Thursday, December 8, 2011

Babyville Boutique Review

I understand there are people that have issues with the company.  I've already said my peace on that.  I hope to cover a few of the Babyville products that I have used so far and my experience with the company.

FOE (Fold Over Elastic)
I have never used FOE before attempting it with my first Babyville diaper.  I like the fact that these are coordinating colors to the Babyville PUL fabric.  I could get two diapers out of the pre-cut portion.

I like that the FOE has cute graphics as well.  This purple FOE has pink hearts.
 Love the brown FOE with the white dots.  Very cute!  The FOE runs about $6.99 at Hobby Lobby.  We do not have a JoAnn's nearby.
Here are two diapers I made with FOE.



  I have not perfected my sewing and stretching.  Notice that the pink FOE diaper is not as tight around the legs.  It was my first.



Positives:  
  • easy to sew
  • cute
  • color coordination
  • provides a nice finish to diapers

Negatives:
  • I need to work on my sewing technique :-)

Rating: 5 out of 5 
Cost: $6.99

 Snaps:
I first picked the snaps because they matched the PUL fabric I had picked.  I bought the butterfly snaps from Hobby Lobby for around $6. I also bought the Babyville pliers.  The snaps are size 20.  I thought using the snaps would be difficult but it actually turned out rather easy.  The snaps come with everything you need.  You use the awl to punch through the material, insert the prong of the cap, place the recessed socket or stud over the prong, and then press with the pliers.  You have to be sure to place the cap centered on the die tray.  If it is not centered you are going to have trouble snapping your snaps. 
My beautiful diaper went in the wash for prepping and after the first wash I turned it inside out to check out my handiwork.  One of the diapers had a cracked cap.

I emailed the contact from the Babyville  website to ask why this would have happened in the first wash.  It had not cracked during construction and had been protected from the sides of the machine by the diaper and fabric of other clothes.  I received a response the same day that they would be willing to replace the snaps.  This will be discussed later.


I really thought I was doing a good job centering my snaps; however, I have had trouble with the snaps and my mother, my daycare keeper, complains about the snaps and wishes I had used velcro instead.  I contacted Babywise about the issue and I will discuss the response later.

Positives:  
  • easy to use
  • cute
  • color coordination
  • easy to replace if one cracks

Negatives:
  • must be placed perfectly
  • one cracked 

Rating: 4 out of 5 
Cost: about $6

 Pliers
I was so shocked at how light the Babyville pliers actually are.  The look like a heavy metal tool; however, they are aluminum.  The pliers come with several die sizes so you don't have to just use the size 20 dies. They 
 will definitely do the job; however, I've noticed that the hinge has a lot of wiggle. In fact I thought for a second that my hubby had broken my pair when he was wiggling them.  I don't think it will come apart, though, because the screws are braded.  The dies and trays are easy to switch out.








Positives:  
  • easy to use
  • lightweight
  • versatile

Negatives:
  • loose hinge

Rating: 4 out of 5
Cost: $20

PUL 
Polyurethane Laminate fabric (PUL) is a waterproof fabric that is used to prevent the wet diaper from leaking.  The Babyville PUL fabric comes in both prints and solid colors.  There are coordinating appliques, FOE, EZ Adjust Tape, Diaper Labels, and snaps.  These accessories are designed to provide choices to create your diaper stash.  I love the available patterns.  My first diapers were in the butterfly pattern.  I bought the Babyville diaper making instruction book, Cloth Diapers Made Easy, and went to town.  I read through the care suggestions in the book and followed them almost exactly.  I first placed the diaper in the dryer for seal the holes.  When I washed the diaper I didn't use super high heat, but washed my new diapers with some older diapers for the first time on regular wash (warm water).  I did not change the dryer settings when I dried the diapers.  I never do this with my older diapers and this may have been my downfall.  The book says, "With correct sewing techniques and reasonable care, the PUL in your diapers and covers will maintain its waterproof condition and last for a long time" (8).
These are the directions in the book:
  •  "Wash PUL in detergent suitable for washing diapers.  Do not use fabric softeners.  Warm water is recommended for routine washing; however, PUL may occasionally be washed in hot water for added sanitation.  Machine dry on medium heat or hang to air dry.
  • Do not add bleach to the wash unless needed periodically for extra sanitizing.  Repeated bleaching may break down waterproof aspects of teh PUL.
  • Pin only in the seam allowance when cutting out or seing.  This will reduce the holes made in PUL.
  • It is easiest to sew PUL coated side facing down.  Use a non-stick presser foot, walking foot or apply transparent tape to the bottom of your presser foot.
  • After sewing is completed on the PUL diaper or diaper cover, dry it in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes to seal the needle holes.  When drying after regular laundering, dry on medium heat, or hang to dry." (Cloth Diapers Made Easy, 8).

 When the diapers finished their first wash I was eager to check how my sewing held up.  I turned the diaper inside out.  The one with the cracked snap also had delamination.  I have been diapering for less than a year and use a mixture of brand new (seven months or less) to second hand (who knows how old they are) and I have NEVER had a diaper delaminate.  I did have a cheap wet bag from Wal-Mart delaminate.  I was shocked.  I checked the other two diapers but they were fine.  I didn't understand at all.  I followed the directions.  The diapers were all cut out of the same yard of PUL.  Why wouldone delaminate and the others not?  I have since washed all the diapers several more times and I have not had any other issues with delaminations.   However, I was very upset with this one issue because I had a good little bit of money tied up in this diaper.  This one had leg gussets, an adjustable rise, and had been built as an all in one with two soaker layers.  All that fabric plus my time was wasted.  Plus Abbie hadn't even worn the diaper.  I was already involved in a discussion with Babyville so I emailed my contact.  The company's response will be discussed later.  I was also emailed some hints which include an additional step which was not done on this batch of PUL.  In my packet from the company which will be discussed later I received a sheet with hints which also included this additional step.  The website also includes this step.  I would have had no way of knowing this without doing additional research.  According to the Babyville Boutique website states, "Before starting projects- press fabric side of PUL with a steam iron set no higher than cotton setting. Always test on scrap of PUL before pressing. Do not use starch or sizing. DO NOT LET HOT IRON TOUCH LAMINATE SIDE" (http://www.babyvilleboutique.com/products/mod-girl-flowers-printed-pul-bolted-fabric).  I have not tried this with my new fabric because my sewing machine is currently down (review of that to come soon); however, I will let you know if I have any other issues.
 
Positives:  
  • cute prints
  • extremely available (no shipping charges, no searching)
  • pre-arranged coordinate collections
  • easy to manipulate
  • coordinating material

Negatives:
  • delamination issue

Rating: 4 out of 5


Babyville Boutique Company
My initial reaction to this company was positive due to the fact that every time I go to Hobby Lobby I ask about PUL material.  My thought was that if I ask enough, eventually they will carry it.  When I saw the whole section that was available and how everything coordinated I was so excited I was practically bouncing.  The Cloth Diapers Made Easy book was an answer to prayer.  I don't have a printer to print diaper patterns so having this made available at my local Hobby Lobby was awesome!  I have never ordered PUL online because of the shipping charges, I've very tactile and like to be able to touch the fabric before I buy it, and I couldn't find anything cute without having to have a hidden layer of PUL.  When I posted about my excitement in my Facebook diapering group someone commented about the current Babyville boycott which I discussed in my previous post.  However, I was willing to give their products a chance and I was thankful that they had met a need in my area.  I immediately sat down and started sewing.  My sister and I were taking turns using my machine (she was making an apron for her son) so it ended up taking several hours but it was fun spending the time with my sister.  I've already mentioned the cracked snap and delamination issue I had with this first diaper. 
1st correspondance (Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 12:04 AM):
 I have a question about my snaps. I just ran my diapers through their first wash and some of the snaps broke in the wash. Is there something I am possibly doing wrong? How do I go about replacing these snaps?



1st response (Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2011):
Hi Tracie,

Thank you so much for your email.  Emma Scott, our Babyville consumer expert, is off for a few days and I’m checking for emails that need immediate attention.  I will have to ask her if there is something you can do differently to keep the snaps from breaking in the wash.  She would probably have me ask you for any other details that might be pertinent.  Which snaps broke?  We will be happy to replace them!  Please send your mailing address along with the snap information.

I read your blog post as well.  Personally, I thought it was great to read a truly impartial opinion.  Your comments are logical and insightful.  Your diapers are really cute, too!

I work in the Information Technology department, not sales, marketing or customer service.  I do understand, though, that it is all about sales, marketing and  customer service! 

Kind regards,

Lynn
   
The next day I discovered the delamination issue as the diaper came out of the dryer.
I replied and included the pictures posted above (November 30):
Okay so I was prepping the diaper with the snap that broke after one wash which is why I didn't get back to you.  I wanted to include a picture.  It has gone through two wash and dry cycles.  I got it out to take a picture of the cracked post and the PUL is delaminating.  I know this happens over time, but after two washes and drys?!  Abbie hasn't even gotten to wear my beautiful creation yet.  I don't understand this at all.    Attached are some pictures.
Tracie Williams

She responded (December 2):
Hi Tracie,



I’m so sorry you’ve had these issues.  We have seen a few issues with some of the PUL.  Please tell me if you bought your material by the yard or in a package.  I see that the butterfly snap cracked.  Did you have any problems with any other snaps?  We have found that using a modified tray with the pliers works well with the snaps.  Are you using the Babyville pliers?



I also need your mailing address and phone number.



Again, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.



Kind regards,


Lynn

I responded (December 2):
I am using the Babyville pliers.  I haven't had any other snaps crack.  I checked all of them after the second wash and that was the only one that cracked and that was during a wash cycle.  My mother keeps the baby while I work and she complains that they are hard to snap.  I was thinking of pressing them again with the pliers in case they weren't perfectly centered.  I bought a yard of the PUL.  I checked the other two diapers I have made after the second wash and I don't see any delamination.  They came from the same yard, but I'm going to let Abbie wear them a few times and see if I have any more problems.  I think the patterns are absolutely adorable.  Do you think it was just a bad batch of PUL?  I would really like to get more, but I'm kind of scared to take the chance.  My mailing address is 3.  My phone number is .
Thanks,
Tracie Williams

I blacked out my address and phone number but I'm sure if someone really wanted, it would take about five minutes on facebook or google.

She replied (December 3):

Hi Tracie,

I'm going to send you some new pliers, a new tray to use with the pliers, more snaps and more material.  I'll also send you more butterfly material.  Which of the other PUL patterns did you like? 

Thank you for your information.  I will get your package together the first of the week.

Kind regards,

Lynn

She then sent me the tips on caring for PUL which has been posted above (December 4).
On Tuesday (December 6) she emailed me that my package would be mailed out on Wednesday and would include, new pliers, snaps, the fabric, and some EZ-Adjust Tape as well for me to try.  I have never tried Babyville velcro.  Wish I had my machine!
Today she emailed (December 8) me that my package should be delivered today and when I got home, there it was!


I opened it eagerly and there was two YARDS of PUL, the EZ-Adjust tape, FOE, pliers, and TWO packages of snaps!  This is just too generous.  I was not expecting this at all.  I mean, I only had trouble with one diaper so I was thinking a diaper cut of eat.  Attached to the pliers are additional die trays.  I was also not expecting the FOE.  And I received a letter from Lynn with a hard copy of the tips including the ironing step.

Currently my sewing machine is in the shop so it is all sitting on the dining room table laughing at me!  Plus the half finished diaper I was working on when the feed dog broke is sitting on the end of the couch waiting...
I have never been treated so well by any company and with such personal attention.


Positives:  
  • response time
  • personal attention
  • meeting the needs of the consumer
  • thoroughness
  • going above what was expected or needed

Negatives:
  • issues with the snap and PUL delamination
  • plagiarism allegations

Rating: 4.75 out of 5

And there you have it!

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the Babyville Boutique products. My mom bought some PUL, FOE, snaps, & the snap pliers, as well as the pattern book online as soon as they came out & I liked what I saw when we got it. Her machine is currently out of service too & she's been really busy with work (she's a teacher) so it hasn't been fixed yet. I was really excited about making a couple of covers for my daughter until I started hearing about all the hubbub surrounding the boycott. But as I read more, I felt pretty much the way you described in your previous post. Anyway, I'm glad you received such good customer service, and while I hope we don't have any issues with the products, I have hope that they will be taken care of quickly if we do! I've already looked through the pattern book & know what I want to make! =) Please keep us updated with your experiences, there doesn't seem to be enough reviews online about the actual poduct!

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  2. That "loose hinge" on my pliers snapped right in half after less than 24 hours. I didn't bother contacting BBV about it. I just took it right back to Joann the next day and got a full refund. Then I ordered a new pair of KAMsnaps.com pliers online and they are soooooooooo much better in every respect.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this review! I'm planning on making up a new stash of diapers with this line- some smaller and some larger, each with a row of snaps to make the rise adjustable. I'm excited that the large ones should fit my almost 23 month old son better than his current one size diapers and that the smaller ones will fit our new baby arriving in March better than our one size ones ever fit our son at first. It is really nice to know that Babyville has such great customer service. It puts me at ease a little after reading some mixed reviews about the products. I'm such a sucker for the adorable prints and coordinating accessories, though!

    http://fivefeetoffun.blogspot.com

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  4. I made over 25 diaper covers for my second and last grand daughter in three prints. Only to have over 20 of them (I mean the pink) adjust tape start to shred at what should be the selvage I had to run a bead of clear nail polish on some and use a candle to burn the edge. I have been sewing for over 45 years and had a seamstress shop for over 25 never have I had any problem with hook loop tape. The white is just fine, tried to contact the babyville boutique and prym companys about the defective tape but no responce, So be care full of that product.

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    Replies
    1. Use their facebook page to contact them. They will respond very quickly. I used their pink and had no problems.

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    2. I am very new to the computer, don't know how to do much like face book or even Email. All I know is sewing and there is a problem with the 8 or so packages of the pink adjust tape my Daughter got, as I said the white is doing fine need too talk to some one at the Babyville Boutique or the Prym Co. Could some one help me my Email is sewingladysue@gmail.com Remember I am a real dummy when it comes to this computer, thanks in advance for any help.

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  5. I forwarded the message to Babyville. Hope you hear back soon!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you ever so much. Want to get this night mare over

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  6. I have made a few of these diapers too. I used the pocket diaper pattern and tucked in the liners. For some reason though (possibly delamination?) her urine is soaking thru the PUL. I can't leave her in a diaper for longer than an hour before she has soaked through. My mom does daycare for my daughter so I had to go purchase a bunch of the G-diapers to use in the meantime if I can't get this to work out. I'm disappointed! They look so cute.

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  7. Turn it inside out and look for small bubbles or areas with missing lamination. That will let you know if it is a delamination issue. If it is you can contact Babyville and they will help you. They have great customer service. In the meantime, you can use a pool repair kit to fix any areas of delamination. What type of insert are you using? You may also need to up your soakers.

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  8. I used an insert made from the pattern. I've also tried using just a prefold in them to see if that would help. Then I tried a prefold and a liner to see if that would help. She's only 4 1/2 months old so she's not a huge wetter yet either. It's very odd! Thanks for the tip though, I'll have to get a pool repair kit to check. I emailed Babyville yesterday so hopefully they get back to me soon!

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  9. I know this is over a year after this post was made but I was wondering if you have any updates as to if pressing the fabric on a low setting did anything to help it to hold up better. I just purchased some through Joann (it was a great deal) but I'm nervous to use it after hearing a lot of bad reviews.

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    Replies
    1. I have had no other problems with my Babyville fabric. They have really improved their PUL and I absolutely love working with it. You shouldn't have any problems.

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