Also known as “mug rugs”, these simple little fabric coasters are a great project. They can be done quickly, with little sewing experience, and are so easy to match your personality or that of your gift recipient. This is a wonderful time to enjoy the mindfulness of each stitch and each choice that you make. I will be making many more for friends and family this year!
As I said, not much sewing skill is needed. This can be done be machine, but I prefer to hand stitch whenever I can. It slows me down and allows me to enjoy every stitch. Here’s what you do:
1. Choose whatever 1-2 pieces of fabric speak to you. That could be an old handkerchief, clothes from the past, an old tea-towel with sentimental value, or in my case, a bandana on one and a scrap of colorful fabric on the other.
You will also need something to give it a little cushion – some batting, some felt (wool is preferred for its natural qualities), or an old towel you don’t mind cutting up.
2. Cut your fabric in 2 squares and your batting in 1. The smaller size coaster is 5” square and the larger is 5 1/2” square. It is up to you and you can make this even bigger if you want to use it for a teapot or something like that.
3. Layer the three pieces and start to sew them together. Remember to leave about a 2-3 inch opening so that you can turn it inside out. Stitch a bit more than 1/4 inches from the edge. You can draw a line if you need it to keep your stitches straight but it is not so important that you can’t just take your time and straighten as you go.
I like to use embroidery thread for this because it is heavier and easier to see than regular thread. I use 3 strands at a time.
4. Turn your work inside out and use your finger or a chopstick to get the corners nice and flat. Press your new fabric coaster with an iron to get it to really lay nicely. Take one strand of the embroidery thread or regular thread and carefully stitch the opening closed, hiding the thread as much as possible.
5. Now is the fun part – embellishing! Add little touches to make it match your personality or that of your recipient. I added a little wool felt tab and stitches in a contrasting color (also embroidery thread) but you can add whatever you like. Just make sure the embellishment does not interfere with the cup or glass sitting flat on the coaster. The button I added on the larger one sits well outside where I put my cup.
This is the way I start my day – with my green tea (in one of my favorite mugs from a family reunion a long time ago), and a sweet little glass of anti-oxidents (Ningxia Red).