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pricer at joanns

clairezbo | Posted in General Discussion on

Has anyone noticed the price gouging at Joanns since Fabric Place closed????? The same material that was 5.98 a yd, is not 18.98 a yd, but of course they are giving you 50% off. They cut the material so close to the measure, by the time you straighten it, you have lost 1/4 yd. I just purchased 1/8 ” cording for 79Cents a yd. It use to be 10 cents a yd at Fabric Place. It certainly has taken the fun out of sewing for me. It is the only fabric store near where I live. Even with their hokey coupons it is a rip-off.


  1. sewfar | | #1

    I agree. Their notions are really overpriced too. I believe it was $3.29 for Dritz plastic bone rings. Even the 40% coupon barely put them in the correct price range. Same for most of the other notions that they carry that do not have a manufacturer's price on them. I would shop anywhere but there but it is the only place. I do try never to buy without a coupon or sale. And they wonder why we are buying more and more online !!

    1. jjgg | | #5

      I heard a report on NPR about this very subject. Evidently some places in Europe the laws are such that stores can have "sales' twice a year or so, That way you know what the article is wroth and then it goes on sale. The report went on to say how here in the US with sales constantly that there is no way to really know the value of an item and what it should cost. So yes, they mess with us constantly. People are paid big bucks to figure out how to market things to us and make us think we are getting a great deal.I try to buy 'local' when I can (not always possible) I avoid big box stores 99% of the time, and when I get good customer service I make sure to thank them and continue to give my business to them. In today's economy good customer service aught to increase, but I haven't always seen that.Look on line and keep searching till you find a vendor that will sell it tax free (a different state than yours) and that offers free shipping.

      1. Tatsy | | #8

        The sales in Europe are true clearance sales; they're getting rid of things they don't want to hold until the next year. I love to go to the soldes in Belgium and France--good leather shoes that fit for $7 US, a good Italian man's sport jacket for $20, etc.The prices and the sales at JO-Ann's are in a totally different category: outrageous. I usually don't shop there but had to go to Michael's for something, which is near our Jo-Ann's. Fabric was about three times the price it had been last year, and the service is as awful as ever. We have two stores in town that sell mill ends or last year's products. You have to be picky about what you take home, but some of the stuff is fabulous and the prices are great.

  2. sewelegant | | #2

    I have always agreed with that saying: you get what you pay for, but anymore I do not know how much anything should cost.  The older I get, the less I have a need to be out there shopping (believe me! I never thought I would ever get to this point) but it does put me out of touch with current prices and I always think I am being overcharged for things... in fact I think they pay someone to figure out how they can trick us into thinking we are getting the same thing and maybe even for less!  Especially in the food line.

    As for JoAnn's it seems everything is being bubble wrapped or pre-packaged some way so you are buying two of something you only need one of.  I know there is a big problem with shoplifting and that drives the prices up.  If they would hire more help it might remedy that problem.  JoAnn's isn't the only place where I have been short-changed on yardage, but usually it was when a "new" clerk was following the "rules".  One time I insisted on remeasuring the cut piece before leaving the counter and it was 3" short.  I refused to take it.  I felt a little obnoxious doing that, but the sales clerk was a bit cavalier about her measuring and it made me mad.  I found it about a month later in the remnant bin with the correct measurement so bought it then.  My last experience was buying a rolled up bundle of pink knit marked 2 yards at a high end fabric place in Carmel, CA it was $15 per yd. and I paid 30 so It wasn't marked down and when I got it home there was so much chunked out of one end that it looked like samples had been taken and the piece measured only 1 and 7/8 yds instead of 2.  If I ever go back I will be sure to open the bundle before buying.   I guess the moral of my rant is keep your eyes open on the measuring and if you don't like what you see, don't feel bad about  saying something, because all salesclerks are different and they may not even know they are shortchanging you.  Nowadays some don't even sew!

    1. gailete | | #4

      A couple of years ago my BIL paid me to make a quilt for his grandson so I got to buy everything new. Got home to find I'd been gyped out of almost 1/4 yard of one of the fabrics--barely had enough.

      Prices of everything seem to be going up everywhere so I don't think it is just Joanns. But where we used to have two different main fabric stores in several locations in our area, now we have one in the entire county and even further than that. It is a 40+ mile round trip to get to Joanns.


      1. ohiostar | | #6

        You should try being a business and get gyped my the manufacturers! When I used to buy fabric wholesale, the bill of lading said there was no adjustments unless there was a ten yard shortage. If I bought 10 bolts and between the bolts there was a 9 yard shortage, that was MY problem. It will certainly change your price per yard numbers quickly.Also, the reason some businesses are still in business is that they charge as much as they do. When the economy is good, customers can buy any where they darn well please, and places like Joann's see less business than the local Mom and Pop fabric store. But when the M&P store can no longer sustain profitability in a poor market, the big box stores are there to pick up the business because they still have enough monetary clout to get deals from distributors who are also suffering in the poor economy. It takes a lot of money to stay in business after you get in business.

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #7

          I remember unpacking huge orders of fabric, and shipping bill in hand, having to cross check yardages stated, bolt numbers, colour numbers for errors and omissions. Then checking it against the original order to see that we actually got what we ordered! Substitutions instead of backorders were common. Sometimes we tripped over piles of beautiful fabrics for weeks before we could put them out to the customers, while the money was tied up, and the mess sorted out. Cathy

        2. sewelegant | | #9

          A few years ago I remember hearing something that stuck in my mind... it had to do with fabric shrinking.  The lady claimed fabric doesn't actually "shrink". It's because of the process it has to go through during production that it appears to.  The fabric has to be stretched to the machines so it can be held taut while it is rolled onto the bolts and then when it is released from the bolts (after we buy it) it merely goes back to its prestretched size.  AND THE MANUFACTURER DOESN'T KNOW THIS?  I rarely buy a whole bolt of fabric so do not know if this is true, but I did buy a bolt of muslin recently and remeasured the stuff and found it to come out exactly the amount it said on the label.  I mean EXACTLY and you know how accurate you are when measuring one yard at a time on the cutting table.  I wonder how much it would measure today after being released from that tension... I didn't think about testing that!

          1. ohiostar | | #10

            Sewelegant, That may have some merit, but I doubt it especially for cottons. I have heard that silk knits are stretched as they are bolted, but it doesn't make much sense to do this with cotton which is already stretched as it is processed. I regularly bought bolts of fabric for my quilting business and would unwind and cut off 3 yard pieces to preshrink. A bolt could be as much as yard off or as little as 1/8th yard.
            If you buy a bolt for 10$ and the retail sales should be 20$, but the last yard is not there, you lose 2$ of your expected profit. And no way to reclaim it, unless you charge an extra 25 cents per yard to compensate. Unless you unwind and count every bolt's yardage, you can't be sure which bolt is shorted or longed. Since I was using my purchases for manufacturing, I was aware of the shortages. If I were just selling the yardage, I would certainly have to be aware of the shortages, and how to account for the loss.
            And then sometimes places like Joann's buy from a fabric wholesaler who buys unbolted fabric from a manufacturer and who then bolts it up for re-sale. That is why you can't get a re-order of something you like.
            Sorry if this is too much information. jann (a nut about fabric)

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #11

            Jann, for us fabric loving nuts, there can never be too much information.
            For very large yardages, such as on bolts and rolls, there is a machine that measures yardages. It is a series of rollers,and grippers, with a counter attached to it, similar to those walk along measuring tools for measuring roads and lot sizes (in the days before lasers.) They are actually quite accurate, if the machine is calibrated and working properly. If the fabric slips or bunches going through, the count is off, and the person doing the measuring is supposed to start again. That is if they notice. It could potentially stretch the fabric as it goes through as well, and could account for shorts in some fabrics. You sometimes see them in shops that deal with a lot of home decorating fabrics, or wholesale/retail establishments. Fascinating to watch them measure off lickety split the large amounts needed for drapery sets.
            Just an interesting nugget for the trivia buff. Cathy

          3. ohiostar | | #14

            Do you remember when just about any store that carried fabric had those measuring devices at the counter? They would slip the fabric between the rollers, mark the starting point and pull the fabric through meaasuring it. And then it would clip the fabric at the desired yardage, and all the clerk had to do was remove the yardage and tear or cut across it? Now those were accurate. I've been around fabric and stuff for over 50 years, and I really haven't seen any better measuring device than those.

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #18

            I have only seen the big floor models, never the table top, unfortunately. They are something I had heard of, but never seen. I would have loved one as a clerk, measuring out large yardages, and doing store counts for inventory! I guess a lot of places figure that yardsticks are cheaper and easier to maintain. Speaking of tearing the fabric, that is one thing that bugs me a lot. I was taught which fabrics to tear (most, including cottons), which to cut, and which you had to pull a thread and cut along the pulled thread. This was by the store I worked in, which had been around a long long time. The Rule of Thumb, or measuring that little extra at the end of the yardage was there for tearing fabric! It made sure the customer got what they wanted, and if the fabric tended to distort on the tear line, they would still have the yardage they wanted. You got a straight edge on both ends, already on the grain! You always tore from selvage to selvage, never from the middle to the selvages! You also measured from the selvage, never from the folded edge on a bolt of fabric! No wonder people are getting shorted fabrics! It miffs me to no end that I have to go home and straighten goods, and end up loosing sometimes up to a whole 1/4 yard straightening goods. Thus my rule of thumb, always buy a 1/4 yard extra, or round up to the nearest whole or half yard. And cutting across motifs in laces. The horror of it. I was taught to cut around the motifs, leaving whole ones on the edge! It leaves a scalloped edge of useful motifs for the customer to use. We measured from the cut part, and down, then made sure the yardage was cut to accommodate the length they needed. Rule of Thumb.Fabrics to heavy to tear were aligned, selvage to table edge, and cut flat, not doubled on the bolt. You followed a thread as best as possible, or cut through motifs in the print as guide lines. And if you thought a bolt was off grain, you did not sell it! Not until it was unrolled, and re rolled after the grain was checked, as bolting fabric distorts the grain. A good chiffon or georgette can be easily torn. A drapery sheer or a loosely woven sheer has to have a thread pulled to cut along. You cannot get a proper yardage unless you do so. I have spent hours doing this, and once you learn, it is not as hard as you think. Once you have that disturbed line of thread or threads to cut along, you have a straight line for sharp shears to just zip along. The fabric literally melts from the sharp cutting edge.
            I recently saw a clerk cleave through a double folded bolt of sheers with scissors....Not only will the customer be shorted by as much as a yard when she gets home, she will have huge chunks out of the edge.... and she still has to straighten the edges....With prices so high, and these good practices not in use anymore, is it any wonder that many stores are no longer in business? Ok, done with my rant now.... :) Cathy

          5. funkyjazzdesigns | | #20

            They were Measure-Graphs; I'm not sure of the actual way the words were or were not conntected after all these years.  I used them in the first fabric store that I worked for back in the 1980s.  They were great for measuring large yardage and still being able to carry on a conversation with the customer as you didn't lose track of counting.  They were NOT good for any fabric that had ANY amount of stretch in it (like the polyester gabardines of that era).  The rollers put tension on the fabrics and if there was any stretch the yardage was not accurate - it would be measured short.  The larger the piece of fabric the more it was shorted.

            The machines did need to be maintained and were regularly inspected by the state weights and measures department .

            I do think that the company that made them went out of business a while ago, though I can't state that as fact.


          6. sewchris703 | | #28

            That's what we were told when I worked at House of Fabrics (before they were taken over by Joanns). The company went out of business and there were no parts to maintain the machines.Chris

          7. jjgg | | #21

            I remember those machines! Wow, that was a long time ago. My mother would by fabric at JC Penny's!

          8. donnasdream | | #37

            To Ohiostar and all.

            I remember the instrument they used, it had a watch face on it that measured the yardage, no mistakes, JLHudson, Detroit MI, Midwest Woolens, Zemco Textiles. Fabric diversity! I am soooo sick of looking at fleece. 

            Yesterday, I thought I had lost my sewing kit so decided to make up one quick in a hurry. I bought a measuring tape, pkg of 20 needles, pkg. of 6 beading needles, beeswax, 30 long pins, a closed end thimble (I prefer the opened ended ones), a seam ripper-needle threader, a wrist pin cushion and a plastic sectioned box. The tape measure was on sale. I still had my sissors. My total cost.

            $25.00  *!!!#@%?? Ridiculous

          9. KharminJ | | #38

            Oh, I so hear you, all!

            Please, please write to JoAnn's management! - Use the Corporate address and the name of a Big Boss ~ Here's the

            Contact Us page: http://www.joann.com/joann/help/contact_us.jsp and the Management Team info from Investor Relations: (Notice they've ALL come up thru the grocery business. And they're all men!)http://www.joann.com/joann/about_joann/joann_investors.jsp;jsessionid=HMSZFJPQPSRBEP4SY5NFAFR50LD3KUPU The Board of Directors are listed here:

            http://www.joann.com/joann/about_joann/joann_investors.jsp;jsessionid=HMSZFJPQPSRBEP4SY5NFAFR50LD3KUPU I'm sure equivalent info can be found on Hancock Fabrics' website.

            Please be polite, and be as specific as you can. Also, tell them what changes you'd like to see. Offer solutions along with your unhappiness. Otherwise, they have no idea what *would* make us happier, only that they get "gripes"! (Standard "letter of complaint" suggestions!)Again, thanks for the moral support, and remember that only you -the customer- can get changes made!

            Bright Blessings and Happy Summer, finally!Kharmin

          10. donnasdream | | #43

            I will do this, polite, to the point, speaking the king's english. Then back it up with examples from "Nancy's Notions, Clotilde, Atlanta Thread Supply, Greenberg & Hammer etc., and how I can clean up if I go to a sewing expo. I am SO TIRED of being GOUGED.

          11. Sewdance | | #39

            Wow! Midwest Woolens and Zemco Textiles- that sure was a trip down memory lane. Thanks!

          12. donnasdream | | #44

            Yes, it was glorious. I made my prom dress and my daughter's with fabric from Zemco's Textiles.

          13. jjgg | | #12

            I have bought full (still in shrink wrap) bolts of muslin at Joanns. The label says 25 yds. When you get home and measure it, there are 23. The is actually quite illegal, but they get away with it. They did refund my money.

    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #13

      I worked many years as a sales clerk in a couple of different fabric shops. I also have been a customer for many years more. Having an insider's view of both sides of the coin, I understand the frustration a client feels when shortchanged on goods and services. I also know the frustrations of being the sales clerk who actually cared about her clients needs, and tried to fulfill them.
      I loved my job, and did it willingly. I went to college to do a job for barely above minimum wage, and could not expect to earn much more. Yet my clients expected professional sewing advice and service.
      I recently looked into going back to work, in a fabric store, and the situation is unchanged. A lot of experienced people are no longer willing to impart their expensive, hard earned knowledge for little gain. So some stores resort to warm bodies to fill the need.

      So what is a customer to do? I have a few suggestions:1. Find a store and a particular clerk that you can work with. Never mind what the cost of the goods are. You are paying for her knowledge as well as the cost of the goods. Keep her employed. Small stores, rather than chains, actually tend to pay better, and you get better service.2. If you have good service, tell the management. If not, do the same. Write it down in a letter and fill in all the details. Without feedback, you are not going to get what you want. A couple of customer feedback letters, and a good salesclerk will get a good raise to pay her for her knowledge. It will also prove that "warm bodies" are not working to their advantage, no matter what the "bean counters" are telling them.3. If it is busy, and you have a lot to buy, come back later when it is slower. If you cannot come back, settle back and calmly wait. The more hurried a clerk is, the more mistakes happen.
      Plan your large buying trips around slow periods, such as early morning, and during the common dinner hours, when everyone else is not shopping.
      If you are in a hurry, make sure you know exactly what you need, and how much before you go.
      If you need personal attention and help, management will only allow a short period of time with you before the clerk is told to move on if it is busy. The best times for this is when it is slow. Your favorite clerk can tell you the best time to come in. You can book appointments in small shops for personal service with a particular clerk if you plan ahead.3. Count out the yardage with the clerk. Stop her if you are unsure before she cuts!!!! If you are dealing with the same person all the time, they will not mind. 4. If you are ill, please stay home. We cannot afford to be off sick, or passing illness to our workmates and customers either. We cannot serve our best unless we are at our best.I know I have run on rather long, but it makes shopping pleasant for both clerk and customer. Anyone who has worked retail would understand. Cathy

      1. KharminJ | | #17

        Cathy ~ Thanks so much for that great "How to go fabric shopping" list!!!Every one of your points will make the experience smoother and more fun for both the customers and the store people!Kharmin

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #19

          Thanks Kharmin, I had you in mind also when I was writing the list. I wondered when you would weigh in on the subject, tee hee. Like me, I know you love your job, working with all those lovely fabrics, and the wonderful creative people you come into contact with. As sales people on the floor, it is hard to serve both masters, the corporation or business owner, and the customers. It is especially hard when you are a creative person. Because you see both sides of the situation, but can do nothing personally to improve it, other than to do your best. Like me, you have a lot of personal experience and knowledge that you impart to your customers, for free. You are not paid for that. But it is expected. Would anyone expect a mechanic or a plumber to do the same? I spent two years in college learning the basics of my trade, and 5 years on the store floor, continuing to learn. Since leaving the store, I have spent the time raising a family, running a business(the family farm)and continuing my education. I did this on my own, with the intention to go back.
          I just finished working out what I would be making if I did. I would be making $5.00 a week more than what I would have 23 years ago in take home pay. I couldn't live on what I made then, how could I now?
          I would have to drive an hour to get to work now. Plus parking. I cannot get full time work as a clerk. They only hire part-time staff. I have been told outright I have too much experience. They cannot pay me anything more. I would be working as a hobby. Hobbies cost. Bless you Kharmin for sticking with it. Cathy

          1. KharminJ | | #22

            Thanks again, Cathy! I've been out of town since Friday morning, and this thread exploded onto the scene while I was out-of-touch! Wow, if only we could get the big-wigs to grasp (and actually apply!) these concepts! And it's *not* just fabrics fans who are having these kinds of issues - I read a lot of general-business writings, and it's an almost universal complaint ~ Why can't the money-counters understand /comprehend /grok /get it through their thick skulls that "spending" even a little bit more time, money and energy on REAL customer service will return magnitudes of increased profits??!?!! If I had come into this job *not* being an experienced customer, or not as conscientious, and depending solely on the "training" provided, I could easily be one of those horrid clerks, too. AFAIK, there is *zero* time allowed to make sure that a new hire even knows the "policies", let alone "best practices"!!

            Fortunately, the hiring manager at our store is usually pretty good about looking for people who know what they're doing ...

            And we're actually warned *against* that "extra thumb" - because it eats into profits!! (Heaven forbid you throw in an extra 1/4 yard - that's cause for discipline!)~~~Hoo Boy! I could rant for hours on all the frustrating aspects of this particular gig - but, like I said, you guys are the choir ...(grin!) and I love you all - Need to stop now, or I'll have to dig out my old Blood Pressure meds!(snicker)Bright Blessings and Happy Monday! K

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #23

            Hee hee hee, I think we could spend hours discussing the subject on this one. Never mind the strange requests and oddities that come our way. I will leave that for you to laugh over, and lower your blood pressure. Have a good week on the front! Cathy

      2. Ceeayche | | #26


        I underscore your points!

        Two years ago I bought what seemed like acres of chartreuse green satin from Hancock Fabrics in preparation for a choir Christmas Cantata.  Initially i bought all they had on hand, and then ordered another 20 yards.  When it first came in it came in a lovely shade of emerald green.  We got a laugh out of that as it was much prettier than what I had purchased.  By the time the next shipment came I couldn't remember what I'd ordered in terms of numbers and I'd learned there were 12 more choir members who would be singing.  So I told the assistant manager I'd come back in about two hours when the store was less busy (that would put me there about an hour before closing).

        I did and she and I rolled it all off the bolt and remeasured it.  I cannot tell you what a chore that was-- it was a slipping and a sliding everywhere.  She said manually doing it would be more accurate than using the machine.  And yes, we started again twice.  Well it turned out there were only 18 yards, not the 20 I'd ordered.  So then we used the machine to measure it again and roll it back on to the bolt (our fourth time measuring it out).  She apologized profusely and corrected the bill, giving me a discount on this order and on the order I placed for the additional yardage.

        The now third time I came  in for this same vibrant fabric.  The order came in two pieces.  We measured it out again and found that both were more than they said they were (one piece by one yard and the other by 2 yards)! This turned out to be a blessing, as it made it easier to figure out how to make the cuts without having to piece it.

        Two lessons:

        1.  If time permits, come in when it's not busy (Tuesday nights) to pick up special orders and take the time to measure it out in the store.

        2.  Stay positive.  It was frustrating for me and embarassing for them.  Nevertheless, I really bonded with Julie (the assistant manager).  She and the one of sales people who is still working there always joke when I come in about how much "lime" satin they have on hand.  They now bend over backwards to assist me on my projects.




        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #27

          Yes, exactly my point. Working with the same person all the time, you develop a rapport and begin to speak the same "language". As a clerk, you understand their needs, and abilities. As a customer, you benefit from their experience, and know they understand where you are coming from.
          Point in case: Fussy bride from a large family with 12 attendants. Bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids, flowergirls....all family. We ordered in a huge amount of satin fabric, specifying it all to be on large rolls if possible, or at least the same dye lot. It came in on 6 rolls, different lots, and flawed! Bride had a Bird! Fortunately, the seamstress who was making the dresses has worked with the clerk often. Between the two of them, they figured out who was to get what fabric from what roll. It all worked out perfectly in the end. Each group of Bridesmaids had a slightly different dye lot, that did not show in the pictures. Without the time to work it out calmly.....

          1. sewchris703 | | #29

            I got my current job because of the rapport I had with a customer. She owned a bridal shop and would come into the fabric store during our big customer appreciation sale. I wound up with her because nobody else wanted her. She had a thick Chinese accent and was hard to understand and blunt to boot. She was always asking me to come to work for her doing bridal alterations. When JoAnn's took over the company, I took her up on her job offer. And have been working there almost 11 years now.Chris

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #30

            When you go that little extra, even when it is a "Difficult Customer", there are often payoffs in the end. Some of the biggest sales I have ever had came from references from these customers, who sent their friends to me for bridal parties, or big drapery orders. When a new customer comes in looking for you by name....
            Or offers you a job. Your client must have been impressed by you and felt she could work with you. That is important. Some places are very fussy over who they hire for alterations in shops. I am so happy it worked out for you! :) Cathy

          3. User avater
            KraftyKandi | | #31

            I so appreciate everyone's expertise on "working" in fabric stores...I just have a question for anyone who buys fabric online. Right after I finally bought a NEW sewing machine and Serger, every fabric store in my area closed down within 6 months (i.e. Hancock's, Walmart) and local Joann's stores. It left me having to drive about 20 - 30 min to the only Joann's store left, an "outlet" store, to buy fabric and notions. As a few of you have said, it's so pricey, and the selection stinks. Often times, the bolts have only 1 1/4 yards left on them, the sales clerks know NOTHING about sewing, are unfriendly and overworked. The outlet store's stock is dwindling without being replaced, so I can't find the simplest things (zippers, thread, elastic). How does anyone who's a "hobby" sewer (clothes, mostly) buy fabric online without actually touching it, seeing the colors in person, assessing the drape, etc.? Once it's been cut, it's yours, whether you want it or not. My timing was awful in finally updating my tools!Any suggestions?

            Edited 6/21/2009 11:23 am ET by KraftyKandi

          4. Cindy_Lynn | | #35


            I sometimes order fabric online from fabric.com. They have daily specials if you sign for their newsletter (deal of the day), as well as other specials. Also, there are opportunities for free shipping. A yard is always at least 37" and you can order swatch samples to see and feel the 'merchandise' before before you buy if you wish. I've never done this, but have always been very happy with my selections when they arrived. Also, pricing is excellent and they carry my favorite manufacturers' brands (Moda is one of my favorites). They are located in Marietta, Georgia. We lived in Georgia for 4 years (Cobb county, where Marietta is located). I use to buy my fabric at a textile outlet store and always got wonderful fabrics at awesome prices. I sometimes wonder if this is the same business I use to shop from over 20 years ago since I did much of my shopping in Marietta. Like many in this discussion have mentioned, there are fewer stores available to purchase fabric from these days and what stores there are, often have limited selections for colors and fabrics to select from. I quit wasting my time going to Joann's simply because I'd go through their flyer and make a special trip (40+ minutes away) and they wouldn't have a single item that had been in their flyer and drawn me in...they always told me, 'the bigger stores have the flyer merchandise'. ...no, there isn't a 'bigger' store in our area.

            For other difficult to find (in my area) sewing supplies (and other crafts), I've had really good results shopping at craftsforless.com

            There are a couple other websites I've also shopped for sewing/crafting supplies with good results. If I find a new website that I'm not familiar with, I check out the 'about us' info, then do a search on the Better Business Bureau's website (bbb.org I believe). Most reputable online businesses will be listed and it only takes me a few minutes to verify this.

            One of the benefits I've found with some of the online fabric stores, for quilt planning purposes especially, is the 'design boards'. These are also useful when planning a garment with more than one fabric, coordinated.

            I also had found a website that had awesome inventory of threads (wonderful for decorative stuff or embroidery). I don't seem to have the link on this computer yet. Another place I've found some really good deals for sewing supplies, fabric, thread and equipment has been on Ebay, which came as a complete surprise when I stumbled onto something I was interested in the first time...now I check regularly.


            Cindy Lynn

          5. User avater
            KraftyKandi | | #41

            Thanks Cindy! I'm new to this website and you responded to my very 1st post, so thank you. All your website info and experience really helped point me in the right direction. I actually bookmarked fabric.com a few months ago but was worried to order anything. They do have very good prices, so I won't be so timid about ordering now.

          6. Cindy_Lynn | | #42

            Welcome Kandi!
            I'm new too. I loved Fine Cooking and was thrilled when I learned about Threads and that it was another Taunton Press publication (I read it cover to cover).Regarding fabric.com, it is my favorite on-line fabric store. We have several quilting/sewing machine fabric/dealerships about 40-60 minutes away from me, but they pretty much only stock cottons for quilting (which is great), with the Hancock's, Joanne's and WalMarts being pretty much my only other option. If I travel the other direction, about 16 miles away, there is a store called HadHerWays that has some very good quality fabric, but again, not a lot of options as this store tries to accommodate 'all' feminine interests (not to say there aren't men with some traditionally female hobbies) in a very limited space. To go there, for me, is a trip with only the sole purpose of hoping they'll have what I'm looking for so that I won't have to wait on completing a project since I can't incorporate any other errands into the trip, but I do like to shop there when I can. Sometimes, I'll call ahead to see if there's a possibility that they'll have what I'm looking for and they will order for me, but I just as well order myself and have it delivered to my door rather than having to make an additional trip. I like to support local businesses, but I also have to look at what is best for myself and my family as well.One of the things we were discussing at our recent sewing retreat was how many of the stores (Hancock's specifically with regard to sewing) aren't restocking inventory in the current economy, yet on the news, a local Hancock spokesperson was saying that they have had a huge increase in sales of both sewing machines and fabric since the economy started to decline...go figure!

            Edited 6/24/2009 2:25 pm ET by Cindy_Lynn

          7. Palady | | #46

            Cindy Lynn did indeed give you a useful heads up on ordering fabric on-line.  Do hope you get to read the post from Marie Curie - message # .... .47. 

            Swatches can be a big help.  Sometimes there's a cost.  There are isntances where you can deduct the swatch cost from the price of yardage you order from them.  You could consider asking if this is offered should you go the swatch route.


          8. LizPf | | #47

            I was just in our local Joanns (Burlington, MA) today ... daughter needed stuff to decorate a shirt for a friend, and I wanted to buy some "nice but expendable" fabric to try the bias squares top.I found my fabric ... a nice soft 100% cotton seersucker at 60% off ... I paid less than $4.50 for 2 yards. Not a bad price; I don't feel gouged at all. And my daughter bought a plain white t-shirt and yards and yards of black lace -- I'll have to see this creation when it's done!The clerk at the cutting table looked friendly, so I commented on how little garment fabric there was in the store. Her reply (and I paraphrase): "Since Fabric Place closed, we've been trying to keep a stock of better garment fabric. We know we're the only store around, and that our customers want good fabric. We had to argue with the corporation because most regular stores don't get the good stuff, only the super stores do."I told the clerk to count me as a garment sewer, and that I wanted to see lots of nice fabric, not just quilting cotton and The Dread Fleece.And that's what we need to do. We need to tell the clerks to let the management know we want good fabric, and that we will buy it if they stock it. [Somebody must be buying all that Dread Fleece!] And we need to put our money where our mouths are, and actually buy the nice stuff when it comes in.

          9. ljb2115 | | #48

            I will not repeat my Hancock's stories, but it rarely does any good to tell a fabric store clerk anything, but to have a nice day and for heaven's sake cut my fabric straight!  Upper management does NOT give a hoot, or listen, or care what the clerks ask for.  This takes diligent emails, calls, etc. to management, at the top level.  Even then, this may take months for anything to come to fruition, if ever.  Everything is so computerized and programmed that there is no margin for the little niceties we customers are asking for.  The local JoAnn store in my town is moving to new quarters by July 3.  I don't know what the store will carry, but I have a feeling that the crafts and quilting area will be enlarged and the fashion fabric will be again slighted. Undoubtedly there will be a boatload of fleece to add to the mix. I can remember when JoAnn carried Pendleton wools, Crompton corduroy and other names.  That was a fond memory.  I have shopped at the Indianapolis ETC store and its fashion fabrics are no better than the local store - just more of it.  Back to the crafts:  I do hope the new store will carry the Hot-Fix crystals.  Nuff said.

          10. Ceeayche | | #49

            I'm sorry your experience has not been good in your Hancocks.  I was back in there today .... they reminded me again of the green satin (new person there they had to regale of our travails).  Maybe while you've got the attention of corporate you might want to mention the dirth of quality service and accountability at your local store?  As someone who handles customer complaints for a large telecommunications corporation, I'd recommend a tone that is somewhere between sorely disappointed and shocked.

            We recently got a new expanded JoAnn's around the corner from Hancock's  (yes, I'm blessed got both Hancocks and JoAnn's within 3 miles of the house and G Street and Curran Square down the road a piece).  Neither J or H carries the kind of exquisite fashion fabric that has gotten me in to debt on so many occasions.  But the new JoAnn's does have a large fleece section (you got that right).  It's bright and clean and has a large aisles-- since mom was confined to her wheelchair before her death, I'm very attuned to this as it does impact my ability to stand back and get perspective of what I'm considering purchasing before I lug it around the store. And the one of the nicest surprises is that it has lots of storage options tailored to the sewing/craft studio.

            Since I'm on self-imposed fabric restriction I can't buy fashion fabric anyway, but I did look around (that doesn't cost any thing and won't add to the stash).  The prints were fresh, but not the finest quality.  And the selection was diverse.

          11. sewelegant | | #53

            While "browsing the posts" your mention of Curran Fabrics caught my eye.  Back in the early 80's we were living in Fairfax and I needed a new ball gown so perused the yellow pages and found this in a small shopping square in Vienna, VA. I got the most beautiful navy silky charmeuse there.  I think it was polyester, but it sewed up beautifully.  There was a small geometric pattern to the fabric that only showed up as the light hit it at different angles.  I used a Vogue designer pattern and liked that dress so well I wore it to several other functions over the years and I still have it.  We left the area soon after, but I have never forgotten that shop.  The shop may not be as elegant as I remember, but my only thought now is you had better enjoy this jewel because it may not be around long the way all independent fabric stores are disappearing. 

          12. ljb2115 | | #56

            This is a tad late, have been engrossed with 4H work.  I did not have any problems with Hancock management, I was an employee there for years.  I was explaining what would and would not fly when trying to see some changes.  When I mentioned management I was referring to upper and above management.  These people live in a vacuum and look only at the bottom line.  The local store manager was wonderful - always went the extra mile, but in the end she is now attending college and learning something useful.

          13. Teaf5 | | #50

            "Dread Fleece" is a perfect name for it--Halloween costumes are about the only use I can think of for it.

          14. sewchris703 | | #51

            It does make decent diaper covers. At least during the day.Chris

          15. donnasdream | | #52

            LOL. I have to remember this one!

          16. User avater
            KraftyKandi | | #54

            We've been away for two weeks, so I just saw your post...again, THANKS for the suggestion! This message board has given me so many ideas thanks to all the knowledgeable members.Since Joann's is the only store I have left around me that I can actually go in and SEE the fabric, I use the coupons they send to make the fabric a little less expensive. I'll have to make sure that when I check these fabric websites, they have the notions I need too. I was just working with a light weight red knit that I bought over a year ago, for a summer dress. When I went thru my thread stash, I couldn't find anything to match it since it has an orange-y tint...had to use a contrast thread to finish it - thank heavens I didn't need a zipper!I live in Southern California, and I guess there aren't many "hobby sewers" around here. I'd love to move to one of the colder states, since there seems to be an abundance of stores to choose from. Oh well...

          17. KharminJ | | #55

            Hey, KK ~ Hope you were having a 'good time' while you were away!~~~I don't know if there are actually fewer hobby sewers, or if the Corporate powers-that-be have simply decided that there aren't enough to satisfy the never-ending quest to increase the bottom line - quilters and crafters are 'low-hanging fruit' - relatively easy to please, and constant buyers, so they'll just let *us* (garment sewers) fend for ourselves. Like TV programming, prescription drugs, and music-on-the-radio (and many other areas), the biggest easy-to-identify group gets most of the attention.

            Happy Sunday to you! Kharmin

          18. Palady | | #62

            >> ... been away 2 weeks ... <<  Ah yes, 'tis that time of the year.  As have you, i've been off-line for a time.

            Your take on the color red is well said.  My daughter has an eye for color and can easily determine the blue-red's, orange-red's, purple-red,s, + +. 

            >> ... light weight knit ... through ... thread ... couldn't find anything ... <<   Sometimes our stashes do fail us.  Despite all we might have.

            Sadly, the fabric stores here on the east coast are bitting-the-dust.  I've seen Piece Goods go, as well as Fabric Place, and a couple in Boston, MA.  A sign of the times I guess.



          19. junctioncats | | #57

            Another online fabric retailer I love is Vogue Fabrics. I actually got a chance to see their stock in person in Boston in April, and now that I've "met" the fabric from the website, I'm not at all worried about buying it. They offer swatches (most online places do). Their descriptions are accurate, and if you have any questions, they'll get back to you via email pretty quickly.And just to add a little to the price gouging conversation. I have to say I've never felt I was gouged at Joann's. The prices on virtually everything have been climbing for the last year. High end fabrics that I use for special occasion pieces have doubled in the last year, unless I'm lucky enough to get them on sale. Dance fabric (90-95% lycra) has risen by nearly 35%. In fact, I bought the last of a bolt in Joann about two months ago. They have the fabric back in stock now, and its $4.50 a yard more. However, I can never find more than one of anything there. When I look for frogs, I need more than two, so end up buying online. Gets frustrating.

          20. gailete | | #58

            I find I shop at Joanns always with my coupons in hand where years ago it was never that big of deal. I got a subscription to American Quilters Society magazine and with it comes a 10% off Joanns card that last year took 10% off of everything whether on sale or regular priced except coupon items. It more than paid for my subscription, so I got the discount and free magazine for the year! The card is good for a year too not just one visit.


          21. junctioncats | | #59

            Joann also puts out a magazine quarterly, featuring patterns and fabric that's available in their stores. On the back of the magazine are 2-50% off, 2-20% off, and 2-10% off coupons. That's always a big help!

          22. Jumala | | #60

            Have visited Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL a while back and was amazed at the amount of fabric in the store. The store was fashioned from 3 or 4 different store fronts with doorways fashioned from the walls between the store fronts. Kind of crowded in there as well. Some of the fabric was $110 per yard. Don't know what I use it for. There was a small notions section as well. There are/were 3 stores in the Chicagoland area.


          23. junctioncats | | #61

            I was so amazed to see the amount of fabric they brought to the Boston Expo. The area was 3-4 aisles wide in the convention center, and probably about 30 feet long. Just a sea of fabric. Oh yes, they have some VERY expensive fabric there, but I don't believe I've ever spent more than $8.00 a yard on anything from them. I wait until they put it on sale, OR I wait for something like the Expo in Boston, and buy it using their "show specials". :-)

        2. MarieCurie | | #40

          I completely agree with finding a good clerk.  We have one ratty little Joann's here.  I would never work there because the place is so cramped and gloomy.  I think the staff do their best with a lousy situation.  I got a tip on who was the good clerk, and fortunately, her work schedule meshed with the times I was usually able to manage a trip to the store--Tuesday morning when the youngest was in pre-school.  She had a lot of tatoos, but she was my go-to gal anytime I needed something out of the ordinary.  Unfortunately, her husband deployed to Iraq--again--and she went back home for the duration of the deployment.  I guess it all boils down to the golden rule:  be nice to the clerks and they will be nice to you.

  3. User avater
    adairent | | #3

    I do a lot more shoping on line now.  I have several fabric stores where I shop the sales and get better selection and a better price.  It isn't quite the same, since I cannot feel it before I buy it, but, as long as I know the type of material to begin with it isn't too much of a hardship. 

    1. MarieCurie | | #45

      Have you tried a subscription to a swatch service?  Vogue Fabrics.com has a great one.  Six times a year you get as many as eight sets of six fabrics each, all coordinated to make complete outfits.  It's the best thing in the world and the worst thing in the world because if I lived to be 1000 years old I would never have the time to play with all the fabulous fabrics!

  4. Teaf5 | | #15

    Yes!  I thought I was in another world; within just a couple of months, all the prices have doubled or tripled--perhaps because we all use their coupons to buy our stash?

    Last week, I popped in to pick up some cottons to whip up a baby quilt, something I did last year for about $10, and the new total cost would've run close to $50.  My coupon would be valid on only one cut of fabric, so I walked out without buying anything.

    In recent years, I've found RTW cheaper than sewing in some cases, but now it seems far cheaper in almost ALL cases.  I can't imagine many new sewers will be attracted to a challenging activity that costs a fortune, especially when they don't know whether the finished project will fit well or look good.

  5. KharminJ | | #16

    Greetings, All Y'All!Here's the link I posted in another thread (# 9580.1) in February:"...to address these concerns to the corporate folks who could actually "do something about it" ... here's the direct link to the JoAnn Fabrics 'Contact Us' page:http://www.joann.com/joann/help/contact_us.jspThere's a comments form, mailing address and phone number to Corporate HQ there. Please share your concerns (and your pleasures!) with them."Many many good and valid points are raised in this discussion, and speaking to a Store Manager *may* help you resolve your immediate difficulty, but the core problem is in the HQ policies and mind-set - which can only be influenced by the customers (you) going directly up the food chain to Corporate people. A huge part of the problem, as I see it (from behind the cutting counter) is that "they" (Corporate) seem to think there is no difference between shopping at JoAnn's and going grocery shopping. The pure "optional-ness" of everything they sell seems to be lost on them. Everything we employees do must be <i>immediately</i> measurable in "bottom line" dollars and cents, and the immense value of the human touch is invisible to the bean-counters.Bright Blessings, and keep those cards and letters coming, folks!Kharmin

    Edited 6/7/2009 8:57 pm by KharminJ

    1. ljb2115 | | #24

      I worked at Hancock's until the store closed due to the bankrupcty.  It was a nice store (small) with knowledgeable personnel - BUT, when I was given the indoctrination - what did I watch?   Video's about customer service - not to offend, etc.  Not once did I ever get any information about cutting, measuring, etc.  We had wonderful cutting tables, but there was no line to help us cut in a straight line.  I am left handed and this was very hard for me to cut straight - sooooo - I always gave a bit more and never had a complaint.  I also pulled threads and tore fabric when I could - even though it was not company policy.  Hancock's in my town always topped JoAnn's in customer service.  In fact, I can see where we were really taken advantage of.  As an aside:  I will never work for a "big box" outfit again.  There is absolutely no autonomy for decision making.  Case in point - there was a row of child prints (Dick and Jane type) in one part of the store - on a top shelf opposite the row was a lone same-type bolt.  Could it be put in with the others?????  No - the District Manager said it had to be on the top shelf.  Did it sell?????  NO - it was there when we closed.  So much for the wisdom of upper mgmt.

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #25

        I am starting to think that the two family run, independent stores where I worked, with their own unique set of management problems, was a blessing in disguise. Both had been in business for a long time, and had both young and long time employees. I had excellent training from some of the older women on staff. A very Belated THANK YOU, to them.
        As clerks, we were encouraged to shuffle or re-order the bolts, to change the focus, and bring slower selling merchandise forward. We were even able to "leave a bolt out" on the cutting table to display it when things were slow. We all loved looking for fabrics to suit the new pattern issues, and could suggest several choices for each to our favorite customers. It was our job to combine current inventory with the new stuff, to enhance both.
        No wonder people are not buying. If you can't see it, you won't buy it. Maybe I am old fashioned, and out of date.....or really need my own fabric heaven. Cathy

  6. User avater
    Sewista | | #32

    I am in there 2-3 times a week and frankly haven't noticed what I would call price gouging. I worked in retail many years. A good retailer has "barn burners" that get you in the door and are real values. Some goods in the store are below, some at normal, and some at higher markup, usually depending on competition and selling history of said item. I have seen some excellent values at my Joanns lately. Just today there were some awesome values in the bead department that were just knocked down. In my mind price gouging is taking advantage of a customer who has no other way of getting the product needed and charging them WAY over the normal price. Think of the gas crisis for an example. Joann's is no more guilty of "price gouging" than Walmart, Kmart, Sears, etc. I think also that we have been trained to work with their coupons and when we have to pay regular retail for a notion because we need it at a time that the 50% off the notion wall sale is not going on, aggravates the heck out of us. Sorry about the runon sentence. I keep a running list in my sewing room of things I will need for upcoming projects. I pour over their ads to find a match with my list and go to the store armed with my coupons. I have never walked out of there feeling gouged. JMHO.

    1. User avater
      clairezbo | | #33

      We have a new Joanns in our area. they have taken the old material, right on the bolt, marked it up 100%, and then marked it 50% off. I would call that gouging. If you have read any of the reply, you will see that I am not the only one. I have been shopping in material stores for over 50 years, I know when I am being gouged. marking things up just too mark them down is not a good practice. You just never know what to expect. that I can live with, but when I see the same material that was 7.98 with a 30% mark down,(in the old store) then it is 18.98 with a 50% mark down, (in the new store). What would you think???? Maybe that we are paying for the new store??? I think this is a very deceptive practice.

      1. jjgg | | #34

        to continue the bashing of fabric stores, I was at Hancocks today. about 1/2 of the fabric is quilting fabric (good for quilters). 2/3 of the rest was fleece - now it's summer people, why is the store full of fleece? do people really buy this stuff? I've never understood why they always have so much of it. Then there was a whole row of what I term 'Walmart $1.00/yd fabrics' in other words - real junk. and the rest - well it was pretty junky too. I did see one lady walking out with some pretty seersucker fabric, it looked like it would make a cute outfit for a little girl. I'm glad I only needed some buttons (for my tents!). Yeah for fabric stashes in the closet! I can shop in my own closet!

        1. ljb2115 | | #36

          I am a former Hancock employee.  The local store closed almost four years ago, due to upper management mis-management and the bankruptcy.  Re-read the former sentence!.  The local stores are helpless as to the quantity or quality of merchandise sent.  Our local store had some pretty good garment fabrics.  As far as quilt fabrics went, I am a proponent of purchasing my fabric at a good quilt shop.  Fortunately, I have the means to do so, as I don't want to waste my time with inferior fabrics.  FLEECE.....I hate the stuff.  I do keep some for blankets and for making breast cancer comfort pillows. Actually, I like one-layer fleece blankets and every few years make new ones for the "grands"  embellished with their names. At one time there was a rash of women making double-faced blankets by cutting strips into the fabric and tying these together.  That really sold the fleece.  These in my opinion were UGLY.  It was all I could do to sell the stuff!  But the fleece did sell!

          Our local ASG keeps pink fleece with the breast cancer logo (pink ribbon) for use in the pillows.  These are heart-shaped pillows, stuffed lightly with poly-fill and sewn on the outside so there is no bunched seams to irritate the client.  We have given at least forty each year for the past seven or eight years.  The ASG last fall also made hats, scarves and mittens for a local Outreach program for kids.  Fleece does have a place, but please not for the aforementioned blankets.

          The local Hancock's employed serious sewers who could answer almost any question.  We knew the merchandise and most of the merchandise pitfalls.  Since we never got any commission for anything, I did not ever try to sell any sewing machine or serger. These were low end Janome's, Singer's and White's  There was no local repair back-up and I hesitated to sell someone short.  In fact right before the word was out that we were closing, a lady inquired about a White sewing machine which was listed for sale in flyer.  I told her quietly that the store would be closing and she would be much better off going to the local sewing machine dealer where she would have support.  DH told me I could have been fired because of that and I replied I'm losing my job anyway and won't qualify for unemployment.  End of story.  The lady thanked me for being honest.

          Hancock's and JoAnns will always be Big Box stores without any input as to the needs of the community or clientele.  Everything is computerized down to the heating and cooling.  Hancock's is a bit more customer friendly. The store even "loaned" that horrible furniture to some of the local interior designers for the Designer's Show Home.  Received some free advertising and fostered good will.  The local manager was incredibly good.  She is now in school learning something useful.  Our community is down to JoAnn's and Walmart.  JoAnn's is opening new quarters on July 3rd. 



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