Skip to content


2013 January 10
by elizabeth_admin

Today I had time between lunch and the after school pickup to do an errand.  Ever since I saw a few people discussing their sewing rooms on-line, more specifically about the cutting tables, I had to get one.  A cutting table that is.  I did some cursory research on craft/cutting tables and finally decided to get this one, the Sullivan’s Craft/Hobby table.



I thought that, since I live in the burbs now and own a car, I should just go out and buy it at a brick and mortar store instead of buying it on line and paying for shipping.  I looked to see if it was at my local Joann’s.  According to their website my local Joann’s in Poway had 5 available to buy.  I even called ahead to see if they had it.  The salesperson who answered the phone said they had tables, but that she would have to see a picture of the table before she could confirm.  Since the website said they did, I felt confident I would have my cutting table by this afternoon.

You see, ever since I started to sew, I have been cutting out all my projects on the floor.  I have no table on which I can cut out.  I thought this table which collapses would be perfect for my sewing room/bedroom.  I don’t really want a cutting table out 24/7, just for when I need it, since I don’t have a dedicated sewing room.

Of c0urse, Murphy’s Law was in effect today.  When I arrived at the very sad-looking Joann’s in Poway, it was practically empty.  The fabric section was less than half of the store, crafts being the majority of the store.  Home dec fabrics was a bigger section than the garment fabric section.  There were a lot of empty shelves and space in the front of the store, so it wasn’t a very inviting entrance.  I searched on my own for about 20 minutes for my table, but couldn’t find it.  I looked for a sales associate but there were none on the floor at all.  Only one person at the register which was busy.  And two cutters, both of whom had a line of people waiting for them.  I finally asked one of the cutters to help me and she said I had to take a number in order to be helped.  Take a number????  When I finally had someone’s attention, they couldn’t find my table either.  I told her that their own website said they had 5 of the tables in stock.  She said that it might be incorrect or not updated.

Long story long, I left the store empty-handed.  I also left knowing I would never go back to that store again.  I rarely shopped at Joann’s previously, but mostly for geographic reasons.  Living in NYC there were no Joann’s in the city itself.  In order to get to one outside the city, I would have needed to have a car.  Now that I have a car, I can safely say I will not shop at a Joann’s at all.  Why bother?  They don’t have a decent fabric section or staff.  There’s nothing there for me.

25 Responses leave one →
  1. January 10, 2013

    Argh! How can chain like that even stay in business? I guess they’re the only game in town…

  2. Shams permalink
    January 10, 2013

    JoAnn’s vary quite a bit. Some are ok, some are dumps unworthy of the name “fabric store”. On my great sewing trek back east a couple years ago (in which Carolyn of diaryofasewingfanatic joined me for the FabricMart portion) I visited some very nice JoAnn Fabrics. But many, especially on this coast, are not so great. Have you seen this?:

    So, yes, some aren’t worth the gas to drive there. Yours seems to fall in that category.

    Good luck finding your cutting table! I cut on the dining table.

  3. January 10, 2013

    How does this chain stay in business? I guess when you’re the only game in town…

  4. January 10, 2013

    I have that exact table and have been using it for about 3 years. It’s nice to put your rotary mat on. At times i will only use 1/2 the table with a smaller cutting mat or no mat at all. When i am done with it i fold it down and slide it into the corner. I will tell you that it will loosen up a bit after a few years so just take a a Torque bit and tighten it up. Nothing major. A good simple table and worth the investment.

  5. Maureen permalink
    January 10, 2013

    I have that table and I don’t like it. I much prefer to use a regular banquet table on bed risers and when I’m done I can fold it up and put it away.

    • Maureen permalink
      January 10, 2013

      In fact, if you are driving past OC and you want it, you can have it.

  6. Carolyn permalink
    January 10, 2013

    This very same thing happened to me here on the East Coast in Jersey…only thing missing was the rude saleswoman, the yelling and my sister marching me out of the store so that I wouldn’t be arrested! Yeah that’s why I wont darken the door of the craft store masquerading as a fabric store!

    • January 10, 2013

      Wow, I’m really happy with my decision NOT to drive to JoAnn’s in NJ! LOL

  7. January 10, 2013

    I’m in the DC area. There are a few JoAnn’s here. In my general neck of the woods, they are “OK,” however, I learned quickly after visiting a couple of JoAnn’s the common theme was/is crafting. They are huge on quilting, crocheting, knitting, paper piecing, etc. They have pretty good sales–if you’re into mainly crafting. They have fabric, notions, machines, etc.

    Even here, I’d only go if I really needed something AND if it were on sale. I haven’t been in 3.5 years–got enough fabric and stuff I haven’t used. :-). Sorry you had to waste a trip. 🙁

  8. January 11, 2013

    Joann’s sucks. Except for the pattern sales. Much cheaper than buying online.. 🙂

  9. January 11, 2013

    I’m so glad that they didn’t have the table so you don’t have to go back to the store to return it. The ones they sell are flimsy and wobble when you press down on them (like when using a rotary cutter).

    You need the more stable ones with wooden or MDF legs. They cost more, weigh more, and are sold at fewer places. If you want a folding gateleg cutting table, just bite the bullet and pay the higher cost–and shipping–for a quality one. I’ve been using mine for 15+ years so it was worth it.

  10. January 11, 2013

    Costco has banquet tables for less than the hobby table if you decide to look at that option.

    It might be fun to take the kiddo to a few garage sales in search of treasure one weekend too. Maybe some vintage patterns or fabric may come into your hands…

    Sorry you had such an awful experience – I’ll have to add my voice to the crowd that all Joann’s are not created equal. Clearly you started with a less than stellar store.

  11. January 11, 2013

    I am very happy with this table, folds in half, very sturdy. Not quite as convenient a folding style. My two 36×24 mats stick out a wee bit at each end, but not enough to risk bending.

    I have two Joann’s superstores (20min drive) and a regular Joann’s near me (5 mins walk). I frequently find fabric I want and like, even at the small store, but it requires looking. The superstores have much better apparel selection. I like the solid linen/rayon blends, the occasional microsuede, some nice suitings, some great cotton twills, and got a rayon challis I love. I am inspired to start tracking projects made from Joann’s fabric. (Never buy anything for full price–50% off coupons are frequent. I always stock up on notions and thread there.)

    Oddly, Hancocks, which is much the same as a big box craft store, has a much better rayon selection. (I’m in Silicon Valley)

  12. Kandra permalink
    January 11, 2013

    So sorry about your bad experience. I know exactly what you mean! Our Joann’s store here is so similar…the employees often look like they came off the street, fresh from holding “Homeless, Please Help” signs! And you do wait forever. Your post reminded me not to be tempted to darken their door ever again!

  13. Harriet permalink
    January 11, 2013

    This happens to me all the time! I decide to patronize a B&M store and then they don’t have what I want. Lately I’ve given up and bought online after some due diligence determines it’s going to be a pain buying in person; my time is more valuable than that. The Joann’s nearest to me (in DC suburbs) is terrible — messy and uninviting, long lines at the cutting tables, poorly stocked, no natural light at all (it’s buried in the back of an ugly 70’s-era shopping mall). There used to be a Hancock’s only a mile from my house that was small but easy to deal with, and some of the people who worked there were very nice, but corporate closed it down. I’ve been debating buying a cutting table like that — haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  14. January 11, 2013

    I really feel bad whenever I hear about people having a bad experience at Jo-Ann’s. Since I live in Indiana, Jo-Ann’s is pretty much the only game in town. I have never had a bad experience with any of the associates. I shop there at least once a week and am on a first name basis with the employees who have been working there for at least the last 10 years that I have lived here. I am spoiled to have such a great Jo-Ann’s. I wish I could regularly frequent places like Mood and I know I totally would if I lived in NYC!

  15. January 11, 2013

    Welcome to life in the ‘burbs! (And burgs.) I’ve been sewing long enough to remember JoAnn’s in “the olden days”, when they stocked quality fabrics, and garment sewing was their focus. The decades have not treated this chain well at all. I live within 25 minutes of 3 JoAnn stores, and use them only for pattern sales and notion purchases. Their fabrics are of such poor quality, I don’t even look at them. Since chains like JoAnn’s are what supply 80% of of the country, it’s no wonder more people don’t sew!

  16. January 11, 2013

    I used to have a Joanne’s just a few minutes from our house. It was awful! The employees didn’t know anything about sewing, the store was dirty and the lines were long. They shut that one and several other smaller stores down and consolidated to one larger store. It is better and pretty much the only store around here for basic notions etc. At least now they have hired people who know about sewing to work at the cutting table.

  17. January 12, 2013

    I have to say that the quality of Joann stores tends to vary a lot. And all of the ones I have been to in San Diego suck. I mean, even for a Joann’s they suck. The best one in SoCal (in my opinion) is off of La Paz in Aliso Viejo up in OC. Their staff has always been super friendly (even when they are busy), and they stock way more fabric of interest than most of the other stores (by of interest I mean less quilting more garment). It is actually one of the smaller Joann’s but I always seem to find good stuff when I go there, and they stock things quite regularly. It is sort of funny but really sad that there is such a drastic difference in quality and stock at the different stores, but, well, what can you do. I never went to the ones in San Diego more than once, so I totally understand why you wouldn’t want to go back.

  18. Vanessa Johnson permalink
    January 12, 2013

    I’ve been to the one in Poway many times. I don’t know why I kept going back! There are a couple dynamo fabric stores a little farther south from you. In National City, there is a place called UFO- Upholstery Fabric Outlet and in Chula Vista, there is a place called Yardage Town. I haven’t been to either yet but they both have outstanding reviews and I have friends who have shopped at both places!

  19. January 14, 2013

    Oh man, I was at Joann yesterday for a pattern sale. I realized I needed some webbing/strapping. Waited forEVer to get cut, and everyone in front of me had never sewn anything in their lives and were asking the cutters for advice on how much to buy and how to sew it. I should be glad people are getting into my hobby, but mostly it was just super annoying.

  20. Patty O'Club permalink
    January 16, 2013

    I live in a city of 250,000 and JoAnn’s is the only general fabric store. And they SUCK. My hub made a comment last time I stomped, cursing, back from a fruitless trip that the store would never stay in business if patronized by men. He pointed out that hardware stores always have adequate assistance available and fast check-out; his theory is that men are more impatient and less willing to be polite when ignored by staff. Could this be true? Is this crappy business model based on our reluctance to complain loudly? If so, let’s start bitchin’, ladies!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Eating my words | SEWN

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

  • Follow SEWN...
  • My Weapons of Mass Construction

    Singer Featherweight 221 (1938)
    Baby Lock Imagine
    Brother 2340CV
    Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183
    RIP: Brother 1034D
  • Translation

  • I’m a proud member of

  • I support

    Project 95
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Trench Sew Along