After recently organizing my sewing room, I came across some fabric scraps from a quilt that my mom made for me a few years ago. The scraps were plentiful enough that I decided to make a few matching mug rugs for the side tables in my living room. Mug rugs are such a great project because not only are they useful to protect furniture, they’re also little pieces of fabric art to brighten your home. I was so pleased with the first two that I decided to make a second set in order to share the instructions with you! Dive right in, Crafty Friends! This is an easy project for the beginner sewer/quilter.
Straight pins or basting spray
Clover Wonder Clips (optional)
Beginning quilters, see Top 12 Tools for the Beginner Quilter for some great information on quilting supplies!
If making your own binding, fold the strip of fabric in half, wrong sides together, so that raw edges meet. Iron using starch/sizing to give it a crisp edge.
Lay your five scrap strips side by side in the order you want them sewn. From the left, grab strip 1 and 2. Lay 2 on top of 1, right sides together (RST). Use a .25” seam allowance and join the pieces together on the right side. Repeat for strip 3 and 4.
Iron strip sets open. You can either press the seam to the dark side or iron it all the way open, whichever you prefer.
Lay set 3/4 on top of 1/2 so that strip 3 is directly facing strip 2 RST. Join pieces on the right side and iron seams open. Next, lay strip 5 on top of strip 4 with RST. Join pieces and iron seam open.
Ta-da! The top of your mug rug is now complete.
Lay your backing down with the wrong side up and place your batting on top of it. Next, place the top of the mug rug on top of the batting with right side up. You can use basting spray or pin to hold the three layers together.
You are now ready to quilt through all the layers of your pretty mug rug! You can quilt any way you’d like. I chose one standard method of quilting – to sew .25” away from each seam. Use the edge of your presser foot as a guide. You should have eight lines when complete if you use this method. Once you are done quilting, clip any loose strings. Use your rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat to trim up all four sides, if needed.
Now you will sew the binding onto your mug rug. You have two choices here, you can either finish the binding by machine sewing it or you can hand sew for a blind seam.
To machine sew: With back side of the mug rug facing up, lay the binding onto the mug rug, raw edges together, and sew it down using a 1/4″ seam allowance. You will finish by flipping the binding over to the front side of the mug rug – I like to use Clover Wonder Clips to hold the binding in place and to ensure it has an even width all the way around the mug rug - and machine sewing it to the front side.
To hand sew: With front side of the mug rug facing up, lay the binding onto the mug rug, raw edges together, and sew it down using a 1/4″ seam allowance. You will finish by flipping the binding over to the back side of the mug rug – I like to use Clover Wonder Clips to hold the binding in place and to ensure it has an even width all the way around the mug rug – and hand sewing it to the back side.
I found a great picture tutorial showing you step by step binding techniques at Crazy Mom Quilts. She also shows how to join strips together for binding. Treat the mug rug as a miniature quilt and follow her instructions.
Mug rugs are not only fun, they come together quickly. One rug will take you just over an hour from start to finish when you are sewing the binding down by hand. Once you have perfected this mug rug, try the project again with different sized strips to make fabric coasters, placemats, or even a table runner. Let me know if you have any questions along the way! You can view other mug rugs designs in my Etsy store.
Happy Scrappy Sewing, Crafty Friends!
PS- If you LOVE the aqua cup cozy in the first picture above, you can make your own with Mom’s Button Up Your Cup pattern!