Iron or Press?

Iron or Press is a question on many people’s minds in the sewing community! Here in the UK we tend to iron which can have a massive impact on your sewn items and quilt blocks in particular. Lets look at why!

Ironing is the motion of gliding the iron over the fabric to smooth out wrinkles and puckers but it can stretch the fabric and skew the grain. It takes a lot of effort to iron as you apply pressure to the iron. When you press you use an up down motion, carefully setting the iron up and down across the fabric at regular intervals. This doesn’t require half as much effort as ironing does! So why is this important? Well as I mentoned earlier, ironing distorts fabric and pressing does not, which when you are working with fabrics that have raw edges when you are sewing, you really do not want to distort the fabric as this will have a hugely negative impact on the piece you are working on. Good pressing is the key!

  • Press fabrics before cutting for better accuracy
  • Always test your iron on a scrap piece before pressing new or delicate fabrics, you don’t want to scorch your treasured fabrics right?
  • Use a dry iron to press, that’s right NO steam! Steam distorts fabric which leads to inaccurate cutting & piecing
  • Don’t press over pin heads as they can melt into and ruin your fabric
  • Allow fabric to cool before handling, this protects your fingers as well as the fabric from distorting!
  • Use a starch free spray such as Best Press or Flatter to help remove creases and to hold seams

Using a strach spray is of course a personal preference, Lisa and I both swear by a starch free spray to help remove creases from fabric for both the shop and in our own sewing. We use either Best Press or Flatter and have found them to be equally as good, the difference been that Flatter has no synthetic ingredients and Best Press does.


If you’d like to give either Best Press or Flatter a whirl feel free to use code: iron10 for a cheeky 10% discount. (valid until 01.04.14)

Oodles of new stock!

Gosh it’s been a busy couple of weeks here at Simply Solids HQ as Lisa and I try to get into the groove of working together! There’s been planning and scheming galore behind the scenes and we hope you’re going to LOVE what we’ve got planned.

The new stock is already starting to roll in and I just wanted to show you a selection of what’s arrived.

As well as showcasing some of the awesome fabric stacks we’ve made up too!

Yes that’s right the very gorgeous scrap packs are now back in stock, these are just perfect for sewing smaller projects and of course for English Paper Piecing.

We’ve also had a huge re-stock of Kona Cotton Solids with another delivery arriving this week of Kona, Notions and Moda Pre-Cuts!!

Why don’t you sign up to the Newsletter so you’re the first to hear of all our scrummy fabric arrivals??!

PS: Don’t forget to comment on our previous post telling us what you’d make with a scrap pack if you won one, you might be lucky!

Kona #scraptasticchallenge

Happy Friday everyone!

Today’s blog post comes with a little ‘How To’ from the delightful Kelly who blogs over at A Place of My Own. Kelly received a scrap pack of Kona Cotton Solids from us last month as she was the winning comment on the #scraptasticchallenge blog post!

If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a scrap pack yourself and have your very own ‘How To’ appear on the blog please read on to the bottom of the post.
When Justine sent me a message on Twitter to tell me that I had won a scrap pack as part of her Scrap Challenge I was really excited. I had said that I would like to make a tablemat with it which I really wanted and the best part was that as it would have a deadline I would Get It Done.


Ever since my Improv class at Fat Quarterly Retreat 2013 with Lucie Summers I had been dying to have a go with all solid fabrics and this was my chance. I had a quick browse through her (highly recommended) book – Improv for Beginners and then just decided to go for it.

I cut all of the scrap pack into strips that were between one and three inches wide and then just started sewing them together. For my fiest blocks I used a piece of paper the size the I wanted my blocks to be (in this case 6.5”) as a guide to make sure what I was making was big enough.

When my sewn together strips covered the paper I trimmed them down to 6.5” squares. I made 4 and then played around with the layout until I liked it and then sewed them together.

Next I made some wonky log cabin blocks, which are so much fun and really fast to make. I did four of these, three with the same fabrics in the middle and one extra small one. Finally I decided to just sew strips together in an offset pattern so that I would have a long rectangle block for one side. Then I just played around with the layout until I liked it and sewed everything together.

I chose a backing fabric and cut it to the same size as my improv piece.

I then cut some batting the same and then put them all together – backing fabric right side up, improv block right side down and then batting on top.

I sewed all the way around the edge leaving a gap for turning. I trimmed the corners and the excess batting to make turning easier and then turned it through. The small gap was hand stitched closed and then I quilted it with straight lines just using the edge of my foot to space the lines. I have never quilted anything as densely as this and I really like the effect.

Here is my mat in use on my sewing table. It is just perfect for using in the middle of the table when we are eating and for putting hot dishes on. I am so pleased with it and I still have a few scraps left over for another project. The finished size was 16” square so the fabric scraps went a long way. Also, there were colours in the pack that I wouldn’t usually choose but everything went well together and it was nice to include something different.


Wow! Isn’t that table mat just stunning?

So to be in with a chance of winning your very own scrap pack please do leave us a comment letting us know what you would make with a scrap pack. The winner of last months bundle is:

Sonia Spence – who said she’d like to make some coasters, we’ll be in touch Sonia!