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

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Posts for 2013 at See How We Sew |

  2. MaryJean Bower says:

    I saw this at the Lancaster quilt show and bought enough for 4 placemats and then I was stuck. I just discovered your terrific tutorial on placemats and now I am unstuck…..and I have a great Christmas gift for a good friend. Thanks!

  3. Francine Ball says:

    Hi Laura
    I remembered that you mentioned Soft & Stable in class one day so I bought a package & then couldn’t find any info on the use of it on the product website. I knew I could count on you to have a post somewhere to help me figure this out. I am making coasters out of soft & stable and your information was, as always, right to the point.
    Hope life is well with you. Miss class & seeing you.

  4. I’m too late for your giveaway, but I wanted to thank you for such a great tutorial on making placemats, especially the binding! I look forward to spending lots of time on your blog :)

  5. Patty H. says:

    Hello, I would love to try this product!

  6. Madeline Watson says:

    I am excited about this product and would love to win it. It is a perfect product for last minute Christmas Gifts. Just love the way it looks. Thans

  7. Cathy R says:

    What a wonderful product! I went over to the website and watched the videos. I have made a lot of placemats using different products – battings, fusible interfacings, and fusible fleece. Is this different from fusible fleece?

    • Laura Nownes says:

      HI Cathy – yes, Soft and Stable is different from fusible fleece. It is a thin piece of foam with a tricot-type fabric fused to both sides. Although it doesn’t fuse to fabrics, the tricot prevents it from slipping. I know you will like it. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Lori says:

    Would love, love,love to try this, As soon as the holidays are over I’m going to start on placemats and handbags for next year. Something stable yet soft sounds ideal. I really need to try this. First time to your site and I enjoyed it so much.

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Thanks Lori. We are glad you like the site and hope you will return often as we have lots of exciting things planned for the New Year. Happy Holidays.

  9. Terry says:

    Found you through Annie’s email. Your placemats are so pretty…love the fabrics you chose. Would love to be entered to win some Soft and Stable to make some placemats as gifts. TFS

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Just checked in after a few days off. So happy to read all of your lovely comments. Well, I have finished two of the placemats and decided to give them to my mother this morning – an early Christmas gift. She was so thrilled, but the funny thing is she said she is concerned about using and getting them dirty. Oh Mother! I explained that they can easily be washed, over and over, and will still look great. Only 4 days left until I choose the lucky winner so tell your friends to stop by and post a comment. Have a wonderful week everyone.

  10. Donna W Russ says:

    I would love to win soft and stable, I make alot of Pocketbooks and placemats for christmas and would love to try it…Thanks for showing how you do the binding. I do my placemats the same way however I have always had a problem at the corners (of course) and now I know what I had been doing wrong. many thanks

  11. Luanne says:

    Thaks for the great instructions. The soft and stable sounds like a product I would like to try. I have lots of bags to make and this sounds like the perfect product to use in them.

  12. Lynn says:

    Sounds like good stuff and a wonderful give away. Your placemat turned out cute and the mitered corners make it look so professional.

  13. Rhonda S says:

    I love your tutorial on the self binding! I’ve tried doing it on my own before, but the tutorial makes it look easy! I’d love to try Soft and Stable – thanks for the info!

  14. Annie sent me!! I am about to run out of my white Soft and Stable!! That’s because I love using it!

  15. Kathleen Fennelly says:

    Great Blog you have here! Just found it today and checking out your postings. Love to try the new batting. I look forward to more inspiration and give a ways.

  16. Geri Running says:

    I really liked your pretty blue placemats and the tutorial was great. I think the Soft and Stable would be so great in placemats, they wouldn’t get that limp look that so often happens. They would always look fresh. Happy Days, please enter my name in the drawing.

  17. Shirley Roy says:

    Can’t wait to try the S&S. I am always searching for the right batting for the bags I love so much!
    Think this may be the right choice. Thanks so much for the place-mat tute. Anxious to try that binding.

  18. Cynthia S says:

    Thanks for showing how you made your placemats! I’m such a visual person and love all the close up pictures! I have tried the Soft and Stable and would love some more!

  19. Rose says:

    Great project idea, would love to try it! Love the way you did the binding! Thanks!

  20. Pat Emerick says:

    Love your idea for the placements! I have purchased some Soft & Stable … but more is always better!! Will be using it soon in a purse. Would love to win! Happy Holidays.

  21. vivoaks says:

    Hi! Annie sent me!! I was reading her email, and she mentioned you were having a give-away of her Soft & Stable! Thanks for giving all of us the opportunity! Now I need to go back and check out more of your posts! Looks interesting!!!

  22. julie moran says:

    I saw this demoed at a show once, but they were sold out. i’d love to try it. the bags look so much smoother and hold their shapes beautufully!

  23. Pat says:

    I absolutely love the binding technique. It would be wonderful to have some soft and stable to try out the product and the binding technique.

  24. Ophelia Chang says:

    I’ve been wanting to try this new product since Annie came out with it. I even put a bunch into a shopping cart, but the shipping costs were so high that I could not justify NOT using up all my batting stash, which may last me a very long time, so…please enter me in the contest!

  25. Cindy Howar says:

    I just saw your ad on a newsletter from Annie. I am always looking for new websites and yours looks wonderful. I haven’t tried the Soft and Stable yet, but I am looking forward to using it. I have several patterns for purses and want to give it a try. My daughter bought a couple of handmade purses at the mall but they are limp. I am hoping that the Soft and Stable solves this problem. Thanks for your insight into how you made your placemats. I am going to give it a try. Thanks again.


  26. patti wolff says:

    The placemats are gorgeous and would love to give them a try. What a great improvement over floppy batting!

  27. Sandy says:

    I love Soft and Stable! I’ve used it in several projects and would enjoy winning so I could use more. :)

  28. Judy Carter says:

    Wow, I would like to win some of this great new product. I have a couple of purses that I want to try making and I can’t wait to get going!

  29. I’ve used Annie’s Soft and Stable. It’s a great way to give body to a bag. I recently made a name tag bag with it, and it worked out perfectly. Please add my name to the drawing.

  30. Jenn says:

    Please put me in for this drawing!

  31. Elaine says:

    I recently purchased a kit from Studio Kats and it has S&S in it. I have been looking forward to trying it out but haven’t yet had time. I do like the feel of it and am very impressed with it without even having used it yet. Would love to win some more to make some placemats using your project above. I’m going to add this to my “Want To Do” list.

  32. Mary Jo says:

    This looks like great stuff! And I enjoyed your method of using the back of the placemats as the binding. I plan on trying both the Soft and Stable and the binding method soon. It would be great to win the package of Soft & Stable!

  33. Sandy says:

    I love to make placemats. I’m really looking forward to using this new product and using your pattern for my next placemat project.

  34. Terrific idea for mitering corners – gotta try that soon but am in the middle of a tree skirt and 4 Christmas stockings – a deadline always helps though! Soft and Stable sounds fabulous with no need to quilt much; that’s the part I don’t like to do anyway!!

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Ahh, yes. What would we do without deadlines? I too have been working on a French Braid tree skirt. I got distracted with the placemats so now I’m back to the skirt – hopefully I’ll meet the deadline! Best of luck with yours.

  35. kathy B says:

    Saw this product and wanted to order it but have not gotten it done. Looks like it will be a great product to add to my interfacing drawer.

    • Laura Nownes says:

      My thoughts exactly, Kathy. I think I will find many uses for it. Please do keep us posted. We always enjoy seeing photos of projects.

  36. Kris B says:

    Wonderful product! I have used it in two bags. Love it! Thanks for sharing your placemat idea, looks great.

  37. Marcia says:

    I just finished a computer tote bag using Soft and Stable – it looks great! In the beginning I was having some issues with quilting the S&S but after a conversation with Annie (I emailed her and she immediately called me to discuss my problem! Talk about great customer service!) and the purchase of a new Bernina (you need the right tools to do the job, my husband says!) I was good to go! Great product!

  38. Lynne McNiel says:

    I loved this tutorial and the new product sounds great! I am always in a quandry when it comes to what to use for batting in placemats. This sounds like just the right product. I just hope it is sold in Canada and that my local store carries it. Will check it out today! Can’t wait to make the placemats!!

  39. Monica says:

    I would love to win the drawing! You can’t have too much “Soft and Stable.” I stumbled upon Annie’s “Soft and Stable” somehow and LOVE it. I have made an iPad case for my sister (using Annie’s “MiPad” Pattern and fabulous strong zippers) and also a purse for myself. I fully intend to use it for placements! And I love your pattern, above.

    When anyone raves about my purse, I recommend “Soft and Stable” for their own projects.

  40. Judy, SC says:

    Well, I just finished the last of my gift table runners but then I may need a new one for myself. Thinking of Valentines Day. Would love to try this product. Will add it to the list of things to look for next quilt shop trip. BTW that trip will be my Christmas gift to myself.

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Great idea, Judy. We really need to remember to gift ourselves during this busy season. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Holidays.. and shopping too!

  41. Joanna says:

    I’d love to try this new product. If I’m not the winner, I’m going out to buy some as a Christmas present to myself!

    Thanks for the demo!


    • Laura Nownes says:

      Thanks so checking in Joanna. Sounds like you and several other readers have the right idea… presents for ourselves. I’m going to start my list today!

    • Nelle says:

      That sounds great..!! I hope I win, but if not I will certainly try and get some. Thanks for the info.

  42. Laura Nownes says:

    Thank you all for the kind words. I’m happy to know that so many of you will be trying this new product. I must admit that the self binding was an afterthought. I’ve never done it this way before but I was determined to make it look good and keep it simple so I just fussed around until it worked. I’m quite pleased with the results and will definitely be making more placemats as they make such nice gifts.

  43. I am making mug rugs and think this might just do the trick. I am always up for trying something new. :D

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Hi Carol – I’m curious to know what a “mug rug” is? Is this a new term for a coaster? If so, this product should be just perfect.

  44. Audrey says:

    I love the blue placemats! So fresh and cheery. Thanks for the great tutorial. I can’t wait to try this new product and this pattern.

  45. Marsha says:

    Soft And Stable sounds like a great invention. I make a lot of placemats and candle mats, etc. for gifts and this sounds like something I’d like to try. Unfortunately there are no quilt shops nearby so I can’t run out to get some. Maybe I’ll be the winner of the drawing and get to try it sooner rather than later. Thanks, Laura and thanks, Annie, for your generosity.

  46. Gini says:

    I have placemats on my to do gift list. Great idea. Thanks.

  47. Patti O says:

    Thanks for the tutorial on using the backing for the binding. I am going to use this technique for finishing the table runner and placemats I pieced at the retreat.

  48. Darlene Garrity says:

    I wish I had seen this last week. I just finished eight placemats for my daughter for Christmas. Now to find some of this bating and make myself some new placemats.

  49. elaine says:

    just when you think there’s nothing new in quilting, you learn there is MORE. i’m looking forward to trying this new product. thanks for your tutorial with great pictures. these placemats are great. i cut all my leftover fabrics into “jelly roll” strips (and sort into a light drawer and a dark drawer) to be able to make quick quilts AND now placemats. love the blog and all the great ideas.

  50. pam appel says:

    This product is what I have been looking for. I have some placemats that I wanted to make for holiday gift! I also love the strip placemat design! Thanks for sharing!

  51. Peggy Mohar says:

    Laura – as usual you come up with the best ideas. I’d love to try the Soft & Stable and what a great way to use up some of those jelly rolls and just in time for Christmas.

  52. Nancy says:

    Thanks for showing a new product. It is always great to find something to make our lives easier. Also, thanks for all your help last night. :)
    Hugs, Nancy

  53. I am so curious about this product. I would welcome a chance to use it in a tote.

  54. Nancy Nemec says:

    It’s always nice to hear about a new product and see how it is used. Thanks Laura for the placemat demonstration someone in the family will be getting a new set of placemats for Christmas. I can’t wait to try this product.

  55. Lisa Cristwell says:

    I’m in the process of making 2 dozen holiday table runners for Christmas gifts this year and would love to try this instead of the quilt batting I’m using. I think it would be great for my project and can’t wait to try it! Thanks also for the great instructions above for placemats. Now I want to try those too!

  56. Kathie L says:

    I’m a big fan of making bags and placemats, so I’d love to give this a try in my next project. Thanks. Kathie L in Allentown

  57. I love this method you used for the placemats and I am really anxious to try out the Soft and Stable – will look for it locally or online.

  58. Brenda says:

    I made lots of placemats and I’d like to try this product. thanks for the chance to win!

  59. Sue says:

    Laura – this is almost like taking an online class from you! I actually was planning on making some Christmas placemats and winning a package of Soft and Stable would be perfect!!! Living in “the sticks” we don’t often get the latest and greatest for quite awhile. Love the pictures, by the way!

  60. Connie says:

    I love this product….have used it in my purses and would love a chance to win. Thank you!

  61. SuzyMcQ says:

    Thanks so much for the tut! Love the placemats and would attempt to make some as well if I win!

  62. Patty says:

    Thanks for such a clear tutorial! I’d love to try this new product, and would use it when making bags. The next bag on my list is a smaller-sized cross-over messenger bag, and plan to get going on that after Christmas!

  63. Pat Bandura says:

    I would love to try this product I make many bags as gifts

  64. Pat says:

    I’d absolutely love to try this batting – have placemats to make for four of my girls at the moment!
    Thanks for the chance to win a package, and the mitering hints too!

  65. Interesting stuff – I could think of a few projects it would work well for! Thanks for the info.

  66. Zitter Judith says:

    I am very impressed with the way you bound your placemats, and the way you clearly showed how you did it! I am eager to try this myself! Thanks for sharing!

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