Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Scrap-busting coasters - a tutorial

There are lots of quick and easy tutorials out there on coaster-making. Here’s my little contribution to that list. (This one’s for you, Ella!)

You’ll need:

- 2 bits of fabric cut to 5-inch squares (incidentally, charm packs are great for these if you do not have a stash to bust – you can get them on Ebay or Etsy or online quilting shops like Cotton Patch for example. Buy a couple of small packs and you’ll have a good selection of squares to make coasters from.)

- Some soft and spongy sew-in fleece/batting like Vilene Thermolam (you can also use fusible fleece if you prefer)

- Thread to match

Here’s how you make these coasters:

Here are my 3 pieces – two 5-inch squares of fabric and one 5-inch square of fusible fleece.

If you’re using fusible fleece, you can fuse it to the wrong side of one of your fabric pieces.

If you’re using sew-in fleece / battting, make a little stack by placing your two fabrics right sides together and the fleece on the outside (wrong side) of one of the fabric squares. Here are my fabric squares places right sides together.

Pin the little stack together. I’ve drawn a line which is ¼ (quarter) inch in from the edges to show you where you should sew. Make sure you leave a gap in the stitching – a gap of 1.5 – 2 inches will be fine.

Put your needle down on your starting point.

Stitch a few stitches forwards and backstitch a couple of stitches to secure your line of stitching. Then stitch forwards until you get to the corner.

Leaving your needle in the down position, lift your sewing foot and pivot your coaster 90⁰ anticlockwise. Put the sewing foot down again and you're ready to now sew down the next side of the coaster.

Stop at every corner, keep your needle in the down position, lift the foot and pivot to sew down the next side until you find yourself back on the side of the coaster you started from. Sew down a little way, then backstitch a couple of stitches to secure the line of stitching. Don’t forget to leave that gap I showed you a few steps back.

Carefully clip the corners off – taking care not to cut too close to your stitches.

Then carefully grab the inside of your coaster through the small gap and pull it through the gap.

Using a blunt but slightly pointy object like a chopstick or a pencil, carefully poke the corners out neatly. You should then end up with something that looks like this ...

Press your coaster with a hot iron, making sure to tuck the seam allowance of your gap in neatly. Then run a line of stitching all around just inside the edge (dropping the needle, lifting the foot and pivoting on the corners) and if you like, you can quilt it any way you wish. I’ve simply run a continuous straight stitch with my sewing machine in this one, starting from the edge and pivoting at each corner until I get to the middle.

If you are hand-stitching this project, you can do all the steps above right up to the turning right way out and pressing bit. Then at the end, slip-stitch the opening close and hand-quilt your coaster with a design of your choice. You can find some good tutorials on how to do a slip-stitch here and here.

I hope you have found this tutorial helpful.

Happy sewing!

Monday, 1 November 2010

All stacked up

This is the last lot of coasters for my colleagues at work. There are 30 of us all together and we’ve all just moved into a new workspace. This is my ‘office-warming’ gift for each of my lovely colleagues.

Don’t they look great stacked up like this?

Flip them over and you have these sides to look at ...

I can’t get over how cute these look – it’s such a great scrap-buster project.

Here’s a bunch of them all quilted up and ready to go to their new homes on new desks at my workplace ...

A colleague from work has asked if I could put a quick tutorial together for her on these as she is just started sewing. The tutorial is now here.

A dinky wee thing

I first saw this little thing on Lisa Lam’s (she of U-Handbag fame who is also now an author of a fabulous book) blog here.

When I looked at it closer, I realised that the logo on it was that of a local company called TeamUKI.

Isn’t that the cutest, dinkiest little thing you ever saw?! I now have my own dinky micro-iron and Mr CraftyAdy laughs every time he sees it. It is pretty teeny but it actually gets really hot and it’s small enough to get inside a purse or bag if you need to iron certain seams open.

I have to hide my micro-iron from Missy Moo as she thinks it’s one of her toys!