Tag Archive | Walmart

Behavioral Economics

make0016IMG_3913I stopped buying fabric remnants at Walmart a while back now because the remnants at Walmart are only discounted 20% off. When the price of fabric at Walmart used to sell for less, it seemed like the remnants with the 20% off discount was costing very little money at all. So, even if it was a little less or a little more than I needed or not quite enough for what I had in mind for that specific project, it was easy to purchase them anyway.

But, when the price of fabric went up at Walmart, the extra 20% off the remnants price just didn’t seem like it was that much of a discount. To me the remnants cost still seemed to be expensive in my mind. It made you stop, think twice and look carefully instead of just tossing the remnants in your shopping cart without much thought about the cost.

IMG_3908IMG_3909Now it does matter to me if the remnant is too little, too big, or doesn’t quite match what I had in mind. The illusion of saving more or getting a deal on the remnant pieces just isn’t there anymore, so why not get exactly what you want and need cut directly from the bolt?

Recently while doing some shopping at Walmart for items other than fabric, I ended up purchasing almost every remnant my Walmart had. Why, you might ask? Let me tell you why…

My local Walmart was prepping for it’s inventory, and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time for once. All of the remnants in the bin had been marked down to clear them out before their inventory. Most of the remnants had been marked down to a half of the 20% off price. That was about a 70% savings off the regular cost. Some of the remnants were not IMG_3910IMG_3911marked down quite by half and a few were marked down more than a half. Regardless of whether it was more or less, the remnants were a great price and I did not hesitate toss almost all of them from the bin into my cart. I think the only thing I left in the remnant bin were a couple of pieces that I definitely knew I would have no use for, like a small piece of vinyl and some cheap fleece.

I hauled my treasures home and I have had a great time sorting and matching the pieces with other fabrics in my fabric stash and creating a sewing project for each piece that I purchased. I am so excited about the remnants that I purchased that I’m not even planning on storing these remnants in the stash. Instead, I want to get them sewn up right away.

So, I guess that is my cue! I had better get busy sewing! Winter is coming…

Until then, Sew Forth and Remnant On!IMG_3917

Covering The Board

IMG_3802My ironing board is old. Well old for an ironing board anyway. I am still using my very first ironing board that I purchased nearly 30 years ago! Of course, the ironing board cover has been replaced many times over that 30+ years. An ironing board cover can only have so much iron-on interfacing glued to it before it needs to be replaced. And each time I replace the ironing board cover, I wonder if I should just replace the whole ironing board instead of just the cover.

IMG_3800I ask this because the cost of a nice cover is about the same as an new inexpensive board with a cover. The question I ask myself every time I buy a new cover is “Have ironing boards technically changed over the years and gotten better to where I am missing out on something by not buying a new board?”

So, this time when it was time to replace the cover, I decided to purchase a whole new ironing board and see if I have been missing out on anything over the years.

IMG_0894While standing in the middle of the isle of Walmartia, I found that I had three choices (i.e. three prices) to choose from. I decided to start at the lowest of the prices. I purchased the least expensive ironing board and took it home. Unfortunately, this ironing board was not inexpensive, it was cheap. To start, it only stood on two pole legs and it was very unsteady. It teetered this was and that every time I pushed my iron across the board. I had to keep catching it to keep it from falling over as I ironed.

IMG_0899The cover on this board was super thin with no padding at all and it was drawn tight around the board with a thin string and a clamp. The board itself was not a solid piece of metal either. It was a metal mesh desk with giant diamond holes in it with an attached outside edge. The diamond mesh was very bumpy to iron on, but the lip made by the attached edge caught the iron and interrupted the ironing process. Plus, this board had a very narrow tip end to the full size of the board, giving me less ironing space where I iron the most. This ironing board was certainly not a replacement for my current ironing board, so undaunted I tried again and back to the store I went!

IMG_0893This time I purchased the middle priced ironing board with higher hopes. It was just a little more expensive than a new cover for my old board was, and this ironing board had two legs in each direction, so I already knew it was going to be superior to the cheap ironing board I had previously purchased. It still had the diamond mesh board top, but I was hopeful that it would be made better and have a better cover, plus it had accessories. This ironing board had an iron holder at the end to give you more board to work on and keep the iron from tipping over when not in use. It also had a shelf on the legs.

IMG_0900This ironing board was certainly steadier than the last board and it did not fall over with the pressure of the iron moving back and forth, but the edge of the mesh top still had a lip. I might not have noticed the lip so much if once again, this ironing board did not have the same thin, non padded, tied on with string, cover that the cheap board had. If I kept this board I would immediately have to replace the cover. So, it was up to the accessories to “wow” me into replacing my old ironing board with this one.

I’m sorry to say, the accessories did not “wow” me. I am sure that for some, the shelf attached to the legs of the board is the greatest thing ever, but for me it was not. My ironing board has to be movable and with stuff stacked on the shelf, this board became unmovable. So, for me, the shelf would never be used. Plus, I don’t need another shelf to stack stuff on.

IMG_0897The next accessory was the iron holder. This holder is a great idea in keeping a hot iron from becoming a hot burn. But, what I found was that the holder created more work for me when ironing so I would never use it. When I iron, I mostly use the top half of the board, so I had to take extra walking steps to place the iron on the holder. It did not take long to tire of – iron, take two steps to set the iron on holder, take two steps back, move the garment, take two steps to pick up the iron, take two step back to the garment, and then repeat these steps. Simply put, my iron was not at arms reach, so if I kept this board I would not use the holder. Since the accessories did not work out for me, I saw no reason to replace my current ironing board with this board either.

IMG_3797Upon examining the highest price ironing board at Walmart, I found a duplicate of my current ironing board. Walmart had two styles of the this price ironing board. The first was the same diamond mesh board as the lower priced boards and there was no way I was purchasing that one even if the cover was thicker and nicer because of the previous issues with the mesh boards. The second board looked just like the ironing board I currently have at home in the sewing room, except that the cover was not as nice. So, why spend the money for a new ironing board when it was exactly what I already had?

IMG_3798I guess nothing new and revolutionary has occurred over the years to improve the ironing board. With my new knowledge of ironing boards, I decided I would be keep my same old ironing board and replacing the cover.

As I looked at new ironing board covers, I learned that they are the same as new ironing boards. You get what you pay for with the lowest price covers being thin, non padded and string tightened and the higher prices ones being thicker, padded and velcroed on. With what I had learned from my ironing board experiment, I went ahead and purchased the higher priced, thicker, padded, velcroed cover. The new cover fits my old ironing board great and I am back to ironing on my latest sewing project. Stay tuned to see it soon!

Until then, sew forth and iron on!

Oh! That’s Gonna Leave a Welt… – Part 2

DSCN0977Continuing on from my first part of the welt pocketed jacket project, the rest of the jacket sewing went smoothly.

I used pleather for the collar as well as the pockets and it all sewed up great! Because the zipper was not inserted into the collar, there was no hand stitching and I was able to finish off the collar with some twill tape. I also remembered to press the pleather with a press cloth on both the pockets and the collar so that the iron did not damage the pleather. Before long the sewing was done and the jacket was complete.

With the jacket completed, I studied it closely and something was not right.

DSCN0981I stared at and studied the jacket until I finally figured out what that something was. The neckline on this jacket is HUGE! It is way too big around. I returned to the pattern, but as far as I could tell, I had traced and cut the pattern pieces correctly. Had I sewed something wrong or was it the pattern? I had a few options to try and fix it. I could try to fix the neckline, but for a trial jacket, I was not willing to spend the time and energy on a fix, especially to find out that the fix didn’t work or made things worse. Disappointed, I thought about not embroidering on the jacket, but then decided that some kid somewhere would be willing to wear this jacket, and he or she would need something fun embroidered on it to distract from the huge neck line.

DSCN0922Picking an embroidery design for this jacket was not an easy task. Since I did not know who the final owner of this jacket would be, I tried to make it as unisex as possible, but each embroidery design I picked swayed the jacket to the feminine or masculine side. I looked and debated over many designs until I finally realized that I was wasting all my sewing and embroidery time picking out the design. I finally went back to one of my first choices and embroidered The Lady and The Tramp design on the jacket. The jacket is definitely for a girl now but I love the design on it.

DSCN0982I am still not happy with the collar on this jacket, but I am very pleased with the welt pockets, the pleather accents and the embroidery design.

Ultimately, I am happy with the end results of this jacket and hope that there is a young girl out there willing to wear this jacket even with the oversized collar. I am super excited about learning to make welt pockets and I cannot wait to start another project with welt pockets!

Until then, sew forth and welt on!

Oh! That’s Gonna Leave a Welt… – Part 1

DSCN0977I decided that is was time to try making welt pockets.

Welt pockets always look so nice and professional, plus I had something special I wanted to try for the welts. One day while shopping at Walmart, I saw a couple of bolts of patterned pleather and I knew right away that it would be perfect to make the welts for the welt pockets from. I quickly purchased some, and headed for my sewing room.

First, I needed a pattern. After looking through my pattern stash, I turned to my Kwik Sew books on the shelf.

Yes, there were jacket patterns with welt pockets and instructions in these books. I was super excited and ready to get started!

Next, I had to choose a fabric for the jacket. I had a bright yellow sweatshirt fleece hiding in the stash and debated if pleather and sweatshirt fleece would look good together. I finally decided that they would, especially for a first try of welt pockets. It was easy to pick out some left over scraps from one of my shirts for the body of the pockets.

DSCN0827DSCN0830And I decided to make a size 8 jacket because of the length of the zipper I had. I would need to lengthen the jacket a little to accommodate the zipper, but I didn’t think that would affect the wearing of the jacket.

The first step in making this jacket was to see if pleather would survive the washer and dryer.

It did! And beautifully I might add!

The next step was to see if my sewing machine would sew the pleather or if I was going to require a special foot, needle and thread for sewing the pleather. I did not. The pleather sewed beautifully with just my normal pressure foot, regulars thread and a new Schmit universal needle.

DSCN0833DSCN0836Wow! I had read horror stories on the internet about sewing with leather but I guess pleather is different, or maybe just these particular pieces. Regardless, I was excited!

With the pattern traced and the fabric cut, it was time to get sewing.

To sew the welt pockets, I started with some scraps to get an idea of what I was doing, then I moved on to the jacket.

DSCN0838DSCN0842I started by applying a pieces of interfacing with the sewing lines to the front of the jacket. Next, I taped the pleather in place and then O sewed around the lines.. I taped it because I did not want to scar the pleather with pins. Cutting was next and then pulling the pleather to the wrong side to form the hole for the pocket. Then I folded up the welt and sewed it in place, and then I attached the body of the pocket to the pleather and finally I sewed around the body of the pockets.

DSCN0848DSCN0844Soon enough, I had completed the two welt pockets. They are not perfect but they were fun to make and I really like the results especially with the pleather.

I debated about interfacing the pleather of the welt but I thought that the pleather was stiff enough to not need interfacing. As I inserted my hand into the pocket, past the welt, I wished that I had interfaced the welt and made it stiffer to withstand use over time.

I had pictured the welts as being bigger than they finished up being. Knowing now how to make welt pockets, I feel that I can make the welts in different sizes and styles the next time I make something with welt pockets.

Coming up next, the completing of the jacket.

Until then, sew forth and welt on!

Time To Say Goodbye, and Hello!

DSCN3535DSCN3537“He’s dead, Jim!” goes the often quoted line from Star Trek’s ever present with a quip Doctor “Bones” McCoy. And in this case, it’s as true as ever…

My favorite Snoopy shirt, made so many years ago, is finally dead. It is faded, thread bare and as of the last laundering, has a small hole at the back of the neck.

But at least I can say I have wore it everywhere!

 

It’s been to London, it’s been to France, and yes it’s even seen the Queen’s underpants! Well Elton John’s anyway! It been wore to work, at home, for parties, on vacations, just everywhere! But I can no longer wear it outside of the house in public again in this shape.

But for some reason I just can’t seem to stop wearing it!

It’s my SNOOPY shirt you see, and I just can’t seem to let it go…

So, to ease the pain of my not being able to wear this particular Snoopy shirt in public again, I decided it was time to open the box of my most precious fabrics, the Snoopy fabrics, and to use some of it to make me a new Snoopy shirt.

DSCN2792Luckily I did not even have to open the precious Snoopy fabric box to pick out the piece of Snoopy fabric that I would use to make this new shirt from as I had just purchased it at Walmart a couple of weeks ago and it hadn’t even made it to the box for storage yet.

I then debated about the style of shirt that I wanted this new Snoopy shirt to be.

Collar or no collar? Buttons or no buttons?

DSCN3447After making my last project, the fleece football pull over jacket, I decided to make this shirt in that style, but with no hood and just short sleeves.

I would use my basic t-shirt sloper pattern, but I would cut a slit in the front to get the shirt over my head and use facings to complete the neck line.

This would be a very simple design that would let the Snoopy fabric be the details of the shirt.

I had never made myself a shirt like this before, but it didn’t seem like it would be too difficult to make the changes to the pattern or to sew it up.

DSCN3541It was easy enough to prep this fabric for cutting, make the alterations to the pattern and lay it out, but when it was finally time to cut the fabric, panic and fear filled my heart and soul…

I would be cutting into this precious Snoopy fabric and what if I ruined it?
What if I cut it wrong?
What if I didn’t like the pullover design?
What if I messed up the alterations?

DSCN3539I could not cut into this fabric.

I just couldn’t.

So I decided that I would not be making myself a new Snoopy shirt after all, and that I would never, ever have another Snoopy shirt again.

SIGH!

But to console myself, I would always know that I had a box filled with Snoopy fabrics that I could sometimes visit and look longingly at behind it’s bulletproof glass in it’s hermetically sealed climate controlled room.

As I was folding up the Snoopy fabric to put it back in the box, the husband wandered into the sewing room to see my progress. I explained to him that I just could not cut into my precious Snoopy fabric so there would be no new shirt. He sympathized with me and I was done sewing for the day.

The next day, the husband made a secret trip to Walmart and bought me some more of the same Snoopy fabric. He explained that now I could make my new Snoopy shirt as planned and I would still have some of this Snoopy fabric carefully tucked away in the Snoopy fabric box.

AAUGH! Isn’t he the best?

DSCN3542Well back to work on the new shirt then!

Cutting out this shirt went smoothly. The sewing of this shirt also went smoothly. I carefully stitched and cut the the slit and sewed the neck with the facings.

I did put a small bar tack at the base of the slit to stabilize the slit. I thought for a moment about tacking the slit open, and maybe adding some buttons, but then decided not to. And soon enough, I had a new Snoopy shirt to wear!

YAY!

DSCN3543This newly designed Snoopy shirt has passed the “wear test” with flying colors!

This shirt is very comfortable to wear and I like the design and the slit. It’s very hospital scrub like in design.

And, everyone loved the Snoopy and Woodstock’s on the shirt. I am so happy that I made this shirt and that it turned out so well!

And I am especially happy that I have more of this fabric tucked away in the stash to use for something else later on.

The success of this shirt MAY just have encouraged me enough to pull another piece of Snoopy fabric from the box and make another shirt from it. I might even use a fabric that can not be replaced readily.

Maybe! That’s a BIG MAYBE! We’ll see.

Until then, sew forth and Snoopy Happy Dance on!

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again!

Screen-Shot-2013-11-05-at-9.01.40-AMYou can see it from across the fabric store and there is a whole wall displaying it…

You’re drawn to it and it is so soft, fuzzy and warm, and some of the cutest designs ever are printed on it…

You MUST buy some and, as a general rule, its on sale…

Of course, I am talking about polar fleece and everybody just loves this fabric! Everyone it seems except me. Dare I say it out loud, I may not be in love with fleece or enjoy working with it as much as everyone else on the planet seems to be.

And here is why.

I, like everyone else, love the idea or the concept of fleece fabric. And who wouldn’t? It’s soft, warm, fuzzy fabric with no fraying, no shrinking, it looks good on both sides, it has some stretch but not too much stretch, and all the other fun features that fleece offers a sewer. What isn’t there to love? But, after sewing the last girl’s fleece jacket and starting my next sewing project with fleece, I’m not convinced that it really is all that easy and wonderful of a fabric to work with.

When I first started purchasing fleece fabrics, I planned to only make blankets with it, and who cared if the blankets were a little off grain and the print wasn’t perpendicular, or that it can’t be easily ironed or caused several headaches when sewn with the serger due to the amount of bulk.

DSCN2567For the blankets I was making, I did not give these concepts a second thought, so I was in love with fleece just like everyone else, and I bought any and all I could get to hide in the stash for future projects I had dreamt up. When I decided that I wanted to expand my skill set a little bit and make more than blankets from the fleece, I was at a point in my sewing skills where I did not worry about grain line, or matching designs, or ironing seams. So for the first couple of fleece projects that I made, I just cut it out and sewed it up, and I was still in love with fleece.

DSCN2575 (1)As my sewing skills have advanced over time, I am now far more concerned with thing like grain lines, matching the designs, and ironing the seams. So, when it was time to make the latest girl’s fleece jacket, these things were foremost on my mind. As I cut out the pattern and the froggy’s and rainbows weren’t straight, making it difficult to cut on the grain line and match the designs up, working with fleece became more than just cut and sew.

DSCN2572Looking at the piece of fleece, there were spots where I had to move over 21 inches from the edge of the fabric before I could find a good spot to cut. This was crazy! I decided that the froggy piece of fleece was just flawed until I started my next fleece project. Although not as much, I had to move 9 inches from the edge to get the footballs and helmets to line up.

Does all fleece suffer from this problem?

DSCN2563If it does, I’m going to have to watch WAY more closely when I buy fleece for pieces that I only have to move over 9 inches rather than 21 inches, or hopefully I can find some fleece that I will only lose a couple of inches on the edge. Plus, I’m going to have to buy extra fleece to accommodate for the lost fabric. I wanted to make my latest project a size large but had to switch to a size medium when I lost the 9 inches along the edge.

DSCN2566I turned to the Internet to see if I was alone in my wavering love of fleece, and from what I was reading, I was alone, everyone else seems to love fleece, but I did find several article titled, “How to sew fleece.” So, maybe you just have to learn the skill of sewing with fleece, just like learning to sew knits, furs, silks, actually any and all other types of fabrics. Maybe after learning some lessons about sewing with fleece, I will then be completely in love with fleece like so many others are.

Well I ldid learn a lot from the articles that I read on how to sew fleece, and I am excited to try out some of the things that I learned.

Luckily, I have my next sewing project involving fleece all cut out and ready to sew, so stay tuned to see how it turned out!

Until next time, sew forth and hopefully fall in love again.

Four Wings and Two Prayers

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 11.55.09 AMA long time ago, I purchased the book Adorable Amigurumi by Erin Clark. I loved every design in the book and thought I could not wait to get started crocheting patterns from it, but I guess I could wait. After admiring the cute designs in the book, I placed this book on my book shelf with my other amigurumi books and I promptly forgot about its adorable designs until just a few days ago. While perusing the yarn section at Walmart recently, I found this turquoise blue skien of Red Heart Love yarn and I immediately thought of the adorable dragonfly pattern in this book. I bought the yarn and went right home to start crocheting this dragonfly.

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P1030525As I got started, I noticed that the patten did not state the number of stitches per round. This is not a big deal but it is nice to have this number to help keep count of the stitches and rounds as you go. So, I decided to add the stitch count to the pattern before I got started crocheting. As I started counting the stitches for each round in the pattern, I found that there was not a round 17 in the head. I figured that maybe this was just a typo in the book, so I kept on counting but I then noticed that the head went from 48 stitches in round 16 to 36 stitches in round 18. Now, I have made enough amigurumi’s to know that is quite a sudden drop in stitches, especially if you want a round head instead of the back of the head being flat. I decided at this point to stop counting and get start crocheting to see what I got. Sure enough, the head started out nice and round and then went flat after round 18. It looked funny and not at all like the pictures in the pattern had looked. So I undid my crocheting back to round 16 and started my own decrease in stitches and rounds to get a nice smooth decrease and a round head.

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P1030498After that, I continued on to the thorax portion of the body. The rounds and the stitch count seemed to crochet the shape that I had expected, but when I reached the abdomen portion of the body, something was wrong. I could not get the stitch count per round to match the number of rounds in the pattern. I was very flustered at this point with the whole thing. I felt like I had put too much work into this project to stop and call it a loss though so I continued on. I worked my way down the abdomen, counting and shaping it to something that looked like the picture as well as a shape I thought the dragonfly’s abdomen should look like.

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P1030497Upon completing the dragonfly’s body, I was so flustered with this pattern, I really did not want to finish it. Now, I’m not really a great amigurumi designer even though I have created a few of my own. That’s why I bought the book, so I could just make something someone else had already spent the time to create and test out. So, I was not happy that a published pattern in a book that I had paid for was not tested and edited better. Now, it might just have been me. Maybe I had missed something somewhere in the pattern, but if I did it was not obvious to me what I had missed and I did study this pattern very carefully to try and find what step I might have missed.

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P1030528The legs, eyes and antennas crocheted up much more smoothly and I was able to follow the pattern ok when making them. In fact, I like how the eyes turned out very much. They are nice and big and round and full of life. There were minimal instructions for stitching the dragonfly parts together, so I turned to the photos in the pattern to get an idea. I noticed right away that the designer had stitched the legs on both the thorax and abdomen of the dragonfly. In nature this would be incorrect. A dragonfly’s legs are only attached to the thorax. Now, I know this is a crocheted cartoon like dragonfly and it does not have to be scientifically correct, but I just didn’t want to stitch the legs down the dragonfly’s abdomen. What I did find out was that there was not enough room to put all three legs on each side of the thorax. And so to get evenly spaced legs, I ended up stitching the third leg where the thorax and the abdomen connect together. This is still incorrect but it looks better than the legs crowded and unevenly spaced on the thorax. I did learn a lot when attaching the chain legs to the body. It would have been a lot easier to have attached the legs as I crocheted the thorax, before it was stuffed. But, that is a lesson that could only be learned by experience. Now I know that if I make another dragonfly from this pattern, to make the legs first and then attach them to the thorax as I crochet before stuffing the thorax.

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P1030530Even with all the issues with the round and stitch count, this dragonfly did turn out super cute. I have not named this dragonfly or found him a home yet. I have, though, decided to keep this book. Because the end results of this dragonfly are so cute, I have decided to try another pattern from this book. When I do, I hope that the bad dragonfly pattern in this book is an exception for the patterns in this book and not the norm. I will have to try out making another pattern from this book to find that out. Once I do, I will let everyone know what I have found.