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Soft and Stable: An innovative alternative to batting. A perfect choice for Placemats & Totebags

Don’t you just love it when someone comes up with an idea that makes your life, or in this case, your projects, so much better and easier? I am so grateful to the genius behind a new product, ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable. I suspect, like many of you, I have typically used quilt batting when making placemats and totebags. While I was working my booth at PIQF last month, one of my students stopped by to show me a sample of a product she saw demonstrated in a nearby booth by its creator, Annie Unrien. I remember thinking, “This looks like a great product and I must stop by her booth.” Unfortunately, time got away from me and I never made it there.

Soft and Stable comes both pre-packaged and by-the-yard in black and white.

As luck would have it, I found a package of Soft and Stable at my local quilt shop while Jennifer and I were shopping for fabric for our placemats that were featured in this post. What perfect timing. I purchased a pack and used it in place of batting. I must tell you that I L-O-V-E it!

In addition to all of its wonderful features (indicated on the cover above),  Soft and Stable can also be safely ironed and there is no need to quilt every 2″ to 4″ as with many battings.  Click here to watch a video by Annie promoting her new product.

So, because I want to show you how well it works, I’ve decided to make some new placemats for my Mom for Christmas using lovely blue fabrics by Kaffe Fassett . . . shhh, it’s a surprise.

Leftover 2-1/2" wide pre-cut strips are perfect for this project.

Here’s what I did to keep this quick and easy:

–  cut the 18″ x 58″ piece of Soft and Stable into four 14-1/2″ x 18″ pieces.

– cut 2-1/2″ wide fabric strips for the front of the placemats (need seven 2-1/2″ x 18″ pieces for each one).

– cut one 18″ x 22″ piece of fabric for each backing (fat quarters are perfect).

Note: Stitches on the backside will show so be sure to use a matching thread color. Also, a walking foot is always helpful when stitching through multiple layers.

1. Center a piece of Soft and Stable (S&S) onto the wrong side of a piece of backing fabric. Layer two fabric strips onto the S&S, right sides together, and even with one of the long sides. Use pins to secure the layers. Stitch through all layers, 1/4″ from the inside edges of the strips, as shown.

2. Use a steam iron, on medium setting to press the top strip over the stitching line. Place another fabric strip, wrong side facing down onto the pressed strip, aligning the raw edges. Secure with pins. Then stitch through all layers, with a 1/4″ seam.

3. Continue adding four more strips in the same stitch-and-flip manner, until the entire piece of S&S is covered.

This shows a short side of the placemat. The strips run lengthwise.

4. In the interest of keeping this simple, I decided to skip adding a separate binding. Instead, I chose to wrap the extra backing fabric around the edges to form a binding. I like the look of mitered corners so I used the cutting tools to trim the backing fabric to 1-1/4″ from the edge of the S&S, all the way around.

5. Working on the two short sides first, turn and press the backing fabric in half so that the raw edges are in line with the edges of the S&S.

6. Turn the folded edges of the backing over the edge of the placemat and secure with pins or binding clips, as shown. Press to set the crease. Then press the corners of the long sides at a 45-degree angle, as shown.

7. Next, press the backing fabric on the long sides in half so the raw edges are touching the edges of the S&S, as shown.

8. Turn and press the backing fabric on the long sides over the placemat, adjusting the corners to form neat miters. Use pins or clips to secure.

9. Finally, stitch the folded edge of the binding, through all layers, all the way around. It is helpful to start on a side rather than in a corner, and pivit at each corner. That’s it, finished and ready to go!

Be sure to check with your local quilt/fabric shop to see if they carry Soft and Stable. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be going back for more.

Whew . . . one gift I can check off my list. I think my mom will love them. Hope you are making some headway with your to-do lists.

Oh yes, thought you might like to know that I “chatted” with Annie via e-mail letting her know how much I enjoyed working with her product and that I would be promoting it in an upcoming blog. She graciously sent me a package to offer as a giveaway. Soooo, by now, I’m sure you know the drill. Please simply leave a comment letting us know why you would love to be the winner by end of day  Dec. 9th and we will add your name to the random drawing. I will announce the winner with my next post on Dec. 13th.

Many thanks to all of you for taking time to post comments for our holiday decor giveaway.  I wish we had a set for each of you. The lucky winners of the placemat and napkin sets are Sue W. for the Gold & Silver set and Pam for the Red & Green set.

Until next time…find joy in this lovely holiday season.

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