I’ll show you how to make quilted coasters out of your favourite scraps. They’re a great, small quilting project that you can personalize by resizing your favourite quilt block. Plus, find a free quilt block pattern at the bottom of the post.
It often seems like you can never have too many coasters. Of course we use them for setting drinks on, but we also use them under rough-bottomed plant pots and other decorative objects to protect from scratches or leaks.
There are so many clever coasters available in stores and made out of all sorts of materials. If I bought every set that appealed to me I’d have hundreds by now. But I quilted a set a number of years ago, and those are my go-to coasters. They are much quieter than tile coasters when you set a glass down on them, and they absorb condensation. Plus, you can throw them in the wash! As an added bonus, fabric coasters are great for placing under objects that rattle when a large truck or bus goes by!
Tiny Quilts – Resize Your Favourite Patterns
In a recent blog post and step by step video, I demonstrated how to Resize a Quilt Block using my Quilt Block Resizing Worksheet.
Resizing quilts blocks is a really helpful skill for making coasters, because you don’t need to feel limited to making an existing coaster pattern. You can take any quilt block that you like and size it down to an appropriate coaster size. This means that the sky’s the limit when it comes to determining what you want your coasters to look like.
I promise you that resizing a block is not that challenging and you can absolutely do it. It’s actually a great first project to try resizing if you’ve never done it before. It’s way less commitment and risk than resizing a full quilt. If you messed something up (which you won’t!), you’ve wasted very little fabric.
The average coaster size is approximately 4 inches square. Since we need to be able to quilt it and have seams around the outside, it is ideal for the pieced top to be about 4.5 inches square with seam allowances.
To resize a block to coaster size, compare the finished block size of a quilt block you’d like to use to the ideal 4.5 inches square of a coaster. Can you divide the finished block dimensions by 2 or 3 to end up close to 4.5 inches?
For example, if a finished block is 9 inches square, you could divide by 2 and end up with a block that should be 4.5 inches square (Remember the seam allowances: 9″ – 0.5″ seam allowances = 8″ divided by 2 = 4″ + 0.5 seam allowance = 4.5″).
Here’s another example: A finished block that’s 12.75″ square divided by 3 yields a coaster size just bigger than 4.5 inches. (12.75″ – 0.5″ seam allowance = 12.25″ divided by 3 = 4.08″ + 0.5″ seam allowance = 4.58″)
The Rainbow Ring Quilt Block
The block that I used for my resizing blog post and video is my Rainbow Ring Quilt Block. It’s available for free at the bottom of this blog post. It is originally 7.5″ x 7.25″ inches and I resized it at half size (dividing by 2) to make my coasters.
Let’s learn how to make quilted coasters!
How to Make Quilted Coasters
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- The Rainbow Ring Quilt Block pattern (available at the bottom of the post), or your favourite quilt block pattern
- Quilt Block Resizing Worksheet (available at the bottom of this Resizing post)
- Pencil and calculator (or the one on your phone)
- Quilting cotton scraps in your chosen colours
- Sewing Machine
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat
- Quilting Ruler – I like to use a smaller ruler when cutting mini pieces
- Flannel scraps or 0.25 yards for middle and backing layers
- Helpful: Walking foot and 1/4 inch foot for your sewing machine
- Optional: Painter’s tape for quilting lines
How to Make Quilted Coasters, Step by Step:
1. First, resize your pattern of choice
Take your chosen pattern and do resizing calculations for all cuts so that the finished height and width of the block will be approximately 4.5″ (as described above), and following the method from the post about How to Resize a Quilt Block.
2. Second, cut your fabric cuts.
Decide how many coasters you want to make, and then multiply your cuts by that number. For example, I made a standard four coaster set. Cut B ordinarily calls for 4 cuts, so multiplying by four for four coasters means I now need to make 16 cuts for B.
Use a rotary cutter, ruler and mat to make your fabric cuts from fabric scraps. Label your pieces and store them carefully. Small pieces that fall on the floor look like scraps and may get thrown out.
3. Piece the coaster tops
Piece the tops of the coasters according to your quilt pattern instructions. If you have a quarter inch foot for your sewing machine, put that on. If not, you can make do with your guide on the throat plate, especially as coaster pieces are so small. Also, adjust the needle for a scant quarter inch seam – which you can read about here.
I like to do one coaster top at a time, and chain piece them to save time and thread. I prefer to do all the horizontal rows before I get up to iron for the first time. Here’s how I do that for the Rainbow Ring block:
Lay out the cut fabric pieces in the pattern layout of the block within easy reach of your sewing machine.
Starting from the right side of the second row (the top row doesn’t need piecing because it’s a single cut), take the two right most pieces. With edges aligned and right sides together, stitch down one side with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving them just past the needle. Don’t cut the thread. Then take the two right most pieces from the second row and do the same, feeding it through the sewing machine after the first pair.
Repeat down the rows until you’ve stitched the two right most pieces of each row (except the last row which is a single piece again), all connected by a continuous thread chain. Cut the thread on your chain pieced section and lay it out on your lap or table.
Carefully cut the pieced sections apart, starting at the top and as you separate them, lay them back down in their proper row, in the order you sewed them, from top to bottom.
Repeat the previous method, joining each pieced chunk with the next cut to the left, starting at the top row (second row here!) and working toward the bottom, in a single thread chain. Cut the thread, separate the sections and put them back in their rows.
Continue in the same manner until each horizontal row has all cuts pieced together in a strip. Pay close attention to the quilt pattern so you are less likely to sew the next cuts onto the pieced chunks upside down. (It happens to me too sometimes. A seam ripper is your friend!)
Then get up and take all your pieced horizontal rows to the ironing board. I like to press each seam quickly with an iron in its closed position to set the stitches. Then I turn a horizontal row face down and spread each seam open with my fingers and then press them all in one go with the iron. Lay all the rows back out in pattern order on your table.
Finally, I chain piece the rows together. I piece the top row onto the second row, using a couple pins in the middle and at the far end of the row before I stitch. Piece the third row onto the fourth, the fifth onto the six, and the seventh onto the eighth. Then iron those seams open. Sew the remaining chunks together, pressing those final seams open as well, until you have one whole pieced coaster top.
Repeat the process until you have however many finished coaster tops as you want or need.
4. Cut flannel for quilting layer and pin coaster top
To make the tops into coasters, we’re going to use three layers – the pieced top, and 2 layers of flannel. I chose a pretty aqua houndstooth flannel that I had scraps of for the backing. And I chose a cream coloured flannel for my middle layer so it won’t show through the white fabric of the top.
Take your middle layer flannel and cut squares that are an inch or so wider around all four sides than your coaster tops. This can be done with scissors – it doesn’t have to be precise.
Then use a couple of pins and pin a coaster top to each middle flannel layer.
5. Decide on your quilting lines and quilt them
If you have a walking foot, put it on your sewing machine now. A walking foot is helpful because it introduces upper feed dogs which help to move multiple layers of fabric through the sewing machine at the same time without bunching and slipping. Because coasters are so small, you can likely do without if you don’t have a walking foot.
Think about how you want to quilt your coaster top to the middle layer, resulting in visible lines of stitches (or the quilting lines that makes these coasters actually quilted). Ordinarily you quilt through the backing layer as well, but we are going to construct these coasters without bindings by turning them inside out, so the backing layer needs to be free for this reason.
Because the coasters are so small, they don’t need very many quilting lines at all. You could do a square frame of stitching, a couple of horizontal lines, a couple vertical lines, or two diagonal lines to make an X. You can use painter’s tape to mark guides to follow as you stitch if you like. I decided to do diagonal lines, marked with tape for stitching.
Choose a thread colour for the top quilting depending on whether you want it stand out or blend in. I’m choosing white to match my white fabric.
Stitch your desired quilting lines across/around the coaster top, first starting on the flannel, and then also ending on the flannel. Remove pins as necessary.
When you have a couple quilt lines and are satisfied that the two layers are held together, clip any threads and repeat with the other three coaster tops. Remove any remaining pins.
6. Square up your quilted tops
Next, we need to square up the coasters and remove the excess flannel. Using your rotary cutter, ruler and mat, trim off the excess flannel. Keep the corners nice and square, and straighten all edges. Mine ended up being 4 inches square when I was done. Ideally, they’d be about 4.5″ inches or in that range.
7. Cut backing pieces the same size as the tops and pin right sides together
Whatever size your coasters tops are, cut flannel backings the same size, one for each coaster. You can also use quilting cotton if you prefer for the backing. I cut four 4″ squares out of my aqua houndstooth flannel scraps.
Then take a backing square and lay it face down on a coaster top so that the right sides are together. Pin around three sides. Repeat for all coasters.
8. Sew most of the way around with 1/4″ seam allowance
You can use your walking foot for the next bit, but I prefer to switch back to 1/4″ foot for a good 1/4″ seam allowance.
Starting just before one corner, stitch a few stitches, then backstitch. Continue and pivot at the corner, then continue all the way around.
When you’ve rounded the last corner, stitch a few stitches and backstitch, leaving a 2 inch gap or so that hasn’t been stitched. Trim your threads.
9. Clip corners and turn right side out, press
Using scissors, trim away most of the seam allowances at all four corners. Don’t cut through the stitch lines, and make sure to leave the seam allowance at the open gap.
Then turn the coaster right side out. Use something poky (but not too sharp) to poke out the corners, like a knitting needle. Shape nicely.
10. Fold the gap seam allowance inside and top stitch all the way around the coaster
Fold the seam allowance from the gap under to be as straight as you can, and pin it in place.
Topstitch closely to the edge around all four sides of the coaster, therefore stitching that gap closed as you come to it. Backstitch at your starting point and trim your threads.
Repeat with the remaining coasters.
Tada! You did it! You learned how to make quilted coasters, which you resized from another block. Time to pour yourself something cold to drink, put that coaster to good use, and put your feet up!
Get Your Free Rainbow Ring Quilt Block Pattern and Resize Away!
Get your own copy of the Rainbow Ring quilt block and make your own set of coasters. Or anything you like – because once you start resizing, you can dream up any number of projects! You can also test out your resizing skills to make a mini quilt following my step by step tutorial for How to Make a Mini Quilt.
Share Your Rainbow Ring and Quilted Coaster Projects!
Now you know how to make quilted coasters and resize quilt blocks. You’re rocking the new skills, but it’s time to practice them!
If you make coasters or any other project from my Rainbow Ring Quilt Block, share it on social media using the hashtag #RainbowRingBlock and tag me @mixmeasuremake so I can see your creations.
If you make coasters by resizing your favourite quilt block, use the hashtag #MixMeasureMakeResize and again, tag me @mixmeasuremake. I’ll be so proud of you and I can’t wait to see what you make!
All the best,