Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spoonflower, sit down. We need to talk.

Well, I just ordered my very first bit of yardage off of Spoonflower. For those of you that don't know, Spoonflower is a site that allows you to design and sell your own fabric. You have many options as to fabric type, from cotton and voile to upholstery and sateen. The cool thing about it, is since these are individuals designiong their own fabrics, you can find literally just about anything on there. I mean, one time I found baboons with bared teeth. I was psyched.

But the other day John and I were talking and he was asking me about quilting stuff. He commented on how cool it would be to have a firefighting themed fabric and so I showed him that, uh yeah of course that's out there! I showed him Spoonflower and how many different types of appealing-to-dudes stuff there is out there and we stumbled across some Coast Guard fabrics on there.

It's called "Semper Paratus", which is the Coast Guard motto (much like "Semper Fidelis" is to the Marine Corps) and's ships and boats and Coastie paraphenalia. He thought it was pretty cool, so without him (at the time) knowing it, I bought a yard of it. 

Now. Before I say a single word, this is NOT a criticism of the designer, Bowsprite whatsoever. She actually has nothing to do with my complaint - her work is absolutely WONDERFUL and she's a sweetheart to boot. No, no, this is a critique of Spoonflower.

I don't know if you can see in the picture, which if you clicked on the link at the beginning anyway it's pretty irrelevent....but the prices are 100% outrageous. For quilting quality cotton (Kona, in this case) it is a heart-stopping $18 per yard. No brick and mortar quilt store, or even fabric manufacturer could get away with retailing Kona cotton for that price. I understand, to an extent, their need to meet overhead in this relatively small scale bolt-by-bolt operation but really? $18 per yard?! After shipping, this single yard cut cost $21 and change. If this wasn't needed for somebody else, trust me, I wouldn't have bought it at all. I feel like that price point is taking advantage of the fact that a customer needsthat print and can't get it anywhere else - sort of following the captive audience rationale of selling bottled water at the fair for $4 per bottle. I have NO problem buying something like that for John, in that regard, cost isn't an issue - I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. But the issue I have is one on principle - no quilt store would do that to their customers, and so the fact that Spoonflower does it unabashedly gives me some real heartburn as a quilt store employee and as a customer.

I had the fabric mailed to his house as a surprise so he'd be the first to see it, and so yesterdayhe brought it to me so I could match some fabrics to it for him. I was absolutely STUNNED when I saw that not only is the color in the picture majorly skewed (it's very muted in actuality, and it's less a red and more an orange in the boats) But the print is outlined and begins nearly 1.5" from the INSIDE of the selvedge. That is nearly a 2" waste on each selvedge end, making a ~44" WOF piece a ~40" usable piece. For $18 per yard, that is really quite unacceptable. Just imagine if I had chosen this fabric in Sateen, which retails at $27/yard? A 4" waste at that cost is absolutely ridiculous.

So. While their fabrics are adorable and their designers just out of this world talented, Spoonflower is not what it's cracked up to be. Again, this is not the fault of the vendors or the designers, it is the fault of the company itself. The high cost and the cheating of usuable space makes it completely not worth it unless it is a piece of fabric that is utterly imperative for you to have, in which case, expect to get the captive audience treatment.

That being said...I can't wait to get my other projects finished so I can start on this one.

1 comment:

  1. Freaking A! I love your blog!!!!!

    I found it searching for International Sunbonnet Sue.....

    This post is near and dear to my heart. Spoonflower---wonderful idea, but too pricey. After the yard of Kona, I vowed I would always go with Sateen after that IF I ever ordered again. I did. The fabric sits unused--probably because I'm afraid to cut it. I also learned to not expect a good red. The second batch on the Sateen was better but still not as dark as I would have liked.


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