Here’s a great idea for a gift, or something you can use yourself – monogrammed coasters. I made a set of these for my nephew (shared here) and just finished a set I gave as a hostess gift. When I first set out to make these I couldn’t find any helpful instruction. Through trial and error I finally figured it out, so I thought I’d share my step by step process. This is what worked for me…
1) Prepare the fabric. I used white linen – but you can use almost any fabric. You just want to be sure it would have some absorption ability. Once you have your fabric, prepare it by washing, drying and ironing.
2) Mark the fabric. The finished coasters I made were 4.5″ square. To end up with that size, I used 5″ squares. Using machine embroidery, you don’t want to cut these out ahead of time – the pieces will be too small to hoop. So, what I did was mark six 5″ squares in a line on my fabric with a 1″ space between each.
3) Mark the center point of each square. When you hoop your fabric, you want to embroider your image in the center of each square. I made a small mark with a pencil mark in the middle of each. That way, when I hooped the fabric, I could use my guide and be sure to have it mark in the center of the hoop. You’ll want to be as precise with this as you can, but remember, because the squares are not yet cut out you do have a bit of wiggle room and can refine before cutting them out.
4) Hoop the fabric. Cut a piece of stabilizer that is appropriate for your fabric. This is an important step. With my fabric, I first used a stabilizer that was too light and actually recommended for knits. The result was poor embroidery quality. With a heavier weight stabilizer intended for wovens the embroidery turned out great. I have attached the stabilizer two ways – I cut one long piece of iron-on stabilizer and adhered it to the entire strip of squares I was going to embroider. I have also just cut a separate piece for each square. I prefer the latter – easier to manage.
5) Embroider your design. You want to hoop and embroider each square you measured out. In this case, I used a monogram – but you could embroider anything you want. On my machine, this three-letter monogram with the brackets is built-in, I just enlarged it by 10%. When you’ve finished all of them, unhoop and fold the fabric so you have two layers and press. You’ll have a long strip like this.
6) Cut out each square. For this next step, before you cut each square from the fabric, you need to measure again. What I did was cut a larger square first, then I precisely measured each and cut a 5″ square. Even though you have already measured and marked your fabric, it can stretch with the hooping. Also, you may not have embroidered the design smack in the middle of the square you drew (as mentioned above). This will ensure that your design will be centered. You will cut through both layers of fabric so you’ll ultimately have a front and back piece.
7) Clean up. Cut the threads and any excess stabilizer from each square.
7) Assemble the coasters. For these next steps, I usually prepare and sew one coaster all the way through to the end. This way I’m sure I have the stitch length I want, can identify anything to look out for, etc. Then, I do the rest in more of a production line – all the fusing, the sewing, ironing, etc. Either way works, that’s just my preference.
So here we go….cut 4.5″ squares of iron on fusible fleece.You’ll need one for each coaster you’re making.
Center each on the back side of the embroidered piece and iron it on. Then, pin the front and back squares right sides together. I have found precision is important in this step. Make sure the edges meet so you have a perfect square.
8) Sew the 2 sides together. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance and a small stitch (1.80). Start on one side, about an inch from one of the corners and sew around all sides, ending about an inch past the last corner. This will leave you with about a 2″ opening to be able to turn the fabric right side out.
9) Press the Seams. Before you turn the fabric, you want to press the seams. I use my point presser and just go around, pressing each seam open as best you can. When you get to the opening, fold back the seam allowance and press.
When you’re finished pressing, turn the coaster right side out.
Then, using the point presser again, push out the corners so you have nice, sharp edges.
Press again and be sure the seam allowance for the open edge is folded in so it looks like a finished seam.
10) Top Stitch. I top stitch 1/8″ from the edge. Because you are so close to the edge, there is no need to sew up the opening ahead of time – you’ll close it as you top stitch around the coaster.
That’s it! These make a great gift and you still have time before Christmas!