While Mom and I were were picking through her fabric stash last November (see where I get it?), She came across some upholstery scraps.
Me: “That piece is pretty small. Do you still want it?”
Mom: “I always wanted to make coasters out of this. I was going to just serge around the edges. But I don’t have my serger anymore.”
Me: “Do you still want coasters out of it?”
Mom: “Yes, but I don’t have my serger anymore.”
I took that as a hint that Mom wanted coasters for Christmas, although I suppose I could have also taken it as a hint that Mom wanted a serger. I took the piece home with me, fairly confident that she would forget all about it. Then I got to work.
It really was a small piece. I was able to squeeze just 8 5-inch squares out of it.
I had read about using wooly nylon to make decorative edges. The little coasters seemed like a good way to test out the idea. I looked through my collection of stretch serger thread. I have a few different kinds. Some are Wooly Nylon, some are textured nylon, some are textured poly. The tan color that matched the best was textured nylon.
I learned a lot more than I expected to with this little project.
I’ve become fairly proficient at setting up my serger. I’ve figured out that the best way to thread the fluffy nylon is to use a needle threader. It’s faster to bend the little wire on the threader to go through the serger’s tiny holes than trying to pull it through with another thread.
I set up the machine with a two-thread wrapped edge overlock stitch, with the needle in the wide position. The nylon is in the lower looper and coordinating regular serger thread is in the left needle. Luckily, my machine has a preset tension setting for this purpose, so I didn’t have to mess around with that.
The first attempt was pretty discouraging. The edges didn’t get covered completely and the corners were not covered at all.
Part of the problem was that the textured nylon is not as fluffy as the woolly nylon. But I thought I could still make the edges fill in by making the stitch length as short as possible and being careful. But those corners? Hmm….
When I thought about it, following my manual’s instructions for turning around a square corner probably worked exactly as they intended. They probably assume that the stitch is to be used on the inside of a garment, so it doesn’t matter if the coverage is less.
For my next attempt, I changed my strategy.
- Stitch the edge to the end
- Keep going past the edge for about .25 inches, making a short “tail.”
- Lift the presser foot and reposition the square, wrapping the extra bit of stitching around the corner.
- Place the needle in the down position close to the to edge. Lower the presser foot.
- Stitch the next side, stitching over the tail
This method worked pretty well for me, although the first few coasters made with it look pretty rough. It took some practice to get the hang of it.
Finally, I wrapped them all up and placed them under the Christmas tree.
Oh, and Mom? She did not guess what was in her gift. And she thinks the coasters look nice. Thanks, Mom.