Martha Stewart Living, October 2007
Wash, dry, and press the fabric.
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.)
Cut one 4-inch square of batting for each coaster.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.