These felt coasters are a great way to learn how to sew!
Felt is more forgiving to work with than standard woven fabric because it doesn't fray along the edges. We'll also be using larger embroidery needles and six stranded embroidery floss so we can take bigger stitches and not worry as much about the details. :)
If you'd like to learn more about hand sewing and the stitches I used to make these coasters, please check out my FREE Hand Sewing Class here on Instructables! :D
Step 1: Tools and Materials
I've included a full supply list and patterns for the coasters below.
- Hand embroidery needle
- Sewing pins
- Dressmaker's shears or other sharp fabric scissors
- Felt tipped marker (like a Sharpie) and/or water soluble pen
- PDF pattern + printer to print the coaster patterns (below)
Felt Coaster Materials:
- 9 x 12 inch craft felt sheets - a big pack like this one is a great deal
- Six stranded embroidery floss - the huge cheap packs like this one are perfect for this project
I'll explain how to choose your felt on the next step!
Step 2: How to Choose Your Felt
There are two major types of felt: synthetic and wool.
Synthetic felt is the kind of felt you find at any craft store. It normally comes in 9 x 12 inch sheets and also by the yard on bolts. I prefer to buy synthetic felt in sheet form because of the greater variety of colors.
The best advice with synthetic felt is to buy the thicker sheets! Most craft felt is very thin - hold it up and you can pretty much see right through it. If your local store carries Eco-fi PLUS, that's my favorite brand - thicker and more similar to wool felt. Plus, it's made in the USA from recycled plastic bottles, and that's pretty neat. :D
(You can find Eco-fi PLUS on Amazon, but in packs of 12 of one color.)
If you buy online, look for 2mm thick felt like this!
Wool felt is crazy expensive, so I don't use it very often. It's also a little harder to find. It's smoother and firmer than synthetic felt, and doesn't shed as easily.
However, if you find you really like working with felt, try to find somewhere you can get wool felt at a reasonable price! There are loads of websites online and even sellers on Etsy that specialize in wool felt of all thicknesses. If you're going to be using it often, might as well get the good stuff. :D
Step 3: Felt Coaster Patterns
On this step, I've included a PDF file of five coaster patterns: square, circle, cat, diamond and hexagon. Please download this PDF and print it out at 100% or full size.
These coasters fit every glass in my house, so I hope it's the same for you! The coaster patterns are sized so you can get three coasters from a 9x12 inch sheet of craft felt.
I've chosen to copy the patterns onto some colored cardstock and cut them out. Cardstock is a great choice for patterns because it's rigid. This means it's easier to trace around it and you won't have to pin it to the fabric. Cardstock is also more durable, so you can use the same piece of cardstock over and over for pattern tracing. :)
What to do if you don't have a printer:
You can also make your own designs if you'd like!
Use a ruler to draw out a 3.5x3.5 inch square on a piece of paper. This is the size of the square coaster pattern I included on my pattern sheet. You can use the square coaster template as-is or draw another design inside and use the square as a size reference.
Step 4: Tracing the Patterns Onto Felt
For each coaster, we need to trace two of the same shape. We'll sew the two pieces together for cushier coasters!
I like to use Sharpies and water soluble pens for all my felt tracing - they're the only thing I've found that work well on it.
For light felt, a water soluble pen is a good choice. They leave a thin and light colored line, and won't bleed through to the other side of the felt.
For darker felt, I like to use Sharpies. The line is thicker and darker so it's much easier to make out! The one thing to worry about when using a Sharpie is that it can bleed through to the other side of the felt. So go easy with the pressing!
P.S. If you're using black or dark grey felt, I recommend cutting out the patterns on regular printer paper. Pin the paper to the felt and use your scissors to cut around the edge. :)
Step 5: Cutting the Patterns Out of the Felt
When I cut felt, I prefer to use a pair of sharp scissors. Using a rotary cutter and mat can warp the felt instead of making clean cuts!
It is also best to make long, smooth cuts with the scissors. Lots of little cuts will lead to a chewed up looking edge.
Cut right inside the traced line - this will give you a nice clean edge without lots of marker on it. :)
Step 6: Stitching a Coaster
Once you have two pieces of felt cut out for each coaster, you can start to sew them together!
As an example here, I'm going to use the running stitch to sew a coaster. If you're not sure how to do this stitch, check out my Hand Sewing Class for in depth details.
To start, I threaded a needle with embroidery floss and knotted the end.
Stack two identical pieces of felt together - try to keep any marks from tracing the patterns onto the felt on the inside. Choose where you'd like to start stitching and insert the needle between the two pieces of felt and pull it through the top piece of felt until you feel the knot catch. This hides the knot in between the two pieces of felt, so you'll have cleaner looking coasters!
Now you can stitch the coasters using the running stitch! I'm choosing to use a running stitch to go around the edges, but you could also sew from edge to edge across the coaster. I've included loads of photos to help you get going.
Make sure your needle is going straight through both pieces of felt with each stitch.
Try to space your stitches evenly. Don't worry if it's tricky now, it'll become easier with practice. :)
When you come to the end of the piece of floss, make sure your thread is exiting from the bottom of the coaster. Knot the thread once tightly against the bottom of the coaster, and then push your needle through the bottom layer of felt next to the knot.
Bring the needle back out of the bottom piece of felt and pull the thread tightly.
Snip it, and the end will slink back inside the coaster, hiding your thread ends and securing the knot further. :)
When you start your next piece of floss, insert the needle between the layers and bring it out below the knot. You can make a stitch over the knot to hide it slightly. It's not necessary to do, but it looks much neater.
When you get to the very end, make a knot up against the felt. Insert your needle next to the knot through the bottom layer of felt ONLY and bring it out closer to the center or the coaster.
Trim the excess floss and you're done!
Here are photos of the front and the back of the coaster.
I hope you enjoy sewing up some coasters!