Quick day-of-party gift: linen coasters

It always works out this way: I’m invited to a party, usually a birthday party, but sometimes a celebration for a colleague who has passed exams, or dinner at a professor’s house, or just an impromptu barbecue. The only real expectation for these affairs is to bring a bottle of wine or a side dish. But the day of the party, I always think, “Well, maybe I’ll make just a little something for (insert name of guest of honor or hostess).” More times than not on these occasions, I arrive at the party late and empty-handed. I have spent my afternoon trying to come up with something quick and easy to sew or knit, and failed miserably. In general, I make things slowly and like to focus on the particulars, so this urge to make last-minute gifts isn’t well suited to my sensibility.

Today, though, I was unusually lucky. A lot of it probably has to do with procrastination: Now that classes have started again, there is plenty of reading that, while interesting, sometimes begs to be put off. My friend Sarah’s birthday party tonight certainly qualifies as an excuse, right? So, with apologies to my critical theory class, here are the coasters I whipped up this afternoon. A few quick logistical notes, in lieu of a full tutorial: I cut squares six-by-six inches, sewed them together (right sides facing) with about a half-inch seam allowance—leaving a gap for turning, flipped them inside out, pushed out the corners with a chopstick, ironed them, and then topstitched with a zigzag stitch. The linen fabric I used came from Purl Soho’s website.

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