Monday, November 28, 2011

Babyville Boutique Review

So the other day I went to Hobby Lobby and they had rearranged.  As Kel and I were looking at all of the new displays I suddenly realized that I was looking at PUL.  My excitement was overwhelming.  The entire display was on baby diapers.  They had a Babyville DIY diaper book, the PUL material, FOE (fold over elastic), snaps, snap pliers, appliques.  Everything was color coordinated.  I immediately bought 1 yard of PUL, 1 yard of suedecloth, 1 yard of flannel, the FOE, snaps, snap pliers, and the book.  I have since made three diapers and have enough material to make one more diaper.  I made one FOE Pocket Diaper, one Quick-Dry AIO, and one Quick-Dry AIO with leg gussets.  I see several things I would do differently next time.  For instance I don't like the opening to the pocket.  I fought with the gussets and had to rework them because I didn't get the FOE tight enough the first time and it may still not be tight enough.  I also would like to work on the stitch on my built in soakers.  I didn't take the stitch right to the edge like I should have.  I think if I get a side cutter foot, my current stitch would be fine.  I also screwed up the snaps on my first pocket diaper and had to add more snaps to fix it.

When I posted my excitement on my cloth diapering boards I found out that many of the cloth diapering mamas were boycotting Babyville because they supposedly plagiarized the material in the book from Supposedly the authors of the book ripped off the templates and directions from this site and then didn't give credit.  I teach plagiarism and know it is a serious crime; however, I don't feel this is an example of plagiarism.  After doing more research I do feel that it is not plagiarism.  I looked on the Babyville Boutique Boycott page on facebook and examine the reasons provided for boycotting.
The first was that the author, Jean gave false pretenses for asking for information and testers.  She said she was making diapers for her grandchildren.  In the book in the very first paragraph that it says that she was in fact making cloth diaper for her grandchildren and realized the difficulty of finding the cute PUL and materials needed.  She then began to research and design her diapers and joined up with a lady from Simplicity Pattern Company who helped her start the company.  Perhaps there was more to it than this, but I don't see the problem.  She got backed and the other WAHMs did not.
The second reason is that the products don't live up to the hype.  So Jean said her product wouldn't delaminate and it does.  Well guess what....duh!  Everything breaks down over time.  So Jean shouldn't have opened her mouth, but I don't think that is a reason to boycott.  The lady who gave this as one of her reasons even says that the company is really good at replacing or refunding when product breaks.
The third is because she says the Design Team members were given free product.  Almost every post I have seen asking for testers only asks for either the cost of the materials or for the tester to pay shipping.  Receiving a free diaper does not mean you will lie about the product.  Perhaps they really did get great diapers.  Is there anything wrong with that?  So I guess the people involved in the boycott didn't offer to test diapers or didn't receive free diapers? 
The fourth reason for the boycott is because Jean supposedly used free tutorials from Diaper Sewing Divas.  "People feel used and deceived. People who created free tutorials to share with others feel a bit cheated when they see almost the exact same tutorial for sale in a book."  Here is the thing, copyright laws state that you can't copyright procedures, methods, or works consisting entirely from information gained from common property.  The general rule of thumb is that you find it in three different sources then it is common property.  Most of the tutorials found on Diaper Sewing Divas can in fact be found in multiple places.  Jean took those tutorials, and created her own.  As was said, "almost the exact same tutorial."  It's not copied, but used as a guide.  That is not plagiarism especially if it is considered common property.
The last reason given was that " the only place Jean did testing was on DSD - in the book "Cloth Diapers Made Easy", she writes "Special Thanks to Mamas from Diaper Sewing Divas who tested the Babyville Boutique Diaper Pattern". Also, the ENTIRE Design Team came from DSD. On her one Twitter account, Jean posted about announcing the reveal...on DSD. It seems everything to do with Babyville happened at DSD. Let's do the math. If most (if not all) of the research happened at DSD, all of the testing was done by DSD members, and the Design Team came from DSD...well...that only adds to our claim that all of the knowledge for the book came from DSD. It really isn't that much of a leap to get to that conclusion."  That is ridiculous!  First off DSD is made up of members.  If I came up with an idea and posted it on the discussion boards it does not become property of the board.  It came from the people on the board who were thanked publicly in the book. 
I don't think I could support a boycott like this.  First off it just seems to be jealousy over the fact that they didn't think to publish a book and create a line first.  Second there would be no way for someone like me to get all of these templates, patterns, cute PUL, and all the other stuff in one place without a company that creates a line directed at DIY moms.  I've very excited about what is available and I intend to continue to use their products.  I love the diapers I have made so far and can't wait to see how they hold up.  I also can't wait to tweek my techniques in future diapers.
I have to show off my diapers.  Later after more use has been given to the diapers I will post my reviews.
The purple is the FOE Pocket Diaper.  The pink is the Quick-Dry AIO.

Abbie wearing her new diaper.

The Quick-Dry AIO with leg gussets.  I have got to make them tighter!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ack, I still don't have this commenting thing down. Sorry for the deletion, too many buttons. Here is what I had said (roughly):

    quote - I think if I get a side cutter foot, my current stitch would be fine. - /quote

    Save your money for a Brother 1034 serger :). The sewing machine cutting attachments can only handle 2 layers of quilting cotton. Diaper soakers are too thick for one to be handy. The 1034 can often be found on sale for under $200. Once you have a serger you will wonder how you ever lived without it :).

    On the topic of Babyville Boutique:

    Anything come by through lies and manipulation is not worth having at all. -Jamma

    Herein lies the problem. Jean deliberately misrepresented herself to DSD and then lied in an attempt to cover it up. There are posts at various message boards and websites that show this clearly (not sure why they aren't linked on the boycott page). Some might say it is "just the way business is done" . . . . What a sad state of affairs when honesty counts for so little. Thankfully there are still plenty of forthright WAHMs that I can support with my $. Let me know if you'd like a list ;).

  3. So I'm wondering on the same thought why so many people support Apple products even though Steve Wozniak stole ideas. Some considered them the Pirates of Silicone Valley while others call them the Heroes of the Computer Revolution. Do you own an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or even a Mac computer? So which is it?

    Thanks for the advice on the Serger. Don't think the hubs will spring for that after spending $350 on the machine for my Christmas present. Review on that coming soon.

  4. Birthday present? I didn't think I needed a serger until my husband insisted I buy one. After getting over the initial terror of a KNIFE on my machine, it became a real time saver (the knife isn't really that scary).

    I own zero iDevices. I'm sure if I looked hard enough I could dig up some dirt on something I own, but if there is a question I take my $ elsewhere. The incident with Jean seemed personal, too (which added more sting). She was apparently okay with telling other boards and public groups of her plans (under different user names) -- but she wouldn't tell the very people helping her dream become a reality. For the record, there are (or were, as DSD is closed now) several manufacturers/producers who frequent DSD as assets to the community. Every one introduced themselves as so&so from XYZ Co right up front. Those WAHMs testing patterns say "I love how this diaper fits my little one, will you test it to make sure it fits yours so I can sell it?" Not "I'm a grandma and I want to make sure this pattern fits all my grandkids." Jean is proud of all of her past accomplishments in the craft industry -- the members of DSD would have been proud of her, too. But by hiding her intentions she didn't give the chance.

    I'm fine with agreeing to disagree. Choice is what makes the world such a vibrant place. I wish you success in your cloth diapering journey. I don't know if you've started to sew clothes yet -- there are so many adorable (and easy) patterns for girls available now (and a few for boys, too). In a way they are easier than diapers because most of the seams are straight ;).

  5. Tracie - I am so with you! I was looking for info on Babyville before I buy, and came across the boycott page. They really don't have a case. I'm an independant crafter, and I've seen people steal and copy; this isn't it. A bunch of sore loosers with nothing better to do, it seems.
    Thanks for the honest review!

  6. Oh my goodness, I am so glad I found this post! You are right on! Did you know that DSD also BANNED all the people who tested Babyville products? Banned. For life. Because they accepted a diaper cut and didn't later say Jean was Satan's spawn. It is completely mental. Or a bunch of sore losers, as you said.

  7. Lol, glad to have found this! They banned me at dsd for testing Jean's diaper pattern and putting my point of view across. Thanks for such a non-emotional brilliant post.

  8. Thank you for the post... I was trying to figure out their page which didn't have any real info. In my book fabric is fabric. Pul is tough to find in prints. If DSD wants to design some and get it mass produced I'll buy theirs too! Until then... enough!!!

  9. The problem is that good-quality PUL *doesn't* de-laminate. I have PUL I bought online--for much, much less than BVB sells it in the fabric stores--that was made into diapers that are being used by a fourth baby at this point...people who have bought BVB PUL have had it de-laminate the very first time it was washed. That's product failure, not natural degradation of PUL fabric.

    I can't speak directly to the plagiarism accusations from the DSD board, although I am well acquainted with it and the women who founded the board. None of my tutorials were "used as a basis" for hers. Kind of unfortunate, actually--the sham pocket opening style she shows in her book takes way more fabric and the diaper isn't as easy to stuff as the style I showed in my tutorial.

    I *can* say that the reason they are upset with Jean's deceptive use of DSD members as testers is because she did, in fact, lie about what the pattern that was being tested would be used for. She told her testers it was being tested to use for her own grandchildren, but she was in fact already in contact with/developing the line with Prym. Additionally, she did not ask any of the longest-standing or founding members of DSD to test the pattern.

    If it had been a situation where she had designed and tested this pattern *and then* approached Prym, the DSD ladies wouldn't have felt so betrayed. If the founding members of DSD had been "in the loop" from the beginning that she was using their messageboard as market research, they wouldn't have felt so betrayed.

    If she had gotten permission from the founding members of DSD to reference their messageboard, use the tutorials posted there as the basis for her "book", and make statements about them being available to help new diaper sewers, they wouldn't have felt so used and betrayed. Instead they were told about it all after the fact, and the compensation she promised after they got upset over the extent of the deception has never come.

    While some of it very well may not have any legal recourse and could be considered an over-reaction by a few jealous WAHMs who didn't already have connections with Prym (which Jean did before she went to DSD for information), there are some serious questions about the durability of the fabric, snap pliers, and snaps that are not being openly and honestly addressed by BVB. There are some serious questions about the actual timeline of pattern development/when Jean joined the DSD board and when she made her "announcement" (which came as a total surprise to everyone on DSD, so it certainly can not be said that they were *actively* involved in this product line's development.

    By the way, for those looking for PUL fabric that doesn't de-laminate, no matter how many times you wash it, and in "cute prints" to boot, there are many co-ops on Yahoo Groups, or check out the online shop Kids In The Garden. And if you want plastic snaps and snap pliers that don't break, check out an online shop called Assunta Store, whose profits benefit an orphanage in China largely caring for special-needs children (she carries diaper-making packages too). You'll pay less for better quality, and there will be absolutely no questions about the reputation or motives of the people you're buying from.

  10. Thank you!! I totally agree. Of course, I also feel that the world in general is full of sharks and jealousy runs deep. To me it seems as if there is no root to the problem, just a bunch of jabber on jealous moms who want a reason to complain about something. I like babyville products! I like having the option of cute PUL for boys that are not solids. I like making quick and easy diapers. I like buying fabric by the bolt to help with houshold needs that are stylish and fun. I don't like the pricing of some things at babyville so I don't buy it. Just because someone decided to get a job and better income (most people need it now days) does not mean you have to bully them for not giving things away for free. I like free but I totally support those who use common group knowledge to support themselves. We all learn something from somewhere and when it is shared with others, I am sure it spreads enough to promote itself in some way. Eventually the world will go round and anybody will use aquired knowledge to support themselves and their family. I do understand that every person has free will and you can buy or not buy what you want but as for me I will continue to buy babyville products.