John from Fat Quarterly joins us with a quick and easy tutorial for the little “mini quilts” sweeping the sewing blog scene.

Don’t forget, we have issues of Fat Quarterly available for purchase in the shop. Each issue is full of original patterns and project ideas, articles and interviews. The talented sewists behind Fat Quarterly have joined us with a series of great posts, from their Guest Fat Quarter Packs to the ‘Fit for a Princess!’ Picnic Quilt tutorial and the Stepping Stones Block.

Enjoy John’s tutorial and join in the Mug Rug craze with your own Ziggity Mug Rug…

Greetings, Sew,Mama,Sew! readers! I’m John Adams and I blog over at Quilt Dad. I’m also a member of the Fat Quarterly team, and we’re thrilled that Fat Quarterly is now available in the SMS shop. We hope that you’ll give our e-zine a try!

Today, I’m excited to share a little mug rug tutorial that I wrote especially for all of you in the Sew,Mama,Sew! community. “What’s a mug rug?,” you might be asking. To catch up on all things mug rug, check out Erin’s wonderful Mug Rug Madness posts. OK, ready to get started?

The Ziggity Mug Rug


  • 16 – 2″ wide strips of scraps, each 5″ long
  • Approx. 7″ x 13″ backing fabric
  • Binding

You’re going to start with a bunch of scraps, cut into 16 – 2″ wide strips. I used “Kingdom,” a soon-to-be-released line by Jessica Levitt for Windham Fabrics. Make sure that the strips are at least about 5″ long or so. Separate the strips into two sets of eight strips each.

With one of your sets of eight, pair up two of the strips and sew them together in the same manner in which you would sew binding strips together. That is, align them perpendicular to one another with right sides together as shown above. Sew the strips together with a diagonal seam from the bottom left corner to the top right corner of the overlapping section. Trim the excess fabric using a quarter inch seam and press the seam open.

Repeat this step with the remaining three pairs, creating four sewn strips containing a diagonal seam.

Repeat these steps with the other set of eight strips, but (***and this is important***) arrange the strips so that the strip on top extends off to the left, instead of to the right as you did with the first set. Because of this, your diagonal seam should extend from the bottom right to the top left of the overlapping section.

This will result in four more sewn strips containing a diagonal seam, but the diagonal seam should appear as a mirror image to the ones sewn from the first set.

Arrange the strips alternating strips from your first and second sets so that the diagonal seams create a zig-zag effect. Match the seams as shown in the picture above and sew the strips together.

Sew all eight strips together to create your mug rug top.

Your mug rug will now measure 12.5″ in length. Trim the width as desired. I trimmed mine down to 6.5″ wide. Baste, quilt, and bind the mug rug with a backing and binding fabric of choice.

The picture above shows the detail of how I quilted my mug rug. I stitched 1/4″ on the inside of all seams for a nice graphic design.

Here’s another version of the Ziggity Mug Rug made with “From Little Things” by Sarah Fielke for Lecien. Notice how I used fewer strips but added a fussy cut square to the top of the design. Feel free to customize the design to incorporate your own design elements! Another variation might be to offset the seams so that they don’t exactly line up.

I made a pieced back for this one and free-motion quilted it in an all-over pattern.

I hope you enjoyed this mug rug tutorial. If you make a Ziggity Mug Rug, we’d love to see it! Please be sure to add it to the Fat Quarterly Flickr group.

Thanks to Kristin and the Sew,Mama,Sew! team for hosting this tutorial, and for being such great supporters of Fat Quarterly!