How to Make Quilted Coasters


(Warning: this project does involve needle and thread. If your needle and thread are attached to a sewing machine, so much the better. But it’s possible to complete a coaster without one. Just google “hand sewing,” and then ignore all the references to presser feet.)

Countless people have told me stories of sewing machines that are still sitting, in a back room, in their original box. I think those people feel overwhelmed by the machine. Actually, I know they do, because they tell me that too.

But I’m firmly convinced that if they would just learn how to thread the machine and push the pedal (which is a lot like the gas pedal in your car), they’d realize that sewing is not that complicated. Seeing something take shape under that needle is totally awesome. And to think that it was just raggedy pieces of fabric a minute ago! You gotta try it. :)

(If you are one of those people, this is a project for you! You don’t have to use a pattern, and you only sew straight lines. And you can finish it in 60 minutes or less.)

What you’ll need:

a piece of fabric large enough to get two 4 1/4″ squares out of (If you go to the fabric store, ask where the “fat quarters” are. One of those will give you enough fabric to make about 6 coasters. The fat quarters are around $2 each.)

a piece of quilt batting (The workers at the fabric store will help you find this too. It’s squishy and fluffy. Get about 1/4 yard.)

scissors, ruler, needle, and thread


Choose your fabric.

I adapted this project from a Martha Stewart tutorial, but the only thing I remember from it is the suggestion that you may want to consider using fabric with a small design printed on it. Small coaster + big design = you don’t get to see much of the design in your coaster.

You’ll also want to ┬ámake sure it’s mostly cotton. I used a slippery polyester for the sample in this post, and it was kind of hard to work with.

Gather your tools.

If you have all your tools near you when you start, you’ll save yourself the frustration of looking for them mid-project.

Cut your squares.

Grab your ruler and find the 4 1/4-inch mark.

Line this mark up with the edge of your fabric, and cut toward the other end of the ruler.

Yes, I was doing this at night. Sorry for the blurry pics.

After you reach the ruler, move the ruler up and repeat. Turn your fabric 90 degrees and do that again so that you have a square that is 4 1/4″ on each side.

Repeat so that you have two squares the same size. (Or you can double your fabric over when you cut so you end up with two squares.)

Sew three sides together.

(I’m taking it for granted that you already figured out how to thread the needle on your machine. Every machine is different.)

Turn your two squares so that the pretty pattern is facing the inside. (This is known as “right sides together” in sewing lingo.)

If you’ve never sewn before, I know this feels wrong. Trust me when I say it’ll work out right.

Pin on three sides.

Sew down the first side (you’re going to be sewing the three sides with the pins in them), lining up the edge of your coaster with the edge of the presser foot. (This will make a 1/4″ seam.)

When you get about 1/4 inch away from the bottom edge, stop. Turn the handwheel on your machine so that the needle is down in the fabric. Raise the presser foot. Pivot your fabric so that you’re ready to sew down the next side.

Can you tell that the needle is down in the fabric? This keep you from moving the fabric while you pivot.

Lower the presser foot, and sew down the next side.

Repeat the pivot process and sew down the third side.

Stop. Remove your coaster from the machine, clip your threads, and go back to your ironing board.

Insert your batting.

Turn your coaster right side out (see how all the seams are neatly on the inside?), and poke out the corners so they’re square.

Give it a good press.

Now you’ll need to cut a square of batting that measures 3 5/8″ on each side.

Insert that into your coaster. You might need to trim a little bit off, depending on your fabric. That’s fine.

Now fold the lower piece of fabric over the batting and hold it in place.

Tuck the top piece in so that the edges line up.

Pin this together.

Sew up remaining side.

Starting at one end, sew down this final side of your coaster. You’ll want to line it up a little inside the edge of the presser foot to make sure you catch all the edges of the fabric in the seam.

When you get to the end of that side, about 1/4″ away from the end of it, pivot again.

You’re now ready to quilt your coaster. (Are you intimidated? Don’t be–“quilt” just means sew over the fabric and batting. It’s not hard.)


Sew down the next side, keeping the edge of it lined up with your presser foot.

When you get about 1/4″ away from the end, pivot again. Sew down the next side. (See how these seams are kind of starting to hold the batting in place inside your coaster? That’s what you want.)

When you reach the end of that side, pivot again. Continue sewing, but this time, stop 1/4″ before the seam that’s already been sewn. Pivot, and instead of lining up the edge of your coaster with the presser foot, line up the seam with the edge of your presser foot.

Continue sewing and pivoting, lining up the seams with the edge of your presser foot. You’ll be making a square spiral (if such a thing exists?!), and eventually you’ll end up in the middle. You can stop when you think it looks good and it’s hard to line up the presser foot.

And, voila, you have a coaster!

Optional method: quilt only the very outside of the square. Using contrasting thread, hand-quilt a design across your coaster. I love how this one turned out!

Next week I’ll show you a cute and convenient way to store your coasters. Hint: it involves ribbon and elastic.

Do you use your sewing machine? Or does it intimidate you?


6 comments to How to Make Quilted Coasters

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