Friday, November 22, 2013

Cuppa Tea Mug Rugs - An Exercise in Applique

Two "Cuppa Tea" Mug Rugs

I can't believe these haven't been blogged about before! They were made in July 2012 using a Craftsy Independent Designer's pattern, which I purchased. 

The Pattern Pieces

First I needed to get organized. I made a copy of the pattern instructions and propped that up on my cutting table for easy reference. I then made a copy of the picture of the mug rug on vellum to use for positioning my pattern pieces and a copy of all the pattern pieces (which fitted on one page) on freezer paper.

Fabric Selection

Next came the enjoyable part of selecting fabrics for the two mug rugs. I chose a fun chintz fabric of red roses and green stems and some fabric scraps for parts such as the handle of the teapots.

Two applique techniques were used

Being relatively new to the art of applique, I experimented with two techniques - needle-turned or fold-under and raw-edged using fusible web. The first mug rug (top) was made using the needle-turned method which worked great for the big teapot and teacup pattern pieces, but not so well for the little pieces like the rim of the lid, handles and saucers. The second mug rug (bottom) was made entirely using the fusible web method. The direction of the pattern pieces were reversed, so I was careful to place the fusible web on the wrong side of the fabrics. This second method was so much easier and faster to accomplish and gave beautiful results! 

For the first fold-under method, I used Anna Maria Horner's Super Circle tutorial which was a breeze to follow for the teapot and teacup, as I mentioned before, but a bit too fidgety and fiddly for the little pattern pieces.

Tracing the Text

Perfect placement of the applique pieces was accomplished by first placing the background fabric under the velum copy of the drawing and placing an applique piece in position. Each applique piece was edge-stitched all around. When all the pieces were placed and stitched in place, the text "Cuppa Tea" was traced onto the background fabric by placing it over the velum copy of the picture. The velum copy had a white sheet of typing paper under it to make the text legible.

I started out with the mug rug on the bottom and used a lazy-daisy stitch to hand-embroider the text and have to admit it made the text stand out, but was very tedious and took too long. The mug rug on the top was much easier to embroider because I used a running stitch. I think the running stitch is more delicate and looks a lot nicer than the lazy-daisy stitch.

Finishing the Mug Rugs

The two mug rugs were machine-quilted using vertical lines that were evenly spaced with the aid of painter's tape. Double-fold French binding finished the mug rugs. The most surprising part of this exercise was that it took exactly eight hours to complete both mug rugs from start to finish!

I presented one mug rug to my daughter-in-law and the other sits on my computer desk where I blog, so it gets used every morning to hold my mug of coffee and biscotti. This quick and easy project encourages me to approach applique with much less trepidation.

Cheers everyone!


  1. Love this project! I plan on making a paper pieced one very soon since I plan on making it a Christmas gift. I love the applique tea pot and cup. So feminine and pretty!

    1. Thanks, Rosemary, they were fun to make. Best of luck with your paper-pieced project!


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