Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: Fat Quarter Shop 12 pound fabric grab bag

Before I get to the review (tons of pics!) I have to yap about the great idea I had concerning this grab bag (box, really, it's a box).

Before the box arrived, I decided to start a personal challenge with it.  I'm calling it:

FY14 Charity Challenge.

The fiscal year is about to roll over.  So from now until the turn of the next fiscal year (June/July) I'm going to use the grab box fabric to make things for charity.  "Charity" could be toys for Fluff for Foster Care or bandannas/toys for shelter pets or items to donate to charity auctions/sales.  I will not profit (financially) from any item made from the grab box fabric.  The grab box fabric can be used for my personal postage stamp quilt and to add to the postage stamp squares I trade.  The grab box fabric can also be used for some experiments (I want to try my hand at dyeing fabric and there is a bit in the box that I think would work well for said experiment).  I would prefer to make things with the grab box fabric, but I'm not adverse to donating some fabric unused if it's appropriate to the charity (perhaps making a small bundle as a donation to a charity, for example).  I may even make some small quilt tops or maybe even a full (small) quilt.

Sounds good, huh?  It will give me a reason to really go through all my patterns and sew up a bunch of stuff I've been meaning to try but have just been too lazy.

OK, enough about my personal challenge.  It's time for some fabric pOrn.

Yeah, it was all in this box.  It was stuffed full and HEAVY.  Definitely 12 pounds.

Look at that stack.  And that was just one little bit of what was inside.  To get a real look at everything, I needed to spread it out.

First up, the larger cuts.  These ranged from about 14 x WOF up to 40 x WOF.

Big batik pieces.  I already have plans for these.  Remember that dinosaur I made (Kenny) a while back?  I'm thinking that pattern will look great in batiks.

Darker colors.

Lighter colors.  That really light one right in the middle (that has a very faint pattern to it) was the biggest cut. I think that purple (on the left) would make cute mermaid tails.  The green bubble print might make a cute giraffe (I have a cute giraffe pattern I've been wanting to try).

A bit of Christmas fabric and some cute embroidery pattern print.  I love having the Christmas fabric.  The snowman print one would be great accent fabric on a small quilt.  It almost looks like a panel but it's not (the images are just really organized like that).

Next, the smaller sized cuts.  These are all WOF but are 13 inches long or smaller.  The shortest cut was about 3.5 x WOF.

Eee, look at that elephant fabric and the chartreuse chevrons.  Yeah, chevrons are a bit over hyped but I love chartreuse.  The three blue ones on the right hand side coordinate nicely.  Might make nice quilt blocks or dresses for dolls or reversible dog bandannas (if the sizing is right).  The yellow in the middle isn't a solid, it's a blender (that woven looking print--I've seen it before).

Strips of various sizes.  Again, a few batiks in there.  I pulled all the batiks from the box for the dinosaur pattern.  I'm going to start making them pronto.  Lot's of variety with colors and print and even a bit that I'm fairly certain are from the same line (those pinks).

Yup, a bit more batik there.  The one on the right there didn't show up very well in the pic.  It's stripey and light color (and I think has some sparkle/shine to it).

Chevrons, polka dogs, and bit of Christmas cheer.  Some of the darker prints you're seeing are technically Christmas fabric (per the selvage notes) but the images aren't very seasonal, so that means more wiggle room when using them.

Next, the non-WOF cuts.  These are FQ-ish sized (some slightly smaller/larger than FQ) or smaller quares/strips.

These are all about 22 inches wide in varying lengths.  The smallest length is about 9 inches.

LOVE the bat print.

These are all square cuts.  They're around 9.5 x 10.5 (or slightly larger).  There's at least two of each print.

These are all FQ-ish.  They're not perfect fat quarters, but they're all very close.  They may be an inch shorter or longer.  There are duplicates of a few (including the bamboo print and the cute kid print one).  The polka dot one is super cute, some of the dots have little hand drawn (looking) faces on them.  Bit of Christmas in there, too.

Last but not least are the solids and a bit of flannel.

The flannels are the two on top (beige and medium shade blue).  They're both WOF strips (5 inch and 11 inch).

The solids are all WOF and range from 6 inches up to 18 inches.  There are a few duplicates (of this very pale green solid--it looks white in the picture--it's what I'm going to use for dyeing experiments).

Ok, now for my thoughts on the purchase.

Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase.  I bought mine with a 20% off coupon code, which was like getting it for free shipping (shipping is a flat $10).  I crunched some numbers and here's how MY purchase breaks down.

Total yardage (approximate):  28.375 yards
Price per yard:  $1.93

Per the description they estimate 20-25 yards of fabric so they aren't overselling the item at all.  If anything, they're underselling.

The quality of all the fabric is very good.  None of it looked pre-washed or "used" (no stray stains/marks).  All of the fabric is quilt store quality, some of it is even what I'd consider "high end" (there was a bit of Japanese fabric in my collection).

The variety of colors and prints is also very good.  I like getting a nice mix of colors and prints.  I also like getting some novelty fabrics (since I love them).  The prints to solids ratio was good.  I like getting some solids but since they are boring (and usually less expensive compared to prints) I don't want them to dominate.  There was a low amount of "non-quilting cottons" (flannel/laminated/etc).  I don't mind getting a bit of that just for a fun change, but I don't use it a lot so less is better.  There was also a minimum of duplication with the prints.  There were a few repeats but the size was usually different (or in the case of the smaller squares, I like getting two of the same).

The variety of cuts was very good.  I don't mind getting some smaller cuts (like the squares or shorter strips) but I appreciate them not dominating the box.  I consider those smaller pieces "scraps" and expect them to dominate a scrap bag.  But for a remnant box/bag I want more larger cuts over smaller.  This box had the right ratio of sizes.

Now the big questions that comes up with any scrap/mystery bag purchase is:

Would I buy this again?

YES.  It's a good value and super fun to unpack and figure out how to use it all.

Would I recommend it to others?

YES.  Especially folks who already appreciate scrap/mystery bags or folks who like to "work scrappy".  I'd also recommend it to a person with little to no stash.  It's a very economical way to get your hands on good quality fabric.  Even if you're a newbie to sewing, you deserve to work with really nice materials (even if your finished products aren't so hot).

I'd also add, this is a great item for folks to go together on.  Especially for folks with different tastes.  My box as an example, I could easily share this with someone who really likes more "classic" prints (like civil war reproduction stuff).  Or, you could just share it based on how much your per yard price is and how much you take from the box.  Hey, that could be a fun idea for a quilt guild.

Last but certainly not least, this review is just because I enjoy doing reviews.  This is not an ad for The Fat Quarter Shop in any way/shape/form.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  (though wouldn't that be fun, to get paid to review scrap bags and mystery packs!).  


  1. Thanks for the detailed review! I wish my Mom still lived in the US because this would be just the sort of thing we would like part of and hate the other, and luckily we'd love nothing in common and both go away happy ;)

    1. If you see any fabrics in the mix that you'd like, I'd be willing to share a bit with you (but not that elephant fabric, it's mine ALL MINE!!!)