There’s a special place in my heart for vintage trinkets and all things handmade. Much of it has to do with the memories it holds. Growing up, I had a childhood friend who lived on my street whom I used to visit very often. Going to her home was like wonderland for my imagination. Her mum was an avid antique collector and her house was filled with vintage wallpapers, home decor and many handmade finds. She loved sewing and so dedicated a small room just for that. It was a simple room. As you entered, you would be greeted by an old farmer’s table topped with her sewing machine, an old-fashioned lace dress-form by the window and a large wicker basket collecting some very colourful circular quilt pieces. Every time I would visit, that basket would slowly fill up. I wasn’t sure what she was making from it but it was definitely fascinating and the floral-like appearance caught my curiosity.
A few months later, I finally discovered what it was my friend’s mum was creating. It was this gorgeous yo-yo quilt for her daughter’s bed. It was so intricate with open lace-like work throughout. What amazed me most was that it was entirely made by hand – no sewing machine involved! It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen and so I took a mental note to make something like this one day.
Well, fast-forward to 2015. I figured it’s never too late to revisit old visions and try something new. The quilt pieces are rather simple to make, so I’m giving it a go. I have begun my little collection using fabric left-overs to create my very own quilt. It may take some time until I can finally complete one but I thought there’s no harm in trying. Besides, it’s so lovely! As a little incentive and continued inspiration for this big project ahead of me, I thought I’d make mini “quilts” and use them as pretty coasters for my teas. I call them Vintage Floral Coasters.
Join me on this craft project and I’m sure you may be inspired to make your very own quilt, too!
Here’s what you need:
- 3 coordinating cotton fabric prints or solids (1 yard each)
- sewing scissors
- coordinating thread
- sewing needle
- yogurt container, empty and cleaned
Cotton fabric helps keep the quilt stable, presses well flat and is easy to sew. Do not replace it with any other fabric. The yogurt container will be used as a circle template you can use to trace your fabric pieces before cutting. If you decide to use another circle template, keep in mind that the finished quilt piece will be half the size of the original template. So, it should be as wide as a yogurt container’s opening (approx. 4.5″ diameter).
The following are some simple hand-sewing techniques we will be using to complete this project:
Running Stitch: The running stitch is the basic stitch in hand-sewing. It is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric(s). It can be used to sew fabrics together or as a decorative stitch in embroidery.
Right Side or Wrong Side of Fabric: Fabric usually has 2 sides. The right side is vibrant and is referred to as the “pretty” side of the fabric. The wrong side is usually faded and is not intended to be visible on a project.
Double Knot: Normally, when you make a knot, you go over the loop once with your thread. However, for a double knot, before pulling you will go over the loop one more time and then pull. This will fasten your hand-stitching securely and leave a clean finish.
Whip Stitch: This is used to join two edges of fabric or quilt pieces together. You simply pass the stitch over the edge several times using needle and thread.
With the wrong side of the fabric facing up, trace the circumference of the yogurt container onto the fabric. You will need to make 3 circles from 2 of the fabric prints each and 1 circle from the last fabric prints. This will make one coaster. If you wish to make more coasters, simply cut more circles accordingly.
Now, thread your needle and fasten the end with a knot. Using the basic running stitch, fold down 1/4″ of the edge of the fabric and stitch across around the circle.
Once you have stitched around the circle completely, gently pull the thread to form a gathering. It should like like a mini pouch at this point.
Continue to pull gently until the edge of the circle has gather in the center of the yo-yo quilt piece as seen in the photo above. If the opening is not centered, adjust it to even out the gathering and bring the opening to the center. Press flat with your fingers.
To fasten your stitch, make a double knot. To make a double knot, you would make a loop twice over your thread as seen in the photo. Gently pull until the knot has been made. Snip off the excess thread and tuck inside the opening of the yo-yo piece.
Repeat the steps to make the rest of your yo-yo pieces. Once complete, form the flower pattern as seen above. With your pencil, lightly mark the places where the quilts will join the center quilt piece.
To join the quilt pieces together, use the whip stitch. You will only need to make about 3-4 stitches to join each edge together. Make sure the stitches are small to keep them as discrete as possible for a clean finish.
Your finished coaster should look like this! Isn’t it lovely? If you’d like to make more coasters to make a set, repeat the steps above until you have the desired number.
Now make yourself a warm cup of tea or coffee, grab your favourite book and enjoy an evening with your new handmade Vintage Floral Coaster!
Sobia Hussain is a professional soap artisan who runs The Olive Tree Soap Company located in Toronto, Canada. She creates vegan natural soaps and skincare products with an eco-conscience. She is also a writer for various international publications. Sobia loves teaching creative Discovery Workshops designed to help children discover their inner talents and inspire creativity through explorations in art and science.