For our first sewing project, we're going to make felt coasters. Felt is more forgiving to work with than standard woven fabric! 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. :)
As you sew these coasters, you'll learn:
- How to sew the running stitch
- How to sew the blanket stitch
- How to sew the whip stitch
- How to thread a needle and knot your thread
- How to tie off when you're done sewing
Once you have these techniques down, we'll move on to the more advanced project of making a custom gadget case!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
I've included a full supply list and patterns for the coasters below.
- 9 x 12 inch craft felt sheets
- 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.
- 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 (below)
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. :)
In the next lesson, we'll learn how to thread a needle and also how to knot thread like a pro!