Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Fabric Coaster Tute

Last week when I used these two panels to make my Santa Sack tute for the Benartex blog Sew in Love {with Fabric} I promised you there'd be no wastage.  Keeping my promise here's a Fabric Coaster Tute to make good use of those sixteen left over Christmas Scene squares.

Don't worry, even if you don't have this panel I'll include instructions to make Fabric Coasters in general, they don't even have to be Christmas themed!

If you're using different fabrics click here to jump to the instructions for all fabrics.

Happy Holidays Snowmen Fabric Instructions:
For those who are using the Benartex Happy Holidays Snowmen panel nip over to the Sew in Love {with Fabric} blog and cut your Christmas Scene strips as detailed there in my Santa Sack tute, once you've done that come back and I'll carry the instructions on here from that point.

Cut away the remaining selvedge strips at 1/2" from each Christmas Scene strip.

You'll be left with 4 strips of selvedge, remember I said no wastage?

- save these and make your own selvedge fabric using my Selvedge Fabric Tute!!!

Trim the Christmas Scene squares down squarely - the panel print isn't always a perfect square so go with a wonky look - what's important is that your trimmed square is square.  There's approximately an inch between each square image so aim for the 1/2" mark between each square but most importantly keep a horizontal line on your ruler level with the top or bottom edge of the strip to ensure 90 degree angles for the sides - the cut square should measure about 5-7/8" square.

And now you've got sixteen of them!

All Fabrics:
You can make fabric coasters using any size fabric just cut a front and back square of fabric to the same size and a square of batting 3/8" smaller than your fabric squares.  The coasters I'm making are 5-7/8" fabric squares with 5-1/2" batting so I'll be quoting measurements for this size in the tute.

Materials For Each Coaster:
Top Fabric - (1) 5-7/8" fabric square
Backing Fabric - (1) 5-7/8" fabric square
Batting - (1) 5-1/2" batting square (fusible or normal batting)

TIP: two 18" x 22" fat quarters will make nine coasters.

Additional Notions:
If using normal batting either Basting Spray OR (1) 5-1/2" square lightweight fusible web
That Purple Thang (or another form of corner turner)

Cut your batting - I'm cutting (16) x 5-1/2" squares of batting - you can use fusible or normal batting, my preference here is fusible but in this tute I'll show you how to work with both.

You don't have to be hugely accurate cutting the batting - you just want the batting to be smaller than the fabric so it isn't part of the sewn seams and allows the coasters to lie flatter.  You can see in the pic below that I didn't worry about that wonky left side edge when cutting to size.

I layered up 5-1/2" strips of batting on top of each other and cut 5-1/2" squares from it two at a time so I could work faster.

Sixteen batting squares.

As I mentioned previously there's three methods you can use to join your pieces: fusible batting; basting spray; and fusible web; I'll show you how to do each.

Method 1: Fusible Batting
This is the fastest and least messy method, I'm using double sided fusible but you can also use single.  If you haven't tried fusible batting yet read my review in this post.

Press the back of the top fabric to the fusible batting until the two adhere.  Repeat for each coaster.

Method 2: Spray Baste
Spray one side of batting lightly with spray baste

then press to back of top fabric.

Press to finish.  Repeat for each coaster.

Method 3: Fusible Web
Place square of lightweight fusible web on batting and press over fusible paper to fuse layers.

When cool remove fusible paper.

Then press batting square to back of top fabric to fuse. Repeat for each coaster.

Whatever method you use each coaster should now look like this...

...and a pile of sixteen looks like this!

Cut your 5-7/8" backing squares.
I've cut sixteen using two different fabrics, holly leaves and red stripes, eight of each.

Make sure you have the top fabric facing up and place the backing fabric right sides together with the top fabric.  Below you can see I've started to place my backing fabic on my top fabric/batting squares - just the red stripes are done in this pic.

Leaving 2/3 of one side open sew a 1/4" seam around every edge of each fabric coaster pairing.  You can sew on and off all four fabric edges or pivot at each corner, it's up to you.

TIP: if you use my method for sewing on and off the fabrics it'll make turning in your finished seams later super easy - no fiddling trying to fold in your edges for the final join and attempting to press in place and burning your fingers.  Using this method the fabric does all the work for you and automatically turns the seams inwards, trust me it works!!!

Here's how the stitching looks on the fabric - you can just about see my grey sewn line but I've added dotted arrow lines to help.

Clip four corners.

Clips the corner diagonally...

... then do the tiniest scissor nick towards your corner stitch but DON'T cut those stitches!!!  This makes the corner more flexible when it's turned.

Turn to right side and...

...poke out those corners.  I'm using my That Purple Thang to help push them right out.

See how the fabric turns itself inwards along the open seam, isn't that amazing?!!!

The top fabric should be enclosing the batting and the backing fabric folds inside onto the top fabric.

Pin the open edge in place and press.

This is where using double sided fusible comes into its own, both sides of your fabric are now fused to the batting.  Don't worry if you didn't use double sided fusible a few quilted lines will soon have everything held together anyway.

Sew a 1/8" top stitch line around the whole coaster.  I've used a 4.0 mm stitch as I like a longer stitch for visible stitching, I think it looks a little more hand sewn! but this is totally personal preference, use whatever length stitch you think looks good.  I'm using Aurifil 2600 Dove (grey) in a 50 wt but this is a great time to consider other colours and thread weights, maybe a heavier 40 wt for a more visible stitch and a colour to match or contrast with your project.

If your machine has a 'knotting' stitch you can make use of it here, if not you can overlap your first and last stitches.

On this corner stitch I'm leaving my machine needle down in the fabric to allow me to pivot at the corner.

If you've used a knotting stitch you can trim your threads right up close to the coaster or bury them, if you don't have that stitch handknot your thread ends, bury them and trim excess.

To quilt or not to quilt:
If you've used double sided fusible there's no need to do anything else, your coasters are good to go.  Other quilting ideas are to fmq around the design on the coaster or a simple straight line, zig zag or stipple quilting.

For my coasters I've used a straight stitch.  I've quilted around the coaster boarders and then I've sewn around the centre circle.  The circle has a fairly shallow curve so go slowly and you'll be able to turn your coaster under the foot and keep in line with the circle.  If you've used a 4.0 mm stitch you might want to make this stitch a little shorter, a shorter stitch allows for easier curves when sewing circles.

Here's one set of four coasters finished.

And here's the sixteen finished coasters cut from the two original panels.

Fabric coasters are perfect gifts any time of year - teacher and hostess gifts, house warming and I'm sure you can think of lots more ways to share them.  They're a great way to introduce seasonal fabrics into your home too. 

Who will you make some for?

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