A Backpack with Knock-off Sweet Caroline Fabric!!!

What would you do if you designed a fabric collection and then you saw a knock off version of your fabric on a product on Amazon?

It happened to me and I know I should be really mad, but I’m so flattered and in love with this backpack that I went ahead and bought one anyway!

 

Click for the free Blueberry Pie quilt pattern.

 

Click for the free Blueberry Pie quilt pattern.

‘Calligraphy’ was one of the prints in the Sweet Caroline fabric collection I curated with QT Fabrics. That particular print – ‘Calligraphy in taupe’ – sold out very quickly. Unfortunately, the entire collection is pretty much sold out now so I don’t know if your quilt shop would have any. You could always do this Amazon search to see if any other Sweet Caroline prints are still for sale.

I was trying to find some of this fabric on Amazon when I came across the backpack. I ordered it in the spring because we were hoping to have a family vacation this summer (ha ha – that never happened).

It took 3 entire months to arrive, so I’m pretty sure they are printing the fabric and making the backpacks on demand.

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It looks like they enlarged the Sweet Caroline print a lot for the body of the bag – it looks fabulous. The side pockets have a smaller (but still enlarged) version of Sweet Caroline Calligraphy too.

Do you want to know the story behind this print? I told the art director at QT Fabrics that I really wanted to have a text print in the collection and asked her what she thought. In the company archives, someone found a very old handwritten note in French. They showed me and it was amazing. I worked with them to establish the scale, repeat, and colors so it could be printed on fabric. And that’s how we got the ‘Caligraphy’ print!

 

 

If you have any doubt that this is a stolen print, the name of the fabric is in the bag description.

Anyway, I was worried that the Chinese bag would be such poor quality that I couldn’t use it very much – but it’s actually pretty sturdy.

The accents are not real leather, of course. But they are reinforced with fabric so I don’t think they’ll rip.

The Amazon description claims that the straps have:

Massage cushion on both of the straps, make you comfortable even the backpack is very heavy.

That’s so funny! When I put on the backpack there was definitely no massage – not even padded straps, lol. But the straps are woven polyester strapping (vinyl only on the edges) so I don’t think they will come apart.

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The entire bag is man-made materials like vinyl, polyester canvas, and polyester flannel on the inside. I wish it were leather, cotton canvas, and rip-stop poly interior, but oh well – it’s all mine.

So when people compliment me on my new backpack (if we ever go somewhere that I can use it), I can tell them that the fabric is mine too. 🙂

That pouch in the picture is my Double Sided Face Mask Wallet.

That pouch in the picture is my Double Sided Face Mask Wallet.

What would you do? Would you contact QT Fabrics so they can maybe make the manufacturer take the bag with stolen fabrics off Amazon?

Or would you buy one and tell everyone about it like I’m doing? It’s so pretty that I don’t want to take away someone else’s chance to have one. Keep in mind, my profit from fabric sales was minimal and now it’s sold out. Putting together a fabric collection was mainly a vanity project. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

xoxo,

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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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15 Comments

  1. I like your solution. And it is a pretty backpack 🙂

  2. What a great attitude you have about this!

  3. I think you should make it you October U-pick sewing project!

  4. Looks like someone beat you to it! They’re not available any more!

    I would be conflicted, obviously they’ve stolen the design, they’re not being subtle about it, but it must be hard to do anything about it?
    Great to have the bag and a fantastic tale to tell though!
    Thanks sharing the smiles!
    xxx

  5. Caroline, The description title of the backpack both in your post and on Amazon have "Sweet Caroline backpack" as the lead description. I couldn’t find any other claim, other than the name of the manufacturer of the backpack (out of Sweet Caroline fabric.) So, is the issue that they used your fabric to make a product to sell, or are you saying that when they say in the lead description that it is a "Sweet Caroline backpack", the fabric is in no way from your fabric manufacturer and they printed up their own look alike fabric and used the "Sweet Caroline" name to describe the backpack?
    If they stole your name and design, I’d take legal action to charge them with Trademark and Copyright infringement. If you don’t shut this down, then you’ve accepted that it’s alright to steal your work products without repercussions. You are a small business and aren’t getting rich off your work, I’m sure, but it IS your work, so why should they illegally profit from it? Disney will sweep in in a New York minute if they find fakes that substantially look like Disney or the name Disney is used. I would think that since your designs are sold through a major fabric distributor (so they lose money on this theft of your product, too), I’d expect them to have an attorney either on staff or retainer that can handle this for you. Don’t let them get away with it. I’d also ask you be awarded the amount of money they’ve made off your name and design. Just think, if we, your customers, stopped buying your products because we can buy a product that looks almost just like it at half the price, how would that play out?
    This is probably being done in Asia somewhere, but the laws still apply to stealing someone’s work.
    Sorry this is so long, but you are generous with your end product designs- free patterns, etc., you deserve to protect your work.
    Thanks for all you do. I open your email first in the morning!
    Cathleen

  6. We’ll, you could always make a pattern of the bag for October’s project. Ha.

    1. As a follow up to my previous comment, I found this. “ In the United States, every designer automatically owns the copyright to their work, (with few exceptions) There’s no need to register a copyright with the US Patent and Trademark Office like there is to get the protections that come with patenting a concept.” The item in ( ) is my added comment.

  7. Shirley Eagle says:

    Copyright infringement can be pretty serious. Would you be able to sue for royalties? Or don’t they do that on fabric designs? Bag looks cute and it would be fun to try to make. Good challenge for you. Thanks for showing and telling about it.

  8. I think Cathleen Schwartz summed it up very well. The only thing I would add is that if they copied your fabric and you do nothing, you are encouraging this type of behavior. It will be your name that will be denigrated if someone buys a product with your name on it and they get a cheap Chinese knock off.

  9. While you might be ok with the copyright infringement of someone profiting from your design, it does hurt artists who depend on their income from their designs to make a living. When you ok things like this it sends out the message to everyone it’s ok to illegal use artists work to profit, vanity project or not. It’s not ok. Artist Maggie a Taylor is dealing with this from her artwork being used inappropriately and illegally be an art fair in Italy. When artists lose their say or rights in how their art is used, it’s not only a financial loss, it’s a creative loss. However you deal with it is your personal choice, but from an artist standpoint, it hurts those working so hard to protect artist copyrights.

  10. Carol Luscher says:

    Caroline, regarding the "copycat" backback fabric, if it were me, I’d let it go. But, as they say, "Turnabout is fair play!", so please, please, come up with a copycat pattern for the backpack. It’s a beauty – I love the shape of it! Please????
    Also, I want to say that I’ve made several of the cellphone wallet with card pockets. They will be gifts for family for Christmas. But I’ve made them wider and taller to accommodate the new, bigger phones. I don’t use Instagram regularly, but I will try to get some pictures posted for you to see. Thank you for your amazing posts. Everyday I find things I want to make!
    Carol

  11. I totally agree with Cathleen Schwartz! If this was stolen from you then you should take legal action. Too many people sit back and don’t do anything and it only makes the thieves more brazen. What will they steal from you next! Best of luck to you. So enjoy your emails, etc.

  12. Please contact Amazon to unlist the storefront selling these bags, or have the fabric company you worked with file a case. This is a rampant problem for many creatives; the only way to stop it is by hurting the avenue through which the products are sold. They should have compensated you the design or purchased fabric rights from your affiliate. Do not undervalue your creativity or time!

  13. Victoria Taylert says:

    Imitation ISN’T ALWAYS the highest form of flattery. You need to take legal action to protect your name and designs. Also, Amazon and the backpack manufacturer need to be held accountable for illegal merchandising of your name and fabric!

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