Saturday, March 8, 2014


Did you take geometry in high school? I remember being OK at the formulas and stuff, but when it came to proofs forget it. All those steps to prove something is a line, and then two lines exist, and then they make an angle, and then another line comes in and that's a triangle. It was the stuff of nightmares and totally pointless. This is a different sort of proof.

I am making a toiletry bag, for which a wipe-clean lining was requested. Not finding anything I liked in the stores or online (oil-cloth or laminated cottons) I proceeded with the idea to make my own. Heat 'n Bond sells iron-on vinyl (which I've previously used) and it's quite easy to apply. It took me forever to hunt down the hunk I had on-hand, and then of course last night I discovered it wasn't enough. So off I went to Joann's (where I've bought it before).

To set the tone--here is what I had on hand (and what is currently for sale on

This comes in matte and vinyl finishes--follow the instructions and the result is pretty nifty.

OK, so we've established that it exists as it is for sale and not enough of it (but some) is currently in my possession. Back to Joann's.... I went to the interfacing section (love that they don't keep it hidden behind the counter anymore) and looked. Nothing. Went to the utility fabrics section--nothing. Went to the notions, thinking I'd buy the pre-packaged roll and make it work (that stuff is narrower than off-the bolt). Nothing. Finally, I asked. Here's the conversation.
Me: Hi, do you have iron-on vinyl?
Them: (Blank stare). Ummm, I'll have to ask. (Blank stare).
Me: Ok....
Them: ...... (into the earpiece) Do we have iron-on vinyl?...that's what I thought.... Thanks. (Back to me)--yeah....they don't make that. You can't iron vinyl. It would melt.
Me: I know, that's the point. It has adhesive on one side so you can make your own laminated fabrics. I've bought it here before.
Them: Well, I just asked my manager and she said you can't iron vinyl.
Me: You can if it's made for that purpose and you treat it properly.
Them: Well, she would know. She's the manager. I asked her.
Me: OK, thanks (because I clearly wasn't going to get through).
*Note: the worst/best part is that the entire time she's looking at me like I'm mentally defective and asked if she just saw a herd of unicorns trample through the store, tooting rainbows or something.

So now I'm just shaking my head in bewilderment at the people who work at a store that has stocked this stuff and should be aware of its existence. I wasn't feeling like ordering online simply because I was too impatient to finish. On the way home, I passed Wal-Mart. Now, many Wal-Marts have shuttered their fabric sections, but the one near me put theirs back in. I hate going in that particular store as that location attracts some interesting bits of humanity, but I thought I'd take a shot. You know what I found there? Iron-on vinyl. The same stuff that doesn't exist. I bought the remainder of the bolt (which is going to be just enough, I do believe). When the clerk was measuring it, she said "A lot of people have been buying this lately." And I dumbly said "Yeah, that's because it exists." Because, you know, she knew what I just went through in Joann's. She gave me this look like she didn't know what to make of me (well-deserved) and then gave me my stuff and I trotted off.

The stuff that "does not exist" is now "not" cooling off in the other room as I write this, as I "didn't" just iron it on and "don't" have to wait for it to set before I cut it.


  1. ROFL, I have had similar conversations before with shop assistants, and why is it you never have the proof that they're wrong with you when you do that?!

  2. So funny! Well, not so funny if you couldn't find it anywhere else. This kind of thing has happened to me. Once in a fabric store I asked for Pellon. Here in Puerto Rico they call it like that and not interfacing. So the lady gets this bolt of something terrible and asks how much I want. It was a generic and very bad. She didn't even know there were different kinds. Of course I didn't buy it. In Walmart is the only place where I can find all the Pellon variety. Poor employees they don't have time to learn!!

  3. I wish you would share this story with the Joann's Facebook page they just don't understand how big of a problem they have.

  4. Oh my gosh...I have bought it there too!! Honestly people! Drives me nuts! Glad you found some.
    xo Kris

  5. Ha, ha! I had an equally frustrating conversation in Hobbycraft (a big-box craft shop in the UK). I needed 800g of 4ply to crochet a baby shawl. They had 5 balls - all different dye lots. I could not find an assistant who could understand why (a) 500g wasn't enough, (b) why the dye lot was relevant or (and this is my favourite), (c) why I couldn't use Double Knit instead! I asked when they were expecting a delivery but was told the manager won't order any more until those 5 mismatched balls were sold - I told them that might be a long wait but 'that's our policy' was as far as I got. I had to order elsewhere online. Madness! :)

  6. Too funny! Obviously she knew what she was talking about! SHE ASKED THE MANAGER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

  7. Oh, I wish you had enough time to go back to JoAnn's and show them your bolt of iron on vinyl! Looking forward to seeing your bag!

  8. Aw, that employee! That's funny! And sad.... if you hadn't KNOWN for certain that such a thing existed you would have left feeling rather stupid.

  9. Bethany - this post made me laugh out loud. And I needed a good laugh this morning so thank you for that. And because something like this happened to me before, I now try to take a picture of the item I am looking for with my cell phone. Then, when I get that same "blank stare" or the "they don't make that" response, I can show them the picture to at least prove that it does exist and I am not crazy. Thanks again for the post and hope to see the finished product.



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