SCRAPPY AND COLORFUL QUILT-AS-YOU-GO COASTERS
Hello! I’m Erin of Lima Bean Loves and I live with my family in Clovis, California. I LOVE sewing with beautiful fabrics and playful prints, constructing special pieces that make others smile, and creating colorful quilts! Also, I really enjoy Foundation Paper Piecing projects and playing with endless combinations of different fabrics in my stash … ahem, curated collection. I made my first quilt top in 2020 and haven’t looked back! Last year I released my first quilt pattern, Bubble Dot, named after my daughter’s favorite stuffed animal. Writing and creating a quilt pattern from start to finish and then showing it to the world was definitely nerve-wracking, but sooo fun and liberating! Check it out HERE when you get a chance and come see me on Instagram @LimaBeanLoves!
LET’S BE ARTISTS!
I am going to show you how I make scrappy, colorful, quilt-as-you-go (QAYG) coasters that result in one-of-a-kind pieces of fiber art (yes, ART!) that you can brag about to your friends.
And if your friends are your cats, I see you. You absolutely have my permission to brag! If you have scrap bins overflowing with itty bitty nuggets of fabric goodness that you just haven’t been able to part with, here’s your chance to let them shine.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
For a set of four (4) coasters:
(4) 5 ½” squares of cotton batting
(4) 5 ½“ squares of backing fabric
A variety of scraps ranging in width and length (there’s no hard and fast rule here)
Pressing mat/ironing board
Walking foot (optional)
THINK A LITTLE BIT (BUT NOT TOO MUCH)
Since this approach to a QAYG block is typically less structured than something like a traditional Log Cabin block, you’ll need to think ahead a little bit before you put your needle to fabric.
Things to consider:
- Which fabric(s), if any, will be the focal or central piece of the block?
- Do you want your block to be more traditional, with seams that run perpendicular and build on each other (like a Log Cabin block)? Or…
- Do you want your block to have a more whimsical and/or “wonky” character?
- If you don’t have any longer pieces of fabric that can span the width of your batting piece, consider sewing a few smaller pieces together to make some longer scrappy strips. (Sew pieces right sides together (RST), along the shorter ends. Press seams open.)
- Your scraps will pop more if they have some contrast with their neighboring scraps, so don’t be afraid to mix up the hues, colors, pattern direction, etc. to give your block more visual interest and depth.
LET’S PLAY WITH SCRAPS!
Now it’s time to sew some fabrics together. For each coaster, follow the steps outlined below:
Place your first scrap right side up on the batting and add some topstitching (I typically sew parallel lines ¼” apart).
Take your second scrap and place it RST with your first scrap, making sure to overlap the bottom scrap’s edge by at least ⅛”. The edges can but don’t have to match – you can overlap or angle your top scrap piece however you’d like – as long as the edge of the bottom scrap is entirely covered by the top one.
Sew the scraps together with a ⅛” seam. Unfold the top scrap and press it open and away from the bottom scrap. Add your ¼” topstitching to the second scrap, mixing up the angle of stitches from the first scrap.
Continue adding fabric scraps around the perimeter until all fabric edges are covered. You shouldn’t see any frayed edges of fabric, except along the perimeter of your block. Continue adding scraps until the entire 5½” batting square is covered.
Once your batting is entirely covered, press the block to help set the stitches.
Trim the block to 5 ¼” square. I like to trim my blocks face-down, so I can see where the edges of my batting are.
Adding your Backing Fabric
Then, grab your backing fabric and pair it with each block. Place the backing fabric right side up. Next, place your QAYG block right side down on top of the backing fabric. Match all edges and pin in place.
Mark a 3” gap on one edge of the QAYG block. These will be your START and STOP points for your stitches. Sew around the perimeter of the block with a ¼” seam allowance. START your stitches at one mark (the mark on the left in the picture below) and STOP at the second mark (the mark on the right in the picture below). Backstitch at both marks to secure.
Trim the corners, being careful not to cut through any of your stitches.
Reach through the opening you left in the side of the block and gently pull the block right side out. To push out the corners, use something pointy (but not sharp) to gently extend them. You can use a retracted pen, corner-turning tool, knitting needle, crochet hook, etc. to get a blunt point in that space. Gently run the pointy edge along the seam inside to encourage the seam to push outward. Don’t push or pull too hard or you may poke through your seam or put a hole in your fabric. Forceful pushing or pulling may distort the shape of the block, so be firm but gentle.
Once the corners are pushed out and you can see your colorful block in all of its glory, you can prep your block for another good pressing. Turn the open gap’s seams inward by ¼” so your coaster has a clean perimeter. Press the entire block, giving this 3” opening an extra good press.
Topstitch around the perimeter of the coaster, making sure to catch the gap’s unfinished edges in the seam allowance.
And you’re done! You’ve created a work of art and it’s time to go brag to your friends (and/or cats). Enjoy your new fabric art coasters and welcome to the fun and playful world of scrappy QAYG blocks!
CHANGE IT UP
If you like the scrappy look but prefer a more consistent appearance of topstitching, you can make a block just as the steps above describe, but omit the ¼” topstitching of each scrap. Once you have a completed QAYG block, press it, quilt it, and trim it before attaching your backing fabric. The result is visually different but equally scrappy and satisfying!
If you like the look of an edge binding, you can modify the construction a bit. Simply combine your trimmed scrappy block and the backing fabric wrong sides together (WST), pin and bind. There’s no need to stitch and turn if you use this technique.
Some of my favorite projects have included this scrappy QAYG technique. It’s so versatile and perfect for smaller projects, which is great for when you want to start and finish a project quickly. Just think of the possibilities: unique and one-of-a-kind zipper pouches for gifts, mug rugs, placemats, wall art, mouse pads and even pot holders (be sure to include Insulbrite as part of the construction for pot holders).
Here are some of my previous scrappy QAYG projects that I adore:
Grab your Bubble Dot Quilt Pattern HERE!
And last but not least….
Please come say Hi! over on Instagram @LimaBeanLoves and get in the loop about future projects and quilt pattern releases by grabbing your spot on my EMAIL LIST. I promise I won’t spam you and you’ll get first dibs on discount codes too, which is always a good thing!
See you soon!
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