Monday, November 11, 2013

Do you mind when clerks rip your fabric?

clearance fabrics going home with me
Not enough quilting in the past week to post about.  I've only made 6 yo-yos and hand pieced one castle wall block in the past seven days. 

I've been in the Augusta, Georgia, area for a week, spending time with DS and his family.   I  babysat 5-year-old Maddie and 2-year-old Drew while DS and DIL were gone for a few days.

clearance-priced Papillon by 3 Sisters for Moda
We've gotten along just fine.  Every family's routine is different, and Grandma Vivian doesn't think she made any major mistakes at mealtime or bedtime.  One major negative while I'm here is knowing there are two overflowing bags of leftover Halloween candy in the pantry. 
Just too tempting for a chocolate lover like me. 

We went fabric shopping one day, and that's worth a couple photos.   DIL and I went to a local sewing machine, vacuum and fabric shop.  They had no CW repro fabrics, but I did find a clearance sale, and a few yards are coming home with me tomorrow.

loose threads from ripping
Over the years, I've bought fabric in two quilt shops in Georgia, and both times, the clerks clipped the fabric, then ripped it.   I've been in dozens of fabric / quilt shops over the years, and I've never had other clerks rip fabric.  They use scissors, shears, or rotary cutters.  Is this a Southern custom with which I'm not familiar?  

I know that the ripped fabric will be on straight of grain--maybe that's the reasoning--but I'm not happy with the stress that ripping puts on that edge of the fabric.  The clerk here was generous, with each cut 2-3" longer than my request.   And the fabrics she ripped are tightly woven, fine quality fabrics.

But the first time a clerk ripped my fabric, she was preparing 6 fat quarters from bolts of more loosely woven 1930s repro fabrics.   The clerk clipped exactly at the 18" mark from each bolt, then ripped.  She clipped the center fold and ripped again.   She quickly folded the FQs, rang up the sale, and sent me on my way.  When I got home, I found with each FQ I was shorted at least 1/2 to 1 inch in both length and width.  The ripping loosened several rows of threads, and I had to trim off unusable strips from the fabrics.
I was not a happy customer, thinking about that store and clerk.

Do you mind when clerks rip fabric?  Have you seen it done very often?  I seem to recall seeing it back in "the olden days" when I was little, shopping with my mom, but not lately.

I've been away from blogs for a while, but I read Bonnie Hunter's yesterday and left a comment re: a book giveaway.  Bonnie notified me today that I was the winner out of 491 entries.   That cancels out the negativity of a cold starting a couple days ago. Hope I don't have ear pressure problems on the plane tomorrow.   We had a high of 64 degrees here in GA today, and I see that the predicted low tomorrow night in Iowa is 6 degrees.  YUK!

20 comments:

Teri said...

I shy away from purchasing from stores that rip. I agree -it distorts the fabric and there is significant loss. I will often ask the clerk if I may cut instead. They will generally allow me to do so.

Marei said...

When I first started sewing (about a million years ago), there was a machine on the yardage table that had a dial on the top which was like a clock and counted off the yardage (the clerk stood above this dial and watched for the proper mark). When you got to the amount...2 yds, let's say....the clerk pushed down a handle that was mounted on the side of this machine, a blade was extended, and the fabric was clipped at the appropriate place. Then the fabric was taken out of the machine and ripped. I loved it. I still love it. I love the sound of ripping fabric and I love having a true straight of grain. So much fabric we get nowadays has the pattern printed on, not woven in, so when a clerk cuts it they often cut it wonky. With all that said, I should mention that back in the day you would get a generous "allowance" of a couple inches when you ordered fabric so you didn't end up shorted. And I think, too, that back when the majority of fabrics were made in the US, the weave was much tighter and you got a better result from ripping. Hmm....I feel a sudden urge to go rip some fabric! Actually, full disclosure, I rip fabrics all the time in my sewing room. All.The.Time.

Quilter Kathy said...

I don't buy at stores that rip unless they give me about 6 extra inches free so that I can cut off all the damaged threads.

Janet O. said...

Wow, I had forgotten all about the gadget Marei described, but they had those in my hometown once upon a time, too! I haven't seen fabrics ripped around here since those gadgets disappeared.
I don't think all fabrics tear well these days. I have torn fabrics length of grain before to get straight borders, but in the last few years I have had some fabrics become very wavy when torn--even though they were "quilt shop quality" fabrics. I don't tear anymore. I wouldn't be very happy about those FQs, either. Would be VERY tempted to drop a note to the quilt shop and let them know of my discovery of the less than FQ measurement and suggest that they may want to reconsider their method.

Dasha said...

I just HATE rippers! The worst case for me was directional fabric, which, when I had removed the ripped edge and straightened the design lost me almost 2" of fabric across the width of the fabric on both ends. Not a happy chappy. These days I politely ask that the sales assistance cut my fabric before she begins the ripping, and if I am not fast enough, I ask her to cut off the jagged edge and start again.

AnnieO said...

I've certainly done my share of ripping, but never for precision measurements like fat quarters! Glad you had a good time in GA with plenty of Grandma time. Congrats on your win! You're the only Vivian I know so I was sure it was you :)

Robin said...

Interesting about the tearing of fabric. I associate that sound with pink gingham check for some reason. I must have gone shopping with my mama too many times. Since we were all doing garment sewing years ago a crooked or frayed edge didn't matter as much. It certainly matters now.

Lori said...

I think ripping is fine, but only if they add a little bit. I don't think I'd like it for a FQer No places around here rip. (except me, usually for a backing) Safe travels!!

Shelley said...

i have worked in fabric stores for years...I will not allow my fabric to be ripped. Those places that start to clip, i speak up and ask that it be cut. Yes, it used to be that "back in the day" ripping was the way. But thru my years of experience in dealing with fabric, I have found that the quality of how manufacturer's weave their cottons has decreased. No longer can a rip be guaranteed to be on the straight of grain. As a longarmer who has to straighten many backings, I can tell you there is no way backings are woven straight. Like all things, quality of product is not like it was in years past.

Cissa K said...

Congratulations on winning. I used to live in Iowa and had my fabrics ripped there also. So I think it is wide spread. I agree with you that about 1/2 inch in both ends are not usable. I really don't like it; but I also had rotary cut fabric that had to be squared by more than 1 inch.

Courtenay Hughes said...

I worked in a shop that ripped only and have worked in ones that cut. I always was very generous when ripping to make sure the customer ended up with the amount purchased- if not an inch more. We had quite a few customers that wanted us to cut the fabric but my boss would not let us do it. Got a tad uncomfortable at times :)

Ann in PA said...

I don't mind ripping if there is a generous allowance for distortion. A few shops in PA use large scissors and CHOP or hack their way across the width. Yikes! Most now use a rotary cutter and mat. :) I rip for borders but then go back and trim to a crisp edge. Congrats on your win!

Me and My Stitches said...

Glad you had a fun trip! I hate it when shops rip fabric - I was in Illinois last year in a shop that ripped and she got quite snippy when I asked why they did it. I guess if they give you a couple inches extra I wouldn't mind so much. As we all know, fabric is too expensive to have to waste a few inches to get rid of the damage caused.

Katharina Kilmer said...

I#ve never ripped patchwork fabric. And I never bought ripped fabric in a store, because of loose threads. But I always rip fabric for dying (when I use a roll of fabric of 10 m length for myself). After the dying process I cut the fabric in tidy fat and long quarters, stripes, rectangles and so on an nobody can see my filthy little Secret...

lg, Katharina

Sewing Sue said...

Interesting about the ripping! I used to work in a fabric store, and I remember those machines... Recently I was in a Joann's buying some muslin. It was a new bolt, and the edge was wonky. The clerk cut off the wonky piece and then measured my yardage. I asked why she did that and she said she had been instructed to sell the customer just what they asked for and no more. I asked what she was going to do with that tiny bit and she said "send it back to the supplier for a refund". WHAT? OK, much better to spend the time cutting it off and sending it back than giving it to me, right?

I don't like ripping. We used to have to 'straighten' the fabric after it was washed. I don't think people do that anymore, do they? I don't. Maybe fabric is woven better these days. If the clerk cuts straight you get what you ask for.

Nina John said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janet said...

An interesting topic! In don't like ripping either. I find the distortion and waste to be not worth it. No stores are here rip but I have seen it done.

Ptcquilter said...

I do mind having my fabric ripped and left multiple bolts of fabric on a cutting table when a clerk refused to cut my fabric when I asked. It distorts the fabric and no longer guarantees the straight of the grain.

Darlene said...

Awesome topic, Vivian. I'm not fond of ripping unless I'm doing the ripping. When I rip I definitely allow some extra.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

To rip or not to to that is the question

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