Cut and Sew Projects Review – A Cautionary Tale

Many of us are in the midst of last minute Christmas gift sewing. I had a few projects to finish this past week while my kids were at school that I had ordered from Spoonflower. Here is the story of those projects.

Back in November Spoonflower had a buy one get one free sale on fat quarters (basically 50% off sale). I love Spoonflower, I even have some of my own fabrics listed there, but I must say it is an expensive route to go for fabric. I bought four fat quarters and even with the sale price and cashing in my “spoonflower bucks” from selling my own fabrics the bill came to $29.98 including shipping. “Well, I guess I will suck it up,” I thought, “because these are Christmas gifts for my daughters after all.”

Fast foward to this past week when I finally have a chance to sew these projects. I ordered two pencil case cut and sew projects and one stuffed toy cut and sew. The other fat quarter was a unicorn print that I simply made into a pillow cover. (That one turned out but it’s wrapped and I don’t have a photo.)

Warning: the images below may be disturbing to some viewers 😉

Here is the first project I made – a cut and sew dachshund pencil case. Super cute in 2D. Not so great sewn up.

Now, I’m not trying to be mean to the designer here. I really love the designs. I just feel that perhaps the designer does not sew and that perhaps a sewist should have been consulted. I am assuming that because the seam allowances do not translate well to a finished project and the instructions were barely there. I have been sewing for many years and I don’t often have projects fail this badly.

Above is the front of the pencil case and below is the back. The adorable dachshund design did have legs and feet and a cute pointy tail but as you can see that has turned into a stubby puckered mess in the finished project and I did trim and clip the seam allowances (despite not having been instructed to). Also, this turns out to be quite a large pencil case. Almost the size of an actual wiener dog!

Here is what the instructions printed on the fabric say:

1. Cut out the two puppy images
2. Put right sides together and sew, leave a gap on the side for the zip
3. Install the zip in the usual way you do it
4. Turn right side out
5: Fill with all your pencils.

Okay. This is just not adequate. The way I usually install a zipper on a zipper pouch with a lining because I do not like raw seams in my pouch that can fray and get caught in the zipper. So I proceeded in my usual way. I would say that could have been where I went wrong but I think the stubby legs and tail and the puckering would have occurred with or without the lining.

I am very disappointed with how this project turned out and I am writing this review to save someone else from the same sad fate. Especially if the person was a beginner this would be so sad and could discourage someone from sewing. I have been sewing most of my life and I am unhappy with this. I will say again though that I do love the design and if I were to order it again it would be used as an applique on a bag or a quilt.

Despite my disappointment though I know my three-year old will not care and will happily stuff this doggy with pencils and markers and it will be alright. This was an expensive failure of a project and as a pencil case I give this project 1 star.

I thought the stuffed animal cut and sew from the same designer might go better.

This one turned out a bit better but again the instructions would not suit a beginning sewer as they were barely there. The nose and tail were hard to get stuffing into and again his legs and feet nearly disappear. The instructions for the sleeping bag were cut out, sew right sides together and turn right side out. I quilted the sleeping bag to batting and sewed a linen lining as well. So all seams are enclosed on the sleeping bag. There were markings on the print to show where to clip and trim the seam allowance but the legs and feet did not turn out well. I give this project 2 stars out of 5. It is super cute despite the seam allowance issues and my three-year old will love it.

The final cut and sew project was the whale pencil case:

Again the design is adorable and the zipper pouch instructions were as barely there as the wiener dog. There were no feet to lose in the seam allowance but the tail was a nightmare to turn. I had to get my husband to turn it because my hands were hurting so badly. There is only about an inch of room to get the tail turned through where it narrows. I did again clip and trim the seam allowance but it just doesn’t look right. I lined the pouch and I should have not included the tail in the lining because I couldn’t turn it and push it through the outer pouch tail so now we have a big lump below the whale tail. Again 1 star for poor instructions and the final project not turning out well.
I don’t think my nine year old will mind the lumpy tail but I do. And again this is a huge pencil case!
These definitely would not do to sell on Etsy or at a market.
So there you have it. I think this is my first negative review on my blog. In conclusion: Beware of pre-printed cut and sew items on Spoonflower!


  1. Oh Anita, I'm sorry for your struggles. The high cost just adds insult to injury. Luckily your kids will love these gifts, so you'll feel better soon. Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you Suzanna! I hope to spare someone else the same disappointment. But you're right… the kids won't care and will be happy to have a little pouch to stash their stuff in. Merry Christmas to you too!

  3. Oh not good! Luckily they are for your children, but they are very expensive sewing fails. Thank you of posting about them, we do need to be honest about what we use, and sadly not everything is as wonderful as we hoped despite paying premium prices. Happy Christmas. x

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