Sewn Coasters

Hello everyone! Its that time of the week again! As some of you MIGHT know, I have been attending a quilt club at my local quilt shop every month. Originally I went because it gave me something to do, but the more I go, the more inspired I am to work on a variety of crafts, and eventually attempt my own quilt. Every time I go, I also come home with ideas about color schemes and the items that I could create. I’ll talk more about that in a different post later on though!

Anyways, at the beginning of this month, in addition to their regularly scheduled club, the local quilt shop hosted a trunk show (where a pattern creator brought in examples of quilt patterns she has made and discussed with us the basic concepts of how to make her quilts), and they promoted a quilt show that was just outside of town. I ended up going to both of these events (which I honestly was not planning on doing since family was in town, but my aunt and great aunt ended up going with me) and I really enjoyed it. The group hosting the quilt show was also selling a few items that they had made and some kits to make those items at home ourselves.

One of these items that also came in a kit- form was a set of coasters that resembled pinwheels. What baffled me most about these coasters was the fact that you could tuck your hand into the coaster, and I couldn’t quite figure out how they had done it. My aunt and I “ooohh”-ed and “aaahhh”-ed over these coasters for quite a while when one of the other women looking around told us that they were pretty easy to make, and that the pattern has been around for a long time. I asked her if she knew what the name of the pattern might be, because I wanted to look it up later on. She didn’t know the name of the pattern, but offered to show us how to make them instead! My aunt picked out a kit she was going to buy, and the woman opened it up and pulled out the pieces for one coaster. Each coaster apparently takes five squares of fabric, all the same size. (I made mine using 5″ squares.)

And here’s what we learned:

To make the top of the coaster, you fold and iron four squares of fabric in half so that they are triangles with the “right side” (aka the side of the fabric that the colors or images can be seen best on) are facing out. If you want to have the patterns be directional, make sure you check that they all go the same way before you press the fabric. These triangles will then be overlapped to form a square. (Notes: Each of the triangles has a 90 degree angle, that will be the corners of your square. Also keep in mind that once it is laid out, each triangle will be laying half on top of, and half below, another triangle.)

The fifth square is then placed on top of (or below, depending on your sewing preference) the four overlapping triangles with the right side of the fabric facing the triangles. Then, sew around the square leaving no spaces! There is NO HAND SEWING INVOLVED. After I am finished sewing, I flip it over to make sure I didn’t miss any edges of the fabric. To turn the project so that the right sides are all facing out (and to cover the stitches) just poke your fingers through the middle of the overlapping squares and pull the back out through there. Make sure all your corners are pushed out, and iron again.

And then you are done!

Part of what I love about this project is that I do not have to sew anything by hand after turning it inside out. I also love the fact that these are super quick and easy to make. For the first set of these that I had made, I used some pre-cut 5″ fabric squares, so all I had to do was iron, lay them out, and sew. The evening I did the ones with the pre-cut fabric, I did the ironing and laid out the combinations I wanted, and managed to sew up eight coasters in about 45 minutes! (My timer was one episode of my current binge-watching show on Netflix!)

Be warned, however, that the cutting can take a long time! My mom had suggested that I make some coasters in my cousin’s wedding colors to go with the rest of the gift for their shower this weekend. The colors they have weren’t in any of the pre-cut packages, however, so I had to cut them myself… And I discovered I am not good at cutting squares. (I am blaming this fact solely on my small cutting mat and the bad rotary cutter I attempted to use!) Thankfully, I had learned about a tool at quilt club that helped me to fix my wonky squares. And I’d say the coasters were a pretty good success. My cousin passed one of them around the circle for a bunch of people to look at and figure out how they were made, and a few people asked if they were fancy handkerchiefs for the wedding!

And here they are! Last week, I made 19 coasters, and one mini pot-holder (top right). The eight blue and gray coasters on the left and right of the picture were for my cousin, and the other coasters will either be for me or family and friends for Christmas. The pot-holder is really small, but it was mainly a test to see if an idea my mom had would actually work or not!

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