This is the best thing I’ve sewn for a while

Ain’t it always the way? You sew a simple thing using simple fabric and it turns out killer. Nevermind all those fabulous prints and edgy designs I’m always seduced by and never end up wearing. Imma wear the shit out of this top.

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This is Simplicity 1104, a Cynthia Rowley peplum tunic. (Even though I’ve sworn off buying Simplicity patterns online, I’m glad this one made it I made it into my stash before that.)

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Simplicity 1104 Cynthia Rowley tunic

I made it with Ponte knit. Can I just take a minute to say how much Ponte knit ROCKS THE UNIVERSE? It is the most easy and forgiving fabric to sew, and a very flattering fabric to wear. It’s the kind of staple that should be in every sewist’s fabric stash — ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice and sewn up fast into a satisfying piece of clothing. I mean, you don’t even have to pin this stuff together while you’re sewing. And it can be form fitting without revealing every last lump and bump underneath. PONTE KNIT FOR THE WIN!

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The top features an invisible zipper in the back. For some reason I had it in my head that sewing invisible zippers was hard, but the directions in this pattern are detailed, and as long as you have an invisible zipper foot (you can buy plastic ones for a few dollars), it’s really not hard at all.

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I made a couple of minor modifications: the pattern calls for a lining, which I left out; instead I just folded in the neckline and armholes and stitched them in place. The pattern also calls for binding on the bottom edge. I bought a couple different binding options but in the end I just decided to leave the bottom edge raw. Another win for Ponte knit — no fraying or curling! I also didn’t cut the neckline as deeply as indicated in the pattern, and I lengthened the bottom edge by an inch or two.

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This is the perfect match for these pants I bought from Zara. I chose the pattern and the fabric specifically to go with the pants, and the outfit is definitely a winner.

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Thanks for stopping by for a look!

Sucked into a Simplicity Service Screw-up

I used to wonder why Fabricland, the largest fabric chain store in Canada, refuses to carry Simplicity patterns. Now I know.

I just spent more time than anyone should have to spend fixing a problem with patterns I ordered from Simplicity, and so I need to rant. The short story is this: don’t order from Simplicity.com because it’s a clusterfuck and their customer service motto seems to be is something along the lines of “Whatevs”. If you want the long, boring story that I need to get off my chest, it’s below.

But first, have you had any problems with Simplicity? Does your fabric chain carry their patterns? When I asked at Fabricland why they didn’t carry them the woman rolled her eyes and said something along the lines of they were such a pain in the ass to deal with that they just decided to stop carrying them.

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I ordered two Simplicity patterns from their website. Total for patterns: $14.96. Shipping cost: $9.79. I always check how many patterns I can fit into an order before the flat shipping charge goes up to the next level. $9.79 was steep — this is in American dollars after all, which is somewhere in the ballpark of $7,987.63 Canadian — but spread across two patterns I figured it was acceptable.

A week later I get one pattern in the mail. I always forget what patterns I ordered so it’s kinda like finding Easter eggs I hid myself when I get the package. Except this time was disappointing because there was only one Easter egg. So I checked my receipt, and then sent an email to Simplicity asking whether the other pattern was being shipped separately or if this was a packing error.

“After reviewing your order, the reason as to why you did not receive that Jumpsuit pattern is because it was on backorder and we unfortunately are not able to send backorder to Canada.  You would need to keep watch for when that pattern becomes available/in stock again and replace the order for that pattern> [sic]”

Ok. Not sure why there might be some arbitrary ‘rule’ about ‘not being able to send backorder to Canada’, but whatever. We’re used to being treated arbitrarily when it comes to shipping from the US. I wrote back to say that there was no indication at the time I purchased that the pattern was on backorder (in fact, my receipt is clearly marked as having it “in stock”), and that I would not have agreed to pay $9.79 to ship just one pattern.

Second email from Simplicity: “When yo9u [sic] are on the pattern page where it indicates the price as well as the area to select your size, there is a box where it does state Status.  Where it states Status, it does indicate on backorder-expected in stock 6/1/15.” — Nothing addressing my complaint about paying too much for shipping. So I email back to remind them that the website and my receipt clearly showed the pattern as being in stock, and that when I hit purchase I was agreeing to buy two patterns and pay shipping for two patterns. I tell them they had better fix this problem, because I am not happy that they falsely represented what exactly I was paying for.

I suggest two possible solutions to them: either refund me half the shipping cost, or agree to send me the backordered pattern when it becomes available with free shipping. Simple, right? Either way, we’re talking a cost of LESS THAN FIVE BUCKS to mollify a pissed off customer.

Third email from Simplicity: “Thank  you for clarifying your complaint. According to the invoice, this original authorization was 21.76,  which was both items and the shipping.  Since one item was not available, the actual charge was  $19.37.  This was the difference in shipping. The cost of shipping is actual  international rates.  This is calculated as you check out according to the billing and shipping address involved. Our inventory is not LIVE.  It does not update as each customer is shopping.   It may take  a while for the system to update after each order is processed.   We do apologize, but this is not an exact science, and things change very quickly.   We do see that this order was kicked into our corrections program to take off the back ordered item as we are not able to send back orders to Canada.”

Setting aside the factual error (that the lower price charged was the difference in shipping; the difference was the price of the pattern they didn’t send me), WTF? It’s my problem that your website doesn’t talk to your database? And that I should just be OK with it if I agree to pay for one thing and get something different? So I’m really fucking pissed off at this point. You’re really going to make me spend ALL THIS TIME chasing you down to fix this minor problem that is so easily fixable? I mean, I really don’t give a shit at this point about the lousy $4.90 but now it’s about the principle of the thing.

My next email to Simplicity said, among other things: “You have engaged in a bait and switch scheme when I checked out at your website — you indicated I was purchasing one thing, when really it was something else. How is a customer supposed to judge value for money if you do not inform them that you are going to give them something different than what they agreed to pay for? Not only is that bad business practice, it is entirely unethical.  I’m rather certain it’s also illegal….If you will not refund me half the shipping cost, or send me the second pattern for no shipping cost, then I will insist you take back the one pattern you did manage to get to me and give me a full refund for the pattern, the cost of shipping, as well as my cost for shipping it back to you. You let me know which one of those three options it’s going to be….Please don’t make me keep chasing you down for a solution to this problem that you can very easily fix.”

The solution came when I got on the phone with them. After some arguing, they finally agreed to refund me $4.90.

Cripes. I need a drink.

Unfortunately, a drink is going to cost me more than $4.90. 😉