Make a Mug Rug From Scraps




Introduction: Make a Mug Rug From Scraps

About: I am a maker of badges and quilts and other stuff. I mostly make what amuses me or what I need. I love challenges and I love to upcycle whenever I can.

You've finished your quilt and now you are looking at a pile of scraps.  They may seem to be too small to be useful but rather than throw them away let's make a mug rug. 

It is a small quit as you go project completely made from scraps. 

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Step 1: What You Need.

You need the leftover batting and backing fabric that you trimmed from the edge of your last quilt.

You will also need

- scissors
- thread
- sewing machine
- ruler, rotary cutter and mat

You may also want to use

- pins
- spray baste for fabric

Step 2: Sorting the Scraps

The first thing to do is to sort the scraps.  Separate the batting from the fabric.  Cut off the stitched areas. 

Now sort the fabric into

1.  Pieces that are at least 3 inches in the smallest dimension.

2.  Strips of any length that are 3/4 inches - 3 inches wide.

3. Little bits smaller than 3/4 of an inch.  (I'm collecting fabric bits for a special project and have a huge stash of scrappy bits so I've put some slightly larger pieces in this pile.  It is a matter of preference.  What you use and what you have room to store.)

Fold the batting up for neater storage. 

Step 3: The Bits Bin

I use an old pretzel jar to collect up all of the bits of fabric, batting and thread from my projects.  Don't forget to save all the thread snippets. It is quite remarkable how quickly they can add up to a lot of material. 

Step 4: The Strings Bag

All of those narrow strips of fabric are called strings.  Strings are typically no smaller than 3/4 of an inch wide.  That way there is still 1/4 inch of fabric showing after you make a 1/4 inch seam on each side.  Typically people classify things larger than 3 inches wide as something other than strings.  But it is your project and your sewing room and you can do what you want. 

Strings are easily pieced together to make blocks and larger pieces of fabric. I keep mine in a separate bag.  That way I can easily reach in and grab what I need.   I used the string bag to make this project

I keep my larger scraps in another container.  Sometimes I try to sort by color but mostly I try to keep them kinda sorta folded up so they don't get too wrinkled and so that I can see what I have when I am looking for a piece. 

Step 5: Piecing the Batting

When you look at all those strips of batting from the edge of your quilt, you realize they aren't really big enough to make even a small project.  That isn't a problem.  You can piece them together until you get the size you need. 

We are going to make a mug rug.  I prefer to make mine about 6 inches by 10 inches.  That means that the batting needs to be about 8 x 12 inches.  To avoid measuring, you can use a piece of 8,5 x 11 inch paper as the guide for your batting and eventually for your backing.

Select some batting strips and line them up on your table until they are just over that size.

Set your sewing machine for a large loose zig zag stitch. Make sure you have the right foot in place for sewing wide stitches  I set my machine to 4mm x 5 mm.  That is almost as large as it will go. 

Hold two pieces of batting together and stitch.  You may wish to straighten the edges of the batting if they are too crooked to fit together without bunching them up. 

You want to end up with a loose line of stitching.  You don't need it to be dense.  All you want to do is keep the pieces of batting together long enough to finish your quilt.

Step 6: Backing

Choose a scrap of fabric that is about 2 inches larger in each direction than your finished piece.

I chose a piece of the fabric from my last quilt that is about 8 x 12 inches.

Make sure the backing covers the batting.  (I cut off the excess you see in the picture.)

Use a bit of spray baste to hold the backing to the batting.  Always read and follow the directions on your can of spray baste.  Only use it in a well ventilated room away from flames or sources of heat.  Avoid breathing in the fumes.

I know, this is completely different from the instructions on how to baste a quilt I wrote earlier, but this is a quilt as you go project.  You start with the batting, then the backing then piece and quilt all in one step.

Step 7: Choose Your Strings

Grab your string bag and start pulling out strips of fabric. 

Make sure that they are long enough to cover your backing.  Don't worry about the width.

You can grab randomly or you can choose things that coordinate. 

Step 8: And Now We Quilt

But wait, we haven't pieced anything yet.  No worries.  We do it all at the same time.

Pick one of your strings.  Lay it right side up on top of the batting. 

The backing will be right side down underneath. 

Choose your second strip of fabric.   Line it up right sides facing on top of the first strip.  You may pin if you wish. 

NO it does not have to be straight. Do whatever you want.  Let go of the OCD and have some fun.

Take the whole thing to your sewing machine and stitch a 1/4 inch seam.  Now is a good time to change to your 1/4 inch foot if you have one. 

Stitch edge to edge.  It is better to stitch beyond the backing and batting than to stop short. 

Step 9: Open. Press. Trim.

Ya. That is pretty much it. 

Open up the strips.

Press with iron or finger press really well. 

You can trim off the long strings after you have unfolded it.  Don't do it while the two pieces are still right sides together.  If you are sewing on an angle it is entirely possible you will cut it off too short.  ONLY trim with the piece right side up after you have sewn and pressed. 

And don't forget to turn it over to see your perfect line of quilting on the back. 

Step 10: Repeat.

Now you can keep adding your strips, sewing, flipping and pressing. 

Please note in the pictures,  if you get going at an angle you will need to pay extra attention to the ends of your strips.  You want to be sure that when you flip them they still cover the batting. 

Step 11: Finished With Piecing and Quilting

Once you have added enough strips to cover the batting and backing you are done with piecing and quilting. 

Step 12: Trim

Start with one edge.  Trim into any shape you like.  Trim at an angle.  Make a circle.  Whatever your heart desires.

I used a ruler and rotary cutter (mine are connected).  I cut one edge straight and then lined up each edge from that point. 

Step 13: Finish It Up and Get Ready to Snack

Take your nicely trimmed mug rug and add a binding.   Use any technique you prefer.  (Binding is for another tutorial and another day.) 

You can do a dense satin stitch or a loose zig zag around the outside if you don't want to use binding.  You can even top stitch in about a quarter inch and let it fray.  It is your mug rug.  Do what you like. 

Please note that you will only see the quilting stitches on the back.  The quilting on the front is all encased in the seams. 

Step 14: Ta Da

The perfect little quilt.  Just big enough to hold your mug and an afternoon snack!

Best of all it was all made of scraps some people just throw away!

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    5 Discussions


    6 years ago

    I tried this and failed :( I tried again and made it!


    Reply 6 years ago

    I'm glad it finally worked for you. Tell me what didn't make sense or didn't work so that I can fix the instructions. Add a picture if you would please. I'd love to see what you made.


    6 years ago

    Also, I'm crazy about the hens in your profile pic!! :-)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. I'll try to get to that Ible one of these days.


    6 years ago

    Although quilting always looks like fun, I never tried as I knew I'd be too crazy about straightness, & probably never finish lol. Now I'm going to beg scraps from friends and have fun with projects like this!! Thanks, and great Ible. Very clear & concise.