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Super-Simple Sewing Projects - Part 1, Drink Coasters

Updated on July 11, 2012

Warning: Sewing coasters can be addictive!

A set of coasters makes a lovely hostess gift.
A set of coasters makes a lovely hostess gift.
Sew a fun design for added creativity.
Sew a fun design for added creativity.
Start sewing about an inch from the edge of side A.
Start sewing about an inch from the edge of side A.
Pivot fabric with needle in the down position.
Pivot fabric with needle in the down position.
End stitching about an inch from the top edge of side A.
End stitching about an inch from the top edge of side A.
Clip corners.
Clip corners.
When you turn fabric right sides out, corners will be indented a bit.
When you turn fabric right sides out, corners will be indented a bit.
Use something with a pointed, but not too sharp, edge to push corners out.
Use something with a pointed, but not too sharp, edge to push corners out.
Pin the opening closed.
Pin the opening closed.
Edge stitch about an eighth-inch from edge.
Edge stitch about an eighth-inch from edge.
Quilt the center of the coaster as you please.
Quilt the center of the coaster as you please.
You're done!
You're done!

Easy for Beginners, Fun for All

I might have mentioned I have a little sewing habit... When I'm not actually sewing, I'm thinking about what I want to sew. I'm also a little obsessed with using all my scraps. Now, I'll never in my lifetime accomplish this goal because of the rate at which I acquire material, but... I keep trying. One way I do this is by sewing a lot of little projects because, frankly, I have the attention span of a doorknob. With anything complicated, it takes me a looooonnnnnggg time to finish.

Today, I want to share the simplest, quickest project in my bag of tricks - drink coasters. I make a ton of these because a) they go together quickly, b) I always have the supplies on hand and c) they make fabulous gifts. For those teaching a child to sew, this is the absolute best place to start, but even experienced seamstresses will love the creative aspects of this craft.

Let's begin by gathering our supplies:

  • fabric scraps at least 4.5 inches square (charms work GREAT!)
  • quilt batting or polar fleece, also at least 4.5 inches square
  • thread
  • straight pins
  • pencil or other pointed object (I have a plastic scrapbooking tool I love to use for pushing out corners)

That's it. That's all you need. I know! I can't believe it either.

Step 1 Cut 2 pieces of fabric and one piece of batting 4.5 inches square. If you are using the 5-inch fabric charms, don't bother trimming them to size. Just make yours a little bigger. In fact, you can make them whatever size you want, I simply prefer 4.5 inches. Do make sure your batting is the same size as your fabric.

A note about the fabric... I like to use canvas or upholstery fabric on one side and 100% cotton on the other. I usually use polar fleece in the middle. While these coasters aren't totally water-proof, they are very absorbent. You can use a layer of waterproof fabric in the middle but you want the coaster to remain as flat as possible to keep drinks from tipping. Experiment until you find the right combination for you.

Step 2 Mark your beginning and ending sewing points by placing a straight pin one inch from the left and one inch from the right of side A on one of your fabric pieces.

Step 3 Place your front and back pieces right sides together, place the batting underneath and pin all around. If you're a beginner, use at least 3 pins per side, except for Side A where you've marked your beginning and ending points with 2 pins. I don't use pins for this small project, but when you're first starting out, it really helps to pin, pin, pin.

Step 4 Place your fabric sandwich under the presser foot, positioning it so that you begin sewing on side A. The pin closest to you on Side A will be the starting point and the other one will be the ending point. Using a quarter-inch seam, take about 3 stitches and then sew in reverse, or "backstitch," 3 or 4 times. Continue sewing until you get a quarter inch from the end of side A. With your needle in the down position, lift your presser foot and pivot the fabric sandwich so you can sew the next side. Again, sew until you get a quarter inch from the end. Pivot again and repeat until you reach your ending point on side A. Don't forget to remove the pins as you approach them. Backstitch and remove coaster from machine.

Step 5 Clip the points off your corners then turn coasters right side out. Using a pencil or other pointed object, carefully push your corners toward the outside.

Step 6 Pin the opening closed being sure to keep raw edges turned to the inside. Continue pinning all the way around. You may need to roll the edge between your fingers as you go to ensure the seam stays exactly on the edge. Using an eighth-inch to a quarter-inch seam, stitch all the way around the coaster. This is referred to as "edge-stitching."

Step 7 You may now "quilt" your coaster by sewing in the center. Sometimes, I simply sew another square about a half-inch from the edge. Other times, I draw a simple design with a fabric marker and sew along my markings. This is where you use your creativity.

Congratulations! You are done. I hope you enjoyed making your first drink coaster.

Ta ta. I'm off to sew something.

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    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      this is great!! I love to sew too and agree about the doorknob :) Im the same way

      the way you do the coasters is a lot easier than the way I do them with just one layer of fabric and batting at a time...Im going to do it your way that way Ill get a neater piece and it will go together faster!!! thank you!!