Friday, March 9, 2007

Pattern Therapy

I've been wanting a specific Butterick pattern and keep missing the sales. Yes, Butterick is on sale at Hancock's right now, but, well, I just don't feel like driving all the way to Tampa to see if (1) the store even still exists, as lots of Hancocks have been closing and it's been a while since I've been there or (2) if they have the pattern and in my size. Yes, I have heard of the telephone but work with me here, OK?

So yesterday, after running an errand to Sears with DH (that's a rant I'll get to below), I decided we'd stop by Joann's so I could pop in and just buy the darn pattern and also browse for a bit. With DH waiting in the car, I knew I'd be less tempted to impulse buy. I had forgotten that J's has changed the everyday pricing on Buttericks to $5.99. With the price of gas lately, it would've cost nearly the difference in the sale price to drive to Hancock's so I'm not feeling too bad I "splurged." I also picked up a few Simplicities that were on sale. I probably wouldn't have bought them otherwise. But the pattern stash needs replenishing every other month or so, right? Even if I'll never sew but a fraction of those patterns in two lifetimes.

So, on to the rant … I have a Kenmore (Sears) canister vacuum. It's about 5 years old. It is not a bottom of the line model. It was not cheap. There's something wrong with the wheels on the "PowerMate" head. The thing still sucks perfectly fine, and I mean that in a good way. It just doesn't move smoothly like it used to and it feels like it's dragging when you use it. Like vacuuming isn't already a drag. But I'm not willing to buy an entire new vacuum when mechanically this one is just fine. Not yet.

I tried looking for a replacement head on Sears' parts website. Sigh. Nothing specific enough was listed. So I called the parts department. The guy I spoke with had me read off all the serial and model numbers — the canister and the head each have their own. Then he asked me a bunch of questions to make sure he had the right thing. He also said that the connector poles come with it. Hmm. Don't need those but no way to order just the head alone. Oh well. I gave him my credit card info and waited for the box to arrive.

Which it did last week. With the most completely wrong replacement head it could ever be. Let's start with the fact that my vacuum and the head are trendy RED. The replacement is 1970s BEIGE. Um, no. My original has a headlight on the front. Replacement? More beige plastic. Model numbers? Not even close. Poles? Mine are telescoping and get pretty long. Replacement? Short and non-telescoping. Grrrr.

Fast forward to yesterday. DH needed replacement blades for our riding mower (also red btw if it matters, and it doesn't.) We decided to combine missions and go to Sears together. DH carries in the big box with the vacuum stuff and our original head on top in case the non-online Sears people don't have the same clue like their online counterparts. (They don't.) The parts counter (if you call a tiny window near the rear exit door a counter) tells me they can't take it back there. The only place that takes back online parts purchases is the main parts center in Tampa. Wha???? I paid $16 in shipping for the wrong thing and now I have to spend close to the equivalent in gas to return it to a different location? Sigh.

And then we walked into the completely clueless and annoying saleswoman in the vacuum department. The model we have is still being made (it's now trendy orange) so I wanted to copy those model numbers, etc. from the floor model. She just could not understand what we were doing and at that point I was in a mood. It was not a chatty mood if you get my drift. She didn't.

(BTW and totally unrelated, while I was standing there copying the model numbers, a man was asking this woman if sewing machines were still in cabinets. Saleslady had yet another airheaded answer and was zero help to him, but the point I want to make is that he was looking for himself and his machines! I smiled to myself and nudged DH. Yay for male sewers!)

So, the box with the "replacement" is now sitting on my kitchen table while I fume and ponder. And my floors still need to be vacuumed. But DH will be swapping out the mower blades this afternoon.

Now do you see why we detoured to Joann's on the way home?

So, what did I buy?

B4986 - Love it!! It's next on my list, but in a knit.

S3837 - Interesting, now that I've seen the pattern pieces. Another layer over the boobs probably won't do me any favors, so it might be a permanent stash victim acquisition.

S4375 - Linda, was it you who made the jacket? Whoever it was, I've wanted the pattern since.

S3880 - A pants pattern available in plus sizing w/o an elastic waist. Had to buy it.

S4095 - I have a feeling I already have this one. (My Palm's batteries are dead and so my pattern list wasn't with me even if my dead Palm was.) But maybe not. Even if I don't have this particular pattern, I know I have all its parts within others. Knowing this, I bought it anyway. ;-)

But no fabric! Even though there were a few bolts that tempted me. DH was waiting in the car after all.

Oh, and just in case you're keeping score — No, I haven't made any progress on my sister's scrubs. I'm hoping to squeeze in some cutting time today and some sewing time over the weekend.


  1. Debbie, you also haven't said where you purchased the fabrics for the

    Did you see my DH in that Joanne's** yesterday? He is in Miami somewhere and he was there purchasing quilt batting for me. Because he was complaining about the bulk of the batting...airline travels...I didn't even bother to ask him to get me the cutting mat. Next time when I am on my own. **(This is just meant as a joke as I know there must be hundreds of Joanne's in Florida.) But he was there.

    I really like that second pattern...the one with the double layer. The pattern with the jacket has been calling my name for some time but I will get it off that famous auction site. The last pattern lives in my stash.

    Have a good sewing weekend.

  2. Debbie - I have two of those patterns you bought, and was looking at one of them. I've got the S4375 and have made up the skirt. It sews up nicely. Also have the s4095. Same thing. Made two skirts, though and haven't worn them yet. :) I like that S3880 pants. I bet it looks nice done up.

    Also, next time you need a pattern from Hancocks but don't want to drive, feel free to email me. I work right next to them and would be happy to run over and get it for you and mail it to you. :)

    Hancocks or Joanns - both are great therapy for having to endure idiotic and incompetent sales people. I can totally relate.

  3. Customer service at it’s best! I was just complaining about that the other day. I have worked for years in costumer service related jobs & I would never have treated my customers the way that seems to be the norm now-a-days (good Lord I sound like a granny). But seriously! I bet that if you call Sear’s parts center & pitch a wholly fit you will get a pick up tag to ship those back for free. It would be worth a try. I work in the display dept in Sear’s when I was in high school & you would not believe the stuff that they took back. ½ used bottles of perfume, a 20 years old weed whacker, etc.

  4. I love that last pattern. The ruching on the top seems like it would be good for those of us with bellies.

    Your vaccum story reminds me of my needing a new vaccum. After reading, I have made up my mind to buy it our local vaccum store (they even have a vaccum "museum" with all sorts of crazy old vaccums!) rather than a department store. (besides, my husband spent hundres of dollars on a last minute fun trip so I figure I get to spend an equivalent for a nice vaccum!)

  5. I vote for calling Sears and pitching a fit. They should refund your shipping, too. DH just went through the same thing with HP sending him the wrong power supply. But they sent a return shipping label and refunded us before we even mailed it back.

  6. Want my 82-yr-old mama to call Sears for ya? :) Honestly, that woman can (and does) work magic when it comes to poor service. My luck usually is like yours! Good luck!

    Love those patterns - I have several of them, too, but have I done anything with them yet? Don't make me laugh - or cry!

  7. I think you are now the official Twist Top Pattern Queen.

    Ack, I hate Sears.

  8. Yes, let's hear it for men who sew! I work with our youth group at church who make quilts for the sick. We have TWO brothers that sew; one is a 9th grader and the other is a junior in college. (Yeah for their mom, a Home Ec major in college, who taught them)

    Now for Lent, we started a service project on Tues nights making quilts for surgery patients in Central & South America. (Would you believe they only have newspaper to wrap them in after surgery?) Last Tues, a man dropped off his wife & mother. After watching us awhile, he announced he was joining us next week as he said he could certainly cut fabric for us. He makes things out of wood & sees no difference. (And he's right!)

    Sorry about your problem with Sears. That just plain sucks.


  9. Hi Debbie, coming out of lurkdom to let you know that Hancocks sells all patterns online at sale prices sometimes too. Go to their home page and see that Buttericks and McCalls are 99 cents ending today. Of course they may not have the patterns you're looking for - usually not the new ones and sometimes not the others I want anyway. They have Vogue, Simplicity, New Look and some independents too.

    Btw, having a lot of pets I gave up on Sears vacuums awhile back. Especially when a salesman told me they are made to last about 3 years and I got tired of replacing my expensive vacuum so often. Three of them made it about that long grrr....

    Really enjoy your blog!!!

    Have a great weekend. Beckie

  10. The DH was at the Jo-Ann in the Tower Plaza, University Avenue, Davie Florida.

    He had to enlist the help of a half a dozen women before he found this shop. So I have my batting and some (new to me) Wonder Under.

  11. Debbie, Yep. I made the jacket from Simplicity 4375. I got to wear it once and then it got too cold. Well at least up in the northern tundra where I live, I couldn't wear it again. That is until tonight. I am wearing it out! If going out to dinner two doors down from my house counts, then that is where I am wearing it.

    You will love the jacket. But I suggest leaving off the side tabs, they just get in the way. I can't wait to see your version.

    Oh, and we have the same taste. I just bought the same butterick twist pattern myself. I ordered some beautiful tie-dye georgette to make it. Hopefully I'll get it in time to make for my vacation. Have you picked out your fabric for it yet?

  12. Debbie--OH! Yuo enabler! I *love* that first pattern with the twist! I made one like this from Knip Mode but it didn't have the cute (but hot) mandarin collar, and it's for knits. Styaing tuned to see how it turns out (after the scrubs).

  13. Debbie,

    I gave up on Sears years ago because I couldn't take their no service motto anymore. We used to spend a lot there but haven't spent a dime since the brand new water heater dropped its bottom and the only one they had was in Fredericksburg. They replaced the water heat for free but charged us a dollar a mile coming and going which was more that the water heater. It was the day before Christmas and I wasn't in any mood to argue, especially since my house had been flooded. It only seems appropriate that K-Mart and Sears are under the same roof now. I call their idea of service the Blue Light Special.



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