Every year I ponder what to get my neighbors, friends, and service providers for Christmas. Usually I will make an assortment of cookies and distribute them, but this year I am starting early and creating my gifts by hand in the hope of not having to lose those 15 pounds I gain every year test tasting the cookies… (I think I put on three pounds on just thinking about it!)
I decided this year I would make some quilted “mug rugs” – cute little coasters that are perfect for a hot mug of coffee or cocoa which are large enough to set a treat on too. My special twist to the project however would be that I would use all those charm packs I’ve been collecting over the years!
Typically, a charm pack consists of approximately 36 squares of pre-cut fabric that are 5×5 inches. I had some holiday-themed packs on hand and so I decided to give my mug rugs a holiday motif. These rugs are reversible too so you can play around with fabric patterns – try a child-friendly pattern on one side for the kids and a more subtle pattern on the other side for the grown-ups.
I do suggest avoiding plaid or striped fabrics however – unless the charm squares are cut perfectly square you risk skewed lines in your finished product. (Though that may be the look you’re going for!)
How to Make Mug Rugs
For this project we’ll be making a set of two mug rugs using six charm squares. You can also watch a video of this project tutorial – click here to watch!
Step 1: Select six charm squares for your mug rugs. Try to select colors and patterns that coordinate nicely. (In this photo you’ll see I’d selected three different patterns – two squares of the blue, three of the gold, one of the red.)
Line up three of your squares in a row with two matching squares flanking a contrasting square in the middle. Sew the squares together using a quarter-inch seam. Then do the same with your three remaining squares.
Step 3: Now we’ll head over to the cutting table. Hopefully you have saved some batting scraps over the years – those scraps will be perfect to use for this project because the batting is what helps absorb the moisture from a mug. The first thing you need to do is cut each of your segments in half through the center square. You can either measure with a ruler or simply fold them in half and finger press a cutting line.
Once you have cut the segments in half, I suggest squaring up. Mine measured 6¾ x 4¾. Now simply cut your batting to the exact size as your fabric pieces.
Step 4: Next, put the right sides together, matching the seams. Because we pressed the seams in opposite directions, they should lock together. Then add your batting piece on top and pin where the seams match.
Step 5: Now you will cut away a portion of the batting along the edge next to your pin – a quarter-inch deep and 3 inches long. (You will leave this section unsewn while constructing the rug.) Then sew around the rug using a quarter-inch seam.
Step 6: Next, trim the corners and turn inside out through the section you left unsewn. Use an awl, scissor tip or pencil to poke the corners out.
Step 7: Press the seams again, making sure to press the open section too to create a neat seam for sewing closed.
Step 8: Then you will top stitch to close up the seam. I used a quarter-inch foot that has markings so I could ensure an even edge.
Step 9: For a final dash of pizazz, add some quilting! Any quilting I do will generally be straight stitch, but a decorative stitch would be fun to do as well. I ran a stitch around the inner edge of each color, and added a couple extra lines for fun. This is where you can really get creative! Of course the quilting step isn’t necessary and you may prefer the un-quilted look more.
And there you have it! These mug rugs are a fun, quick, and easy project that also make for great gift ideas. If you’re looking to round out your gift, head on over to the dollar store to pick up a few mugs to go with them!
Related Video: Easy to Make Mug Rugs from Charm Squares
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I have made bunches of rug mugs and are very easy for a beginner, I have sewed over 45 years, go for it beginners!!!
What are charm squares and where do you get them, and what seam allowance did you use?
Thanks for contacting the National Quilters Circle with your question. A charm square or charm pack is a term used in quilting that refers to a 5″ square of fabric or a set of 5″ squares. In my research, I found that quilts made from these charm squares were quite popular in the late 1800’s. Quilters would swap fabrics so as to create quilts with only one of each print within the quilt. In the last 15+ years fabric companies have begun to offer the charm pack as a way for quilters to enjoy an entire fabric line – many times with one of each print in the package carrying on that 1800’s theme.
In today’s terms we find fabric companies offering pre-cut 5 inch squares packaged with squares that represent an entire line of fabrics. In this way you get to enjoy all the prints that are in a particular fabric line. Sometimes there are multiple squares of the same print and other times only one square of each fabric. The packaging differs from company to company.
There are also patterns, books and magazines available specifically created to use the 5 inch charm square. Usually additional fabrics are required to complete a quilt, such as background, border and binding. In some cases the 5 inch square is used whole and other times it is cut to accommodate the pattern. Do note that the accuracy of the 5 inch cut can vary a bit, but can still be utilized knowing the variance.
The majority of patterns will use a 1/4″ seam allowance. Refer to your specific pattern for any deviation from this standard.
Charm packs are available in many local quilt shops and online. Do know that not all fabric manufactures create charm packs and availability can be limited to the release time of the fabric line and not always reorderable. My advice is buy them when you see them if you have fallen in love with a grouping and buy multiple for larger future projects.
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Christmas easy gifts
I LOVE this project!
However, I really like the size of the mug rug you got as a gift. Could you please share the measurements? If you know of a pattern, could you please share?
looking for mug rug patterns
I absolutely love this idea!
Awesome idea. Always looking for something quick and easy. Thanks
Just signed up here. I am so happy. Can’t wait to start making these great mug rugs. I am sort of a mess these days. Only 60. Never thought I would be so unable to do much. 3 time cancer survivor. Chemo really beats you up. So anyway, I have my mind, my warped humor and I can see and craft. I just love the crafts you offer. Should be a great holiday.
How to square my squares or quilt top
We have received the following response from our experts regarding your question:
Here’s a great tutorial for that: https://www.nationalquilterscircle.com/video/squaring-up-quilt-blocks-precision-008971/
If you have any other questions, please chat, email, or contact Customer Service at 1-855-706-3538.
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I love the idea!!
This Video and instructions were perfect for a beginner like me. It listed exactly the size of the material and then step by step instructions to finish the product. Fantastic I will be trying it soon!
Wanted to learn to make rugs with animal and Christmas prints.Thanks for simple lesson .For thank you and I will show you mine when I am finished.Just got a new machine so starting small.
Love quick ways to use up my scraps, and especially the left over batting. also a way to sit and sew something simple that I can have a finished project, with out having another ‘UFO’, lol. Thak you.
my problem is I just can’t seem to get the points right
I would like to see a tutorial on necktie quilts
Love this idea! It will pair very nicely with the bowl koozies I’m planning to make for family gifts this year! Thank you for sharing!
Love doing mug rugs for everyone
I’m a newbie to quilting and this will be a great place to start!!
Beautiful idea. I have made some as Christmas presents. Thankyou.
I can see my wheels turning. All kinds of ideas are jumping. Great idea!!!
Was looking for xmas tree presents these look ideal
I do quilting and have just got a blk sashiko machine and am looking for ideas and patterns
Great Article but just got a black screen when I tried to watch the related Video.
Hi Ruth. We are sorry to hear you cant watch the video. Please give our customer service a call at 1-855-706-3538 and we can assist you.
Cant wait to make some of these
I would like a pattern to put your mug in for safe keeping, when you take it to sewing class. Can you help?
Hi, Judy. I am unaware of a pattern to store your mug in for quilting class. There is no written pattern. However, if you watch the video, Kelly takes you step by step to completion. You start out with charm pack squares that are 5×5. The video is very inclusive of instruction for this project. One idea would be to take a rectangular piece of fabric (you can also see many pieces together and cut it in a rectangle.). The length and width would be determined from the size of your cup. Put your cup in the middle of your fabric, fold both sides up to see if they rest above the top of your mug. Now take the sides and be sure they have a 1/4 inch seam allowance of fabric plus a little extra. ( you want to be able to get it out of the pouch) put right sides of fabric together and sew along sides. Turn the top down by 1/2 inch and then again 1/2 inch. Stitch this down close to fold line leaving a small opening to slide a ribbon or shoe lace into. This acts as a draw string for your mug bag. Otherwise you can search for patterns that you will need to purchase on Pinterest or online.
Look at the sew this’n’that website for a great pattern.
Great idea, so useful for using up scraps- good for any season- and good for singles- one pair for self and guest. Thanks!
I absolutely love being a premium member. I love your videos and project ideas. I have been working on mug rugs and I am going to make some more with charm squares. Great idea!
Always looking for “quick gifts” these are super!
Great a Quick and easy gift anytime.
What a fantastic idea :_)
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