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project: simple embroidered mug rug with real quilt binding

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug


Earlier this year I made my first real quilt. Sort of. I still have a hard time thinking of it as a real quilt because I made it the cheater way without a binding. It has been bugging me that I didn't learn how to do the binding, but I figured I'd get there eventually.

Eventually is here.

To learn the process, I decided to start small. A mug rug is the mini-est of mini quilts and I had that lily of the valley embroidery to use, so I set out to create something easy. It's not perfect...I'm super super new to some of this...I'm not trying to be an expert. But if I can learn this stuff, so can you. And it happens when you just start.

You will need:

A piece of embroidery on fabric 5 x 6 inches (this is a great place to use something you've already stitched!)
Fabric for front: 5 x 6 inches
Fabric for back: 9.5 x 6 inches
Batting: 9.5 x 6 inches
Fabric for binding: 2.5 x 40 inches (I cut mine from the full 45-inch width of the fabric)
Embroidery floss
Sewing machine, needle and thread, iron, scissors, pins...the basics

All seams are 1/4-inch

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug
Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

Start by sewing the embroidered piece and the front fabric piece, right sides together. Press the seam toward the darker fabric. Hopefully at this point, you'll be more successful at ironing out the wrinkles than I was.

Layer the backing fabric (wrong side up), the batting, and the top piece together. If the back and batting aren't quite the right size, trim them.

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug
Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

Pin the layers together and quilt some lines on the non-embroidered half. I kept them all straight, but varied the line widths. You can do this however you choose, including hand quilting it, which would look fantastic, I'm sure.

Add a line of running stitch next to the center seam on the embroidery half.

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

There are all kinds of great tutorials out there for binding a quilt, so do some searching and take in a few guides. The one I relied on for my binding can be found here.

To prepare the binding, press 1/4-inch of the end of the strip toward the wrong side. Next, press the entire strip in half the long way.

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

Place the raw edges along the edge of the mug rug, with the folded edge toward the center. Start along the bottom edge, and begin your sewing an inch or two from the end of the binding strip. When you get to the corner, stop 1/4-inch from the end.

That diagonal line is another tip I learned here. It forms a guide for the next step. When you get to the edge of the fabric, back stitch on the machine, and trim your thread.

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

At the corner, fold the binding back at a 45-degree angle. This is where that diagonal stitching helps.

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

Next, fold the binding down so that the raw edge matches up with the next edge of the mug rug you'll be sewing.

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

Start sewing 1/4-inch from the edge, and continue on to the next corner.

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

When you make it back to the start, you'll need to trim off any excess binding strip so that it overlaps about 1 inch with the loose folded starting piece. Tuck it inside the starting piece, then continue sewing to finish it off.

I was a little upset by that pucker you see, but guess what? When I folded it down to the right side, there's no pucker!

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

See? Pretty!

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

Finally we get to the finishing. Wrap the folded edge around to the back and stitch it down with a blind stitch. To do this, you secure the thread (I used hand quilting thread) to the quilted part, then bring the needle through the folded edge of the binding, tacking it down to the mug rug. The idea is to make the stitching secure but invisible.

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

When you get to the corners, you sew them down the same way. What do you think? Not perfect, but not bad either!

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

With your thread knotted and trimmed, you've got a mug rug!

Things I noticed: When quilting the yellow section, the fabric wanted to shift more than I expected. It worked out, but next time I'll pin more. Also, the embroidered area with no quilting looks loose to me, probably because the other side is so tightly quilted. If you have a suggestion (other than quilting this area), please share!

Lily of the Valley Mug Rug
Lily of the Valley Mug Rug

Now, I'm going to let you in on a secret. I've made a lot of projects where I started with limited knowledge and only a rough plan. And most of the time they work out because of this: She believed she could, so she did. And also, because I know that I can share these things with you and tell you about my experiences and that you'll join in my celebration or sorrow. But mostly celebration. You know, because we're awesome like that.

11 comments:

  1. your mug rug is so cute! I love the lily of the valley embroidery :) congrats on your first binding, I'm impressed with how great it looks! I usually find it is trickier to bind small projects than larger quilts. For future projects that you want to be flat without dense quilting, I would recommend you use Pellon fusible fleece instead of batting. one side of this product has a permanent fusible that you iron your top to, then you can quilt sparingly without puckers. besides the fusible, it is just like working with any other polyester batting.

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  2. It's really nice! Thank you!! :))

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  3. Hi Mollie,
    Great tutorial, and timely for me as I, too, suffer from quilt-a-phobia. I know I can do it (or so I think) it's just like the one thing I haven't attempted for some reason even though I really, really want to. Small scale is FAR less scary. Cool. I have some thermal batting I had planned on using for a trivet..
    Karin

    PS - I have a link on my site to your Stuffed Animal book review because I'm giving one away for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway. People are excited about it!!

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  4. goodness me, so adorable! as always you have the cutest little tid bits.


    grace
    http://herumbrella.com
    COME ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!

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  5. SO cute! The only thing you're missing is a cookie. :)

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  6. Awesome! I will have to do up a few of these. Build up my courage to do make my first quilt!

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  7. I love this, thank you for the tutorial Kathy

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  8. Thank you! I just made one today for my mom for mother's day. I love your embroidery!!

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  9. Since you found the space around your embroidery too empty, maybe next time you could not only do some handstitching on the right side, but all around the embroidery. That gives a nice separation. Just an idea.... I usually chicken out of binding mugrugs all together: http://brodeuse-bressane.blogspot.fr/2013/04/mug-rugs-et-housse-de-machine-coudre.html LOL!!

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  10. So cute. I want to make one. Wow, you did this all by hand. Great

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  11. This is soooo cute! I'm glad that you created this and that you shared it with us! On your question about fabric shifting while you quilted, a walking-foot for your machine will help with that. It causes the fabric to feed evenly on both top and bottom. Fusible things help with holding down fabrics that aren't quilted. Another commenter mentioned fusible fleece. There is also fusing products that you can use with other batts as well. Keep on quilting....

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