Many small business are following the developments of CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), the rules for safe children’s products that were developed after the lead scare a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the way the rules read makes it harder (if not impossible) for small businesses to comply.
Generally, anyone who makes a children’s product for use by a child 12 and under, must comply with the rules of CPSIA. This includes toys, clothes, jewelry and furniture. (for a complete list please visit http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html)
For the convenience of readers, also linked are the guidelines for small businesses. http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/smbus/manufacturers.html#q4
There are exemptions, or materials that may be used without necessitating testing for lead. These include:
- Other natural materials such as coral, amber, feathers, fur, leather, etc.
- Paper and other materials made from wood or cellulosic fiber
- Dyed or undyed textiles (cotton, wool, hemp, nylon, yarn, etc.), including children’s fabric products, such as baby blankets, and non-metallic thread and trim.
- Precious gemstones: diamond, ruby, sapphire or emeralds
- Semiprecious stones provided that the mineral or material is not based on lead and is not associated with any mineral based on lead
- Natural or cultured pearls
The complete list is found in Table B of the CPSIA small business guidelines page.
In related news, Mattel, the company that was a large part of the CPSIA frenzy is exempt from the MANDATED third party testing of their products. They are permitted to test their products in house. In theory it was Mattel’s own labs that missed the lead content of their toys before the recalls, so it seems strange that the CPSIA would allow them to continue to test in house or even approve the exemption. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100423/ap_on_go_ot/us_toy_testing_mattel. There is no publically available information about this agreement on the CPSIA or CPSC websites.
Matching plaid isn’t difficult, but is time consuming.
Each piece needs to be cut separately.
First, determine how often the pattern repeats. Some plaid, like the purple plaid, actually had two different horizontal and vertical prints, so the pattern repeat was nearly 12″ both along the width and length. The pink plaid, pictured below repeated every 4″.
For multiple cuts of the same piece, cut the first piece, leave the pattern piece pinned to the fabric flip and match up the pattern before cutting the next. For fabrics with an obvious right and wrong side this is important to flip to ensure pieces are cut for both right and left sides.
Pattern notches are the best way to line up the plaid so they’ll match when sewn together. Find a particular line in the pattern to line up with the pattern notches. It is important that this line not be on a curved or eased seam.
To match the pattern for the sleeves, match the print at the bottom of the arm and the start of the sleeve. Also, match the pattern notches on either side of the sleeve to ensure the plaid will line up at the sleeve seam line, but also across the jacket.
When pinning the pieces together for sewing, check to make sure the lines are lining up as you go. Sometimes the material can stretch or slip when pinning or sewing.
It is difficult to match the plaid on curved or eased seams, the more curved or eased the less it will match.
Straus Knitting Mills is a US company that specializes in athletic materials. In addition to the knit trims, they also carry a selection of knit fabrics. There are minimum quantities that must be ordered, varying between 25 and 50 yards depending on weight. Their prices and customer service are exceptional. Someone always responded within 24 hours, but usually quicker.
Stitch Werkx Custom Embroidery is a locally operated family business. All of the tops that were screen printed were great quality. No bubbles, peeling or other issues. Their prices are competitive. The owner always returned phone calls promptly, and also picked up and delivered the order at no additional charge.
Vogue Fabrics is also an exceptional company. 15 yards of black double knit were needed for this project. When ordered originally from Vogue Fabrics they called the same day to say that it was on backorder, and wouldn’t arrive in time for this project. They promptly cancelled my order. After fruitless attempts to find this weight of black double knit, Vogue Fabrics was able to track down a very similar double knit in weight and hand and sold it for the same price as the original double knit that was on backorder even though it was more expensive than the type ordered and was one yard longer.