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tea time mug rug (with embroidery pattern!)

Mug Rugs are all the rage these days, but I've yet to make one. Fortunately, Sara is here to show us a really cute way to make one...and I even got to help!
Hi, this is Sara over from the split stitch, and I am so excited to be here today to share a really fun project with you. In honor of this week’s Tea Party, I present to you the “Tea Time Mug Rug”. Bigger than a coaster, yet smaller than a place mat, this mug rug is just the right size for a cup of tea and your favorite treat. If you can sew a straight line … you can sew this mug rug, it is that easy (and fast too!).
Before we begin, I want to talk a little bit about the part of the mug rug that I am calling the “side panel”. This area is a great spot to highlight some embroidery, applique, a bold cotton print … or whatever you can think of! You want to think about, and complete your design element for this side panel before you begin cutting your fabric. Just keep these measurements in mind: the side panel is a piece of fabric cut to 4” x 8.5”; and the visible portion (after sewing) ends up being around 2.75” x 7.25”.
For the side panel in the stitched example I used a tea bag embroidery pattern that Mollie was kind enough to design for this project. (You can download the pattern here.) See how he fits perfectly? And he really has got to be the cutest tea bag you have ever seen … am I right? I used Steam-A-Seam 2, some cotton fabric, and backstitching with black embroidery floss to create that little guy, but this is a spot for you to be really creative … so go for it! Okay, so now that you have something cute stitched up for your side panel, let’s get started!

Tea Time Mug Rug Tutorial
Finished Size: Apx. 8.25” x 7.25”

Gather Your Supplies:
7 quilting weight cotton prints cut to 6.5” x 2” each for patchwork insert
1 solid quilting weight cotton (with embellishment if so desired) cut to 4” x 8.5” for side panel
1 quilting weight cotton print cut to 8.5” x 9.5” for back
1 piece of fusible fleece cut to 7.5” x 8.5”
Basic Sewing Supplies: Sewing machine, thread, 70/10 & 90/14 universal sewing machine needles, tool for turning corners, scissors or rotary cutter, iron, etc.
Optional: 1 piece of eyelet (or other trim) that is 8.5” long (width is not important)


* 1” = 2.54 cm
* A 70/10 universal sewing machine needle is used to assemble the entire mug rug until the last step – the topstitching is completed using a 90/14 universal sewing machine needle.
* All seam allowances are ½” .
* Abbreviations: RS= right side, WS = wrong side, RST= right sides together, WST= wrong sides together


1. Center and fuse the fleece to the WS of the back piece of fabric. Set aside.

2. Take your 7 cotton prints for the patchwork insert, and determine what order you would like them in.
3. With your first and second fabric pieces for your patchwork insert, and place them RST. Align the raw edges. Sew the 2 pieces together along one of the 6.5” sides.
4. Continue sewing all of the 7 prints together to form one patchwork insert piece as shown below.
5. Using scissors or pinking shears, trim all of the seam allowances down to ¼”, and press all of the seams open.
6. Using a rotary cutter and ruler, trim the sides of your patchwork insert if necessary to straighten them out.
7. Align the raw edges of one side of the patchwork insert with one of the long sides of the side panel piece as shown in the photo below. (Note: Your side panel piece will likely be the same length as the patchwork insert piece, due to a cutting error on my part, the side panel piece was a bit shorter, so I simply centered it on the patchwork). Pin the 2 pieces together, and sew.
8. Optional: Attach a piece of eyelet over the seam created in step 7. I like to use tape (rather than pins to temporarily affix the eyelet, then I simply sewed over the stitching created by the manufacturer to permanently attach the eyelet. Your front of the mug rug is now complete.
9. Place your completed front piece on a flat surface with the RS facing up. Place your backing piece (from step #1) on top of the front piece RST. Align raw edges and pin together.
10. Along one side (I chose the “side panel” side), use a water soluble marker, or any other marking tool to mark a 3” opening to use for turning.
11. Sew the 2 pieces together around all 4 sides(except for the opening), and clip the corners. You can pivot at the corners if you like, but I prefer to do my corners a bit differently to make them stronger. Take a look:
12. Trim all of the seam allowances down to ¼” EXCEPT for the side with the opening (I have found it is much easier to close an opening with ½” of fabric than ¼” of fabric available to topstitch over).

13. Turn the mug rug right side out and press. Be sure to press the fabric left from the opening inward.
14. (Switch to your 90/14 needle now!)Using the side of your presser foot as a guide, top stitch around the entire mug rug. This will close your opening left for turning. Then, when you are finished, go back and add another line of topstitching around 1/8” beyond your first line of topstitching. Press the entire piece.
You are finished, enjoy! If you have any questions, or any of the steps are not clear, feel free to stop by my blog, and click on the “about me” link – there you will find my email address.

P.S. This tutorial is for personal use only, thanks for understanding!

Hugs, Sara

You're definitely going to want to stop by Sara's blog today, because she's giving away this lovely mug rug and some supplies for making one! Thank you so much, Sara! You've made even the most casual tea party (for one!) so very pretty.


  1. Anonymous1:32 PM

    This is the cutest mug rug ever!!!

  2. This is so cute! A lovely twitter friend made me a mug rug that I just love.

  3. Oh goodness! I must make some of these! How much cuter than coasters! :D

  4. Adorable and very clear instructions thank you! :)

  5. This is so cute! I love it!

  6. This is so lovely, and perfect timing to make for my Mum's birthday! Thank you for sharing, it is really generous of you (and to Mollie for the adorable teabag stitch pattern!)

  7. Great project thank you might try this tomorrow.

  8. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on May. 27, 2011. Thanks again.

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on May. 27, 2011. Thanks again.

  10. LOVE IT!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  11. This makes me want to have a cup of tea, sew, and give someone a hug all at once.

  12. I absolutely love this! Must have!

  13. Wow, schöner "tea time mug rug" Dankeschön für die tolle Anleitung. LG Hexe

  14. Great project! I just wanted to let you know that we featured this project on our Facebook page with more than 12,000 fans. We’d love it if you’d use our Featured Blogger button, available at: http://www.dailycraft.com/thank-you-for-crafting/. Our audience loved the project and we look forward to sharing more from you. Please let us know if you have any questions or projects you’d love us to feature! Thanks!

  15. Just gorgeous...have posted about it on my Freebies blog too...thanks for sharing..hugs Khris

  16. Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I just love it.

  17. So, so cute! It's just really lovely!

  18. Thanks for the neat idea, plan to use it to make some Valentine mug rugs :)

  19. oh this is so sweet, i love your fabric selection and tea bag embroidery.

  20. I made one!! I couldn't resist. Mine is not as pretty as yours, but I made one for my friend in her favorite colors. Seriously, who can resist Valentine colors?? http://www.flickr.com/photos/25507039@N02/6910975349/in/photostream

  21. Fantastic!!!!.

    Thanks for this tutorial.


    Olga (Barcelona Spain)

  22. I love it!!!!!

    I think I have done one like this!

    Thank you very much!

    Alexia (Girona, Spain)

  23. I had never thought of making this! I loved the idea!
    And the tea bag is so cute!

    Thank you so much for the tutorial :)

    Constanza (Santiago, Chile)

  24. Thanks for this tutorial. I made one for myself. You can see pictures on sewingpot.blogspot.com !
    Gaëlle (France) !

  25. Anonymous4:19 AM

    hey, I made one as a present for a beloved friend. Thank you for the precise instruction and helpful pictures :) I like your work :)

  26. Anonymous3:31 PM

    regarding the "side panel", did you secure the scrap pieces using "steam a seam", then embroider in black around it? is the steam a seam strong enough to keep the scrap from getting loose or fraying?

    for example, the red with large white polka dots on the "head" of Tea Bag Guy - the edges seem to be "exactly" tacked down by the black embroidery thread. i like how clean it looks, but was wondering about how it will withstand wear & tear and washing.

  27. Sara sent me the mug rug, and I use it regularly, but still haven't washed it. The pieces really do feel very secure, so I don't expect there to be any problems. Maybe hand wash or place it in a delicates bag in the washer just to be safe?

  28. Sorry to tell you - someone has stolen this and is offering if for sale on their website - here is the link.


    1. Thank you for letting me know! I just spotted this on Sara's blog, and I'm now looking into it. For now, I'm trying to assume innocence and will hope for the best...

  29. Oh my gosh, stumbled upon this "mug rug" tutorial. It is so adorable! Thanks so much for sharing your art work!

  30. Anonymous7:39 PM

    thank you for sharing...

  31. Anonymous7:55 AM

    Love these! Thinking about making a bunch up to give as a Thank You gift at our Friendship Tea this spring at church. Thank you!

  32. This is so cute! I was looking for gifts for some tea lovers that I recently met and this will be perfect. Thank you for sharing!

  33. Thank you.
    I love it !


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