Tips for Making Quilt Gifts: Mini Mitten Coasters

Mini Mitten Coaster Set by Lori J. Miller

There’s no denying it, I love making quilted gifts. This delight has been fostered by my family of makers who appreciate the time and love that goes into creating handmade gifts. I can’t get enough of the elation I feel when I find the perfect project (that I also have time to make) for someone on my list.

I was filled with this pure excitement the first time I perused the pages of Modern Patchwork Holiday and spotted the Mini Mitten Coaster Set by Lori J. Miller. This project will make the perfect gift for my mom who is enamored with the darling mittens that make their debut this time of year.

While watching festive movies and drinking hot cocoa, my friend Jillian and I started several sets of these coasters. Here are a few tips we learned along the way:

Cut all of your pieces at once. I’m always a fan of cutting everything out and getting organized before I sew the first stitch. There are some patterns and quilt blocks that are easier to cut as you go, but this isn’t one of them. Cut your fabric, label them if that’s helpful for you, and keep your instructions handy.

Wear your safety gloves when cutting your fabric; you don’t want to bleed on your patchwork!

Wear a protective glove. I’ll admit I often forget to wear my protective glove while cutting out my fabric and squaring up blocks. While working on this project, I cursed my absentmindedness when I accidentally drew blood with my rotary cutter. Learn from my mistake, skip the need for Band-Aids and wear your gloves! If you don’t have one yet, check out the Klutz Glove.

Make sure your stitch length isn’t too small. Just like Goldilocks, it may take a couple of tries to find the right fit–or in this case stitch length. If the stitch length is too short the smaller pieces of the coaster won’t match up very well with the larger pieces and there can be puckering. Plus, short stitches can induce more than a little frustration if and when you need to rip stitches so you can reposition your fabric. Conversely, if your stitches are too long they will be easy to rip out, but your project will not stand up to as much wear and tear.

Save yourself from seam ripping by testing your stitch length on scrap fabric.

While the coasters are absolutely darling, you can easily modify this pattern to create adorable potholders. I’ve got a long list of gifts to give so for me it’s more practical to maximize my time by creating one potholder instead of four coasters. I like to compare resizing blocks to modifying a recipe–to double the recipe you double the ingredients, but follow the same directions. Quit blocks are the same; to change this pattern from a coaster to a potholder, you double the cutting measurements and start sewing.

Sew with a friend. Having a second set of hands makes this project go even faster. Once everything is cut and organized, you can have one person chain piecing and another pressing. When you schedule a date and time to sew with a friend, it’s a lot easier to actually sew instead of getting sidetracked cleaning or running errands. This is exactly why I love Sewing Saturdays with my friend Jillian! Whether we are working on one project or separate projects, it’s so nice to sew together sharing helpful hints and encouragements along the way.

So far we’ve started several sets of these coasters and one potholder. With one more Sewing Saturday, they’ll be ready to wrap!

Make your own set of Mini Mitten Coasters or try doubling the recipe for festive potholders, just download the digital pattern to get started. Or better yet, discover more handmade gift ideas as you explore the pages of Modern Patchwork Gifts when you download your copy instantly.

Happy quilting!

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