8/1/17 UPDATE: I am unable to recommend Girl Charlee any longer. Please feel free to read more here.
So, I’ve been drooling over the neat knit prints available at Girl Charlee for quite some time now. The only thing holding me back were some reports I’d heard about the quality of their fabrics.
Well, that, and the fact that I am technically trying to “fabric fast” with a ton of other lovely folks over on Pattern Review. My rules for my own fast are that I need to sew two yards for every one that I buy to decrease my stash. This has not really been happening, but hey, oh well.
Anywho, after receiving some good advice on what to buy and what to avoid (mostly light prints and fabrics less than 8 oz) from the lovely Aleah (whose awesome Thread Theory top is pretty much responsible for spurring on my order) and HanPanda at Pattern review via the Fabric Fast thread (yes, I got advice on what to order from a group of people trying to abstain from purchasing fabric. What can I say? We support and enable.).
So, without further adieu…
Girl Charlee’s website is pretty organized, but I still found some different colorways of prints that weren’t included anywhere in their navigation on the left, which was pretty weird and confusing. I also wasn’t a fan of the fact that they don’t have a straight forward way for you to see ALL colorways for a single type of fabric.
That being said, their search function is pretty functional. Type in “feathers” or “fawn” and you’ll get peacock feather fabric and cute little prancing deer.
I really like that once you have an account, you can add items to your cart and they are remembered for a long period of time. I don’t actually know how long, because I haven’t tested it, but word on the street is they’ll stay in your saved cart within your account forever unless they sell out. There’s also a “stash” feature to save fabrics you’re eyeing for later.
Most of the fabrics I looked at, with few exceptions, ran from about $6.30 to $6.90 per yard. So, pretty reasonable for every day regular pricing, but not as awesome as a Fabric Mart sale can be. (I may be a little biased…) I ended up with 18 yards for a total of $107.82 (including the 10% coupon below), which worked out to $5.99/yard on average.
New customers receive a 10% off coupon, which I believe is only applicable toward a purchase of $99 or more, and is also the threshold for free shipping. The coupon is only good for two weeks from the date of registration, though, so it made me feel like the clock was really ticking once I’d signed up.
Spending essentially $100 to get free shipping also seems a bit high to me, but I can’t really complain since most of my fabric comes from Fabric Mart where there’s an $8.75 shipping charge per order no matter how much you spend. Though, I feel like I can make up for the shipping cost with sales at FM.
It took 2 solid business days for me to receive shipping confirmation for my order. This isn’t that long, and is communicated in the shipping section of their website, but I was antsy to get my fabrics so I could get them prepped for the Wardrobe Contest.
GC is located in California and I live in Wisconsin; from the date of purchase, it took EIGHT days for me to receive my fabric via UPS. I’m not gonna lie; it felt like forever. I can only imagine that the wait for East coasters is 9-11 days.
I was not very pleased with how my order was packaged.
This is what I like to call the “brick of drugs” packaging. I understand why they do it: poly mailers and tape are cheaper and lighter than boxes. However, I’m always afraid I’m going to cut my fabric in a bad place when attempting to open such packages. Spoiler alert: I successfully did not eff up any of my fabric!
Here’s my first glance at my goodies.
I always measure my fabric to make sure I haven’t been shorted, and I wasn’t with any fabric in my order. There were some pieces that were pretty close, though; they definitely don’t give you extra like other places do.
I washed all of my fabrics on warm using the “free and clear” laundry detergent du jour (we’re using Up&Up AKA Target brand at the moment) and tumble dried (with Bounce dryer sheet) completely on medium, and they all came through like champs. Huzzah!
There was some shrinkage, seeing as these are all cottons, but nothing crazy enough to write home about.
And since I’m a tactile person, I thought I’d share with you exactly what I bought and what my brain and fingers think of each cut:
Black Solid Cotton Spandex Knit
Fiber content/weight: 95% cotton/5% spandex; 10 oz.
Prewash hand: has a soft, but not too soft hand.
Postwash hand: Softened up a bit more
Weight/recommended use: Not super beefy, but definitely has some good weight to it. Could use it for lighter leggings and would make a great dress. Heck, I think it would also be good as a top. A really versatile, all purpose fabric.
Stretch: Very good 4 way stretch, true to website description.
Would I buy it again? Hell yeah!
Coral Peach Floral on Slate Gray Cotton Jersey Blend
Teal Orange Cherry Blossom Floral Cotton Jersey Blend
These two are the same fabric in different prints, so I’m just going to lump them together.
Fiber content/weight: 50% cotton/50% polyester; 7.5-8 oz.
Prewash hand: Stiff hand. Made me feel like a sad panda
Postwash hand: Softened up to a level that made my sad panda-ness dissipate. Whew.
Weight/recommended use: This is definitely a top weight. You might eke a dress out, but…eh…
Stretch: Very little 2 way (cross-wise, of course) stretch. Maybe 10-15%. Website says 30%
Would I buy it again? Eh, I dunno. The prints are cute, (but the gray print turned out a lot “muddier” looking in person than it appeared on my monitor. Not so happy about that.) but I would need a definite plan for what I was making (AKA something that doesn’t require really any stretch) to buy this fabric for myself again. As a fan of spandex, this pretty much means it’s a no go going forward. Unless I am super allured by a cute new print; then, all bets are off.
Gray Rose Floral on Black Modal Cotton Spandex Knit
Fiber content/weight: 98% modal cotton/2% spandex; 9 oz.
Prewash hand: Stiff, ucky hand. Almost coarse. WTF, when I see that something is modal, the first thing I think it soffffft. What a let down.
Postwash hand: Lost its coarseness, but still doesn’t feel as delightful and I expected.
Weight/recommended use: Top or dress
Stretch: Good 4 way stretch, true to website description. Its one redeeming quality.
Would I buy it again? Probably not. It was kind of a let down.
Big Black Chevon on White Cotton Spandex Blend
Fiber content/weight: Cotton Rayon Spandex Blend (doesn’t indicate how much of each on site); 8 oz.
Prewash hand: This fabric has all of the wonderful properties of a good rayon spandex. Smooth, wonderfully soft hand.
Postwash hand: I WANT TO ROLL IN IT.
Weight/recommended use: Top. It’s a bit see through, so that’s your only option without having to really think about lining. Make a top, pop a cami under it, and you’re done.
Stretch: Good 4 way stretch, true to website description.
Would I buy it again? YES. It is completely delightful. If I could Scrooge McDuck a vat of this fabric, I would.
Heather Blush Pink Solid Cotton Spandex Knit (not available at the moment, so no link)
Fiber content/weight: 95% cotton/5% spandex; 10 oz (didn’t write it down, but I’m pretty sure it has the same composition and weight as the black cotton spandex)
Prewash hand: Has a soft, but not too soft hand.
Postwash hand: Softened up SO MUCH. Even more than its black counterpart. Such a lovely feeling cotton spandex.
Weight/recommended use: Top or dress.
Stretch: Great 4 way stretch, true to website description.
Would I buy it again? Yes. This one’s a winner. I also have a hard time buying pink fabrics online, and found that this one was very Goldilocks for my taste.
Stretch Denim Blue Orange Cotton Spandex Blend Knit
Fiber content/weight: 63% Cotton/33% Poly/4% Spandex; 9-10 oz
Prewash hand: As expected for something that’s called a denim knit.
Postwash hand: Not much change.
Weight/recommended use: Light women’s jeggings or baby pants (the latter of which I’m using mine for! :D)
Stretch: OK 4 way stretch, true to website description.
Would I buy it again? Maybe. It will depend on how much I like sewing it for this cut, I believe. I do like how it has the denim colored face and orange back.
Fox Family on Aqua Cotton Jersey Blend
Black Mustachio on Heather Gray Cotton Jersey Blend
These are the same fabric as the rose/cherry blossom above, so you can read that for my review. The only change is that I probably WILL buy more of these cutie prints for baby clothes, as long as I like how they sew up and wear.
So, that’s all she wrote! Hope that wasn’t too boring. I kind of got a little yawny near the end myself.