How To Make A Thanksgiving “Scrappy Fabric”
Reversible Mug Rug
Thanksgiving Scrappy Fabric Quilted Reversible Mug Rug
Have you ever visited someone during the holidays and felt that warm and welcoming feeling in their home? How did they do it? They did it with homemade pies baking in the oven, a cornucopia on their front door and holiday-appropriate small accessories that are used every day: like placemats, table toppers and mug rugs.
This Thanksgiving get into the spirit of the season with a quick and easy quilted project - a mug rug! I’ve found that it is the little things that matter the most. Ask me how I know this!
The great thing about this project is that each mug rug will be unique because it will feature your homemade scrappy fabric. The cotton mug rug is reversible and self-binding. And be prepared, after your friends and family see your mug rug they will want one too!
Your Thanksgiving-themed scrappy fabric mug rug can be created in a day. I’ll show you my favorite way to organize and use fabric scraps. You’ll be making a home made scrappy fabric project and you’ll learn the best way to sort and prepare your stash of fabric scraps.
I will use two coordinating fabrics – dark green and pumpkin orange. As this mug rug is reversible, you can use the suggested dark green fabric or a Thanksgiving-themed fabric for your backing.
Close-up of the Dark Green and Pumpkin Orange Coordinating Fabrics
Best of all, I will show you a quick and easy way to cut your fabric blocks by using quilt templates.
This tip is only for those of you who made the How To Make A Quick & Easy Halloween Mini Quilt! For this Thanksgiving Quilted Mug Rug project, you can use remnants of your pumpkin orange fabric.
In a few hours of your time, you’ll have a lovely set of Thanksgiving mug rugs. Let me show you how to do it.
There are two types of quilters – those who prepped before they started their quilt project and those who wished they had. I highly recommend that you don’t skip the following prep work.
Quilting Checklist and Supplies Needed for This Project
Some of you may not have the supplies, fabric or are not fully prepared to do this project. Find out what you will need below in Supplies, Fabric and Getting Ready To Sew. Everyone else, please jump to “How To Make Homemade Scrappy Fabric From Your Fabric Strips”.
Supplies and Tools
- White Thread for piecing
- Coordinating Thread for quilting and binding
- Fabric Glue Spray
- Double sided basting tape
- Your favorite ¼ inch presser foot
- Walking Foot
- Long Quilting Pins
- Heat Erasable Marking Pens
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat
- Sewing Snips
- 6 x 6 Inch Square Quilting Ruler
- 6 x 24 Inch Quilting Ruler
- Measuring Gauge
- Sewing Stiletto
- Thread Stand
- Wool Pressing Mat (and protective ironing mat)
- Steam Iron
- Fabric Starch
- Quilting Gloves
- Small scissors
- 6.5-inch Square Block Template
- Light cotton fabric strips made from your homemade fabric scraps.
- You will make one fabric strip that is 3.5-inches wide by approximately 65-inches long. This fabric strip will be used to make homemade scrappy fabric.
- ⅛ yard Pumpkin Orange cotton fabric. You will make a (1) fabric strip that is 2.25-inches wide by 65-inches long.
- ⅛ yard of Dark Green cotton fabric. You will make a (1) fabric strip that is 2.25-inches wide by 65-inches long.
- Optional Backing Fabric: Or your mug rug backing can be a Thanksgiving-themed cotton fabric cut 6.5-inches wide by 6.5-inches deep instead of the Dark Green fabric. With this option you will need 1/8 yard of Thanksgiving-themed fabric and will no longer need the 6.5-inch square of Dark Green fabric.
Getting Ready To Sew
I have a checklist that makes the process of sewing and quilting much easier and stress-free for me. Follow this link, to access my ‘getting ready to sew’ checklist. It also includes tips for the prep work and a checklist for piecing.
How To Make Homemade Scrappy Fabric From Your Fabric Leftovers
If you hate throwing away your fabric scraps then you will love this method to make them into homemade scrappy fabric that you can use for your next quilt project.
Piles Of Fabrics Sorted By Light, Medium and Dark
Sort your fabric scraps by color: light, medium and dark.
Sort each color group of scraps by size. Scraps that are 2.5 inches wide or larger put in one pile. Scraps smaller than 2.5 inches wide place in a different pile. The fabric strips that you will create will be 2.5 inches wide by length of fabric (LOF).
Select the scrap fabric colors that you want to use in your quilted mug rug. For this quilted mug rug you will only need to create light fabric scraps.
Close-up Of Trimming the Selvage Edge of Fabric
Check your scraps for selvage edges. Trim all selvage edges from your fabric. You can use these selvage strips to tie and store bulky items like batting or cotton fleece or flannel fabric remnants.
Close-up of Ironing Light-colored Fabric Scraps
Start with your selection of light-colored fabric scraps that are larger than 2.5 inches. Starch and iron these fabric scraps using a wool pressing mat.
Close-up Of Two Fabric Scraps with Straight Edge Lengths
Find two light-colored fabric scraps with straight edge lengths. It helps if they are approximately the same size in length.
Use your favorite method to prep your sewing machine for piecing fabric strips with a ¼ inch seam. You can use a ¼ inch quilting foot to get even seams.
Close-up of fabric scraps under the sewing machine needle
With right sides together, align and sew the straight edges of the two fabric scraps you selected. Please take care not to sew the same two fabrics next to each other.
Close-up Of Pressing The Seams Open
Press the seams open using your hot iron on a wool pressing mat to get crisp seams.
Close-up Of How To Trim The Edge Of Your Homemade Fabric
This two-piece fabric is the beginning of your homemade fabric. Pick either the left or right of this homemade fabric. Trim the edge you picked so that you have a straight edge. Then, grab the next fabric from your pile and repeat the last three steps.
Pat yourself on the back. You have started the process of turning scraps into awesome homemade scrappy fabric! Now continue adding fabric scraps so that you have a width no smaller than 7-inches wide by 65-inches long.
Cut your scrappy fabric into a fabric strip that is 3.5 inches wide by 65-inches long. Double check to make sure that all your edges are straight.
Close-up Of 3.5-inches Wide By 65-inches Long Scrappy Fabric Strip
How To Make A Fabric Strip Set
If you are not familiar with the term “Fabric Strip Set” it is simply the technique of sewing strips of fabric together and cutting them into smaller units to create a patchwork block. It is an easy and fast way to accurately make patchwork blocks.
For example: If you want to make a 4-inch square patchwork block the traditional way. You would cut (4) 2.5-inch square pieces of fabric. (Two light and two dark).
Or, you can make a fabric strip set comprised of the light and dark fabrics. Measure 2.25-inches on the fabric strip set and cut. Measure another 2.25-inches and cut. Sew the two pieces together with a ¼-inch seam allowance and your 4-inch square patchwork block is finished! See the Madam Sew Patchwork Template Set Manual, viewing the section labeled “Using The Square Template Sets To Make Squares Quickly”. Then look at the images in the sub-section “The Second” way to use the template.
Now let’s make the fabric strip set that you will need for your mug rug.
Take a 2.25-inch wide strip of pumpkin orange fabric and sew it to a 3.5-inch wide strip of the scrappy fabric. Press the seam to the darker fabric.
Then sew a 2.25-inch wide strip of the dark green fabric to the scrappy fabric. Press the seam to the darker fabric.
Use your wool pressing mat to press the length of this fabric strip set. You want it to be flat, smooth and have straight edges.
Pressed Fabric Strip Set
It’s like magic, the sewn fabric strip set will measure 6.5-inches wide.
Making 6.5-inch Square Blocks With A Template
Let’s have some fun making nine 6.5-inch square blocks the easy way!
Fabric Strip Set Properly Aligned With A Vertical Line On The Cutting Mat
Position the fabric strip set on your cutting mat so that the left edge aligns with a vertical line on the mat.
Fabric Strip Set Properly Aligned With A Horizontal Line On The Cutting Mat
Lay out the fabric strip set so that the bottom edge also aligns with a horizontal line on the cutting mat.
Fabric Strip Set With The Square Template In Position
Place the 6.5-inch square block template so that the left corner of the template aligns with the far left edge of the fabric strip set. Double check all the edges to make sure they are aligned properly and then make the first cut.
Repeat step three for the entire length of the fabric strip set to make a set of nine 6.5-inch square blocks.
This is the easiest way I know of cutting nine 6.5-inch square blocks from three different fabrics!
(Nine) Blocks Sewn In Three Rows
Making the Nine Block Patchwork
Have fun rotating each block so that your nine block patchwork layout does not have two of the same blocks next to each other. Then use your favorite piecing and pressing methods to sew three rows of blocks.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. This nine block patchwork top is not scrappy. And wait a minute, picture #1 has one 6-inch square block, not nine blocks! I promised a scrappy mug rug and I won’t let you down. You will be using this nine block patchwork as fabric, because…you will ‘fussy cut’ it into four 6.5-inch square blocks using the 6.5-inch square block template. And when you finish this project you will have four mug rugs.
How To ‘Fussy Cut’ Your Blocks
Let’s have some fun with a template! Use the 6.5-inch square block template to ‘fussy cut’ four blocks to make four mug rugs. Not familiar with the term ‘fussy cut’? It means to cut your fabric so that only the part you like the best is used. The Madam Sew blog “Through The Window” Wall Decoration has a lovely example of how to ‘fussy cut’.
“Fussy Cut” 6.5-inch Square Blocks
‘Fussy Cut’ Four Blocks. Use your scrappy fabric to cut four 6.5-inch square ‘fussy cut’ blocks using the 6.5-inch square block template.
(Four) ‘Fussy Cut’ 6.5-inch Square Blocks
Congratulations! Your uniquely scrappy mug rug top is finished!
Making the Mug Rug Quilt Sandwich – Four Easy Steps
Your mug rug backing fabric, batting and top should each measure 6.5-inches square.
Step One: Backing Fabric Placed On Your Workspace
Place the backing fabric on your workspace with the right side of the fabric facing you.
Step Two: Mug Rug Top Placed On Top of The Backing Fabric
Place the mug rug top on the backing fabric with the wrong side of the fabric facing you.
Close-up Of The Batting Placed On Top Of The Mug Rug Top
Place the batting on the mug rug top. Important: The wrong side of the mug rug top should be facing you. Have your fabric glue spray handy. Make sure that your backing fabric, rug mug top and batting are smooth and flat.
Lift the batting to expose the mug rug top. Spray the exposed mug rug top with glue spray. Then place the batting to its previous position.
Take precautions when using glue spray. Spray in a well-ventilated area, cover your work surface to protect it, do not spray near your sewing machine, and use a mask. If possible, try the best practice of placing your project in a box large enough to surround it – the spray will cover your project as intended and the walls of the box will catch any overspray.
Wonderful! You have completed your mug rug quilt sandwich!
Don’t forget to trim your mug rug top so that the edges are nice and straight.
Repeat this method to make a quilt sandwich for additional mug rugs.
Finishing The Mug Rug - The No Binding Way
If you have ever made a pillow cover, then the following instructions should sound familiar.
Use your favorite way to prepare to sew the perimeter of your mug rug sandwich.
Or you can try my preparation method for sewing the perimeter of the mug rug.
- Presser Foot: Your favorite clear sole applique presser foot
- Needle Plate: Zig Zag
- Stitch Type: Straight Stitch
- Stitch Length: 2.0 (This length makes a stronger seam.)
- Stitch Width: 0.0
- Needle: 90/14 Top Stitch Needle
- Needle and Bobbin Thread: White Cotton 40 WT
- Check that the needle position is 3/8-inch from the right of the walking foot sole. Use scrap fabric and check the seam measurement with a ruler.
- Remember to use a leader fabric for smooth stitches at the beginning of your sewing. Definition: A leader fabric is a small piece of fabric that you place at the beginning of your seam. Start sewing on the leader fabric and then properly align your fabric as you approach the needle. Any thread nests will be caught on the leader fabric and not your seam!
- Hold the needle thread to the side of the walking foot as you take your first stitches. This will also avoid thread nesting.
Close-up of using a ruler and a heat erasable marking pen to draw a 3/8-inch seam allowance on the mug rug backing fabric
Flip over the mug rug sandwich so that the backing fabric is facing you.
A 3/8-inch seam is not a typical seam allowance for quilters. I recommend that you use a ruler to measure the 3/8-inch seam allowance and then draw the seam allowance on your fabric with a heat erasable marking pen.
Close-up Of Sewing The Mug Rug Sandwich Perimeter
Sewing The Perimeter Of The Mug Rug Sandwich
Start sewing the perimeter of the rug mug sandwich on the far right side.
Next place a pin near each corner to help hold the mug rug sandwich in position.
Then leave an opening as wide as four fingers. Mark this opening with pins. You will need this opening to turn the mug rug sandwich right side out.
Next, sew the perimeter of the mug rug sandwich using the marked 3/8-inch seam allowance. Pivot at the corners. Be careful not to sew the “opening” closed.
Close-up Of A Trimmed Corner
Then trim each corner. Be careful not to cut into the stitches!
Now you are ready to turn the mug rug sandwich right side out. Use the opening to reach in and turn the mug rug sandwich right side out. When finished, the batting will be in the middle. The mug rug top will have the right side of the fabric facing you. And when you flip over the mug rug, the backing fabric will have the right side of the fabric facing you.
Gently push out the corners so that you have a nice point.
Finally use double-sided basting tape to secure the unsewn seam. Make sure that the unsewn seam is aligned with the sewn seam. Then machine sew the unsewn seam closed with a 3/8-inch seam allowance. Or you can hand sew the opening closed for an invisible seam.
Close Up Of The Straight Line Quilt Pattern
Your Mug Rug Is Ready To Quilt!
Use your favorite quilt pattern to quilt your mug rug as you see fit. Or try a quilt pattern using a walking foot as seen in Madam Sew blog “How to use the Walking Foot to Make a Quilt in a Day”.
A straight line quilt pattern works best for this project. It will help you quilt this mug rug quickly and the mug rug will lay flatter than a more elaborate quilting pattern.
Finished Scrappy Reversible Quilted 5.5-inch Square Mug Rug
Your Thanksgiving Scrappy Fabric Reversible Quilted Mug Rug Is Finished!
Wow, you really accomplished a lot in this mug rug project! You…
Dared to try new methods to create an amazing scrappy mug rug
Learned the quilters way to organize your fabric stash
Created custom scrappy fabric
Learned how to make fabric strip sets using three different fabrics
Used a template to cut fabric strip sets into 6.5-inch square blocks
Made a mug rug with ‘fussy cut’ square blocks - using a template
Applied a pillowcase making skill to create a no binding finish for your mug rug
I encourage you to use your new skills to make more Thanksgiving mug rugs for yourself, friends and family. Your family and friends will thank you. Ask me how I know this!
You might like to try other Madam Sew Blogs featuring home décor projects:
And try these great Madam Sew Tutorial Videos:
May your quilting always bring you joy!
Guest Blogger For Madam Sew
Ernestine “Ernie” Grant is an avid quilter with over 17 years experience and is the owner of the custom baby quilt business www.kalibabyquilts.com. As an African American living in Harlem, NY her view of quilting is shaped by her heritage and the elders who taught her–Quilting is not just thread, fabric and stitches. It is art, it is love, it is community.