Friday, 3 August 2012

Scrappy coaster tutorial

Scrappy coasters are my go-to gift. They come together quickly, you can make them to co-ordinate with any colour scheme and they help nibble away at the scrap mountain, which is always a good thing. I was making a set today (for a commission, excitingly) and thought I would put together a tutorial. They are not difficult to make, but there are a few little tips that make them even easier. So here we go - my first tutorial. I hope it all makes sense!

First gather your scraps. You can use even the tiniest pieces – some of mine were only an inch wide. You can iron them if you want, but I don’t usually bother.

Sew scraps together until the piece is bigger than 5 inches square. There is no need to iron as you go along – just hold the seams open as you stitch.

Finish one side of your piece with a long strip of fabric so that you have one edge that has no seam – it makes things easier later. Press seams open and trim the piece to 5 inches square.

Cut a 5 inch square of backing fabric and a 4.5 inch square piece of fusible batting. Centre the batting on the backing piece and fuse, following the instructions.

Place the pieced front and fused backing/batting right sides together and sew along three sides using the edge of the batting as a guide. This is where you want to make sure that the side you leave open is the one that has no seam on the front piece.

When you sew the pieces together stitch all the way along to the end of each side and then fold the seam allowance over when you turn the corner. 

When you start stitching the next edge sew over the folded seam allowance, through all four layers of fabric. This helps to make the coaster really square and means that you don’t need to clip the corners before turning and risk making holes. Not that I ever accidentally do that. Ahem.

Turn and push the corners out with a pointy thing (skewer, knitting needle, lobster claw...). Fold and press the open edges, using the batting as a guide. Use lots of steam to get a nice crisp edge. 

Using either a paintbrush or a fine-tip bottle apply a tiny amount of PVA/Elmer’s washable glue all the way along the inside of the open edge, then press with a dry iron to set. This might sound bonkers but it holds the opening together brilliantly for topstitching. I find that pins tend to make things go a bit wibbly. The glue washes out really easily, although to be honest you use such a tiny bit that it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t.

Topstitch along the open edge and quilt however you want. I like to continue the topstitching around the edge and then quilt in a concentric square pattern using the edge of the foot as a guide. I don't normally bother using my walking foot, mainly because I am too lazy to put it on the machine, and the normal foot is good enough when using fusible batting.

Rinse and repeat to make however many you want. I think a set of six makes a really nice gift, especially in a little drawstring bag like this one made using Jeni's fantastic pattern.

I hope everything makes sense - please leave me a comment if anything is confusing. I am new to this malarkey!

31 comments:

  1. Oh I love these coasters and what a great way to keep some cute fabrics close to you! Great puppy fodder too! ; P

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  2. Ohh I think I just found my sewing project of the day - great tute! xx

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  3. Cute - yet more awesome-ness. Your tutorial is already better than mine, I never have process photos so it' s all just waffle.

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  4. This is a fabulous tutorial! Thank-you!! And I love the idea of using tiny scraps!

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  5. A commission! V impressed! Love this tutorial, I tried making some coasters a while back and stupidly made them like a standard quilt, with a proper hand sewn binding. They took hours and were wonky and didn't look anywhere near as good as these beauties. On the plus side I don't mind spilling tea on them. In future I will use your method!

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  6. Great tip to use the glue!

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  7. Oooh lovely!
    (I especially love the plaster shot... almost worthy of a chorus of Spandau Ballet's Gold...)

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  8. great tutorial and thanks for sharing! =)

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  9. What good tips about the folded corners and glue. Now I wish I hadn't just finished a set of coasters yesterday! Maybe I'll do another just to try your tips!

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  10. They look fab! What a great idea.

    I know I'm being a bit dim (especially as other people have commented on what a good idea it is. Ahem), but my sewing skills are limited... I'm with you up to sewing over the folded seam allowance. I understand the why, but where do you sew after that? Over all 4 layers of (folded) fabric?

    Sorry for the daft question!

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    1. thanks! You're not dim at all - that was the part that I had the most trouble describing! Basically, you sew one seam, then when you come to start the next edge you fold over the previous seam allowance and sew through all four layers. If you look at the second picture you can see where the fold has been stitched over. I hope that makes a bit more sense!

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    2. Thank you! I couldn't see where/how else you could sew it, but just needed to check!

      Coasters for Christmas I think...

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  11. Great tutorial - and I'm planning on doing coasters next week. Perfect timing!

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  12. I tend to keep insanely small scraps of my favorite fabrics, so this would be a great way to use them. Great tutorial!

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  13. Great tutorial thanks for posting it :)

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  14. Cute idea :o) I never think of things like this as I never use coasters!

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  15. Great tutorial! I have been drink much ice water lately and had been telling myself to make some quilted coasters to absorb all the condensation and these are so lovely that I think I will start on them tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. thanks Tara! I hope you have fun with them :-D

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  16. Really lovely result! Thank you for sharing :-) Jolana

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  17. i love making these too, but yours are so beeeuuutiful ;-)

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  18. they are so beautiful! and maybe they are a great christmas gift for my family ;) thank you for being so inspiring!

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  19. These are lovely, such a nice way of using up all those scraps. I have bags and boxes overflowing with fabric scraps, and all those offcuts of batting lurking around waiting to be put to better use! Great tutorial too, really clear and well-illustrated.

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  20. Brilliant tutorial Charlotte. Thank you so much. I love all your great tips and clever ideas.
    Not only are you Head of the Crease Police but you are clearly Queen of the Coasters too.
    I am so going to make some of these beauts tonight. We are desperate for coasters and table mats here and these are perfect.
    xxxx

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  21. Thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial.
    I just whipped a couple of coasters up, using up some of my random scraps. They were really fun to make and quick too. Now that I have made a couple, I will be even less of a numpty about the whole process. I can't wait to make a whole set.

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  22. Great tutorial!! And that idea for help with corners is genius! Also, your scrap selection turned out so great!

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  23. the tutorial is great & I love this mix of fabrics .

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  24. Makes perfect sense and to top it all off they look so sharp and tailored. I think those I know even glancingly will now be gifted coasters at the slightest provocation.

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thanks for making my day!