Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sashed Squares Mug Rug Tutorial

Well, I finished up the mug rug for the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.

I made it using my usual Fold and Sew technique.  But, once it was done, it occurred to me there were other possibilities, ones that don’t require translucent vellum paper and a laser printer/copier.  I experimented.  And here goes, just a slight variation of Fold and Sew.

Finished Size: 7" by 9"


  • Twelve 2" squares
  • Twenty 1" squares
  • Thirty-one 1" by 2" rectangles
  • Plus backing and binding

Other Supplies

  • A 10" by 13" rectangle of either lightweight interfacing or a wash-away stabilizer used in applique.  (In my notes below I offer my conclusion that the lightweight interfacing is much easier to work with overall).

Prepare the Foundation and Add Fabric

1)  Draw a grid on the foundation material alternating lines at 1" and 2" with an extra fine line permanent marker.

Mini Sashed Squares Grid

With the wash-away foundation:

With the fusible interfacing (since it is see through, you can simply lay it over your cutting table grid).  Draw the lines on the non-fusible side of the interfacing.

Here is the wash-away foundation with the lines all drawn.  (I made a mistake and drew an extra line across the middle – oops!)

Here is the fusible interfacing with the lines all drawn.  (Once again I drew an extra line!)

2.  After the lines are all drawn, add the patches.

With the wash-away foundation, you will need to add little glue dots to attach the fabric.  I use Roxanne’s Glue Baste It.  As you can see, I just dab little dabs of glue in the corners (which will be seam allowance).  I work on a light box with the drawn lines facing down.

Since the interfacing is fusible, simply be sure that the fusible side of the interfacing is facing up and add the patches. 

Here’s the wash-away with one row added.  I add the glue dots and fabric one row at a time.

Here’s the wash-away foundation completely covered.

Here’s the fusible interfacing foundation completely covered.  Once the patches are all added to the interfacing, iron them to set.

Sew the Foundation

1.  Fold a row along the drawn line.  The foundation will naturally fold here since this is where the fabric edges meet.

2.  Sew a quarter inch seam.

3.  Continue to fold and sew until all the horizontal rows are joined.

sashed squares mug rug 030

4.  Trim just a small edge off the folded edge of each seam.

5.  Just enough so that you can iron the seams open.  Here’s the wash-away foundation.

Here’s the fusible interfacing.

6.  Now once again fold the remaining rows and sew with quarter inch seams.

Here is the wash-away foundation from the back once all the rows are joined.

Here it is from the front.  Gotta love how the Fold and Sew technique gives you pristine seam intersections!



7.  Once again trim just a little off of the folded seam allowance.  Since you are going to rinse the wash-away foundation off, you do not need to iron the seams open quite yet.  Once the wash-away foundation has been rinsed off, then iron the seams.

Since the fusible interfacing remains in, press open the seams for this foundation.

Here it is from the front. 

8.  About that wash-away. . . .  Here is how much of the paper remained after rinsing (I let it soak in a bowl of water for an hour).

And, yes, this did make it a chore to iron those seams open.  I got better at it as I went along (a stiletto helped), but it was still time consuming.  Here’s what the foundation looked like on the back after the seams were ironed open.

Here it is from the front:


The wash-away:  I want to try another wash-away foundation and see if it works any better.  My goal for the wash-away was to wind up with a softer mug rug that could be hand quilted if desired.  As long as you don’t quilt in the seam-allowance where the remains of the stabilizer are still clinging to the seam, that would work.  Still, unless a wash-away product from another source works better than this, I’m going to stick with my tried and true method of Fold and Sew on vellum paper. 

The fusible interfacing:  this is a definite yes.  The interfacing does make the foundation stiffer, so you wouldn’t want this for anything that needs to be soft or that you would want to hand quilt.  But for a mug rug that is going to be machine quilted I think this approach worked beautifully.  I will definitely make more mug rugs this way! 

(For the record, I already used the fusible interfacing technique for other projects: I fused squares onto a fusible interfacing for the little zipper bag I just made, for the pieced Mail Sack, and the potholders that I also made up a tutorial on – this is just the first time I drew this particular design onto the foundation). 

Here’s the one mug rug all done up.  Love that Central Park fabric line!

And I do love how fast Fold and Sew is: it took me a little less than an hour to mark the foundation material and sew up the foundation!

And because it is the weekend, which means another Civil War Sampler block, here’s mine.  I slightly altered the pattern from the one Barbara Brackman offered so that I would get cleaner measurements.

My sewing room looks like it is suffering from a split personality: the blocks, fabrics, and quilts spilling around the room are either bright contemporaries or Civil War reproductions.  What can I say?  I love them both.

Ah!  I almost forgot.  One last note.  For those of you who are enjoying reading Barbara Brackman’s historical notes on the Civil War (like I am), The New York Times is also running a fascinating series of articles on the Civil War called Disunion.  They are all fascinating, but, of course, I particularly loved the one about Lincoln and his stepmother – it was really quite lovely.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I guess my sewing room must look like what yours would if it went through a blender then! So far, most of my civil war blocks have been made of bright contemporaries!
    The House of Wilson: Civil War block 7: Log Cabin

  3. Great mug rug and tutorial! I've never used the interfacing this way before, will try it on my next mug rug!

  4. Oh, what a great method to put something together that has a lot of little pieces! Thanks so much, Terrie. This is news to me!


  5. I love the thought that your sewing room has a split personality. With Kate Spain's Central Park fabric and Civil War fabrics.?.. I believe you're right.

  6. Great, clear explaination of that method. I really should give it a go! Thanks.

  7. Oh. I have GOT to try this! Great job explaining it. I've seen the technique elsewhere, but never tried it. Now I MUST! :)

  8. Just popped over from flickr and have to say that this idea is amazing. Will defo have a go at doing it this way. Thanks for a brilliant tutorial.

  9. I loved this technique. It came out so neat!

  10. Thanks for the explanation/tutorial. I hope to try it soon. Sure wish I had some Central Park to try it with. ;)