Friday, December 16, 2011

Sewn-up Christmas: Part 1 - Hand Painted Linen Coasters

I have been day-dreaming for some time about all these wonderful Christmas presents I was going to make now that I have my own sewing machine. So yesterday, with just over a week until Christmas, I decided the time had come to stop dreaming and get on with it.

First up, here are the coasters I made for some dear friends of mine. Each set of 4 has a different botanical themed design.

Here's how I made them (instructions are for one set of 4 coasters):

1. First, I cut out 8 squares of my chosen linen fabric. Each square was 13.5cm on each side. After cutting the first one, I used this as a template for the others by pinning it down on the fabric and cutting around it.
2. With each square, I pressed seams of around 7mm all around, then chopped the corners that stuck out, so they wouldn't be bulky once sewn together.
3. I then sandwiched two squares (pressed seams together), pinned in place and sewed around, finishing with a backstich.
4. Once all coasters had been sewn, I painted on my designs using black fabric paint. To fix the paint, I covered the coaster (design side up) with a piece of cloth and ironed over it for a few minutes. Voila!

They may not be perfect, the corners are a little iffy in places and the linen squares didn't always fit neatly on top of each other, but, being a novice at this sewing lark, I was pretty chuffed with them. And my friends who received them seemed to be too.

Variations: You could use the same technique with bigger rectangular pieces of fabric to make place-mats or double the coaster square size and add some wadding in between for a trivet. For the design, you could also have a go with stencilling or printing using potatoes or cut fruit.  Alternatively, just stitch across the coaster with different stitches in a contrasting thread.

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