Reverse Appliqué Tutorial – Cocktail Coasters

November 20, 2015

Reverse appliqué tutorial for DIY gifts

It’s time for action when your scrap pile starts to grow bigger than your fabric stash.  It’s impossible to organize all those tiny pieces but it feels wasteful throwing them out.  Don’t despair.  I’m going to help you take back your sewing room with a series of design projects that use up fabric left-overs. Celebrate your recycling prowess with a cocktail when you’re finished (or before, but there is top-stitching involved, so you might want to hold off on any drinking until you’re done).   Get ready – we’re going to sew some coasters!

My fabric stash awaits a DIY fashion project.This does not represent the extent of my scrap fabric stash.

But I’m not talking (yawn, yawn) boring old coasters.  I want fabulous drink coasters with attitude.  Something fun that will brighten up a space.  You know, add a bit of (happy) drama to the table. It turns out this is pretty easy to do if you have an overflowing stash like mine.  Each coaster can be different, or you can make a set in the same colors if you have enough fabric.  This project uses the reverse appliqué technique and you’ll need two different fashion fabrics for the design.

Cocktail Coasters DIY projectUse fabric that won’t water stain and can be washed.  Unless you are like me and simply must have blue silk taffeta coasters.


Let’s get started!

    • All your fabric scraps should be pre-shrunk.
    • Choose fabric that won’t water stain and can be washed.
    • Grainline isn’t a big issue here.  But for a more polished look,  use the edge of the square as your grainline.
    • I use a pencil for my markings, use what works best for you.  Keep in mind that a washable marker will bleed when it gets wet, and a drink coaster is going to get wet.
    • I recommend using a glue stick for this tutorial.
    • The finished size of the Cocktail Coaster is 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ (11.5cm x 11.5cm)

For each Cocktail Coaster you’ll need 5 pieces of scrap fabric:

  1. Fashion fabric for the TOP of the coaster 5 3/4″ x 5 3/4″ (14.5 cm x 14.5 cm).
  2. Fabric for the BOTTOM of the coaster (same size as top).
  3. Fashion fabric for the CONTRAST SQUARE 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ (11.5 cm x 11.5 cm)
  4. T Shirt material or light weight batting (same size as contrast square).  Will not be seen.
  5. Muslin material (same size as contrast square).  Will not be seen.

Click this link to get the Zoona Nova PDF PATTERN for the Cocktail Coasters. 

  • When you print your PDF pattern, be sure the scaling is turned off.  The pattern is 2 pages.

DIY Cocktail Coaster TutorialCut out your contrast fabric (red), batting or T-shirt material (blue T-shirt), and your muslin fabric.  Lightly glue baste these 3 pieces into a “sandwich” with the batting or T-shirt material in the center.

DIY Cocktail Coaster InstructionsPoke holes through the (10) dots on the pattern.  The orange dots are for the BOTTOM fabric (unbleached muslin).  The yellow dots are for the TOP fabric (green cotton). The dashes represent the stitching line.

On the wrong side of the TOP fabric, mark the inner (4) dots with your pencil or other marking tool. Connect these dots to make a cross.

Cut the lines of the cross.  Fold back the flaps to the wrong side and press to form the square.  If needed, lightly glue baste the flaps to the wrong side so they lie flat.

On the wrong side of the BOTTOM fabric mark the (6) outer dots.  Connect the dots, leaving a space where indicated on the pattern.

Coaster Tutorial Zoona NovaOn the reverse side of the TOP fabric transfer the (4) inner dots and draw a cross.  Mark lightly.


Glue the contrast fabric to the top fabricFor the blue taffeta cocktail coasters I used batting instead of T-shirt material.

Center the right side of the CONTRAST fabric (now part of that sandwich we made earlier) to the wrong side of the TOP fabric. Lightly glue baste in place.

Topstitch the cocktail coaster.Top-stitch around the contrast square.  You can use matching or contrasting thread.

Scrap Fabric DIY CoastersNow place your BOTTOM fabric on top of your TOP fabric.  Right sides together.

 Stitch around the coaster on the pencil lines.Start and stop your stitches at the open dots with a couple back stitches.

Stitch the BOTTOM to the TOP.  Follow your marks.  Start and stop at the open dots with a couple of back stitches.

DIY Coaster Tutorial Zoona NovaDon’t trim the open area of the coaster.

When you turn the piece over, you will notice that you caught the sandwich in some places but not in others.  (See the purple stitches in the above picture.)  This is normal.  Trim the corners of the Cocktail Coaster.  Don’t trim where you will fold under the opening.

Turn the Coaster right sides out. Fold under the opening.Stick your thumb and pointer finger in the opening and grab the other side. Pull it through the opening, reversing the fabric.  Use your favorite method for getting a nice point at the corners.  I wiggle the corners with both hands, finessing the fabric to make a sharp point.  Now fold under the opening fabric and give it a light press.

Topstitch the DIY Coaster Top-stitch around the edges of the Cocktail Coaster.  You can use matching or contrasting thread.

Congratulations!  You’ve recycled your scrap fabric into something fabulous and cleaned up your studio.  Cheers!

Final Notes:

Reverse appliqué works well when you want to use a fabric that will fray.  By turning under the shape you avoid any problems with having to finish the edges.  You’ve learned how to make a square.  Here are 2 other simple shapes to get you started on making your own designs:

Reverse Applique Technique RectangleReverse Appliqué Technique – Rectangle

Reverse Applique Technique - TriangleReverse Appliqué Technique – Triangle

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