Monday, January 13, 2014

Tutorial - Seasonal Mug Rug

Hi everyone:
Charlie is still recovering from the Christmas holidays
In a previous post I showed you some of the Christmas gifts that I made this year, but there were more. Yes, I made gifts for my office co-workers at school. I made something I've never attempted before - mug rugs! Easy and simple, right? I could whip these up quickly since they were small. But … I had to make 4 (I ended up making 6 so we could have 2 at home) and … I wasn't content to just use Christmas fabric since that would be practical and easy. Yes, I can complicate any project - and I usually do! 
I had some seasonal charm pack fabric in my stash and while I could've just used a different charm square for each tree, which would be the quick and easy method, I decided to piece them together to make the design more interesting. Remember that complication thing I mentioned? Well, you can see how this project started to "snowball" and took me a bit longer than I thought it would. 

Here's how I made them.*

Seasonal Mug Rug Tutorial

  • Choose your charm squares and cut them in 4 - you'll have 4 - 1¼" x 5" strips from each charm square. You'll need 8 charm squares for each "tree" (8 - 1¼" x 5" strips).

  • Piece 8 strips together to create a rectangle for 1 tree. Piece the extra strips together to create 3 more rectangles. 

  • Cut a long triangular shape approximately 6½" x 3" from freezer paper. Ensure that the height of the triangle is shorter than the height of the pieced charm square rectangle and that the width of the triangle is less than the width of the charm square rectangle. Centre and press the freezer paper triangle to the charm square rectangle.

  • Cut a rectangle from background fabric to the desired size. My background fabric was 10" x 8", which gave me extra fabric so I could trim it later.  
  • Place the charm square rectangle with the freezer paper triangle onto the background fabric, arranging it where desired. I put mine on the right side of the background fabric, about ½" in from the edges.

  • Lay your ruler along the right edge of the freezer paper triangle and cut through both the charm square rectangle and the background fabric. Ensure that you cut from the top to the bottom of the background fabric.

  • Repeat for the left side of the freezer paper triangle. 

  •  The background fabric will now be cut apart and there will be a triangle of background fabric as well as a triangle from the charm square rectangle. Remove the freezer paper from the charm square triangle (notice how it has gone from a rectangle to a triangle - that's higher math!). You can reuse this freezer paper to cut out the rest of the "trees" for the other mug rugs. I haven't yet decided how I'm going to use the background fabric triangle - lots of possibilities there. You won't need it for the mug rug, so put this aside for another project.

  •  Now to start stitching things back together! Place the charm square triangle right sides together with one of the background fabric pieces. Ensure that you have these the right orientation and piece them together. The tip (narrowest part) of the triangle will be with the widest edge of the background fabric piece and the bottom (widest part) of the triangle will be with the narrowest edge of the background fabric piece. Press to the background fabric. Stitch the opposite side of the triangle to the remaining piece of background fabric and press.

  •  You should now have a raw mug rug that looks something like this. You can now trim it up so all edges are even.

  • Layer the mug rug as follows: batting; top, right side up; and backing, wrong side up and then stitch around, leaving an opening to turn the mug rug. Turn the mug rug right side out, pushing out all the corners. Stitch the opening closed with a whip stitch. The mug rugs are looking pretty good, but they still need a little more interest.
  • Now it's time for the fun part - adding embellishment to the mug rug. As I was running behind on mine, I decided to keep it simple (a surprise, I know!) and I stitched in the ditch around the tree on each mug rug and then added a decorative feather stitch around the outside edge. If you wanted, you could add words, such as "Joy" or "Noel" on the background fabric with fusible web appliqué. I would caution against using many 3-D embellishments, such as buttons as you want these flat so they can be used for - a mug and goodies. 

This is a great project for last minute gifts and the perfect time to try using out some of those decorative machine stitches that you have on your machine and have never tried. I know I can't be the only one who doesn't use these very often! Another embellishment idea would be to stitch rick rack along the edge or couch decorative threads in a design. You could do some quilting in the background area, but these are so small that I don't think you need more than the stitch in the ditch around the tree and some decorative machine stitching, but I'll leave that decision to you.

Have you ever made mug rugs? What is your favourite pattern for these?

*These were inspired by a video for a tree table runner that I saw from Missouri Quilt Company

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