I was making my friend Sabrina a baby sling for her darling baby Jack with some StarWars and beach print fabric she picked out from fabricworm.com. Of course I over-ordered the yardage I would need for the sling thinking I could make Jack and my Zoe some pants out of the fun fabrics. After I cut out the pants from the usual simple pattern I used, I looked down at the fabric and thought that what was left already looked like a pillowcase-top pattern.
So, I lopped off the extra fabric:
Folded it in half so the arm-holes would be symmetrical:
I then stitched it together on the sides and covered the arm-holes and top with 1/2″ bias-tape and tucked in some natural, cotton ribbon I had laying around from a present or something.
In the end, a pretty cute summer outfit. I think I’ll keep the selvage showing for now – it’s sorta cute.
I might be getting carried away with the bias-tape and the pillow-case tops. I made Hazel a top and skirt out of a teal gingham. I have more and will make Zoe a matching outfit. Yay for matchy matchy girls, or ew?
I started reading these darling posts about all of these faux chenille baby blankets and they look sooooo darling and comfy and easy to do, I thought I’d whip up a few. I was so convinced that this was going to be the thing that I was going to make for all of the pregnant people that I know (6!), that I bought the tool at Joann’s to make it easier.
“I must point out that like most quilting, this blanket takes a while to make. It’s not as time-consuming as true quilting. But be prepared for tedious hours of sewing line after line after line and cutting, cutting, cutting. I don’t want to make it sound boring. It really is a fun project (and so cool when you see the final product washed and chenilled up). But just be prepared for the commitment and think of this cuteness laying on top of it. Totally worth it.” (bolded for my satisfaction)
In true Becky fashion, I skimmed right over that and focused on the “really fun project” part. In hindsight I see how those two items contradict SO MUCH that only one can be possible. It isn’t the “really fun project” that is the winner.
Yes, I whine. I just didn’t think that between kids, cooking, cleaning and this, that my entire weekend would be toast. Squeezing this in between all of that may also be the reason why I skim instructions/information as well. Or I read it on my tablet as I’m falling asleep in bed. Either way, I’m not the best destruction instruction follower. This does not in anyway lessen the tedious factor…just maybe explains some of the wonky factor.
So, Wonky Factor 1. I didn’t choose a lined fabric. Joann’s had flannel on sale and I saw this darling brown and light blue polka dot thing and the bill started ticketing up from there. I just moved and can’t find my longer rotary cutter guide for the life of me, so had to draw lines every inch with my smaller guide. I lose.
As you can see, I broke up the tedious line drawing with tedious line sewing and so on. I only drew lines every inch and eye-balled sewing lines in-between. As you can see, my version of a straight line varies. I wasn’t too worried however, the dotted side lends itself to some wavy lines and the white side was going to be shredded, er, chenille.
Wonky Factor 2. Sigh. I skipped the part where she clearly explained to sew the middle line first. It really didn’t end up being a big deal other than I lost more fabric all around than I probably needed to…but not so much that I still didn’t end up with a 42″ square. No, really, this overhang hugeness was mostly from my original cavalier cutting, as I’d knew there’d be shifting. I did lose more than I needed to, admittedly.
Oh, that lame photo from my phone looks even worse once inserted. Oh well.
Here’s where the wonky gets better. This was late Sunday night. I finally got to use my shredder. That is what it should really be called. It has a stationary rotary blade. Stationary. I don’t know why I thought the engineering would be more complicated and that it would work like a regular rotary blade just with it’s own ‘mat’ but I’m not an engineer so I like to think they can make all kinds of things that aren’t really possible. This tool hooks in the layers of fabric and you push it like you would opened scissors on wrapping paper, only with a lot more resistance. ‘Cause it’s fabric. Yeah. On a baby blanket, I rotated that blade at least 5 times to get a ‘fresh’ side…I can’t imagine the blades lasting more than 2 baby blankets at best, however, I’d have given up if I was using scissors. Sorta damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Overall, I like the tool ok, but it’s relegated to hot pads if I ever attempt this insanity again. Small, tiny, pre-lined, hot pads.
I used a dinner plate to round the corners. I’ve never done this before! I will never ever ever miter bias tape corners again! Everything will be rounded!
When all is said and done, it’s a very substantial blanket. It has been taken outside on the grass, it has been spit up on, drooled on, rolled around on, napped on – it’s beyond comfy, cuddly, and soft. It has some weight to it, that’s for certain, which makes it a great play blanket and a lot easier to not give away. That and I want to remember why I’m never, ever doing it again.
As mentioned, I like ordering online. It frees up some of my very limited time. I don’t have to drive to multiple stores, tinker around until I am satisfied with what I want while maneuvering around other people doing the same thing…I can just tinker with an online cart and it will be sent to me.
For my next experiment, I ordered fabric and notions from 3 different online companies: Fabric.com, Fabricworm and Dove Original Trims. I can’t stand it when they take forever to actually ship from the store. Can’t stand it. I ordered from Zulily.com once and it will only ever be once because of that very thing. I like simple, clean websites with very easy navigation. A great website with a janky Yahoo store is a pain. Using Paypal also makes me cringe – I know how much money is going to Paypal and can’t help but wonder if the prices would be lower if it wasn’t for that or maybe the hard working crafters would at least get more (hello Etsy).
So, without further ado, here’s the fabric online ordering list.
Selection. Huge, ginormous online selection. Ginormous. This can be a hindrance in the organization category. I searched for chevron fabric. I could see by the breadcrumb/navigation trail that they listed it as ‘zigzag’ first. Ok, resubmitted search for zigzag pattern. Then I found two options in yellow that I was looking for: one was an outdoor fabric and one was a cotton slub – neither are good for the baby blanket I’m going to make. Now, due to the option of looking through thousands of ‘pattern’ fabric or just using this janky search, I can’t say for sure that there wasn’t another cotton option, but this is about saving my sanity, not spending all day on a website. This is not a kill for me, just an observation that adds up. (PS, I feel validated in saying janky when I put in a search for “organic” and get PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) as an option.) However, you can get just about anything your heart desires. If you know you like Amy Butler for example, and who doesn’t, she’s easy to find with her own icon right on the front page. You can also search by designer. I ordered a ton, well, 4 lbs. of gingham. it all came neatly rolled onto a sturdy cardboard tube. I have no complaints.
Shipping. Ok, so there is free shipping over $35. That’s really good. So when I made an order for $71.64 on June 6, 2012 at 11 PM (so granted that’s more like June 7), I’d reasonably think they’d arrive by the 14th. I got a shipping notification on June 13th, 2012 and the package didn’t arrive until June 19th. That’s a bit too long for me. If I really don’t want the fabric I ordered for almost 2 weeks, and I don’t see myself thinking that way, or I just have to have something that only Fabric.com carries…maybe I’ll order again but right now they are on a back burner for me.
Cart. Eh. I don’t love their purchasing cart. I have an ‘account’ but for some reason as I enter the purchase process again, it doesn’t remember my addresses. What a pain. Paypal is an option if that’s your thing but I have no Paypal love.
Overall satisfaction: C
Selection. Cute. Boutique-y, and priced accordingly. The most adorable patterns and options. They had my yellow chevron fabric, and when I emailed to ask if the 100% cotton was slub or not, just to be sure, I got a response in about an hour. They price the fabric at 1/2 yard, which is a little weird, and I’m sure it has something to do with using a Yahoo cart, but it’s not that big of a deal. They have good sales sprinkled with great sales – especially when you consider the caliber of fabric. I love the clean(ish) layout, the way the sections are broken up and the general navigation.
Shipping. I have ordered twice from Fabricworm and shipments have shipped in about 24 hours and arrived in about 3 days. That is perfect for me. Both orders were in the $60 range and shipping was $5.50. They do giveaways and have coupons/sales often enough to make me feel like I’m getting that $5.50 back, so I’m ok with it – especially with that delivery speed. The fabric comes neatly folded in a ziploc bag via USPS.
Cart. Eh. I don’t like Yahoo carts. It’s a pain to go back to the store and in the instance of my second order at Fabricworm.com they items from my first order were still in the cart when I made my second order…that’s janky. I concede Fabricworm is small and, like I mentioned, boutique-y, so I shrug it off. I also used Paypal for my order. Eh. If that convenience is there – it’s sort of like going to Burgerville – I might go there for convenience but I really don’t feel that good about it and everyone is a little poorer as an end result.
Overall satisfaction: A- (only because I don’t like Yahoo stores. If I had to consider price I might drop it a bit more, but my tax bracket level isn’t Fabricworm’s responsibility.)
Selection. Amazing. If you love rick rack like I do or have learned how much of a pain it is to make bias tape but hate paying $6 for a few yards, then you will love it too. I bought a spool of 50 yards of white bias tape and some lavender bias tape that was on clearance (!) in one order and a huge roll (12 yards) of 1 inch elastic in another. I am very happy with both.
Shipping. The roll of elastic shipped out the day after my 2 pm order on 6/22 and arrived on 6/25. Can’t complain about that. Shipping was $4.45 on the elastic order, $6.45 on the bias tape order, but at her almost-wholesale prices and speed, I can’t complain too much.
Cart. Well, I get the impression this store-site is a one-woman-show. While I’m not going to take the time to look at her source code, it looks like some purchased turn-key site from over a decade ago. At her prices, selection and speed, I can deal with it. The site is pretty easy to navigate, and well, again used the evil Paypal. It’s true.