Monday, February 27, 2012

Making coasters

I’ve been working on multiple projects this month, including these clever coasters. I made sets of six and sent them off to my daughters for Valentine’s Day.

Here’s how to make them: For each coaster, you need two 5-inch squares of fabric, one 5-inch square of batting, and four additional smaller squares, which can measure 4 or 4½ inches. In the example below, I used 4½ -inch squares. Fold these 4 smaller squares in half on the diagonal and iron the crease. Layer your 5-inch squares with the batting in the middle, shown below at bottom right.

Place the folded squares (now triangles) on top of your 5-inch squares as shown below, matching up the corners and tucking the end of the fourth triangle under the first one.

At this point, I put in a few pins because the layers tend to shift while sewing. I also use a stylus to hold down the layers as I sew around the outer edge, pivoting at the corners. I sew 1/4-inch away from the edge.

The result is shown below, on the left. Trim the corners, shown on the right.

Turn the triangles to the other side of the coaster, gently poking the corners out with a point turner. I have a fancy point turner (the one marketed by Alex Anderson), but I like my simple bamboo one the best. Below you can see the coaster before pressing (on the left) and after (on the right).

There is a small opening in the top of the coaster, which you can leave like that or sew closed with decorative stitches. The larger the triangles, the smaller the opening. In the batik examples in the above pictures, I used 4½-inch squares to make the triangles, which leaves a very small hole in the center. Don’t use squares any bigger than this because you will be sewing too many layers into the corners and the coasters will be impossible to turn. In the examples below, I used 4-inch squares for the triangles. This creates a slightly bigger hole in the center, which I closed with a buttonhole stitch.

That’s it! You can come up with all sorts of interesting color combinations or match these to your d├ęcor. It’s a great way to use up scraps of batting or leftover squares from charm packs.