DreamCake mug rug {tutorial}

After I posted the mug rug I made for my sister, I had a few people saying they’d never heard of a mug rug, and did I have a tutorial? With the recent arrival of my new DreamCake fabric, I thought it the perfect excuse to make something! This tutorial assumes a level of sewing knowledge, but should hopefully work for beginner quilters – if you have any problems, leave a comment or drop me an email and we’ll see if we can get you sorted out.

So. Let’s gather our supplies. I’ve based this tutorial/pattern around a mini charm pack {gratuitous self promotion :: available in my shop}, but it’s also a good way to use up your scraps. I have also just listed a mugrug kit with everything you need to make two mug rugs – mini charm pack, batting, backing, binding, and a printed copy of this pattern (Fly Away) PLUS a bonus pattern exclusive to the mug rug kit.

You will need:

1 mini charm pack OR 18 small scraps of fabric, 2.5″ wide by 2.5″ (10 of)/1.5″ (8 of)

Small amount of background fabric – 16 1.5″ squares, 2 pieces 1.5″x4.5″, 2 pieces 1.5″x6.5″

Small piece of batting – 7″ x 11″

Backing fabric – 7″ x 11″

Binding fabric –

Pencil/tailors chalk


Scissors/rotary cutter plus mat

Sewing machine


Preparing fabric – mini charm pack:
Open the charm pack and pull out
4 clouds
4 double stripe
2 cupcakes
2 red polka dots
2 grey polka dots
2 aqua stripes
2 red stripes

Set aside the clouds, cupcakes, & double stripe. For the remaining 8 mini charms, trim to 1.5″ wide, giving 8 pieces at 2.5″ x 1.5″.


Preparing fabric – using scraps:
Cut from two fabrics – 4 2.5″ squares of each (central pinwheel)
Cut from one fabric – 2 2.5″ squares (feature square in borders)
Cut from 1 to 8 fabrics – 2.5″ x 1.5″ rectangles – 8 in total. (flying geese for the border)

Cut 16 1.5″ squares
Cut 2 4.5″x1.5″ strips
Cut 2 6.5″ x 1.5″ strips



From one fat quarter, cut 2 1.75″ strips across the long edge.



Strips of fabric 1.75″ wide to make up a total of 40-45″ (one width of fabric is enough).

If using the kit, you will need to cut a total of 4 strips before cutting the backing, to give enough binding for two mug rugs.


Cut a piece of fabric 11″ x 7″


Lay out your fabric as shown.




Creating the pinwheel. Lay out the clouds in a square, and check that they are all facing up, and the clouds are all in the right direction (not using clouds? Lay out one set of four 2.5″ squares face up, check if the pattern needs to face a certain way).


Take the double stripe, and lay it neatly on top of the clouds, so the pattern is facing down (right sides together), and the edges line up. In mine, I changed the direction on each one – so there is one vertical and one horizontal in each row/column.

Using a ruler and a pencil/tailors chalk, draw a diagonal line on each square from the outside corner to the corner that will be in the centre of the pinwheel, and carefully pin each pair together.


Sew along the line. Do not press or trim yet.


Set out your squares, and fold back the double stripe on each to check a) the clouds are the right way up and b) the stripes are running the right way.


Trim the excess, around 1/4″ from the seam, and press open.

Take one square and lay it face down on it’s neighbour, lining up the edges. Pin the ends of what would be the joining edges, and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat for remaining two squares. Press open.

Lay the two joined pairs on the table again to confirm everything is in the right spot. Put the right sides together, and along the middle edge, pin together, at each end, and where the seams you sewed in the last step meet (they should line up pretty well exactly). Sew along this edge with a 1/4″ seam. Press open.



Adding the borders. Taking a 4.5″x1.5″ strip, lay it on top of the pinwheel, lining up the top edges. Pin. Take the other strip, and line up with the bottom edge. Pin. Sew both strips on with a 1/4″ seam. Press open. (I found pressing the seam toward the white made for a flatter finish).

Take one 6.5″x1.5″ strip, and laying on top, line up left edges and pin. Repeat with other piece on right hand side. Sew with 1/4″ seam. Press.

And that’s the centre done!!


Making the side borders.

Take one of the small rectangles, and place a 1.5″ square of background on top, lining it up top/bottom/right hand side. Using a ruler and pencil/tailors chalk, draw a line from the top right hand corner to the bottom left corner. Sew along this line. Trim the fabric on the right of the seam, around 1/4″ from the stitching. Press open.


Place another 1.5″ square on background on top, lining it up with top/bottom/left hand side. Draw a line from top left corner of square to bottom right. Sew along the line. Trim fabric to the left, around 1/4″ from the seam. Press.

One flying goose! Repeat this for the seven remaining 2.5″x1.5″ rectangles. You may wish to do this in batches, ie, add all one side, trim and press, then add all the rest. Your choice!!



Lay out your border pieces, with the square in the middle, and two flying geese either side, points facing toward the feature square. Double check you are happy with direction/layout.

Put pairs of flying geese together, pin at the ends and see with a 1/4″ seam. Press open. Do this for all four pairs.

Take one pair, and put right side together with the feature square. Pin ends. Sew with 1/4″ seam. Press open.

Take the second pair, line up with feature square and pin. Sew with 1/4″ seams. Press open.

Ooo, a border! Repeat for the other side.


Take one border piece, and lay on top of the centre pinwheel, lining up the top, bottom, and the joining edge. Pin the ends and centre, and sew with a 1/4″ seam. Press open.

Repeat with second border.

Looky! The top is done!


Sandwiching the mug rug.
From the fat quarter, you would have cut 4 1.75″ strips for the binding. Using the mug rug top as a template, cut a piece approximately 1/2″ bigger than your mug rug on each side.

Lay your backing piece on a clean flat table, with the print facing down. Smooth it out to remove all lumps, bump, and wobbles.

On top of this, carefully lay down the piece of batting, smoothly gently to ensure it is smooth.

Centre your mug rug top and carefully lay it down and smooth out.

Place one pin in the centre, without lifting the three layers more than necessary. Carefully add more pins, roughly 2″ apart.

Quilting time! This can be as simple or as fancy as you like. If you are a beginner quilter you may like to stitch along the seams/outside of the pinwheel and around the triangles of the flying geese.


Binding – this tutorial explains it better than I can!



Boil the kettle, grab some bikkies and enjoy your new mug rug!



Shameless self promotion – a mug rug kit containing everything you need to make two mug rugs – a mini charm pack, a fat quarter of your choice, background fabric and wadding, plus instructions for this mug rug + a kit exclusive mug rug – is available in my etsy shop.

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