Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Subway Art Mug Rug Tutorial

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I am completely fortunate to have wonderful friends in my life, both in person and on the web (shout out to my Tweeps!).  It's great to have people you can count on, and it's even more fun to say "Thank You" and show your appreciation of them with a handmade gift.  

Here is a little something I put together for one of my friends, who also happens to be my neighbor, to say thank you for 1-being awesome and 2- taking care of my fur-kids when we go out of town for a weekend.  My dogs love her... true story.

Inspired by Subway Word Art, and knowing that this friend is a coffee drinker like myself, I put together this little Mug Rug as a token of my appreciation.

This Mug Rug is a quick stitching project, which is perfect for trying a variety of techniques, practicing/ refreshing your skills, and using scraps from your stash!

Subway Art Mug Rug
(Finished Size: 6in W x 10in L)

  Exciting news!  You can purchase a version of this Coffee/Morning inspired Subway Art Machine Embroidery Design in my SoChick Fabric Shoppe on Etsy!  Enjoy!

You will need:

- 5 x 7 in. piece of Muslin or light colored cotton solid for your embroidery, and any necessary supplies (i.e. stabilizer, etc). I used Muslin in this project.

- One Fat Quarter of Focal Fabric (Fabric A)*

- Assorted scraps of Fabric B

- One strip of binding fabric measuring 2 x 36 inches.

- One piece of Quilt Batting 7 x 11inches

- Home embroidery machine with a font design program, or embroidery font files.**

-Basic Sewing Tools: thread, a water soluble marking pen, ruler, rotary cutter (and mat), Iron, board or pressing pad, Temporary Spray Adhesive (optional)

*Choosing your fabric:

I picked two main fabrics for my mug rug.  The first is a focal print (Fabric A), I chose a Coffee Themed print from Michael Miller Fabrics, which has words like "Espresso" and "Coffee" throughout; I snipped these out for the applique.  The second print (Fabric B) is Lime Dots from Amy Butler Design, it coordinates great with the focal fabric.

I chose to bind my mug rug with Limestone Dancing Paisley print from Amy Butler Design.  Having a third print lends clean lines to the edge of the mug rug and keeps your binding from blending in with your focal prints.

The Layout:
Subway Art Mug Rug Layout
To Cut:

Fabric A (blue):
  1- 7 x 11in (backing)
  1- 3.5 x 4.5 in
  2- 1.5 x 6 in strips

Fabric B (green):
  1- 3.5 x 4.5in
  2- 6.5 x 1in strips
  2- 1 x 4.5 in strips

(Note: these measurements include 1/4 in seam allowance on all pieces)


-Embroider your Subway Art onto the 5x7 piece of muslin (or whichever fabric you are using):

  I used Hyperfont, which is part of my Singer Futura Ce-150 design suite, to create coffee/morning related words in different fonts.  I arranged the words to fit within a 3x5 inch space, as this is what will show in my mug rug.  Once the embroidery is complete, trim your piece to 3.5 x 5.5 inches (which accounts for our 1/4 in seam allowance).

**If you do not have an embroidery unit, you may choose to hand embroider or applique words into your 3x5 in piece.  Alternately, you may choose to fussy cut a piece of fabric or monogram this piece, too!

  I cut the words "espresso" and "Cafe au lait" from my Fabric A.  I used temporary spray adhesive to adhere them to the green 3.5 x 4.5 piece in the lower right corner, keeping in mind that there is a 1/4in seam allowance.  Then, I used my machine to sew a simple zigzag stitch around the edges.

Piecing your Mug Rug:
(Remember to use a 1/4in seam allowance when piecing your Mug Rug.)

(Oops, I forgot to add my 1 x 6in green strips to the top and bottom in the picture)
Step 1- Take the 3.5 x 4.5 pieces (on the right in the above drawing) and place them right sides together (RST) with the bottom of Fabric A matching up with the top of Fabric B.  Stitch together.  Press open with seam to Fabric A.  Set aside.

Step 2- Working with the embroidered piece and the 1 x 4.5 in Fabric B strips, match the short side of one strip to the top left corner of your Embroidered piece, RST.  The long edge of this strip will extend beyond the embroidered piece, this is OKAY.  Starting at the top corner, stitch down the long side of the strip, stopping 1/2 in from the bottom left corner of the embroidered piece.  Press open, with the seam to Fabric B.  Repeat with the second strip on the opposite corner of your embroidered piece.
(Refer to the layout drawing at the beginning of this tutorial to be sure you are matching your pieces up correctly.)

Step 3- The strips we just attached will extend past your embroidered piece,  fold these back and pin out of the way, leaving the seam allowance of your embroidered piece exposed (remember, we stopped stitching 1/2in before the edge.)

Step 4- Working with the Fabric A strips, match the long edge of one Fabric A strip to the top of the embroidered piece, RST, starting at the top right corner of the embroidered piece (This is why our fabric B strip is folded back and out of the way).  To the left, the Fabric A strip will align to the top short edge of Fabric B piece.  Stitch all the way along this edge.  Repeat with the second Fabric A strip on the opposite side of the embroidered piece.

Step 5- Unpin the Fabric B tails.  Fold to the front (with RST) and stitch to the remaining Fabric A pieces, to join.  Press all seams away from the embroidered piece.

Step 6- Working with the final Fabric B pieces, align one of the 1 x 6in pieces to the top of the block we just made, RST, and stitch in place.  Repeat with the final strip, along the bottom of the block.  Press seams to back of Fabric B strips.

Step 7- Attach the left and right sections of the mug rug by placing both pieces RST, making sure that your designs are facing the same way.  Stitch in place and press.

You've finished the top of your mug rug! Yay!  Now, simply layer, quilt as desired, and bind.

The following is a quick run-down of how I finished my mug rug:


I chose to use straight lines for all of my quilting (below); you can see that I went ahead and used a water soluble marking pen to mark where I wanted to quilt a zigzag pattern in the top right corner (above).

To Bind:

Fold the binding strip in half width-wise, making a double thick strip which measures 1 x 36 inches. Starting at the bottom of the mug rug and using a 1/4in seam allowance, I stitched the raw edge of my binding to my mug rug, mitering the corners.  I then folded the binding to the back, pinned and hand stitched it down with a blind stitch.  
*There is a great post showing how to bind and blind stitch on Quilting In The Rain Blog.

I really love how this Subway Art Inspired Mug Rug came out.  It was also a great way for me to freshen up my quilt binding skills for when I bind my oldest chickie's quilt. (I am thisclose to finishing the quilting on it!) 

While my machine was set up for embroidery, I went ahead and made a ruffled kitchen towel to match my mug rug, rolled it all together and gifted both as a matching set... my friend loved it, and that makes me so happy!

Let me know if you try this tutorial, it's my first with piecing and quilting... I appreciate all feedback! 
XxOo~ Melissa


  1. SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!! omg --seriously this is like the best thing ever--I WANT ONE!!!!!!!

  2. I purchased your design, then had my MIL convert for my Designer 1 and I just got done making this for my daughter. LOVE it! Thank you!!


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