Today I’m going to show you how to make a DIY woven rug mug.
I love fabric coasters in general. They’re a great way to use up random scraps in your stash. Plus they make quick, fun handmade gifts.
These ones are made from wool sweater scraps. We’re freeform weaving them onto a base and then quick quilting them to keep the strips in place.
It’s a simple but fun little project that’s easy enough for kids and entertaining enough for adults. Your tea and coffee cups deserve a happy little mat to sit on! So let’s get into it!
Supplies for your DIY woven mug rug
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A note about wool sweaters
If you come across good wool, it is worth using up even the weird bits. It’s a joy to work with and it just behaves a special way.
In my case I had some leftover bits from a costume project. They came from men’s sweaters and the wool is thick and delightful. Wool felt or boiled wool will also work.
A lot of times when I refashion sweaters I end up with otherwise unusable pieces under the arms straight down to the hem. There’s very little width here and the stretch goes the wrong way to use them in an actual garment. This project is totally for those!
How to make a mug rug
Cut the fusible fleece
Fusible fleece is going to help us hold the strips in place eventually. It’s also going to give some needed interfacing for these little mug mats.
Cut 4″ squares.
Cut strips from the wool
Next, cut strips of your chosen wool. Cut several strips 1/2″ wide by about 7″. That’ll give you plenty of length to make a nice tightly woven mug rug.
Also cut a square for the backing. I like to cut it about 5″ so that it’s a bit bigger than the fleece.
Starting the weaving
I found it easiest to assemble the weaving directly on my ironing board. That way you don’t have to move it before you can fuse the strips in place.
First place a square of fusible fleece glue side up on your surface.
Next lay down a base of strips. You can put strips next to each other in any direction that you choose.
I’m choosing to lay mine on the bias. Overlap them just slightly as you do this.
Adding the crosswise strips
Fold back every other strip towards the center of the fleece.
Then add a strip on top. Fold the strips back over the strip you just added.
To add another strip, fold back the set of strips you didn’t fold back before so they but up right next to the crosswise strip. Make sure you don’t fold back the same strips you did before or it won’t make a locking pattern.
Keep adding strips from the center to the edge, alternating the strips.
When you get to the edge, repeat this process working from the center to the other edge.
Color variations for your weaving
We’ll skip ahead for a sec and show you the finished product so you can get some ideas of how to vary the strips to get different color patterns. I got confused in the pictures actually and started over, so the final checkerboard is not what I started. Rest assured, there’s no wrong way to do this.
- Multicolored: Lay several stripes for the base layer in an order you choose. Use the same pattern for the crosswise strips.
- Stripe: Alternate 2 colors on the base and for the weaving strips.
- Cherry pie: lay down one color as the base. Alternate 2 colors of the weaving strips to make a pie top effect
- Checkerboard: lay down one color of strips as the base, then use a second color for the weaving strips.
Tips to keep your weaving tight
The strips especially at the edges are going to want to unweave themselves. Here’s a couple of things I discovered to help keep the woven edges nice and tight.
- work with longer strips: If you cut strips that extend past the edge of your fleece square by at least 1″, you’ll give those edges more of a base to stay together.
- Snug the strips: when you add a strip, pull on it with your fingers to snug it up against the last one you placed.
CheatCreatively tackle the problem: If you end up seeing the fleece peeking out along the edges once the mug rug is sewn together, you can totally fix it invisibly. Thread a hand needle and sew a couple of stitches that move between strips. Pull the stitches tight, and the fleece will disappear. It shouldn’t take more than 2-3 stitches to fix it.
Fuse the strips to the fleece
When you’ve finished adding strips to the fleece base, set your iron to wool.
Press with a whole lotta steam, then use the clapper to seal in the heat.
When you’ve pressed thoroughly on the right side, flip the weaving over to the wrong side.
Repeat the pressing process on the fleece.
Baste and quilt the woven square
Carefully take the weaving to the sewing machine.
Working from the wrong side, sew on the fleece through both layers close to the edge of the fleece.
Next flip the piece to the right side and sew several straight lines going across the strips. This will help secure them to the fleece and quilt everything at the same time.
Trim the woven ends
At this point, the woven strips on our mug rug are secure, so we can trim away the rest.
Sew the woven piece to wool
Place the backing square and the woven square right sides together with, the fleece on top. Sew around the square about 1/4″ from the edge of the fleece. Your stitching line should be just past your basting line.
Leave about a 2″ gap on one of the square’s sides for turning.
Trim off any extra wool from the backing square. Also trim the corners on a 45 degree angle, making sure not to clip into your stitching.
Turn the mug mat and finish it off
Turn the mug mat through the gap that you left. Work out the corners with your fingers.
It’s going to look really lumpy at first, so give it a nice solid press along the edges. And use the clapper. Your clapper is your BFF here. It’ll make for a nice flat fabric coaster.
While you’re pressing, press in the raw edges of the hole so that they’re even with the other edges.
Use a couple of hand stitches to close up the hole.
If you see any wily bits of fleece poking through, fix them as described in the tips section. You can also see this process in the video.
Celebrate finishing your little mug rug with a good cup of tea or coffee! Keep these pretties to add to your holiday decor or make a set for a friend.
While you’re here, here are some more simple projects you can make for handmade gifts.
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Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.