Friday, April 12, 2013

Girl Friday Sews - a tutorial for an improv coffee cozy and mug rug

Fabric Mutt

Welcome to my stop on the Girl Friday Sews Blog Hop, which is hosted by my friend Heidi from Fabric Mutt.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

I love to have a cup of coffee or tea at my desk, both at my office desk and my desk at home. So I am going to show you how to make an improv coffee cozy and mug rug. As this is an improv piece, the materials list is not that particular. You will need some strips of fabric, a scrap of batting, a bit of fabric for the backs, about 2" of wide elastic and thread to quilt with.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

First cut the fabric scraps in strips of about 22" (the length of a fat quarter is good). It is more interesting to cut them in different widths, I used 1" to 1.75" widths. Sew the strips together and press the seams open.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Cut the strip piece into strips, again varying the widths. Either cut off a small rectangle of about 2" length or cut one from your scraps.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Lay one of the pieced strips along the rectangle and sew them together with a 1/4" seam (all seams in this project are about 1/4").

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Trim off the excess and press the seam toward the rectangle.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Lay another strip or the remaining parts of the first strip alongside the pieced part as shown and sew together. We are basically making a log cabin, although you can add an extra log wherever you like as you go.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Trim and press. Keep the left over bits as you can sew them together later to make longer strips.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Continue laying out more logs and sewing them on.


If the piece feels like it needs a more angles, trim off a bit. When the size of logs needed is larger than your cut pieces, sew two together or sew on the left over bits. If you run out of logs, piece another set of strips and cut some more.


When your mug rug feels like it is the right size, square it up or cut it on an angle, as you wish. I made mine about 5" x 7". Then lay it on your back fabric and cut the back about 1" wider than the  top.


Then use your back piece to measure and cut out a scrap of batting.


Lay your back face down, batting and then pieced part face up, just like a quilt. Smooth out all the wrinkles and pin baste. If you love to spray baste, you can do that instead.


Quilt as you like. I used my walking foot, set a longer stitch length - about 4 on my machine - and stitched very close together straight lines. The quilting on this little piece took 8 minutes - it looks much more difficult than it is.
improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Trim the excess batting and back fabric off. You can square it up at this point or cut it on an angle, as you like.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

On small pieces and mini quilts, I prefer a single thickness binding. I think it is just so much nicer, so I am going to show you how to do that. You can, instead, bind the mug rug as you like. To do a single thickness binding, cut strips of scraps 1.25" wide. I lay them around the edges of the mug rug to make sure I have a long enough piece.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Starting about 2/3 from one end, sew one edge to the front of the mug rug, with a 1/4" seam allowance.  I sew to 1/4" from the next edge and you can see how I mark the stopping point. I put a pin at 1/4" from the edge and stop when I get to it. Then back stitch a few stitches and cut the threads.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

This is how it will look.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Fold the binding at a 45 degree angle back off the mug rug as shown.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Keeping that fold in place, fold again parallel with the stitched edge. Then start stitching at the folded corner, back stitch a couple of stitches. Continue to the edge and repeat the corners.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

After sewing the last corner, sew about 1/3 of the last edge and stop. You can see in this picture that I realized that I had started too close to the middle of the mug rug and unpicked a few stitches  along the edge.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

I join the binding in a line. If you like to join it on an angle, you can use your normal method here. I fold the two pieces as shown so that they just touch. Finger press the folds.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Fold the mug rug in half and match the folds. I pin to keep this in place.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Bring the mug rug to the needle and stitch along the fold.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Lay the mug rug flat and make sure that the seam allows the binding to lay flat along the last edge of the mug rug. If it does not, stich again where you need the seam to be and then unpick the first seam. Trim the seam allowance to about 1/4". Then stitch the last bit of the binding in place.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

These next two steps are different from how I finish a double fold quilt binding. First press the binding away from the top of the mug rug.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Flip the mug rug over and pull the binding flat. fold it in to line up with the edge of the mug rug and press. I just leave the corners alone at this stage.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

I hand sew the binding on the back. To mitre the corners, fold them as shown and then fold over the outside binding.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

The corners should mitre as shown in this picture. Stitch around the mug rug. I use a hem or ladder stitch but a whip stitch also works - use the stitch you usually use to stitch a quilt binding.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Admire your mug rug.

improv mug rug and coffee cozy tutorial

Grab the bits of strips left over and stitch them into longer strips. I aimed for about 3.5" wide, but it can be wider if you like. If you need more strips, make another set and cut them as needed. Press.


Measure the pieced strips around your favourite take out coffee mug. Aim for the pieces to overlap about 1/2". Trim as needed.


Lay the pieced strip on top of another batting scrap and then quilt as desired. I did more close together lines.


Lay the quilted pieced strip on your backing fabric right sides together, as shown. Cut the backing the same size as the quilted strip.


Sew around the edge, using a 1/4" seam. Leave a long opening for turning, about 5" or so. Clip the corners - that is cut off the corners on an angle to remove the excess fabric.


Turn it right side out and poke out the corners. Turn under the edge where there is no stitching and pin. Top stitch close to the edge of the strip all the way around. This will close the turning opening.


Position a scrap of thicker elastic (I used a 1" width) on the back of one edge of the piece and pin, as shown.


Stitch the elastic close to the edge and back stitch.


Bring the strip around and pin it to the end of the elastic so it just touches the other side.


Gently lay this under your presser foot as shown and stitch the elastic on the other side as shown. I did not bother to trim the elastic on the inside after but you can if you like.


Try your cup cozy out for size. It should fit snugly as you move it higher on the cup. If by chance it is just too big, take it off, remove the elastic and instead just stitch the two sides together, one on top of the other. For the cup cozy to work well, it needs to be snug on the cup or you might drop your coffee.


I hope you enjoyed making these improv pieces. They look sophisticated enough for both the outside and home office and people will think that they were far harder to make than they were.

The last stop on the Girl Friday Sews Blog Hop is Monday with Heidi from Fabric Mutt. If you missed any of the wonderful tutorials, you can go back to see them. The whole blog hop list is:

Mon., April 1 -- Heidi Staples @ Fabric Mutt
Tue., April 2 -- Kristy @ Quiet Play (Pink Chalk Fabrics giveaway: $25 certificate)
Wed., April 3 -- Becca Bryan @ Bryan House Quilts
Thur., April 4 -- Amanda Woodruff @ A Crafty Fox (Westwood Acres giveaway)
Fri., April 5 -- Lee Heinrich @ Freshly Pieced
Mon., April 8 -- Svetlana Sotak @ SOTAK Handmade
Tue., April 9 -- Beth @ Plum and June (Sew Me a Song giveaway: fabric bundle)
Wed., April 10 -- Taryn @ From Pixels to Patchwork
Thur., April 11 -- Lori Hartman @ Lori H. Designs (Fabricworm giveaway: Robotic fabric bundle)
Fri., April 12 -- Leanne @ She Can Quilt
Mon., April 15 -- Blog Hop Recap at Fabric Mutt

Tomorrow I will be telling you about the Q2 FAL sponsors. If you have not yet posted your list, you are going to want to that - the link up is here - you don't miss out on the wonderful prizes our fabulous sponsors are going to be sharing.




Annabella said...

The most beautiful and sophisticated mug rug and coffee cozy Leanne!

Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts said...

Wow, awesome tutorial Leanne - I want to run away and do some improv right away. Simply gorgeous!

elle said...

Thanks, Leanne. I gotta get my list in!

beaquilter said...

very COOL, I never do dingle fold binding, but I LIKE yours so may have to try that now and LOVE the cup cozy :-)

Deborah Hamilton said...

Very cute! Thanks for the tutorial and the lesson on binding.

giddy99 said...

These are gorgeous! Great tutorials, too!

Debbie said...

Very fun and great little tutorial. Thanks!

karen said...

Really cute!! Nice tutorial too.

Heidi Grohs said...

Single fold for small quilts? Genius!

Heidi Staples said...

These are fantastic, Leanne! I agree -- they look so much more complicated than they actually are to make. And thanks for including that single binding tutorial too!

Tammy said...

Great projects with a wonderful tutorial. Thank you for shareing .

Savannagal said...

That was super cute and a great way to practice for making a quilt.

Katy Cameron said...

Loving your organically grown mug rug, and genius on the binding join!

LJ said...

Improv, that's true, but crazy wondeful, too. Love your color combinations and the added elastic for the cup cozy rather than velcro.

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

Lovely!!! Now I need to work on liking coffee!

Anita said...

Very cute! I love the improv look and the single fold binding :)

DeborahGun said...

These are great - and very pretty!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for sharing! I especially like your piecing method. I'll have to try that.

The Thimblemouse of Country Crossroads said...

Wow! Love your mug rug and coffee cozy...Thanks for the fabulous tutorial!!!

Unknown said...

Wonderful tutorial, thank you so much. Love the colors!

Carla said...

Great tute! Love your colors, too!

Unknown said...

That looks amazing. So creative of you! But I feel that, if you take it with you to your office then people may think of you either a weirdo or a coffee/tea addicted person. I don't know, but that's how I feel people would think.

Nice article by the way. I am gonna show this to my mom. She will love this blog post too.

Finn Felton
Kopi Luwak