The Easy Way to Sew a Mug Rug – Sewing for Beginners

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oversized coasters featuring Happy at Home fabric by Tara Reed

IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD THE TERM “MUG RUG” BEFORE IT’S BASICALLY AN OVERSIZED COASTER THAT IS SHAPED LIKE A RUG – HENCE THE NAME!

Mug rugs allow more space for creativity when sewing and more room for holding coffee, tea and a snack – who wouldn’t want that?

In this mug rug sewing tutorial I’m using the small blocks from my Happy at Home fabric panel from Riley Blake Designs – they are the perfect size for this and other mini projects.

☕️ 🏷️ Get the free tag printable if you will be making mug rugs as gifts

MUG RUG DESIGN IDEAS:

  • Use decorative fabrics and let the print do all of the work. Simply quilt, sew, flip and go.
  • Use a 6″ quilt block and border fabrics to take it up a level.
  • Use images from my Happy at Home Quilt panel if you want mug rugs similar to the ones in this tutorial.

MUG RUG SIZE

There is not specific size for a mug rug and there are no mug rug police (that I know of!) wandering around letting sewists know they got it wrong.

My mug rug goal size is 6 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ – all but 1 worked out correctly. (See the video at the 2 min 21 seconds mark for more about that) To achieve that size I started with a Quilt-as-you-go base of 7 /2″ x 11″ but you can do any size. You always want the front to be a little larger than your goal size as things might shift a little as you quilt. So you do the front bigger then trim to the backing size. And if you need to trim both – that’s ok too!


mug rug supplies

MATERIALS

  • Fabric scraps for front
    • 7 /2″ x 11″ for this tutorial but you can do any size
  • Back fabric
    • 7″ x 10″
  • Quilt-as-you-go backing fabric
    • Quilt Batting and muslin or cotton
    • fusible fleece
    • Pellon flex-foam
    • and more. Get creative and use your scraps!
  • FREE tag printable

BASIC SUPPLIES


🎯 SHORTCUTS TO SPECIFIC TOPICS:

00:00 introduction
00:17 Mug Rug Supplies
00:24 Mug Rug Size
00:37 Quilt-as-you-go explanation
01:34 What NOT to use as a base fabric
02:12 How I’d use flexi-foam differently next time
02:33 How to sew a self-binding Mug Rug
03:00 Using painter’s tape for quilting

04:09 Adding 2nd piece of fabric – quilt-as-you-go
05:50 Trim Mug Rug front
06:41 Trim Mug Rug Back
06:55 No-Binding method of sewing together
06:59 How to clip the corners
07:29 Using a turning tool
08:02 Topstitch


WHAT IS QUILT AS YOU GO (QAYG)?

Quilt As You Go is a quilting technique where you sew and quilt individual blocks or sections of your quilt, and then assemble them into a larger quilt. This method offers several advantages, including easier handling of smaller pieces, the ability to mix and match different quilt block designs, and the option to quilt using your home sewing machine.

PREPARE YOUR BASE FABRIC

Quilt As You Go Mug Rugs are a great way to use those scraps of quilt batting, fusible fleece, flex-foam or other “quilt innards” you love to use.

Grab your favorite and cut it to 7 /2″ x 11″. Most will need a backing fabric so it’s stable enough to quilt and won’t just fill your sewing machine with fuzz. Muslin is a great option because it is so thin and won’t add much bulk to your project. You can also use fabric scraps, just make sure whatever you use won’t have a print that shows through the fabric you plan to have on the bottom of your mug rug.

QUILT YOUR MUG RUG TOP

Place your first piece of fabric onto your base fabric, right side up and quilt as desired. (fig. 1)

Add the next fabric piece on top of the piece you just quilted, right sides together, making sure the raw edges overlap. (fig. 2)

Sew in place and quilt as desired.

Repeat until you have covered your base fabric. Don’t worry if some of your fabric goes off the edge, we will trim it to size in the next step.

Let's Stay Home fabric by Tara Reed
figure 1
quilt as you go - adding fabric
figure 2

💡 Have you ever used painter’s tape as an easy guide for parallel lines? I love it! See it in action in the video at the 3 minute mark.

I did simple designs with a few strips of fabric, a selvage edge, panel image and a few that were just a panel image quilted – super easy. Once you get the idea you can get as intricate as you want when it comes to number and size of fabric scraps, layout and more.

Mug rug supplies
figure 3

TRIM THE MUG RUG TOP

Now it’s time to trim your mug rug top to size. (fig. 3) Place on your rotary mat and trim to 7″ x 10″ – the same size as your backing fabric. If they don’t completely match up don’t worry – just trim them to the same size, making sure they stay squared.

SELF-BINDING YOUR MUG RUG

Self-Binding basically means you are going to sew the two pieces together, flip, press and topstitch instead of using traditional quilt binding. Self-binding is great for beginners, if you want a faster project or just like the more minimalist look. You can of course use traditional binding if you prefer!

Place the top and back pieces on top of each other, right sides together.

Sew around the 2 long sides and one short side with 1/4″ seam, leaving the 4th short side open for turning.

Trim corners, turn right side out and press.

Press the raw edges / open end under 1/4″.

Topstitch around the entire mug rug 1/8″ from the edge to finish and close the open side.

That’s it – you’re done! Just add coffee, tea, cookies & more.


Be sure to save it to Pinterest and follow me for more ideas and resources for sewing, crafting and creative living.

If you make this or other projects and post on Instagram, be sure to tag me (@artisttarareed). Follow my YouTube channel for new sewing projects and tips every week.

🧵 Tara Reed

P.S. Is there a sewing tutorial you’d love to see? Leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my idea list!

Easy Fabric Coasters to Sew in a Snap >

Heart Block Mug Rug >

A quick and easy way to quilt placemats >

More sewing projects featuring Happy at Home Fabric >

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