You know you’re in trouble when the box reeks

I don’t fall for online shopping very often anymore. You get burned one too many times and swear you’ll never do it again. But you do anyhow. You read the description over and over, check the feedback, pore over the pictures, bid carefully, and somehow think that THIS TIME will be different.

This time I knew I was in trouble even before I opened the box. The mail carrier dropped it off first thing in the morning. Get it out of the truck! It reeked of smoke covered with perfume-y laundry stuff.

I’d bought this “quilt” that looked so fantastic in the pictures. It’s tied with yarn, not quilted, so technically it’s a comforter:

vintage star quilt

Oh, you’re so lovely in a picture.

Isn’t it amazing? All those fantastic 1930s or 1940s fabrics. The crazy un-symetrical star. No white, just color, color, color…

outer ring doesn't match

I fell in love at first sight. I should know better.

I thought it would be a great project for some hand quilting–after all, it was already attached (randomly) to a backing.

central starThe weird fabric and color mix is charming in a wonky sort of way.

color mix

plaid patch

fabric diamondThe seller washed this so I was expecting a few unraveled seams. They were fairly described.

split seams

One of several areas that will have to be repaired.

What I really wasn’t expecting was the bad construction. A big section of one edge is gathered and pleated to fit onto the backing. Nothing in the description even mentioned this.


No way this can ever lie flat!

wrinkles and crooked edge

Are the diamonds too big? Is the backing too small? Either way it’s a mess.

I loved this so much and now I’m just sad. Maybe the creator felt that way too–shove it in the attic and forget about it. Maybe it wouldn’t bother me so much if I hadn’t bid so much.

So now I don’t know what to do. Should I leave it as is and just repair the split seams? Should I pick it apart and make it flat enough to quilt by hand? Should I just return it and chalk it up to a lesson learned the hard way?

What would you do?

14 Comments on “You know you’re in trouble when the box reeks”

  1. pamkirst2014 says:

    How disappointing for you! I always feel like there’s almost a moral obligation to return it and let teh seller know that was not okay…but what a pain for you.

  2. luray says:

    How much do you love it? If you love it a lot & you think the pieced top could be flat if it weren’t so badly stitched to the backing, then I’d separate the top from the backing and give it a do-over. And I’d contact the seller privately about the less-than-candid description—she mentioned the torn bits but not the weird pleats—and let her know you wouldn’t have bid so highly if you’d known. But if you don’t love it enough to do all that work, contact the seller and tell her you want to return it.

    • janeray says:

      I love the fabrics and the crazy pattern, HATE the smell and the fact that I was misled. Still haven’t decided whether it’s worth the bother. Mom says to forget about it and move on. πŸ™‚

  3. Linda says:

    I really would return it, unless you need another project. I pass on a lot of things at estate sales if I think they are really a project. Right now I have an almost finished single bed crocheted bedspread sitting in a box under the dining room table. The stitches are SO tiny… I kept trying smaller and smaller hooks, and just don’t think I am capable of making the squares! At least it doesn’t SMELL! Poor you! Good luck!

    • janeray says:

      Thanks! It’s on probation pending the results of a day on a clothesline outside. But already I’m thinking it might be a relief to Return to Sender!

  4. What a bummer. That really is a beautiful piece with the crazy colors and patterns. Double whammy on the smell and then the wacky stitching…I would probably keep it and start it up as a project. i would contact the seller though and express my displeasure at what was not disclosed in the listing. I can’t tell you how many things i have bought that REEK as well…that is the worst.

    • janeray says:

      Yeah, it’s such a kick in the stomach to expect one thing and get a nasty surprise. And some disgusting smells never go away, no matter what you do. If hanging it outside on the clothesline doesn’t help it’s going right back in the stinky box and off to the Post Office.

  5. luray says:

    You were expecting a treat, you got a nasty trick. πŸ™‚

  6. luray says:

    Would you believe . . . a tREEK?

  7. Jennifer says:

    Hmmm, thats a hard one. Unless you feel in your bones you can commit to another project I would return it if you can. Bad stitching never ends up a good prospect in the end.
    But love is love….