ideas, I've set up a survey to gauge interest in an Android version. To be clear, I haven't started building it yet! Liz, you can express interest in eventually being a tester at Thanks!

  2. This looks like it would be a really useful app. I have to confess though, that even though I spend most of my time at work cataloguing I know I'd have no motivation to do it at home! It would be so useful to note when you prewash fabric though as I'm always forgetting and am sure I end up washing things at least twice before I actually get round to sewing with them.

    1. I can imagine that would be a bit of a busman's holiday for you! I did like the prewash bit. I usually resort to smelling my fabric to see if it's been washed, and then wash it anyway, as it always smells of cupboard, regardless! :)


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