This is excellent customer service?

Posted by Kristin on Wednesday, October 31, 2012.
1 Comment

If it is, I would hate to see's definition of horrible customer service. 

In my excitement over participating in Gertie's Butterick Coat Sew-Along, I searched the internet for the perfect wool coating fabric and coordinating lining.  I finally settled on a lovely navy wool and a fuschia leaf print crepe de chine for the lining.  I was on pins and needles waiting for my fabric to arrive.

And I waited.

And waited.

Then I received the dreaded email...."We're sorry, but we can't figure out how these stupid computer thingies work and our website is totally wrong.  We are out of everything you ordered.  No matter that the website is still showing loads in stock.  We are idiots here and haven't quite figured out how all this stuff works.  But nevermind...your two buttons will arrive shortly!  Thank you for your business."

Ok, I may have embellished.  Anyway, I called to cancel the two measly buttons.  No need to send those if my beautiful coat fabrics that I coordinated the buttons with was non-existent.  Oh, by the way, at this point the website was still showing enough yardage of each fabric in stock to make at least 10 coats.  But what do I know about how a business should operate?  I'm just a crafter and teacher....

Guess what arrived a few days later?  That's right, two buttons.  That I had cancelled.  I guess it was that whole computer/internet/run by fools disconnect that fouled my order up to begin with.

I gave their website a few days to correct their current stock.  It didn't change.  I emailed their customer service department asking what they would do to keep me as a customer.  Evidently not much since all I got as a reply was the standard "We love customer service!  We will respond within 2 business days!" email.  I waited.  No response.

I emailed again.  This email was a little less friendly.  All I wanted was an explanation as to why my lovely fabrics were still in stock when my order was cancelled.  Oh, and I may have also asked them to explain how ignoring customers is a good business plan for a retail operation. 

It has now been over a month.  The lining fabric is still in stock.  Still enough to line about 8 coats.  And have I gotten a response?  Nope.  Nothing.  Nada.  I feel like some groveling is in order at this point. 

So I have now blogged about my displeasure.  Tweeted to the company my displeasure.  I have copied the emails I have sent to the Flickr coat sew-along group.  I have left negative reviews on websites.  I'm telling as many people as I can...order at your own risk.  And heaven forbid you should ever have to contact their invisible customer service department.  All I want is an explanation.  I'm not asking for free stuff.  I'm not asking for discounts.  I just want someone to respond.  Is it too much to ask?  Apparently so.

PS - When I went on a tirade against Comcast, I got a personal email AND phone call from their Vice President.  And all I wanted then was a channel line up for my subscription plan. 

Letter of Gratitude

Posted by Kristin on Monday, October 22, 2012.

Dear Fellow Flyers,

As part of my homework for my health coaching, I need to write a letter of gratitude to someone and share it.  I decided to write to each of you.  When she first told me this assignment, I laughed.  I do not show emotion often, I try to bury it down and just hide it.  I don't like to feel vulnerable, so I keep a nice little wall around my feelings.

Although I have not been a prolific poster on the Facebook group, and I have not left ANY comments on the class pages, I have however taken it all in.  As someone who tries not to feel, I am very uncomfortable with people who are very open with their emotions.  But the time spent with all of you has been an eye (and heart) opening experience for me.  I feel the love and support from everyone in this group, even if they are just watchers like myself.  The very first lesson was on FEAR and I hung on every word.  That is what stops me...fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of getting too close to others.  Fear of being laughed at or not taken seriously.  But seeing all of you wonderful artists go through the same feelings has made me feel safe.  Although the feelings of fear and failure are still there, I am not scared to face them.

I have loved watching each of you grow over the past month and I have grown with you.  And for all of this I say thank you.

I truly hope we continue to share our fears, our successes, and our growth through this group.  Although I haven't quite made it to everyone's blogs, pages, websites, I am working on it.  I am scared (see...admitting that I feel....progress!) that as we grow our own wings we will fly apart from one another.  And one day we may be ready to do just that, but this little flyer isn't quite ready to leave the nest.

My first for real garment!

Posted by Kristin on Saturday, October 20, 2012.
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As I have been working on creating my coat (or not working) I decided a break from it was necessary.  I am hopelessly behind the sew-along group and none of the sizes seem to fit and I'm not quite sure how to adjust a muslin to make sure it fits properly.  So I set it aside and took a small break. 

I was reading through Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing and ran across this skirt:

Gertie is my sewing idol.  I love everything she creates.  It was her blog that made me custom order a 1950s style cocktail party dress for my sister's upcoming wedding.  I even own a crinoline now!  As I skimmed through the tutorial, I figured "I can do this!!!"  I can cut rectangles, I can hand sew, I can gather...I was set! 

I searched for taffeta fabric on JoAnn's site and ran across their Halloween fabrics.  The idea began to take shape in my head....I would create a skirt to wear to school for Halloween.  My original fabric was a bright orange taffeta with black spiders all over it.  But our local store didn't have it and once an idea forms in my head, all patience flies out.  I needed fabric TODAY.  NOW.  It couldn't wait.  I did find a solid orange taffeta and picked out a sheer spider web overlay.  I called my sister to share my excitement in my great finds.

"Orange taffeta?  Glittered spider webs with orange sequins?  Are you wearing a sequined pumpkin shirt with it too?"

"Noooo, I can't do that.  I'm just wearing a black twinset.  I don't want to look ridiculous!"

"Right.  Because you aren't going to look ridiculous already...I think that ship has sailed."

 I had no idea how to do an overlay.  I didn't know how to work with sheer fabrics.  I couldn't find any tutorials online.  I hauled out my sewing books and figured something out.  Unfortunately, cheap taffeta is not something you can make a mistake with because there is no pulling out any seams without making a mess of the fabric.  Once I reached the point of inserting the zipper, I was lost.  How do I put a zipper in with the overlay?  I ended up just sewing it all together and praying as I did....because however it went in was how it was sort of worked.  But being a cheap skirt that will be worn one day a year, it will do (just don't look too closely).

Phoebe "helping" as usual.  She was watching the thread waiting for her chance to attack it.  She makes everything so easy....

I love my skirt.  When on, it adds so much volume to an already voluminous figure that I could easily be mistaken for a house.  I hope kids don't knock on my butt yelling "trick or treat!"  But I don't care.  It twirls.  It sparkles.  And I made it all by myself (oh, with Gertie's help...).

Don't laugh

Posted by Kristin on Friday, October 5, 2012.

As you know I am trying to put together a coat.  Why I am still trying I have no idea.  The cat "helps" a smidge too much, cancelled my order because they don't understand how technology works, I don't like the fabric I ordered from another company AND the other company sent me the wrong lining.  The universe is telling me to stop.  But because I am stubborn, I am continuing to move forward (quite like the Titanic, I'm afraid).

Since I have spent a small fortune on ugly coat fabric and notions, I don't have the funds leftover for a dress form.  So I scoured the internet and found out how to make my own out of duct tape.  Yes, duct tape. 

Step 1:  Put on an old t-shirt that you don't mind losing and be sure to use the bathroom (you are about to be wrapped in duct I really have to explain the bathroom part?).

Step 2:  Find someone who is willing to cover your torso in duct tape AND willing to cut you out after about 2 hours of wrapping (that second part is extremely important....).  I somehow convinced my out-of-town boyfriend that this would be a great way to spend a Saturday evening.

Step 3:  Get mummified!  Well, get taped anyway.  It is best to use pieces no more than about 12 inches in length and you want at least 3 layers of tape.  Don't get even a tiny bit of the tape on your skin and forget about it.  I still have bruises to prove what a bad idea this is (and no, ripping it off fast DOESN'T hurt less Mr. Murphy!).

Here I am looking a little like I am trying to dress up like a knight in shining duct tape for Halloween.  Attractive, isn't it? You really don't need to answer that, it was rhetorical.

Step 4:  Cut straight up the back, through all of the layers of duct tape and the t-shirt.  Take off your sweaty straight-jacket like wrapping and tape the cut line back together.

Step 5:  This is more of a cautionary step...don't leave your shell overnight without filling it.  It will slowly melt into a puddle of duct tape on the floor.  Don't ask how I know this...

Step 6:  Stuff your body double with newspaper.  Lots and lots of newspaper.  I covered my open arms and the hole where my head should be with cardboard and taped it in place.  Place your new trailer park dress form on something to help it stand (I used the center of a large bolt of fabric, others have used PVC pipe).  Use a Christmas tree stand as a base.  

Step 7:  Dress your mannequin.  Or not.  I chose a lovely sheer t-shirt and a crinoline because, well, why not?  I thought I needed to dress her up a bit.

Step 8:  Go back to step 6 and make sure you have taped over your cardboard bits extremely well.  Otherwise the weight of the form will push the pole right through your neck.  And then it will fall in the middle of the night, causing you to have a mild heart attack.  Luckily, mine landed 'face' first which squished my fake chest.  So now my form makes me look a little flat chested and pregnant.  I am neither one of these (trust me).

I may end up forking over the couple hundred for a for real dress form....but since my project is off to great start, I'll just use my duct tape form.  If I'm lucky, the gummy adhesive from the tape will make the coat a permanent addition to the form. 

I love all of the help (sort of)

Posted by Kristin on Tuesday, October 2, 2012.
1 Comment

I am currently trying to find the time to sew my very first coat.  Actually, it will be my very first garment (besides a dress...which I don't like so it doesn't count).  With sleeves.  And a lining.  Why start small with a simple skirt when you can go big with an expensive wool coat with silk lining, right?

One of my current idols, Gretchen Hirsch (Gertie from Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing) is having a sew-a-long for one of her new Butterick patterns.  Of course I signed up (with no idea what I am doing).

It was her blog that made me purchase a custom made 1950s style cocktail dress (with a crinoline!) for my sister's upcoming wedding.  I thought this coat would be perfect with my dress.

But I seem to be getting a lot of help with my coat.  I've found that the group members are a wealth of advice and I read every helpful hint they post. 

And then there is Phoebe the Cat....

She loves to observe and help (or completely derail) anything that I am working on.  This coat is no exception.

I managed to get the pattern pieces cut out without assistance but as soon as I began to pin them to the fabric, Phoebe appeared.  I can only guess that she heard the faint rustling of fabric and paper, which put her into help mode.

She rushed down the stairs and immediately plopped down in the middle of the fabric.  She made it her mission to guard the fabric tooth and nail...I have the scratches to prove it.

I gave up on trying to even cut the pieces out and put it up out of the way.

Phoebe found its hiding place today and turned it all into a bed.

The lesson I have learned?  Lock Phoebe up in the bathroom whenever I try to cut fabric  (I may have to dress in chain mail when I let her out though...).