Tutorial: Appliqué Christmas Tree Mug Rug

Applique Christmas tree mug rug by Very Berry Handmade

Mug rugs are such cute little projects and make lovely gifts. If you’re not a quilter, you might not have encountered them before – the idea is that they are larger than a coaster and smaller than a place mat – ideal for a cuppa and a side order of festive treats…! If you are gifting a mug rug, I love the idea of including a label with a bit of explanation of what it is – something like this perhaps, although probably with some washing instructions too.

Applique Christmas Tree mug rug

‘Mug rugs’ make really nice wall art too – in fact I’d say that quite often there’s a very fine line between quilted postcard and mini-quilt and that line goes straight through the middle of a mug rug..!

I developed this pattern for my Christmas stitchy club, and even the beginners finished their mug rugs with in the 2 and a half hours we had available, so I’d say this is a nice quick project (especially if you are already good with patchwork, Bondaweb etc.) and also very achievable for a new stitcher.

Pattern notes

  • This is a self-binding project, so the backing will also form the binding – make sure that the fabric you choose for the back will work well as a binding on the front.
  • The finished mug rug is 6.5 inches by 8.5 inches.
  • The seam allowance is 0.25in throughout.

You will need

  • Strips of fabric at least 1.5in by 7in for the tree and the patchwork
  • At least 6.5in square of background fabric (the dotty fabric on my mug rug)
  • At least 8.5in by 10.5in fabric suitable for the backing and binding
  • Small piece of Bondaweb (at least 4.5 inches square).
  • Spray baste (optional)

Cutting list

  • For the patchwork strip and the appliqué tree cut 6 strips measuring 7 inches by 1.5 inches.
  • For the appliqué background and side strip cut one piece measuring 5in by 6.5in and one piece measuring 1.5in by 6.5in.
  • For the back and binding cut a piece of fabric measuring 10.5in by 8.5in.
  • Cut a piece of batting measuring 8.5 by 6.5 inches.

Make the patchwork strip and appliqué tree

Stitch the six 7in by 1.5in strips together and press the seams open:

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 2

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 1
Cut this patchwork piece into 2 sections measuring 3 inches by 6.5 inches and 4 inches by 6.5 inches.

Draw an isosceles triangle measuring 4 inches high and 3.5 inches across the base on the paper side of the Bondaweb piece and cut out roughly.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 3Iron the Bondaweb triangle onto the back of the 4in by 6.5in piece of patchwork.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 4

You can position the Bondaweb however you like, but avoid having any very narrow strips at the top or bottom of the tree. Cut out the tree shape:

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 5

From the left-over fabric cut out a small rectangle to form the tree trunk/pot and back with Bondaweb.

Making the mug rug top

Decide which way up you want the patchwork strip to be. Pin the 5in by 6.5in piece of background fabric right sides together with the left hand long edge of the patchwork strip.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 6

Stitch (you don’t need to reverse stitch), then press the seam towards the patchwork strip.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 7

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 8

Repeat the above with the 1.5 inch by 6.5 inch piece of background fabric to the other side of the patchwork strip:

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 9

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 10

Peel the backing paper from the Bondaweb and position the appliqué pieces centrally on the larger piece of background fabric and iron into position.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 11

Square up the mug rug top, making sure that the edges are nice and straight and you have 90 degree angles at the corners.

Quilting

Apply a light coating of spray baste to one side of the batting and lay the completed mug rug top onto it. Spray baste the back of batting and place centrally on the large piece of backing fabric. If you don’t have spray baste, just pin the 3 layers together, making sure the backing fabric is 1 inch bigger all round.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 12Remember that the ends of your quilting will be visible on the back of the mug rug – you can’t hide them in the binding, so finish off stitching by burying the knot, or with a bit of discreet back/reverse stitching.

Adjust the stitch length on your machine to 2.8mm and quilt round the edge of the tree (actually on the tree itself) – leave long threads at the start and finish. Pull the threads to the back and knot, then bury the knots between the layers of fabric.

Quilt either side of the patchwork strip on the background fabric – reverse stitch at the beginning and the end of the stitching to secure it.

Binding

Starting on one of the longer edges, fold the edge of the binding in to meet the edge of the mug rug top.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 13

Fold over again to create a binding on the mug rug top, and pin into position. I found a glue pen and lots of pins/clips to be very helpful with this.
When you reach the corner, fold the fabric at a 45 degree angle, so that it forms a triangle. The fold in the fabric needs to align with the adjacent edge of the mug rug:

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 14

Fold the next section of binding down over the triangle, so it touches the edge of the mug rug, as before:

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 15
Then fold the binding over the front of the mug rug, making sure you create a nice neat mitred corner. Pin to hold the mitred corner in place.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 16
Continue all round until the binding is all folded into position:

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 17

You can now choose whether to hand stitch the binding down with a blind hem stitch, or machine stitch it into position.
If you choose to machine stitch, make sure that the fabric at the corners stays in position as you stitch – you might find it helpful to use an awl, a long needle or a Hera tool to hold the fabric in position as you stitch.

Christmas Tree Mug Rug Step 18
You can also choose to either leave long threads at the beginning and end of your stitching, knot them and bury the knots in the binding, or you can do a little bit of reverse stitching in an inconspicuous place to secure the machine stitching.

Applique Christmas Tree mug rug Very Berry blog

Hope you enjoy the tutorial, as always I’d love to hear how you get on with it.

Support my blogging, free tutorials and swap hosting

If you have enjoyed and used this tutorial, please consider making a small donation so that I can keep on providing great free resources on my blog, without advertising (it costs nearly £40 per year to keep Very Berry ad free) and affiliates. Many thanks!

Make a donation

If you’d like to support me and my work providing free tutorials here at Very Berry and keeping my blog advert and affiliate-free – please do feel free to make a donation! It’s set for £1, but you can increase the numbers of ££ in the little box, if you are feeling generous. I really appreciate all your support – thank you!

£1.00

Folded Fabric Festive Star: Tutorial

Folded fabric festive star tutorial by Very Berry Handmade

There are other tutorials for this method of folding fabric to create stars – here’s a version by Crafting a Rainbow and the original Danish version that she used as the basis for her tute. I have added a little tweak of my own, and (having noticed the bits that my students were having trouble with when I was teaching this project at the weekend) added a few extra photos to make some of the stages a bit more obvious. So here we go!

Folded Fabric Festive Star – instructions:

You will need:

  • 4 strips of fabric measuring 2 1/2in by 12in
  • Loop turner/tube turner (not essential, but makes life much easier)
  • Binding clips/paper clips (not essential but they really help)
  • Hi-Tack glue, or other suitable fabric glue

Cut 4 strips of fabric measuring 2 1/2in wide by 12in long. Fold and press lengthways, right sides together, like this:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 1

Stitch down the long open side with a 1/4in seam. Don’t stitch the short edges.

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 2

Turn the tubes through to the right side. I use my fab Clover loop turner, but other tube turners are available, and you can even do it with a chop-stick, or knitting needle.

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 3

Press the tubes flat with the seam at one side:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 6

Fold each of the fabric strips so that one side is 1 1/2in longer than the other:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 7

Now we are going to start weaving and folding! All the fabric pieces need to have the short side on top. Keep in mind the 4 points of the compass as you are doing the next bit:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 8

But the most important thing is….

NOT TO DO THIS. I repeat – do not do this:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 9

It is really tempting to weave the folds in the zig-zag way above, but this is NOT what we are doing. As you fold the four pieces together, this is what you are aiming for:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 10

As you can see, one folded strip wraps completely around the other folded piece. This is how it looks from above:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 11

This is how it looks when you add the 3rd strip. Once again, I stress that the 3rd piece of fabric (the starry piece) is completely enclosing the folded strip of pink Christmas tree fabric:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 12

Here’s how it looks from the side:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 13

The fourth piece goes around the starry fabric strip and then tucks through the blue and white spotty fabric. I hope you can see that clearly here:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 14

Pull the fabrics so that the folds cinch together and get nice and tight – the middle section of interwoven fabrics should be fairly square:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 15

Flip the fabric strips over so you can work on the back:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 16

Take one of the longer sides of the strips and fold it down over the central square (I’ve folded the blue and white spotty fabric, as you can see). The temptation is to think that you need to weave it somewhere, but you don’t! Just fold it down:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 17

Now, working round clockwise, fold the next longer piece. It will cross the first piece you folded. I have folded the mint-coloured fabric, as you can see:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 18

Fold the next piece – this time I am folding the starry fabric up:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 19

The final step is fold the last longer piece and push the free end under the first piece of fabric you folded down. So, in this picture, I am folding the pink fabric over the starry fabric, and then tucking it under the blue and white:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 20

Here’s how it should look when you are done, and that’s the hard bit over with!

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 21

Time to make the points. This is where binding clips, or paper clips, come in handy to hold the points whilst you do some tucking (and maybe some gluing). You need to make 4 points on one side, then flip the star over and make the other 4 on the other side. So start with one of the strips that has a contrast fabric folded over it (the way the starry fabric has the pink fabric folded over it). Fold the strip diagonally as shown:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 22

Fold again to make a point. Leave a little vertical space coming down from the point to make the final fold easier:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 23

Fold the triangle that you have created in half to create the point. Clip it closed, if you can, whilst you do the next bit:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 24

Push the excess fabric down underneath the folded fabric of the previous strip:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 25

You can ignore the next stage if you like, but once I have tucked the fabric into position, I like to take the binding clip off the point, add a dot of Hi-Tack Glue between the 2 folds of the point and clip it closed whilst the glue dries:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 26

Skip the next strip (the blue and white strip in my version), move onto the next (the pink), and repeat the folds to create another point:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 27

Continue until you have completed 4 alternate points on this side of the star. Now flip the star over to work on the other side:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 28

As you tuck the fabric into the folds, you might find you have a bit of excess to deal with. Pull the fabric right through to the other side of the fold, pulling it tightly (can you see how the point I’ve created is being pulled through the fold?) and then trim off the excess as close to the other strip fabric as you can.

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 29

After trimming, pull the point back into position, and the excess fabric will be nicely hidden under the other strip:

Fabric Christmas start tutorial step 30

Once you’ve finished all the points, remove the clips and press the points to create a neat finish:

Folded fabric festive star tutorial

I tucked a folded ribbon into the centre of my star, and used a little more Hi-Tack glue to keep it in place:

Folded fabric festive star

But another option is to use small Command strips to stick them to your walls:

Folded festive stars on my wall at Spode in Stoke

Or you could make a garland! I haven’t done this yet, so no pics, sorry!

Hope you enjoy the tutorial, as always I’d love to hear how you get on with it.

Support my blogging, free tutorials and swap hosting

If you have enjoyed and used this tutorial, please consider making a small donation so that I can keep on providing great free resources on my blog, without advertising (it costs nearly £40 per year to keep Very Berry ad free) and affiliates. Many thanks!

Make a donation

If you’d like to support me and my work providing free tutorials here at Very Berry and keeping my blog advert and affiliate-free – please do feel free to make a donation! It’s set for £1, but you can increase the numbers of ££ in the little box, if you are feeling generous. I really appreciate all your support – thank you!

£1.00

Dashing around..

Recycled gift wrap

I’m feeling full of Christmas excitement.  We’ve even put pictures up that we haven’t got round to sorting in the 3 years since we moved here, just so that we can put more holly and ivy everywhere!  Our house is looking so wonderfully Christmassy – it’s gorgeous. The tree looks so beautiful, twinkling and sparkling with all our lovingly collected decorations.

I’ve been off doing some last minute stocking-filler present shopping (the best kind) today, and I even saw some reindeer (they were munching away, clearly getting all prepared for their hard work later in the week).

Sandy’s currently downstairs bottling all our various fruit liqueurs for our present giving, and I’ve been working on some ideas for lovely labels to add to the bottles. I’ve also been doing a little bit of wrapping, using ideas that I’ve linked to in my Christmas craft tutorial series.

So here’s my Toast Sale Catalogue recycled to make gift bags using this tutorial and this one for gift bows both from How About Orange – a huge thank you to Jessica, the keeper of this brilliant blog, for all her great ideas. I adapted the gift bag measurements so they fit our liqueur bottles very accurately – I’m rather pleased with the result, and I’m going to make a couple more this evening.

Then tomorrow I’m planning a full day in the kitchen – making mince pies, chocolate fudge and starting to make my favourite Pfeffernusse biscuits from the fabulous corner of the internet called Christmas Baking with Susie J.

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Today’s Christmas Craft Inspiration

If you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t got much time to be thinking about too much more crafting before Christmas – I’ll have enough on my plate finishing off the projects I have in hand, as well as getting on top of the cleaning and baking that needs to happen before Christmas Eve. But, I’m still very happy to look at other people’s wonderfully creative ideas and think ‘maybe next year…’.  Just today I happened across a a wonderful online magazine called Gifted, put together by Ez, the writer of a fabulous blog called Creature Comforts. It’s packed with loads of gorgeous ideas, and well worth a drool over. Enjoy!

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Cute kids…

And just as a little P.S.  I thought I’d share one of my little boy’s pearls of wisdom today…. we were discussing the Christmas story, and Tom announced ‘Jesus’ mum and dad are Mario and Joseph’… (that’s the Nativity sponsored by Nintendo for you!).

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