Sunday 16 March 2014

New to Mug Rugs?

Are you thinking of joining in a mug rug swap but you're new to making mug rugs and unsure if a swap is for you? 

My advice is JOIN IN.  You will make friends and have fun.  And I am only an email away for any queries you may have.  
I've also put together some hints and tips to help you on your way ................

1.         If you are new to mug rugs, use a single piece for the mug rug background whenever possible.
Growing Flowers Mug Rug (Single Piece Background)

2.         Measure twice and cut once.  Good advice for all DIY projects – not just sewing.
Billy Goat Mug Rug
3.         Use a neutral background.  This will provide you with more choice when selecting the appliqué fabrics.  A mug rug always looks good if the appliqué contrasts with the background.  A neutral background provides the perfect setting for any pattern or colour of your choosing.
Heart Banner Mug Rug

4.         Lay your fabric choices out and then go away. or at the very least, turn away.   When you return to your fabrics you will be able to see whether the pieces blend, contrast and work together.
Spring Basket Mug Rug from 'Special Days' Booklet
5.         Wait for the fusible webbing to go cool completely before peeling away the backing paper.  If you have trouble removing the backing paper once it has been fused in place, scratch it carefully with a pin until you can slip the pin between the fabric and the paper.
Butterfly Coaster from Butterfly Patch Mug Rug

6.         You may find it easier to hand appliqué your first mug rug or mini quilt unless you are really confident with your sewing machine.  You will find you have more control over the placement of hand stitching and, if you make a mistake, it will be easier to undo.
Hand Applique
7.         When starting out use a plain binding.   Stripes and checks require precision when cutting so that the pattern appears straight.   If in doubt choose a darker binding as this will frame the mug rug.
Growing Flowers Mug Rug (with dark binding)

8.         Less is more.  Start with three or four fabrics or colours.  If you limit the fabric and colour choices your finished mug rug will appear more cohesive.
Jigsaw Mug Rug (Two Tone)
9.         Do not worry about wonky stitches or unmatched seams.  Look at the complete mug rug and focus on what you like most about it.
Ice Cream Sundae Mug Rug

10.       As you become more familiar with the techniques and process you can play with fabric and patterns.
Alphabet and Mug Rug Alphabet

11.       Share your achievements whether through a photo on Flickr, Pinterest or Facebook or through a mug rug swap.  Be proud of your work – from your very first stitch to the latest technique you are trying to master.
Spring Lambs Mug Rug
12.       Have fun.  Mug rugs are primarily about producing a functional little quilt whilst playing with fabric.  The most you will ever lose is a few small pieces of fabric and an hour or two of your time.  So smile at your mistakes – after all, they are really just learning experiences.
My first mug rug swap (warts and all!!)

And remember – there is always somebody to ask via Facebook or email or via a comment on a blog.  Quilters are some of the most helpful and friendliest people I know.  Send a question out into hyperspace and you will get answers.  And there is no better place to start that in the Mug Rug Basics tab above.

Sew until next time ................


  1. Great tips and all your mug rugs are just so cute!

  2. I have quilted for nearly 20 years, but have never made a mug rug. Thank you for the advice and I will sign up for,the swap!

  3. Your mug rugs are just irresistible!!
    And what fun to make two and meet a new friend in the process !
    Your directions are just the best, Amanda! I love using them to make projects!!
    I am going to sign up over at Quilting Gallery!

  4. Warning: these mug rugs are addictive and will stimulate the imagination and create many new friends! I love the first-one-ever so much!

  5. You genius you! I am so happy to participate in these. Once again they are absolutely adorable! Thanks Amanda. I have learned so much from you and I don't just mean quilting techniques. XO

  6. Thanks for the tips. I can use all the help I can get!!!