“Snug as a mug on a rug.” Just gotta say that and get it out of the way! Sometimes a placemat takes up too much real estate, and a coaster is too small to hold anything extra. A mug rug is bigger than a coaster but smaller than a placemat – just the right size at your desk, in the sewing room, or on a small end table in the living room or den. Our design adds a unique little pocket with its own napkin for truly self-contained snacking. We used leftover pre-cuts from our stash (Bonnie & Camille’s Marmalade collection for Moda Fabrics) and framed it all with coordinating rick rack.
Be bold with your choices, mix and match to fashion your own look. For more on creating great combos, take a look at our tutorial: Top 10 Designer Tips for Blending Colors and Prints.
Whether you choose to use pre-cuts or scraps from your stash, this is a fast and clever little project you can whip out with just the items you have on hand.
Today’s project uses a number of quilting techniques. If you are new to quilting, check out our five-part Quilting Basics series for all the tips you need to get started with success.
Our Mug Rug finishes at approximately 12″ wide x 8″ high, excluding the rick rack. The napkin is about 9″ x 9″ when flat.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; we used the built-in Janome AcuFeed Flex™ Fabric Feeding System
- Quarter Inch Seam foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- TWO Fat Quarters (18″ x 22″) – one for the back, pocket panel, and four of the inner triangles – the second for the napkin and four of the inner triangles. If you choose not to use Fat Quarters, you’ll need approximate ½ yard cuts or appropriately-sized scraps from two coordinating fabrics
- FOUR Charm Squares (5″ x 5″) – two each for the outer triangles. If you choose not to use Charm Squares, you will need big enough scraps to cut two 3¾” squares from each coordinating fabric
- Scrap or ⅓ yard of low loft cotton batting
- 1 yard of coordinating medium rick rack
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Straight pins
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Hand sewing needle
- From the Fat Quarter or scrap for the back, pocket panel, and four of the triangles, cut the following:
ONE 8½” x 12½” rectangle for the back
TWO 3″ x 4½” rectangles for the pocket and pocket facing
ONE 4½” x 8½” rectangle for the pocket panel
TWO 3¾” x 3¾” squares – cut each square along the diagonal to yield four triangles total
- From the Fat Quarter or scrap for the napkin and four of the triangles, cut the following:
ONE 10″ x 10″ square for the napkin
TWO 3¾” x 3¾” squares – cut each square along the diagonal to yield four triangles total
- From the first set of two matching charm squares or scraps, cut TWO 3¾” x 3¾” squares. Then cut each square along the diagonal to yield four triangles total.
- From the second set of two matching charm squares or scraps, cut TWO 3¾” x 3¾” squares. Then cut each square along the diagonal to yield four triangles total.
NOTE: If you are working with striped Charm Squares as we were, here’s a hint for perfectly matching cuts: place the two squares on top of one other with all the edges aligned and the stripes lined up. Pin lightly. Cut down into a 3¾” square through both layers, then cut diagonally from upper left corner to lower right corner – again through both layers.
- From the batting, cut ONE 10″ x 15″ rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Arrange each set of four triangles to form a square. You’ll end up with four squares. Use the diagram above to match our design or create your own.
- Starting with one set of four, place the top two triangles right sides together, aligning their center sides. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Place the bottom two triangles right sides together, aligning their center sides. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Place the sewn pairs right sides together, aligning the long center sides and being careful to match the seams. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance to create a finished square.
- Because you’re working with triangles, you’ll end up with little “dog ears” at each corner. Trim these away so all four sides of the square are flush.
- Repeat to create the remaining squares from the remaining sets of triangles.
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you are new to piecing, check out our Quilting Basics Series. All the sections are excellent for those new to quilting; Part 4A will be especially helpful to create these squares.
- When all four small squares are complete, arrange them to create one larger square. Again, follow the diagram above to match our design or create your own.
- Place the top two squares right sides together, aligning their center sides. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Place the bottom two squares right sides together, aligning their center sides. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Place the sewn pairs right sides together, aligning the long center sides and being careful to match all your seams and points. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance to create the finished large square.
- Find the two 3″ x 4½” pocket pieces. Decide which is your front piece. If you have a nicer fussy cut on one, use it as the “front.”
- Find the rick rack. Cut an approximate 5½” length.
- Pin the rick rack to the right side of the front pocket piece along its 4½” top edge, centering it so it extends beyond both ends. The middle of the rick rack should be ¼” from the top raw edge of the fabric.
- Machine baste the rick rack in place, using a ¼” seam. If you positioned correctly as detailed above, this seam should run down the middle of the rick rack.
- Trim the edges of the rick rack flush with the fabric.
- Place the front (rick rack) pocket piece right sides together with the plain back piece. Pin in place along the top edge only.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew the two pieces together. If you sew with the front piece facing up, you can simply follow along in your original machine basting seam line for a perfect match.
- Press the seam allowance to one side, then fold the two pieces wrong sides together, which will make the rick rack stand up from the seam. Press well.
- Find the 4½” x 8½” pocket panel. Place it right side up on your work surface.
- Place the finished pocket on top of the base pocket panel, aligning the bottom raw edges and the sides. Pin in place along the left side only.
Assembling the front two panels and quilting
- Find the finished patchwork panel. Place it right sides together with the finished pocket panel, aligning the right edge of the patchwork panel and the left edge of the pocket panel. Pin in place.
- Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance towards the patchwork panel.
- Find the batting rectangle. Place it flat on your work surface. Place the finished mug rug top on the batting, centering the patchwork panel side to side and top to bottom so there is excess batting all around. Fold the pocket to one side to reveal the full pocket panel. Pin the top to the batting.
- Stitch in the ditch along the vertical seam between the patchwork panel and the pocket panel. A Walking foot is recommended for this and all the quilting steps. We used the Janome MC8900 QCP with its built-in AcuFeed™ Flex system.
- Stitch in the ditch along all the patchwork seams: the two diagonal seam lines and the two straight seam lines (one horizontal, one vertical).
- Using your see-through ruler and a fabric pen or pencil, mark straight vertical lines for quilting across the pocket panel (remember to re-fold the pocket out of the way). The lines should be ½” apart.
NOTE: Make sure your fabric pen or pencil will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron; you are working on the right side of the fabric!
- Stitch along the the drawn lines to complete the quilting.
Edge rick rack and finishing
- Find the remaining rick rack. You’ll work with it as a continuous length, cutting as you go.
- Find the mug rug quilted top. Make sure the pocket in folded back into its proper position.
- Place the mug rug quilted top right side up on your work surface. Starting along the top edge, pin the rick rick so its middle is along the ¼” seam line – just as you did with the pocket piece. The rick rick should start ¼” in from the first corner. Pin in place, letting the rick rack continue out from the opposite corner.
- Machine baste the rick rack in place along this first side (the top), again – remember to start ¼” in from the corner. Stitch across, using a ¼” seam allowance, stop and lock the seam ¼” from the opposite corner.
- Trim the rick rack.
- Turn the corner and position the rick rack along the side edge, following the same steps as above: start ¼” from the corner and center along along the ¼” seam line. The peaks of the intersecting rick rack should meet in the corner as shown.
- Continue to stitch this length of rick rack in place. Then repeat to baste rick rack in place along the bottom and the remaining side edge, finally ending at the corner where you began, matching the peaks of the rick rack.
- Place the mug rug front and the back panels right sides together, sandwiching the rick rack between the layers. Pin in place around all sides, leaving an approximate 3″ opening along the bottom for turning.
- Stitch with the front facing up (the batting facing up) so you can follow along in the rick rack machine basting seam line. Stitch around all four sides, remembering to pivot at each corner and to lock your seam ay either side of the 3″ opening along the bottom.
- Trim the corners and turn mug rug right right side out. Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- We hand stitched the opening closed for extra security. Then, topstitched ¼” from the rick rack around all four sides.
NOTE: Normally, this topstitching would be enough to close the opening used for turning. However, when using the small ¼” seams, it’s a good idea to hand stitch the opening closed to be extra sure the seam remains sealed.
- Find the 10″ x 10″ napkin square.
- Press each side to create a narrow double turn hem with clean diagonal point corners.
- If you are new to this technique, we have a great step by step tutorial.
- Stitch in place all around, pivoting at the corners.
- Fold the napkin and insert into the pocket.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler