Winter is nature's neutral season. Apart from the sparkling blue sky of an occasional sunny day, colors seem to go into hibernation, leaving us with snow whites, silver cloud grays and mud puddle browns. If you're missing the colors of spring, today's cheery pinwheel coasters with their "hot dots" will inject some bright pops of color into your dreary day. These are based on a tutorial we originally featured several months back, but we've revised things a bit to utilize layer cake squares, showing you how cute it can be with a variety of colors bundled together into a pretty set. They're great for a gift, but you'll also want an extra set to keep for yourself as reminder of flowers and sun to come.
These coasters are fast and easy, but when working with triangles, you do need a little patience and precision. If you are new to quilting, check out our great Quilting Basics series for all the tips you need to get started with success:
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome New Home 7700)
- Walking foot (optional but helpful when working with multiple layers)
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional but helpful since all seams are ¼")
Fabric and Other Supplies
Amounts listed are for a set of four mix and match 4½" x 4½" coasters.
- Scraps or EIGHT Layer Cake Squares (10" x 10"); if you choose not to fussy cut your pinwheels, you could also use Charm Squares (5" x 5"), we cut ours from coordinated polka dot layer cake squares from the Oh Deer collection by MoMo for Moda
- Scraps or ¼ yard of a 44-45" coordinating solid; we used Cotton Couture in Soft White by Michael Miller Fabrics
- Scraps or ¼ yard of low loft batting; we used 2107 Natural One™ batting from Pellon
- All purposed thread in a neutral color for topstitching/quilting; we used natural
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Straight pins
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Hand sewing needle
- From the solid fabric, cut FOUR 5" x 5" squares.
- Stack and cut the squares along the diagonal to create two sets of triangles.
- Stack and cut the triangles in half to yield a total of sixteen solid triangles. Each triangle is 3½" along the sides and 5" across the base.
- Using a solid triangle as a pattern, fussy cut FOUR triangles from EACH of the patterned fabrics selected for the coaster tops.
- Center the motif within the triangle pattern.
- This fussy cutting is especially important if you have a bold, repetitive pattern such as we had with the large dots. The pinwheel effect will be much stronger if each patterned triangle is as identical as possible. We used red/white, lime/white, orange/white and pink/white polka dots.
- If you choose not to fussy cut, you can create your patterned triangles in the same manner as the solid triangles above.
- Cut ONE 5" x 5" square from each of the fabrics selected for the coaster backs. We used orange/orange, lime/red, and decided on pink/red for both of the remaining two backs.
- From the batting, cut FOUR 5" x 5" squares.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Pair up a solid triangle with each of the print triangles. You should have sixteen pairs. Pin each pair along the 5" base.
- Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot.
- You can also stitch them all at once, using the chain piecing method.
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you are new to piecing, check out Quilting Basics Series. All the sections are excellent for those new to quilting; Part 4B covers chain piecing.
- Press flat, pressing the seam allowance towards the darker triangle. When complete, you should have sixteen squares.
- Pair up the squares into four sets of two.
- Pin the four sets of two right sides together along the inside 3½" sides.
- Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance.
NOTE: Remember, the seam allowances should be pressed towards the darker (the print) portion of the square. This will allow the center points to match up and the triangles to lay flat against each other when placed right sides together.
- When complete, you should have two rectangles, each made up of two squares. As shown below, your points don't match up quite yet; that's correct – don't worry.
- Pair up the rectangles to make a larger square and complete pinwheel pattern.
- Pin in place, aligning the long center sides and being careful to match the seams.
- Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance to create a finished square.
- On the back, use your seam ripper to remove just a couple stitches on both sides of the seam at the very center. This will allow you to swirl the seam so you can press everything nice and flat. This is a quilting technique called pinwheeling.
- When done, you should have four pinwheel coaster tops.
- Cut each top down to a 5" x 5" square, using the center seam as your guide to trim an even amount off each side so the pinwheel pattern remains balanced.
- Find the four solid back squares and the four batting squares.
- Create four "quilt sandwiches" from the assembled pieces. To do this, place a batting square flat on your work surface. Place a coaster top right side up on top of the batting, aligning all four sides. If you didn't trim exact squares of batting above, trim away the batting square now so it is flush with the coaster top.
- Finally, place a back square right side down on top of the two appropriately coordinated previous layers. Again, make sure all raw edges are flush. You should have four sets of three layers.
- Pin in place around all four sides, leaving a 2" opening along one side for turning.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides, remembering to pivot at each corner and to lock your seam on either side of the 2" opening.
- Trim the corners and turn the coaster right right side out. Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Hand stitch the opening closed.
- Re-thread the machine with a neutral thread in the top and bobbin. We used natural, and we lengthened our stitch.
- Run a double row of stitching/quilting around the inside of each solid triangle. The first seam should be just inside the triangle's seamline.
- The second seam should be ¼" from the first.
- For the cleanest finish, use a lock stitch if possible rather than a back tack or leave your thread tails long and hand knot the ends to secure then trim the tails flush.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild