Lazies, Today let’s get to know Annie Unrein of ByAnnie, pattern company. Annie shares her unique Soft and Stable batting and offers a giveaway.
Greetings, Joan and Fellow Lazies!
I’m so thrilled to be asked to submit a guest blog post for Joan and her readers. I have long been an admirer of Joan’s products and love reading her blog and newsletters.
Let me begin by introducing myself: I am Annie Unrein, a quilter, pattern designer, teacher, and product developer. Please visit my website www.byannie.com to see my patterns and read about my newest product, ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™.
I developed Soft and Stable™ because I was looking for something that would give good body and stability to my purses without making them heavy or stiff or hard to sew.
Several years ago, when my favorite quilted designer handbag wore out, I noticed that it was made using a foam stabilizer rather than batting.
I promptly went looking for something like that to use in my projects and finally found a foam-type product. I used it for several years, but it had a number of drawbacks: It was stretchy and not very stable. It had fabric only on one side of the foam, so I had to be careful when sewing. (If the foam side was against the feed dogs, it wouldn’t move!) And, I couldn’t buy that product at a price which would enable me to provide it to wholesale customers. I got yelled at by more than one store for having a supply list in one of my patterns calling for a product that they couldn’t offer!
I finally decided to fix what I didn’t like and went to find someone to make the right product for me. I spent months working with various manufacturers, testing and re-testing products until I got what I wanted: a dense yet resilient foam with a soft, napped fabric on each side that sews easily without stretching out of shape.
I introduced ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™ in black at Fall Market in Houston last fall to great reviews.
Customers are loving it and many pattern designers are adding it to their projects as well. NOTE: Due to popular request, Soft and Stable™ is now available in white as well.
I am often complimented on the professional appearance of my bags and purses. Though I’d love to say that they look good because I’m such an excellent seamstress, I really can’t take all the credit. Using the proper tools and supplies makes all the difference between a project that looks store-bought and professional versus one that looks homemade.
ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™ is by far the most important element used in any of my purses, bags, or other projects. Using Soft and Stable™ in place of batting or other fusible interfacings gives my project a firm foundation. The bag isn’t slouchy or wrinkly. Yet, because ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™ is so lightweight, the purse (when it’s empty anyway!) weighs hardly anything.
I love using ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™ in handles, too— that soft, cushiony feeling is so nice for shoulder straps or handles.
The other advantage to using Soft and Stable™ is that I do not have to quilt the fabric to the batting/foundation unless I want to. I often choose to quilt the fabric to add a decorative element to the finished piece, but it is not an absolute necessity.
For instance, when I designed the Serenity Shoulder Bag, I wanted all of the focus to be on the texturized flap. Had I used batting in the bag, I’d have had to quilt the fabric in the body of the bag. Not only would those quilting lines detract from the finished appearance of the bag, but the bag would be slouchy when put together.
With ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™, I am able to attach the fabric pieces used for the body of the bag to the Soft and Stable™ by sewing just around the edges. No quilting lines! When I’m done, my bag stands up beautifully, supporting that gorgeous textured flap.
That extra support is especially nice when you are using wooden fashion handles, such as I used on the On the Town handbag pictured above. Even though I’ve attached some relatively heavy handles, the bag holds it shape and stands up beautifully.
If I do choose to quilt the fabric to ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™, that’s easy, too. I just layer the lining fabric (face down), the Soft and Stable™, and the main fabric (face up). Pin the layers and you’re ready to stitch.
The slight texture of the fabric finish on the Soft and Stable™ slightly grabs the fabric pieces, so there is little shifting of layers as you sew. And, as you can see in the photo below, I can quilt a large piece and everything is still nice, flat, and stable.
Sometimes, I skip the fabric layer on the bottom and just sew the main fabric to the ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™. Again, because Soft and Stable™ has fabric on BOTH sides, I don’t have to worry about the foam catching on my feed dogs. Everything moves easily through the machine.
ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™ is also wonderful for home dec items, such as placemats or table runners, too. My friend, Ricci, made this set of placemats using my Set A Pretty Table pattern and a selection of fruit and vegetable fabrics from her stash.
A modified quilt-as-you-go technique and foldover self binding make assembly quick and easy. In fact, Ricci got up on Saturday morning, decided she wanted something fun for her dinner party that night — and made a set of eight placemats (and cooked and cleaned) in time for the party!
Using ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™ in place of batting makes beautiful, sturdy placemats that are extra easy to make and that will wear beautifully.
It’s easy to mark lines on the Soft and Stable™ using a chalk marker. This helps align the pieces for the flip and sew assembly. And, because Soft and Stable™ is polyester and not a fusible product, it’s easy to press the pieces with an iron as you go.
So, if you want your purses, bags, and other projects to look like you bought them, not like you made them, give ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™ a try today!
Annie is offering two prizes:
1) Serenity Shoulder Bag pattern + half-yard package of black Soft and Stable
2) On The Town pattern + half-yard package of WHITE Soft and Stable
Leave one comment below to enter. Annie will pick winners and notify them directly.
You have until 10PM EST on Friday July 15, 2011 to enter. Simple as that!!
Also, Annie is also offering a 10% discount on all Soft and Stable sizes to all Lazies through JULY 18, 2011. Just enter the code LAZY in the discount field at checkout at her website www.byannie.com to get the discount.
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