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Mug mats are a great way to use up smaller bits of fabric and batting. For this project, I used some leftover Virginia Tech fabric, small pieces of batting I had from another quilt, and some M&M and orange fabrics that I had in my stash. You can use almost any color thread to use up an old spool, though I used off white for the machine work and orange for the hand work. You can make these in a matter of hours and have a last minute gift or a themed item for your own use. The process for strip quilting and binding is the same regardless of what fabrics you choose.
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No one wants a wimpy old mug mat like this. Actually, that's just the batting, but it gives you an idea of how plain a mug mat can be.

Now this is more like it. Strip quilted mug mats look much better! Virginia Tech and orange fabrics for one side, and a nice set of 4.

I had a bag of M&M scraps....

....they seemed perfect for the back of these mats.

Though it looks like a stack of tortillas, it's really a stack of 5" circles cut from remnants of batting that I already had. Cost for this project? Nada.
 
Place your backing fabric right side down. These squares are about 6".
 
Put a circle of batting in the center of the backing fabric.
 
Now we begin the strip quilting. I cut strips from the Virginia Tech fabric and from orange fabric. The strips are 1-1/2" wide since this is a small project. Place one strip in the center, right side up, on top of the batting.
 
Now place a strip of the second fabric (for us, it was orange) right side down on top of the first strip. Stich from one edge of the circle to the other using a 1/4" seam. Go through all layers.
 
Finger press the seam open. Now you should have two strips, both right side up.
 
Place your next strip right side down on top of the strip you just finger pressed (which is now right side up). Stitch from one end of the circle to the other in a 1/4" seam. Finger press it open and then...
 
...place a fabric strip right side down upon the right side up piece you just finger pressed. Stitch as with the other strips above.
 
Continue the process of adding a strip right side down upon a right side up strip....
 
....and sewing a seam about 1/4" from one side of the circle to the other.
 
With all strips finger pressed open (you can use an iron if you like), trim excess fabric. Use the batting circle as your guide. Baste around the circle close to the edge. This keeps it stable while you do the binding. Take a moment to do some fine trimming if needed with your scissors.
 
Turn down an end of your bias binding (I used Virginia Tech fabric to make 1-1/2" bias tape), and stitch around the circle in a 1/4" seam. Stitch beyond your initial fold, maybe 1/2" or so to have them overlap. (There are several tutorials on line about making bias tape or you can used purchased binding. The key here is to not have it super wide.)
 
Your machine stitched bias binding will look a mess! That's okay.
 
Turn the bias binding to the back side of your mug mat. It's looking like a mug mat now, isn't it?
 
On this side, turn the binding in, smoothing it as you go. Pin in place. This is your last chance to do any trimming on your circle. Hand stitch this side with an invisible hem stitch. An alternative would be to baste it in place and maybe zig-zag over the edge.
 
And there you have it....Mug mats!
 
Strip quilting on one side and...
 
...decorative fabric on the reverse.


As with all of our projects, this tutorial is a suggestion, a jumping off place, an inspiration. We all have scraps galore! You can make these with circles, squares, hexagons, whatever. I happen to not be a fan of mitering corners, so I went with circles. These work well as coasters too. Just have fun and use up your smidgens of fabric and batting. There are no rules that can't be broken with sewing.

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Updated 12/23/2012
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