I saw these Binding Babies ™ for the first time in a holiday open house at one of my LQS in Tucson. Quilt Basket had a basket full of two size options. I just couldn’t walk by without getting one and Carol (one of my favorite workers there) didn’t need to say much to talk me into buying both sizes. Of course, being the frugal Dutch woman that I am, I justified the purchase by telling myself that one would be for my next pattern release giveaway. Carol told me that you could place it on your sewing machine like a spool to help you bind but I thought “no, there is no way that would work for me”. Not pinning the binding down first, well that would be a time saver. And I wouldn’t get the multiple tiny pin pokes that I normally get . . . binding is the hardest part of quilting for me. I have tried every way I can think of, but it just kills me. So I took some time to have fun with the fact that I had six (yes, six) quilts waiting to be bound. I made all of the binding so I could have some great photos. I even tried out the Binding Babies ™ as a spool and guess what? They work! It is so easy. I didn’t see any difference in straightness of seam. In all honesty, I don’t pin my strips together. Why should binding be different? When I posted them on Instagram, I met the creator of the tool, which I call the cutest quilting tool ever. She agreed to this interview so please welcome Shari Butler to my corner of the quilting world.
Tell me about yourself: (Where do you live? How did you start sewing? How long have you quilted? What came first; your blog, patterns, Binding Babies ™ or Ruler Roundup™? How did you come up with the name Doohikey Designs?)
First off, thank you for taking the time to interview me and to be so fond of a product that I made from LOVE! I live in Layton, UT with my adorable husband, Dan! We are nestled in the Utah mountains and we love it. To be truthful, I didn’t start sewing ’til I was married. I first bought a Brother from Walmart, and I hated it. I then purchase my Pfaff 2046 from a local dealer and that sealed the deal for me to begin to take quilting classes. So since 2003 I have been quite addicted to sewing and quilting. I always dabbled in embroidery and cross stitch when I was younger, so I was bound to love quilting. First came my blog with my fabric designing. Then about a year and a half ago is when Binding Babies ™ came to life. My name Doohikey Designs was the spur of the moment because I had to have a name for my fabric designing. I didn’t want to use my real name, and my brother-in-law happened to mention Doohikey Designs and it just kind of stuck!
What is a Binding Babies ™? What is the difference between a Baby and a Buddy? (When you have a number in the item name, what is that for?)
Binding Babies ™ are a sewing notion that started out as a gift for a friend. You can wind your 2.5” bindings perfectly on the medium size. Large you can double stack or even sew your 4” borders onto your quilt top without it falling all over the floor. Binding Babies ™ are basically your girls and boys version, however Binding Buddies™ will be coming soon in certain characters, like your favorite animal possibly! You will have to stay tuned to find out how that one evolves. The number or letters are the style of the color and SKU number. It helps us keep track of what is in stock and popular by sales.
What sparked the idea of this tool? Why did you create them?
The idea came from ashes to beauty! I didn’t have much money for Christmas gifts due to money going toward infertility treatments, and four miscarriages in two years took a toll on me. I needed to find something that would make others happy and to try to get out of darkness I was in. I turned to creativity and finding a way to bring joy to a friend who has supported me through all I went through. I turned to my craftiness and made a tool that she could wrap her binding around. She fell in love and told me I needed to market it.
Spring Market 2016, I took my prototype to see what others thought. Everyone fell in love. The first night we took one home and made a slit in the middle to make legs. It became more useful when winding your binding on, then I took it to my extra spindle on my sewing machine and practiced sewing my bindings on. It made the process so fun and an easy way to not have your binding wrapped all over your legs anymore. We proceeded to look for a factory. We decided as we waited for samples that we would start to sell our handmade versions until we got my designed CAD file brought to life. In October 2016, we started to make them and from that point forward we have made over 13,000, plus handmade Binding Babies™. We just got our first shipment and got our big orders out to our distributors and wholesale accounts. So it’s been a year and a half in the making.
What is your process of making them?
For the handmade versions, it has been my husband and I. I hired a dear friend to help me paint the spools with solid color and then I do all the hair, eyes, and custom requests. We now have our manufactured blanks that I have been having fun customizing this past week. I do take custom orders. I just did a Harry Potter and Tinkerbell this week. Plus with all the Star Wars craze, I have made a Princess Leia, and more characters are coming along. When I do customs I try to set two times a week to complete them. They can take anywhere from 5 to 7 business days to complete.
How many different characters and style options have you offered in the past? (cop, girl, boy, bun…)
The cop has become special because we are honoring those who serve and keep us protected from day to day. We have been able to raise a little bit to go to our local cop fund. I have made some ready-made men, I made a family for Kea Bee and that was very fun to do. Because of her, the mom bun came to life. People can put in their requests and I can try to make it happen. It may not always be perfect, however I have fun trying to meet the customized looks as best as I can.
What is your favorite style?
To be honest, I love all the styles. They are my creations that are built and made with LOVE to bring JOY and HAPPINESS to those who use them.
What is the most popular style?
I have to say the dots in green and red are the most popular. And then of course the custom ones people love because they can choose hair options, colors, etc.
What style do you want to create that you have not yet made?
I have some ideas in my head that I don’t want to disclose at this time. But I do have to say I’m loving the ideas and requests people have. Like the Harry Potter, that challenged me.
Where can I buy a binding baby? (Do you wholesale?)
You can buy Binding Babies ™ on my website, local quilt shops, and through distributors. You can also purchase wholesale if you have the proper resale license and business credentials.
What is your preferred way to bind?
I love 2 ¾ or 2 ½ single fold binding.
What is next for you as an artist?
I am in the works in creating some limited edition Binding Babies ™ and possibly a subscription box. Plus, new fabric collections with Sweet Bee Designs.
This is how you use a Binding Babies ™
I am so happy to have met you Shari. Thank you so much for sharing. I love you even more now. Your design is genius! Binding Babies ™ are the cutest quilting notion ever because they are made with love and you can have one customized specifically for you. They would make a wonderful gift for a quilter or crafter. They look like eye candy on my shelf. I look forward to seeing what your clever mind will bring us next, Shari. I can’t wait to try out your ruler holder. I think it needs to be in one of my next giveaways. 🙂