A few weeks ago, I spent some time nature-printing fabric. It turned out great, but ended up in a drawer. And hand printed fabric is made to be used! Here is a simple fabric coaster tutorial — a great way to show off your beautiful printed fabric. Better yet, go outside, try the nature printing on fabric technique (we are talking a one hour time commitment, here – just fabric, paint and plants!), and print some fabric for this project.
Not only are these coasters useful, but they would make a great gift for someone. I designed them to be firm and thick enough to feel substantial. And the satin stitched edge, gives them a polished look – so they look hand-crafted. Artisanal, if you will? (Is that a word?)
- Amazing fabric printed, painted or dyed by you. I used my nature printed fabric. This project is a great way to showcase the detail of the leaves and flowers captured in the process. So, go follow the nature printing tutorial and then come back to make these lovely coasters.
- Felt – Acrylic felt is fine for this project. The felt is only inside the coaster to give it more thickness.
- 1/3 yard Double Stick ultrafirm craft stabilizer. This is the secret to making these coasters firm. Now, it is not hard to find or that expensive – go look wherever they keep the interfacing or fusible on the bolt at your local Joann’s or Hobby Lobby etc. If you have never worked with craft stabilizer, it is stiff like cardboard, and covered in fusible on both sides. So, it can easily be ironed between layers of fabric to add structure.
- A circle template. I used the bottom of a can. The diameter was about 4 inches.
- Contrast thread for the edging
- A chalk pencil or fabric disappearing ink pen.
Good sewing project for a beginner. The only sewing is adding the satin stitch edging. Make sure to read the tips on getting a very polished edge. If it seems like too much, I included an optional straight stitch edging to try as well.
About an hour from start to finish to make 4 coasters in assembly-line fashion.
Here is an overview of what is going to happen – These coasters are made of 5 layers :
- fabric on the top and bottom
- 2 layers of fusible, and
- 1 layer of felt on the inside.
As you can see, the coaster ends up quite thick. Don’t worry, it is still easy to sew through.
We are going to:
- cut out squares of each the five materials,
- fuse them together,
- cut the fused coaster into a circle, and
- finish the edge.
STEP BY STEP
So, here we go:
- Trace circle template on the fusible to give you a gauge of how large to cut your square. Rough cut two squares of fusible for the “coaster sandwich.” These squares do not have to be pretty. We are going to carefully cut out the coaster when everything is fused together.
- Do the same for the felt – rough cut out a square a little larger than the circle template.
- Now cut out two squares of the printed fabric. If you want to center an design or motif for the top of the coaster – like a specific flower or part of a leaf – be sure to trace the template on the fabric first and use that as a guide for where to cut your square.
- Now you have 5 very rough cut squares Time to make the coaster sandwich.
A. Place the bottom fabric face down on your ironing board.
B. Put a square of fusible stabilizer on top.
C. Next comes a square of felt.
D. Followed by the second square of fusible stabilizer.
E. Finally, line up the fabric with the top motif. Feel around and make sure the edges of the circle pattern overlap the layers of fusible and felt in the middle.
5. Use your iron on steam setting to fuse all the layers together – pressing about 15 seconds with steam on each side. The steam will activate the glue on the layers of fusible and all the layers will bind together.
6. Cut out the coaster following the template lines on the top fabric.
8. I used satin stitch to give the coaster of smooth finished look. Here are a couple of tricks and tips I found helpful to get a polished finish:
- I set my zigzag stitch to .2 for stitch length and 3.3 for width. Of course, this might be different for your machine, so try it out of a scrap of coaster sandwich fabric. You want the zigzag stitches to smoothly lie next to one another making a solid thick line. Of you can see fabric peeking through in the satin stitch, reduce your stitch length. If you don’t have total coverage, you will get threads and bit of fabric coming through when you finish the edge of your coaster.
- Make sure to hold the tails of your threads when you start stitching! If the threads get caught up and knotted together, you can’t hide the snarl because the back of the coaster is visible as well.
- Line up the edge of the coaster with the center notch of your sewing machine foot. You want the stitch to totally envelop the edge of the coaster.
- Satin stitching always feels ssslllooooowwww to me. Resist any impatient urges and be careful not to push the coaster to speed things up, just let the machine do the work. Your job is to guide it. If you try to hurry it a bit, fabric and frayed edges will show through your beautiful smooth stitching.
- Lastly, when you are coming in for the finish, be sure to line up your stitching so that the beginning and end of the satin stitching smoothly line up.
Does all of that feel like too much? I like the satin stitch best, but you could leave the raw edge exposed and try this instead. A simple straight-edge stitch circling around the coaster a number of time.
So, there you go – a coaster tutorial to show off your fabric! Give it a try. Don’t leave any beautiful hand-printed fabric shoved in a drawer or box. Show it off!