Project: an in-the-hoop Mug Rug

Set of in the hoop Mad Hatter mug rugs
Easy to make in-the-hoop mugrugs
In-the-hoop Mug rugs (or coasters) are perfect when you want a quick and easy project. There are hundreds of patterns for mug rugs available and almost as many ways to make them.

 A note about edge finishes

There are three main techniques for covering the raw edges of your in-the-hoop mug rug.

  • Satin stitch border (hoop twice)
  • Add a lining and turn inside out so raw edges are on the inside.
  • Add binding to the raw edge afterwards.
The first two can be done in the hoop, but if you choose the line and turn method it may need hand stitching afterwards, depending on whether you want to close the flap or not.
{pic of line and turn – link to design}
The binding method needs a sewing machine (or neat hand stitching).
{pic of bound – link to design}
I designed my mug rug with a satin stitch border to finish the edge. It’s neat as well as decorative.

 Step by Step in-the-hoop Mug Rug

Sew along and make this Mad Hatter's teapot mugrug
Sew along and make this Mad Hatter’s teapot mugrug
 I’m going to show you step by step how I made my Mad Hatter Teapot mug rug, and you can sew along with me. There are three more in the set (the others are available to buy here) but you can get this one for free if you subscribe to my newsletter.
The complete set of in-the-hoop mugrugs
The complete set of in-the-hoop mugrugs
The Mad Hatter Teapot mug rug is perfect for a demonstration because it combines appliqué and embroidery (two techniques to practice in one project!), and it’s all done in the hoop, so no hand or machine sewing to finish it.

You will need:


Applique mug rug supplies
Applique mug rug supplies


 (I’ve added links to supplies I use personally)
Tip: pre-washing your fabrics (and wadding if natural) means your mug rug will keep its shape better when you launder it.
  • Mad Hatter’s teapot mug rug embroidery file (get it here)
  • Print out of the mug rug image for reference (.pdf file is included in the download)


1: Hoop your cut-away stabiliser
medium cutaway stabiliser in hoop
Stabiliser hooped ready to begin.
2: Float your top fabric. You can stick or pin it in place, but I just smooth it on and hold with my fingers. We want to keep it easy! (Please don’t stitch your finger though)
3 Step 1 on the machine will stitch placement lines around the border and around the applique.
top layer tackdown and placement
Top fabric tacked down and applique placement stitching
4: Stop the machine and place your appliqué fabric over the teapot shape. Again, smooth it on, or use glue if you prefer.
5: Step 2 on the machine will tack down the appliqué
applique tackdown step
Teapot applique fabric tacked in place
6 Remove the hoop. Trim close to the tack down stitches with the curved scissors. Replace the hoop.
Applique fabric being trimmed
Applique fabric being trimmed
7: Step 3 is the applique stitch.
decorative applique stitch
Decorative applique stitch
8 Now change the thread colours and complete embroidery steps 4 to 9. Stop the machine after step 9 and remove the hoop.
completed machine embroidery
Completed embroidery steps
Tip: don’t worry if the appliqué fabric ‘bubbles’, pressing at the end will make everything flat and smooth again.
8:  On the back of the hoop, place your batting so it covers the outline stitching. Lay the backing fabric on top, facing out. You can spray adhesive to keep the layers in place, or pin from the front, keeping the pins about 1 cm outside the outline stitching.
rear of hoop showing batting in place
Batting covers placement stitch on rear


backing fabric covering batting in hoop
Backing fabric covers batting


checking that batting and backing fabric are placed correctly
Check that batting and backing fabric cover placement stitching


Batting and backing fabric pinned from the front
9:  Step 10 stitches through the sandwich of top fabric, stabiliser, batting and backing fabric. Stop the machine. Remove the hoop, remove the pins if you used them, and unhoop the mug rug.
The rear of the fabric sandwich after stitching through all layers.
10: Now you need to trim the excess fabric from the edge of the mug rug. Use the curved scissors and trim carefully so you don’t cut the border stitches. A good light and no distractions are a big help at this point! Cut close to the outline stitching, a layer at a time. I find it’s easiest to trim the top and backing fabrics first, then the stabilizer and finally the batting. Put the trimmed sandwich to one side.
Trimmed fabric sandwich
11: Now hoop the lightweight tearaway stabiliser. Change the bobbin to match the top thread. The border is done in two colours, but you can use one colour of bobbin thread for both steps if you like. Replace the hoop.
bobbin and top thread both yellow
Bobbin thread matches top thread
12:  The step 11 is the placement stitching. When it’s complete, stop the machine and remove the hoop again.

Placement stitching complete
13: Pin the trimmed sandwich in place, matching the border stitching on the sandwich to the placement stitching in the hoop. It helps to push a pin through the sandwich to match the correct place.
Use a pin to locate the correct position
Pins correctly located on the rear

14: Secure the sandwich from the front, keeping the pins away from the stitching position. (Check with the printed image).

Sandwich pinned to stabilizer in second hooping.
15:  Steps 12, 13 and 14 are the border and edge stitching.
hooped mug rug with satin border complete
Satin border complete


Satin border from the rear (stabiliser in place)
16: Remove from the hoop and tear away the stabiliser. Any stray fibres can be trimmed carefully with sharp scissors. Alternatively pass a flame quickly along the edge of the embroidery.
The completed mug rug
Finally, press your mug rug well and congratulate yourself with a brew!
Set of in the hoop Mad Hatter mug rugs
Enjoy a cuppa and a biscuit.
Project: home decor
Technique: applique, embroidery, in the hoop

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