project: simple embroidered mug rug with real quilt binding
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)
Sewing machine, needle and thread, iron, scissors, pins...the basics
All seams are 1/4-inch
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the corner, fold the binding back at a 45-degree angle. This is where that diagonal stitching helps.
Next, fold the binding down so that the raw edge matches up with the next edge of the mug rug you'll be sewing.
Start sewing 1/4-inch from the edge, and continue on to the next corner.
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!
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.
When you get to the corners, you sew them down the same way. What do you think? Not perfect, but not bad either!
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!
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.