I recently came across mention of a new interlining product. I was reading Kat Southern's blog (www.studiokatdesigns.com) about her latest bag design and she mentioned using ByAnnies 'Soft & Stable'. Then I found this video clip and met Annie and saw Soft & Stable for the first time;-
I wanted to know more, so I went to Annie's website (http://www.byannie.com) and watched all her videos demonstrating Soft & Stable and Texture Magic. Then I contacted Annie as my curiosity was aroused!
""How did you get Soft & Stable developed?"
"I had an old Vera Bradley bag which I loved and used until it fell apart. I decided to try to make my own bag using my own fabrics, but wanted it to have the professional look of a designer bag. I noticed that the Vera bag had a foam stabilizer instead of batting, so I went looking for a similar product. After much searching, I finally found a product called headliner foam which was made to go in the headliners of cars. I used that for a long time and loved the soft structure that it gave my bags, but I couldn't buy it at a price that I could afford to sell it to stores. . . and since I was calling for it on supply lists for my patterns, I knew that was important. I finally decided that I needed to find a manufacturer to make a product for me at a price that would allow me to sell it to distributors and stores. While I was at it, I also wanted to fix the things I didn't like about headliner foam: It only had fabric on one side of the foam. If you ever got the foam against your feed dogs, it wouldn't move. And, if you put the foam side against your fabric, the fabric would slip and slide. Also, the foam was very soft and stretchy, so it was hard to get a nice, flat piece of quilted fabric.
For several months I worked with various manufacturers trying different foams, different fabrics, and so forth. I tried lots of options until I ended up with the perfect combination. The soft, slightly napped fabric on each side of a firm but resilient foam not only keeps fabrics from slipping, but also allows you to skip the bottom layer of fabric. The dense foam is easy to sew but gives great body and stability. Once I'd found the proper product, I needed to come up with a name, ideas for packaging, instructions for use, and so forth. It's been a very busy two years!"
"I am fortunate to live in the town where Superior Threads is located and Heather and Bob Purcell, owners of Superior Threads, are great friends. I work at the major quilt shows with Bob and Heather and they carry many of my patterns. We were at Quilt Market about three years ago and a manufacturer met with Bob and Heather to show them a shrinking fabric. Heather in turn showed it to me and asked what I thought. I said, "I think we could have some fun with that!" She said that in order to properly market it, they'd need patterns and asked if I'd be interested in writing them. Of course, I jumped at the chance! That was my first experience at helping to develop a new product: deciding what to name it, how to package and price it, how to use it, and so forth. Texture Magic took my business from a hobby to a real business and I am very grateful to have been involved with its development since the very beginning. Texture Magic is Superior Threads' "baby", but I consider myself its godmother."
"How long have you been running ByAnnie.com and what were you doing before that?"
"I wrote my first pattern in 2000 so I've been in the pattern business for 12 years already. I graduated from college with a degree in accounting and worked as a CPA for a number of years. My husband and I homesteaded 160 acres in southeast Alaska and eventually built and operated a country inn and fishing/whalewatching/sightseeing charter business there. When we sold that business and settled in St. George, Utah, I joined the local quilt guild and found my passion. I took a college class to design a website and started ByAnnie.com in 2004. I had only three patterns when I launched the site. Today I have over 100 patterns and lots of other great products and supplies. I love this business and just wish I could figure out how to get about 100 more hours in each day so that I could get everything done!"
Annie has a lot of video tutorials on her site - "As good as taking a class" - which is good news for those of us that could not get to a class! There are 22 on using Texture Magic for instance, and another dozen on aspect of using Soft and stable. Take a look on http://www.byannie.com and if you make something using Soft & Stable or Texture Magic, don't forget to share the pictures with Annie and us!