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Quilted Coaster Set




The following text is excerpted from "Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts" by Joelle Hoverson.

I chose some reproductions of 19th-century fabrics for this project. I like the way the small scale of the prints complements the small size of the coasters and the fine sewn lines of the concentric rectangles of quilting.


  • 4 1/2-by-10-inch piece of fabric for each coaster (Note: 1/4 yard of 45-inch-wide fabric will yield 8 coasters if cut precisely.)
  • High-loft natural cotton batting, 46 by 36 inches
  • Cotton thread in a color to blend in with your fabrics
  • Walking foot for sewing machine


  1. Step 1

    Wash, dry, and press the fabric.

  2. Step 2

    Cut one 4 1/2-by-10-inch piece of fabric for each coaster. (If you're making coasters from 1/4 yard of fabric, cut two 4 1/2-inch-deep strips from selvage to selvage, trim the selvages, and then cut each strip into four 10-inch lengths.)

  3. Step 3

    Cut one 4-inch square of batting for each coaster.

  4. Step 4

    Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, to form a 4 1/2-by-5-inch rectangle. Sew the two 5-inch sides closed so that only one side of the rectangle remains open. Trim the corners, and turn the fabric right side out.

  5. Step 5

    Tuck the batting smoothly inside the fabric (this can be a bit fussy at first, but it gets easier with practice). Fold the coaster's open edges to the inside, covering the batting with one fabric edge, and finger-press the folded edges in place. Make the corners as square as possible. Your piece should measure about 4 inches square.

  6. Step 6

    Attach the walking foot to your sewing machine, and set your machine to the needle-down position in order to turn each corner cleanly as you quilt. (If your machine cannot be set this way, hand-turn your needle into the down position before lifting the presser foot to turn the coaster at the corners.) You'll start quilting at the outside edge, and sew in one continuous line to the center. Use the coaster's edge as a guide to make straight seams the first time around, and then continue using the outer seams as your guide as you work your way inward.

  7. Step 7

    Begin quilting about 1/8 inch from the edge on a side neighboring the open edge (you'll close the open edge when you quilt along that side). Sew a few stitches, then take a couple of backstitches to anchor the quilting. Stitch along the side of the coaster, consistently staying about 1/8 inch from the edge. At the first corner, stop sewing with your needle in the down position. Lift the presser foot, and rotate the coaster 90 degrees; lower the presser foot, and sew to the next corner.

  8. Step 8

    Repeat stitching along each side and turning the corner as instructed until you're on the fourth side, then stop sewing 1/4 inch before you reach the last corner.

  9. Step 9

    With your needle in the down position, lift the presser foot, and rotate the coaster 90 degrees; lower the presser foot, and sew 1/4 inch inside the previous stitching line to within 1/4 inch of the next corner.

  10. Step 10

    Repeat the process from step 9 to form concentric rectangles of quilting until you reach the center of the piece. Finish the quilting with a few backstitches.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2007



Reviews (26)

  • Missnuggy 21 Aug, 2011

    I use old jeans to make my coasters, the back of the legs are good, I cut all sizes even round ones, I have old mattress pads, old blankets etc. that I use for the padding. I have lots of fabric in my stash that I use for the binding. If I am finishing a round coaster I cut the binding on the bias. Prior to adding the binding I stipple the coaster in an interesting colored thread that will go with the binding I choose. I make all sizes. Now! These are free to make, I have recycled!

  • lilwren 20 Jun, 2011

    I love this design ... so easy and so fast! I used Insul-Bright instead of regular batting ... the stiffness made it much easier to get into the sewn piece. I will be making tons of these for gifts. Thanks!

  • Sheryll 5 Oct, 2010

    I don't sew and design like I used to, but I have always saved scraps of fabric that are a decent size, like enough for a pocket in a coat, cape or heavy trouseurs and to make appliques for jacket blouses. So for coasters with no bounce, like for stemware..... use layers of poly crepe de chine. Washable forever!

  • rbrice 16 Feb, 2010

    Whoever Schnookie is, I want to know! I nicknamed my daughter Schnookie in 1990 and I thought I was being original! How amazing someone out there would have the same nickname and spelling!

  • pldrake 26 Apr, 2009

    Try carpet samples. I found one in my apartment's recycling area which matches the colors in my living room and it works just great. (Just trim to size if you need to do so.)

  • PatriciaStreet 8 Jan, 2009

    Babee- thanks for your persistence in trying to help me out. I tried making one of the coasters already, using a regular machine foot and plenty of pinning as Schnookie suggested. Turned out ok, not quite as professional as the photo but should keep drips off the table anyway. I'll have to check out the spray you mentioned, sounds good. Thank you all!

  • younggrama 7 Jan, 2009

    To Willvicky-- I made the tile ones years ago and decorated them with paints that you bake on after painting to "seal" them to the tile. My kids painted some for grandparents, and I painted some with apples, buses, rulers and stop signs for teacher gifts.

  • Sissy 7 Jan, 2009

    Dear Babee - you must remember that the MSL websites have some stone-age features, like not being able to enlarge photos, and your messages won't automatically show up---you have to refresh (reload, whatever) this page to see them!

  • Kate430_1 7 Jan, 2009

    Years ago, my Dear Mother did alterations..When she oiled her sewing machine to make sure no oil leaked on what she was alteringer she would make hot pot holders just like these, only bigger........thanks for the memories..

  • Babee 7 Jan, 2009

    Try Quilt Basting Spray (like from JoAnn) instead of pins.
    No gum up and easier than using pins. Good Luck. Please print this!!!!!

  • Babee 7 Jan, 2009

    MS Living - I give up trying to send messages. You lost me.

  • Babee 7 Jan, 2009

    MS Living - I give up trying to send messages.

  • Babee 7 Jan, 2009


  • Babee 7 Jan, 2009

    MS Living - So why won't my message priint?????

  • Babee 7 Jan, 2009

    TO PatriciaStreet

  • Babee 7 Jan, 2009

    TO PatriciaStreet

  • willvicky 7 Jan, 2009

    another inexpensive coaster... 4"x4" tiles from the home improvement store. just cover the back with felt and they are perfect!

  • Schnookie 7 Jan, 2009

    A walking foot is a sewing machine foot that feeds both the top and bottom layers of fabric under the needle evenly. It helps keep the layers from shifting as you sew along. I don't think you really need one, I would just make sure you sew at a slow pace and pin your fabric together so it won't slip around I agree that this is a real great project and hope to make them as gifts for family and friends, and along with it make the letter box to put them in! The January 6th project.

  • ACutts 7 Jan, 2009

    No way! I made a set of these last night! I wonder if Martha is spying on me.... :)

    Mine didn't have so many "rings" or squares but they still turned out super cute!

  • PatriciaStreet 7 Jan, 2009

    This looks like a great and inexpensive project, and a good idea for uising up fabric remnants. I'm not much of a seamstress and don't know what a 'walking' foot is. So I guess I probably don't have one- will I really need it for this project? or can I use some other foot?

  • CraftTestDummies 5 Mar, 2008

    This is a beautiful housewarming or shower gift. What not make them elegant by stitching or ironing on a monogram?

  • Barb325 27 Feb, 2008

    I made these using 2 different Autumn materials, they turned out great, going to make a set for each holiday, and give then out as gifts.


  • raratinkerbell 27 Dec, 2007

    I made these as christmas gifts, now I am making some for myself. They are really nice

  • jtowler 21 Dec, 2007

    I made a bunch of these coasters using Christmas material and they came out great. I am giving them as presents. Some of them I did 2 different materials so they are double sided.

  • Allymcnally 29 Nov, 2007

    I made these but instead of using them as coasters, I glued them to a framed cork board and glued ribbon in a criss cross pattern and now use them for a creative message and picture board.

  • wisnosky 5 Nov, 2007

    I tried these and they are very nice...make a great gift idea