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Holiday Mug Rug Tutorial

It’s official!  The holidays are here and I have a Holiday Mug Rug Tutorial to get you in the Christmas spirit!  I love this design because it allows you to add some personalization:

or your own words:

or just some cute fabric:

And you can also fussy cut (so that a design or motif is centered in the cut) the snowball block:

So here’s what you need to get started (revised 12/3/12):

Assorted fabric scraps for mug rug and 9″ x 12″ piece of batting and backing

You’ll need to cut the following pieces:

  • (1) 5 ” square (snowball center)
  • (4) 2″ squares (snowball corners)
  • (1) 2″ x 5″ rectangle (bottom of snowball unit)
  • Tree pieces:  (1) 2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangle, (1) 2″ x 4″ rectangle and (1) 2″ x 5″ rectangle
  • (1) 1 1/2″ x 2″ rectangle (tree trunk)
  • Tree background pieces: (2) 2″ squares, (2) 2″ x 2 1/4″ rectangles, (2) 2″ x 2 3/4″ rectangles (2) 2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles

Finished size of mug rug:  6 1/2″ x 9 1/2″

Step 1:  Make the snowball:  Draw a diagonal line on the (4) 2″ snowball squares and pin to each corner of the 5″ square.  Stitch just to the right of the drawn line.  Press towards the outer corners and trim.

Step 2:  Make the tree.  Draw a diagonal line on the remaining background squares/rectangles.  For the rectangles, place the background rectangle on top of the green rectangle so that the top edges line up and you can see where the bottom edges intersect.  Draw the line from top corner to bottom intersection as shown:

Pin in place so that raw edges are even and stitch just next to the drawn line.  Press towards the tree fabric (this makes the tree pop out a bit) and trim. Each tree rectangle should measure 2″ x 5″.

To make things efficient, I drew all of my lines and pinned the pieces together first and then chain pieced:

Step 3:  Assemble the mug rug unit.  Arrange the tree rectangles in order as shown below as well as the snowball unit and 2″ x 5″ rectangle.  Stitch together the tree pieces.  Press seam of tree trunk unit up towards tree. The other tree seams can be pressed either way.

Stitch the snowball unit and rectangle together and press seam down towards rectangle.

Step 4:  Stitch the two halves together, nesting the lower rectangle seams and pinning first.  Press seam to either side.

Step 5:  Layer top, batting and backing together and quilt as desired.  I used Pellon Thermolam for my batting; I like the stability and thermal properties it has.  I stitched in the ditch along the tree and snowball.  Then I free motion quilted around the poinsettia and the “JOY”. (I’m not thrilled with how the JOY came out – I should have left well enough alone!)  On the pink mug rug, I outline stitched the tree and snowball and added some diagonal lines, and on the peach mug rug, I free motion quilted everything.

For the binding, I decided to wrap the backing fabric around the edges to form the binding.  I used the Quick Easy Mitered-Binding Tool and you can find my tutorial for that here.

I like the way it came out – especially with the diagonal stripes.  On another example, I used traditional binding and I like it as well, but I think I’ll stick with the wrap around model.

I found all of these cute mugs at the Goodwill.  What a deal!

Depending on the fabric you use, these can be as holiday’ish as you like.  If you have a charm pack laying around (who doesn’t?) this would work perfectly as well.

These make great hostess gifts as well as gifts for co-workers, friends, teachers…. one day of mass production and you’re good!  Add some tea or homemade cookies to the deal and oh my goodness!  I, personally, would be thrilled to receive such a gift (I’m just sayin’).

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and perhaps you’ve saved some sewing time for this long weekend.  Instead of shopping on Black Friday, I like to get a head start on my Christmas cookie baking.  So much more peaceful and fun!

Happy sewing (and baking)!



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  1. Sorry- another question.. My trunk row is just a little bit shorter then the other rows.. when I add the width’s up, it is a little shorter..

    The tree rows all = 9
    2.5+4+2.5 = 9
    2.75+3.5+2.75 = 9

    but the trunk row only equals 6?
    2.25+1.5+2.25 = 6

  2. Brand new quilter and have a question on step 1.. when you say “Stitch just to the right of the drawn line”.. would that always be to the inside or outside of the square? or does it matter as long as I am consistent?

  3. Pingback: Quilt Therapy
  4. Julie, you are AMAZING!! So talented and inspirational. I always look forward to your tutorials. You have such beautiful fabrics over there in the States too! Thank you!!

  5. Julie! I pinned one of your patterns long ago, without realizing it was you! I came today to get the instructions for one of your mug rugs, and am delighted to see your success here. I hope all is well with you and yours.

  6. Oh my goodness! Impressive artkcle dude! Thank you so much, However
    I aam experiencing troubles ith your RSS. I don’t understand
    why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody having the same RSS problems?
    Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond?

  7. Such a cute pattern….best I’ve seen. I made 20 from various Christmas charm packs for family this year. Everyone loved them. Now maybe I’ll have time to make them for my husband and myself.

  8. I love your darling mug rugs! I would like to try the wrap around binding method. What size did you cut the backing to to the wrap around binding method?

  9. quick question-which tree piece–2″x 3 1/2″, 2″x4″, &2″ x 5″ gets sewed to the background pieces-2″, 2″x2 1/4″, &2″x2 1/2″

    1. The 2″ x 2 3/4″ background goes to the 2″ x 3 1/2″ tree piece. The 2″ x 2 1/2″ background goes to the 2″ x 4″ tree piece. The 2″ square background goes to the 2″ x 5″ tree piece. The 2″ x 2 1/4″ background goes to the 2″ x 1 1/2″ trunk piece. Enjoy!

  10. thanks for the tutorial-such a cute mug rug -am going to try to make one (or maybe more)-happy holiday time to you

  11. This is a great tutorial. details are listed and shown, love the fussy cutting, can’t wait to checkout your other tutorials……..

  12. what a wonderful tutorial – amazingly easy to follow. Thank you so much and I am inspired to make some too. Love the polka dot mugs. I never see anything that cute at my local thrift stores.

  13. Thank you for this tutorial, it looks like great fun. I will try this out later down the track.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all.

  14. Thank you so much for this pattern; so stinkin adorable. I’m really limited with my budget this year and I’m able to use a lot of scraps I already have without having to spend money on more. Blessings!

  15. These are FANTASTIC. Love the material. Especially the black with the red pointsettia. I assume it’s Moda. Where did you buy the material if I may ask? By the yard? Charm pack?
    Thanks. Cheryl

  16. Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I needed a small gift for my sons teacher and classroom assistants tomorrow so this afternoon whipped up 3 of these in no time and they look fabulous. Very grateful indeed.

  17. What a gorgeous little mug rug! Perfect for a Christmas gift. I have made some for my daughter’s teachers. (PS We have met before, I am aka Sarah Sews, Quilt Candy is my new venture and blog 🙂 )

  18. Hi. I’m over from Sew Many Ways. I tried to leave a comment but don’t think it went through the first time so here I go again. Just wanted to thank you for the tutorial. I love mug rugs and yours is beautiful.

  19. Hi I’m over from Sew Many Ways. Your photo didn’t show up but the mention of mug rugs sent me clicking over. So glad I did. You mug rug is beautiful. Thanks for the tutorial.

  20. I love mug rugs and these are just darling! I like to take the mugs (I also do the thrift shopping!), fill them with candies and gift the mug, the rug and the treat. My DGD told me she’s still waiting for hers…. guess what she’ll get in her stocking 🙂
    Thanks so much for this tutorial.

  21. So cute! I love the mugs also. Very fun Julie! Any chance you might bring one of your mug rugs for our holiday gift exchange???

  22. Julie ~
    What a great, “quick” idea for a Christmas gift! I can use my mountain of fabric scraps! These are adorable….thank you!
    Liz =-)

  23. Oh my gosh ~these are so stinkin’ cute! You give great step by step directions and I can’t wait to try to make one or several – lol.

    Thanks so much!

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