Reversible Mug Rug Tutorial

One of my favorite things about the quilt-blogging community is the sense of generosity and helpfulness that seems to overflow at each website. When I first started my quilting journey, one of the ladies in the local sewing shop told me "a good quilter is always happy to get someone else addicted to her hobby," and, boy, was she right. And it's even more true of the online community.

So in the spirit of giving back (and goodness knows I owe plenty considering all the freebies I've downloaded), I present to you my very first tutorial. It's on my Central Park mug rug, which I adore. This is the first mug rug I made as part of Two More Seconds "Mug Rug Madness". The original inspiration was from the tutorial by A Cup and A Catchup, which is where I got the idea for the stripes and adding wording.

It was simple and fun - and I hope this will inspire you to make one, too.

Central Park Java Mug Rug


Supplies: Jelly Roll or other 2.5-inch strips (leftovers/scraps will work fine), one full jelly roll strip (2.5 inches by 42 inches), 9" x 12" piece of batting, contrasting fabric for letters, iron-on fusing.

Directions: To begin with, audition your strips and decide which ones you like. Choose five for the front and four for the back.

auditions, anyone?

Cut the five strips for the front to 8-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches.

strips for the back

Sew together and press. (After pressing to one side, I went back and re-pressed my seams open. This seemed to help the top lay more flat, which is good since I'll be using this for glasses/mugs.) Remember to use a 1/4-inch seam...and a scant 1/4-inch is even better.

stitching away

Cut the four strips for the back to 11.5 inches by 2.5 inches.

trimming the back strips

Sew together and press.

You should now have two sets of strips, a top with five vertical strips and a back with four horizontal strips. Square up the front and the back, leaving the back a bit larger.

front and back

Place the back (horizontal strips) right side down on your cutting mat and tape down. Arrange batting on top. I like to line up at least one edge here to prevent excessive waste. Place the front (vertical strips) right side up on top of batting. Pin, if you wish.


Quilt however you choose. I decided to echo the seams with straight-line stitching. This gave a nice perpendicular stitch to the horizontal strips on the back. Once quilted, trim up your edges so you will have a straight line for your binding.

trimming back

For the binding, I cut my full jelly roll strip down to a width of 1-3/4 inches. I like this width because it seems to take up less space on the mug rug and isn't so overbearing. If you aren't comfortable with this, you can certainly choose a larger width. I like it because it seems more proportional to the size of the finished project. Regardless of the width you choose, fold and press in half down the entire strip. Then attach to the mug rug, raw edge to raw edge. (For binding basics, I highly suggest Julie's tutorials at Jaybird quilts. Absolutely fabulous.)

pinning the binding

When stitching on the 1-3/4 inch binding, I also shifted my needle two places to the right of center. If you do this, be sure to manually check that your needle will not hit your sewing foot. Not checking first could break your needle and send shrapnel flying. This is bad.

Again, for corners and finishing off, see Julie's binding tutorials and/or bind in the way you would normally bind a quilt. I hand-stitch mine to the back, but machine stitching will work, too.

For the letters:
Choose the letters/word you want to fuse to the mug rug. Some ideas are "java", "latte", "tea", "snack time", or even monogramed initials. Whatever you want is what you should use!

Pick a pretty font, type your letters/word in a word processor (MSWord, Pages, etc.). Once you are happy with the appearance, increase to a good font size, and print it out. If you need font ideas, check out all the free fonts over at Fonts for Peas. The font I used is Pea Alexis.

Take the paper and cut enough fusible web to cover the letter/word area. Trace the letters with a pencil BACKWARD onto the smooth side of the fusible web.

tracing backwards

Iron the fusible web to a similar sized piece of fabric and carefully cut out the letters.



Peel the paper off of the letters and place them on the front of your mug rug. Press into place (don't iron, as it could move the letters). If you want, you can stitch these down by hand. I didn't, but I'm keeping an eye on my edges. If they start to lift, I'll likely go back and do this.

Now, stand back and admire your brand new mug rug! Front. . .


. . . and Back!


If you end up making a mug rug based on this tutorial, I'd love to know about it! Feel free to leave a link in the comments below.




  1. I love this mug rug, I have some kate spain leftovers, so will add it to my 'to do' list! I notice that your edges are pinked, do you cut them with a rotary cutter or shears?

  2. Hi Karen! They were straight out of the jelly roll, so they came that way. Since I left the width at 2-1/2 inches, I didn't trim the pinked edges.

  3. Great tutorial! I love this line, too. So pretty. So glad you joined in the madness ;]

  4. Super cute! Love this fabric line...

  5. I love this fabric line. Great idea with the 'java'.

    Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  6. Thanks for sharing your God given talent! This would make a nice Christmas gift for co-workers. :)

    Sandra R

  7. I made this and love how it turned out! You can check it out on my blog here:

  8. wow!!beautiful(^__^) i want to try this

  9. Tried this out, and loved it. Will make another one in a new color scheme!

  10. Love it! My daughter is learning to sew. This would be great for her! I have scraps from my apple collection and can see some ideas coming to me!

  11. Wonderful use of those proverbial "scraps" we all tend to have. I have lots of coffee fabric and also recently made a picnic cloth with all fruit fabrics. I can see lots of ideas whirling around in my head. Thanks for your great tutorial that you have provided. I would like your permission to teach this for a program for our local small quilt guild. This would be a wonderful quick project.

  12. It's September and I'm sewing for Christmas. I made these with patterned Christmas material for the front and solid colors for the back. I love them and can't wait to use them this year!

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  14. Thank you for the great tutorial! I can't wait to make some up. I'll have to make tons of them to use as gifts at Christmas and to stash in my "quick I need a gift box!"....
    So easy to make.
    Thanks again.

  15. thank you sounds great I love the lettering to going to try this

  16. Loved your mug rug tutorial! Featured it in a round up: http://www.patchworkposse.com/blog/2013/05/mug-rug-pattern-with-ufo-quilt-blocks-52-ufo-quilt-block-pick-up/

  17. Thank You so much this is perfect...
    to help use up the scraps that seem to grow
    so fast...
    blessings to you and yours..

  18. Awesome tutorial :). Thank you kindly for sharing it :). I have used it to make my first ever Mug rug :). I've blogged about it here if you're interested :). Thanks again :).


    Jenn from Mellycoddle

  19. I made my first mug mat this morning and another this afternoon. Thank you, you inspired me!