Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Buyer Beware

I love buying fabric on-line.  Beautiful photos, unlimited selection, no lines or traffic, and I can shop in my pajamas.  What could be better?  Buyer beware -- there is a dark side to internet fabric shopping.

As you know, my computer was recently on the fritz, but what I didn't mention is that while it was in the shop I was working on submissions for a weekend quilts magazine.  Fabulous timing.  Two weeks before the deadline I discovered that I didn't have enough border/binding fabric for one of my submissions.  I wasn't sure I remembered where or when I bought it (one of the hazards of a growing stash), but I was able to find a scrap of selvage with the manufacturer's name on it.  It was a blender type of fabric, so I decided to check out the manufacturer's website to try to find the name for the exact color. 

I borrowed my husband's iPad and through the screen protector film and fingerprints (the kids love the iPad), I was able to discern 8 different green fabrics.  After consulting with my daughter, I was pretty sure that the color that I was looking for was "Bright Lime Green."  So I found an on-line store that carried "Bright Lime Green" and ordered a yard.  I also decided to order a half-yard of a darker "Medium Green" from a second store that I had never used before just in case I decided to go a different route with my outer border.  Shopping finished, I happily moved on to another project.

4 days later, the "Bright Lime Green" arrived and it was decidedly not the right color.  I still had 10 days before the deadline, so back to the iPad I went.  I tried a third store this time that had helpful descriptions next to the fabric photos.  I was certain that "Mojito" had to be the right color, but to be on the safe side, and because the price was right, I added a half-yard of "Envy" to my cart too.  While shopping, I found a fourth store that had some "Bright Green" and because I was still convinced that I was working with a bright green fabric (it looks much brighter in my sewing room) I rolled the dice and bought some of that one too.

Another 4 days passed and "Mojito" and "Envy" arrived.  Close, but no cigar.  One was too light and the other too gray.  "Bright Green" came on the same day and I discovered that I was not, in fact, using a bright green on my quilt.  Now I was panicked.  6 days until the deadline and it was a Saturday, which meant that anything I ordered that day would not ship until at least Monday.  I grabbed the iPad and pulled up the website for a store that I knew shipped quickly.  They had two greens that I hadn't tried yet:  "Sea Green" and "Light Yellow Lime."  I seriously doubted whether either would be the green I was looking for, but I was beyond reason now and bought a half-yard of each anyway.

The anticipated delivery for my latest purchase was Thursday, one day before my deadline and just enough time to wash the fabric and slap on a border, IF I had the right fabric.  But Wednesday I opened the mailbox to discover an envelope from the store that I had never ordered from.  Remember the "Medium Green" that I ordered on my first go around - 12 days before?  I had given up on the order because I hadn't received any sort of confirmation or tracking number, and in any event I had only ordered the darker green on a lark.  I carried the envelope into the house, tore it open, and lo and behold, it was the right fabric.  I laughed out loud (to Casey's delight) and couldn't decide if I was more relieved that I finally had the right fabric or exasperated because tomorrow's mail would bring two more half-yards of the wrong green.

I finally finished the quilt top and sent it off to the magazine on time.  But now I've got 3 1/2 yards of random green fabrics (actually the entire line of greens, with the exception of "Forest" which I'm actually thinking of buying to round out my collection) and a whopping credit card bill.  One half yard of "Medium Green" cost me approximately $55.  That is, hands down, the most expensive fabric I've ever purchased.

Top:  Medium Green
From Left:  Bright Lime Green, Mojito, Envy, Bright Green, Sea Green, Light Yellow Lime

And the moral of the story?  Beware of on-line fabric shopping. 

I guess it could also be:  Know your color before you buy.
or maybe:  Don't shop using your husband's iPad.
or better yet:  Buy bigger cuts of fabric. 

Take your pick.  I'm going with "Buy bigger cuts of fabric!"

Happy Quilting.

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