Don’t throw those selvages away.
When making quilts, quilters always have fabric scraps left over and the majority of quilters save them.
Fabric selvage edges are another form of fabric scraps that you might normally throw away but can be utilized in many different ways. Save them from your fabric so you can transform them into a scrappy craft.
In this post, I will show you how to make a lovely quilt-as-you-go mug rug using those selvage edges.
Mug rugs are a great way to protect your furniture while adding a personal touch to your coffee or tea time. They're also a fantastic way to use up leftover scraps of fabric including selvage edges. For more free mug rug sewing patterns click the link.
What size is a mug rug? A mug rug is a mini quilt larger than a coaster but smaller than a placemat. The typical size of a mug rug is anywhere between 4" x 7" up to 12" x 8". Another term used for mug rugs is mug mats.
Our selvage mug rug tutorial is a great opportunity to enjoy the process of making something small and pretty in a short amount of time using only a few supplies - fabric selvage, scrap backing fabric and leftover fusible fleece or batting.
Learn how to turn those fabric selvage edges into a beautiful mug rug with this easy quilt-as-you-go project. Watch our video or read on for more!
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What is fabric selvage?
Before we get started with the project, let's talk about the selvage. The selvage is the tightly woven edge of the fabric that runs lengthwise along each side of the whole fabric. It does not fray or unravel.
If you plan to use the selvage in projects a good size is about 1 ½” and it is nice to have some of the original print showing.
WHAT YOU NEED to make a selvage mug rug:
INSTRUCTIONS for making the selvage mug rug:
STEP 1: mug rug cutting instructions
Start by cutting your fabrics to the size you need for this mug rug:
Backing fabric – 7” x 11” rectangle
Fusible fleece/batting - 7” x 11” rectangles
Binding – 2 ½” x 40”
Selvage strips, choose 15 – 20 you would like to use in the project.
Note: Make sure to press your selvages.
If you need to cut some selvage off fabric pieces to have enough for this project or any project, cut them in the same way you would any fabric strip but try to leave ¼ to ½ inch of the main fabric on the edge of the decorative selvage.
STEP 2: join fusible fleece and backing
Lay the fusible fleece on the ironing board with the adhesive side (rough side) facing up.
Then, place the backing fabric with the wrong down on top of it. With an iron, fuse the two pieces together according to the manufacturer’s directions.
This is the foundation piece for the quilting process of quilt-as-you-go.
Step 3: How to Sew Selvage Strips to the Foundation Piece
Thread your sewing machine with the top thread a neutral color and so the bobbin thread matches the backing fabric.
Now you are ready to add your selvages to the foundation piece. Each strip has a selvage edge and a cut edge with some of the fabric design showing.
For this mug rug, you will be piecing the selvage diagonal from corner to corner at an approximate 45-degree angle.
Choose your first selvage strip and place it diagonally on one corner of your foundation with the right side facing up, making sure that the ends of the selvage strip extend past the sides of the foundation piece.
The cut edge of the selvage should be facing toward the center of the piece.
You may want to pin this first piece so it doesn’t shift and stays in place. Afterwards, no pinning is necessary.
Choose a second selvage strip and lay it parallel on top of the first strip, right side facing up, overlapping the raw cut edge of the first strip at least ¼”.
Using a straight sewing machine stitch, sew as close to the edge of the selvage as you can through all layers securing the two strips together.
For selvage strips with a little fringe don’t sew on the fringe; sew right next to it.
Continue adding selvage strips until you have covered the entire foundation piece. This will quilt the mug rug as you go and when the top is done, all you have left to do is trimming and binding.
STEP 4: Trim Stitched Selvage Strips
So once the foundation piece is entirely covered with selvages, it is time to trim it.
Put it on the cutting mat with the back side up. Using a rotary cutter and a quilter's slidelock (my favorite cutting tool) or a quilter's ruler, trim the selvage edges even with the backing. Now your mug rug is ready for binding.
This is the back after trimming. If you look closely you can see the quilting.
STEP 5: Attach binding to the back of the mug rug
To finish the raw edges of the mug rug, double-fold binding will be used. The binding should be at least 40 inches long. If you need a tutorial on how to make double-fold binding here is an excellent tutorial.
Place the mug rug with the back side facing up. Next, align the raw edges of the binding strip along the bottom raw edge of the mug rug to the left of the center. The folded edge of the binding should be facing toward the center of the mug rug.
Begin sewing the binding onto the mug rug using a ¼” seam allowance, leaving an unsewn tail about 3 - 4 inches long. Don’t forget to backstitch.
Sew the binding as per usual mitering the corners. We have a YouTube video demonstrating how to sew the mitered corners that you may find helpful.
To join the binding ends, let me show you a very simple technique. As you approach the starting point of the binding, stop! It’s important to leave a 5 - 6 inch gap between where you began and where you ended. Again, don’t forget to backstitch.
Take the mug rug to the ironing board and fold the two ends of the binding strips back on themselves until they meet in the middle of the unsewn gap.
Press these folded ends with the iron to make a crease. Open the binding. With the right sides together, match the creases, pin and sew together on the pressed crease line.
Before trimming and sewing this portion of the binding to the mug rug, be sure that the length of the binding correctly fills in the unstitched gap. If it does, trim with a ¼” seam allowance, and finger press the seam open. Fold the binding in half and finish sewing the binding to the mug rug.
Step 6: Attach binding to the front of the mug rug
Now that the binding is in place on the mug rug quilt back, it’s time to attach it to the front. I like this method because you can watch where you are stitching and it leaves the mug rug front looking neat and tidy.
With the back of the mug rug facing up, press the binding away from the mug rug.
Flip the mug rug so that it’s right side up
and fold the binding over the raw edge of the mug rug to the front. Hold it in place with sewing clips (or pins).
Thread the sewing machine with thread that matches the binding and use the same color as your machine quilting thread in your bobbin.
Attach the binding to the front of the mug rug by using a straight stitch and sewing 1/8 inch or less from the folded edge. This is called edgestitching.
To edgestitch use a blind hem presser foot or a regular presser foot.
For this tutorial, I used the blind hem foot with its vertical bar, making straight stitching the binding to the mug rug so easy and professional-looking.
After putting the blind hem foot on the sewing machine, adjust the needle position so the needle goes into the fabric 1/6 - 1/8 inch from the inside fold.
Start at a corner, begin to sew keeping the vertical guide bar of the machine foot flush up against the binding fold. Continue stitching, when you get to a corner, with the needle down, pivot the mug rug and continue sewing until the binding is completely sewn onto the mug rug.
If you don’t have a blind hem presser foot you can simply use the center of your regular presser foot as a guide to stitch close to the fold.
Note: A blind hem foot is a handy foot for hemming, binding, edgestitching and topstitching. If you would like to buy a blind hem foot, try a blind hem foot universal one like one of these. Just make sure to read the description to make sure it will fit your machine. For under $10, you can purchase one and it will be a lot easier and neater to finish projects.
And there you have it! A lovely finished mug rug made using selvage edges.
You can use this selvage technique to make all sorts of projects, like coasters, placemats, and even table runners. I have even seem quilters use them to make quilts.
So, next time you're about to throw away those selvage edges, think twice and use them to create a beautiful and unique project.
These mini selvage mug rugs will cheer up any table or desk. They are ideal for so many purposes.
Thank you so much for dropping by today. I hope you enjoyed my tutorial on making a selvage mug rug. Be sure to pin and bookmark so this free mug rug tutorial is available to you in the future and I would love for you to also share it with quilting friends.
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
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