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May 2018

Tutorial Tuesday #4 - Mug Rugs & Bless You Mats - Part One

When I closed Strawberry Patches and moved to Kansas I doubted that I'd ever sew again. I had absolutely no interest in setting up a sewing room here and regrettably I closed my Typepad blog account that contained the more than 70 tutorials and years of wonderful memories.

About two years after the move the strangest thing happened. I think my heart had finally healed enough after the closing of the store because once we were settled and rested I slowly started to think about sewing again.

That's about the time ADORNit put out a call on social media for ambassadors who were willing to exchange product for projects made with their merchandise. Feeling the nudge to share again I applied, not as a sewist but as a paper crafter (ha...really?? I guess I still wasn't healed enough to want to get out my machine). After I was miraculously accepted, I wrote ADORNit to tell them that I knew how to sew and that I thought maybe my friends on social media would enjoy seeing their cute fabric made up into some simple projects.

You guys, I was scared, but decided to show up, put myself out there and share.

Well, we can blame thank ADORNit for the inspiration, motivation and the push I needed for all this sharing. I'm a show off at heart - I know that and I own it. Thank you ADORNit for awakening that part of my personality that was dormant for so long.

There is just one thing more I want to say before we get started with the tutorial. At this point in my life I want to focus on being open to opportunities that come along and to discover how I might best use my gift to bless others. I can't say I've always felt this way since my sewing in the past had a motive; it was mostly intended to sell product. My goal now is to hopefully inspire and encourage others to be creative and find the joy that being creative can bring. I also hope to occasionally gift my friends with little things that I make along the way so they know that they are loved. My projects are simple and can be completed in little time. That's what I like, so that's what I do. If that's what you like then welcome, I'd like to think that you feel like you are at the right place.

Anyway, a blog reader asked me to repost my years old tutorial for Mug Rugs but since it was long gone I had to rack my brain on how I did it. Yikes, you guys. It took me three days to get it right. Let's just say I may need a new seam ripper, but thankfully I think the instructions are better than ever. So without further's my tutorial...

These first three photos are from my original post (I fortunately had them saved on my computer). 


I had fun making these for holidays. They were just big enough for a hot drink and a small snack.


I used mine at my computer or next to my favorite chair.



Somehow a hot beverage on fun fabrics just makes me so happy.


Most of you probably saw this Christmas one recently on my social media accounts. For those that missed it the fabrics can be found here and that cute vintage label here.

During the humid summer months here in the Midwest condensation on glasses is a real problem so I wanted to show you that Rug Mugs don't have to be just for hot drinks. I was racking my brain for a clever name for them. You know like, Moisture Mat or Sweat Catcher when I learned of some difficulties a friend was having. So with the help of ADORNits Sunshine Girls fabric I added some inspirational words to some mats and I'm calling them my Bless You Mats. 


I said a prayer for my friend as I tied each of the little French knots and my hope is that it will cheer her and remind her that she is loved and in my prayers.


You know me and my buttons...just keep them to the side so they don't cause your glass to tip.

I'll show you how to machine or hand stitch the words and embellishments before you sew the mat together in part two. It can be tricky - kind of like rubbing your stomach while patting your head. The placement of those words and that rick rack is what caused me all the trouble, but the problems are worked out. You'll be good to go. You are welcome. Smiley


The pockets that are created with the overlapping fabrics are the perfect places for a word of encouragement or a treat.


This Sunshine Girl fabric can be found here. I just cut out the inspirational words and raw edge appliqued them before constructing the mat. * more about that in part two

Here's what you will need to get started:

6  - 10" squares of fabric. They can be all different or you can used two of each of three different fabrics (left over layer cakes are perfect for this)

1 - 10" square of needle punch batting or what I used, Soft and Stable found here

1 yard of medium ric rac

A nine inch plate or Lori Holt's round circular template (it measures 9" across and is perfect for 10" squares) found here

Sewing machine, thread and optional embellishments


6 - 10" squares or use precut Layer Cakes


Fold and press four of the squares in half, right side out. These will be the top of you mat. The additional two squares will be the lining (won't show) and back side of your mat.

You will also need one 10" square of low loft batting or Soft and Stable (preferred)


Place one of the unfolded squares face down (this will be your lining), then put the batting or Soft and Stable on top of that and top it with the other unfolded square (backing), right side up as shown below. Match raw edges and set aside.


Place one of the folded pieces on your cutting board, folded edge toward the center.


Place the second folded fabric at a ninety degree angle as shown below - fold toward the center.


The third folded piece


 and the fourth. Tuck in the lower half of the last piece so it looks like so...


Now pin all the four folded pieces all the way around.


You are now looking at the WRONG SIDE of your mat top. None of this will show so don't put labels or words on this side 'cause nobody ain't gonna see em. More on that in part two.


Circle ruler

With your plate or this handy dandy template mark a circle on the RIGHT SIDE of your mat.

This template is great because:

a. you can see through it

b. you can easily line it up with the center of the folds

c. you can check the folds to make sure they are straight by lining them up to the marked lines

d. helps with placement of embellishments


Take your fabric to the machine and sew the rick rack on top of the drawn line. You will be sewing on the RIGHT SIDE of your mat fabrics. You will not be sewing through the lining, batting or backing at this time - just the four folded top fabrics.



Notice I've sewn to the outside edge of the rick rack (not down the middle) with matching thread to the rick rack. 

I just overlaped the two ends slightly and ran the raw ends off the edge of the stitching line as shown below.


Turn this top piece over and pin it to the stack of lining, batting and backing. Your rick rack stitching line will show you where to sew next.


Now sew through all layers just to the inside of the previously sewn circle. Sew all the way around. Do not leave an opening.


Trim seam allowance 1/4" around the sewn circle then turn inside out through that little hole in the center of your folded fabrics.

If you've layered everything correctly, you will see your rick rack peaking out from the edge of the circle. (It's always a relief when I see that).


Reach through the center opening and run your fingers around the inside seam to poke out the  rick rack. Press and topstitch 1/4" from the edge (I like to using light colored matching thread for the topstitching so as not to call attention to my stitches 'cause they aren't always perfect).


I added the buttons and label by hand on this one after the mat was completely done but next time I'll show you how to do the sewing before constructing the Mug Rug. I prefer doing the embellishing first, but that's the stomach rubbing - head patting part and since I'm sure I've probably lost most of you by now I'll save it for later. If you are one of my blog readers that bought a circular attachment for your machine I'll show you how that can work for this project next time too.

Until then,

Love you more than vintage labels and Halloween candy.

Encourage one another,


I apologize that I never did part two of this post, but I will - I promise. Give me a minute to get the basement decorated for Christmas and I'll get the sewing machine out and humming. 





Tutorial Tuesday #3 - Jelly Clip Pouch

When I shared this little pouch on Instagram a few weeks ago several of you commented that you had difficulty attaching the Jelly Clip to the fabric. I thought it might be helpful to show you how I glue mine and what techniques work best for me.

Jelly clip

All fabrics in this post are by ADORNit and can be found here.



 This adorable fabric is called Sunshine Girls and I just love the happy positive message it conveys. As you can see below the main print is actually a panel but I did a bit of piecing on this one because I wanted the girl and words strategically placed. 






Let me just start by saying I love making these now, but I must admit that first one, years ago, well... I wanted to throw it in the trash! So if you're feeling frustrated, don't give up - they are really super easy once you know the tricks.

So here they are...

Probably the number one most important thing is the glue you use. 


This is the one that I found works best for me. You want a thick, heavy, quick drying glue that won't run and ooze. Trust me, I know!

My second tip is to back your fabric with light weight baby flannel. The pattern suggests using fusible fleece but I'm not a fan of fusible fleece so I use regular, inexpensive baby weight flannel. I usually quilt through the flannel as I did below, but it's really not necessary, especially if you are using whole cloth for the front and back. (See photo of the five small pouches at the end of this post). I personally like the texture and interest that machine quilting adds. Big stitch hand quilting would be super cute too!


The baby flannel gives your pouch just enough body without being bulky. You will appreciate how the flannel helps with the fit when you go to glue the fabric into the frame.

After your piecing is done you'll cut out the front, back, and lining pieces using your pattern. Make sure if you order Jelly Clips online that they include a translated instruction sheet (some places don't). Jelly Clips come from Japan and the original instructions are in Japanese! 

One thing I found to be helpful is to cut out one of the paper darts and trace the shape on the wrong side of the fabric as shown below. I don't know about you, but it bugs me when darts don't match up so by drawing the lines and then folding and matching the lines then pinning through the lines, it helps assure perfect placement.


I only cut the dart on my paper pattern on one side then I flip my pattern over to mark the second dart. I feel like this helps me get the proper outside shape when cutting out the fabric and lining.

I follow the instructions for constructing the outside and lining of the pouch.

Once your fabric pouch is constructed it's time for the fun part, the glue. 


You are going to complete one side of the frame before going on to the second side.


Open your frame up and working from the inside of the frame, apply glue as shown above. Notice that I started applying the glue about 1/4" from the hinge and the channel is not completely filled with glue. I like to let the glue sit for a few minutes to let it dry out just slightly. Helpful hint: keep a damp cloth nearby. You will want to wipe any glue smudges as you go. If you have applied a moderate amount of glue you should have very little mess. If you have glue oozing out everywhere you either used too much, the wrong kind of glue, or both.

Mark the center of the front and back of the finished pouch as shown in the pattern and begin gluing the fabric to the frame at this center mark.


Using your awl, poke the fabric into the frame, working from the center toward one end, gathering the fabric as you go. Continue with the other half of this first side.


Notice that I'm working from the inside of the frame but I turn it over frequently to check for any glue that has escaped, wiping as I go and making sure the center of my fabric is in the middle of the clip. Hint: you don't want glue to dry on the plastic frame because once it's dry it's impossible to remove completely and definitely takes away from the finished look.

Continue gluing and gathering until the fabric completely fills the groove on one side of the frame. It takes a few minutes for the glue to set so you have time to adjust the fullness of the gathers and make sure everything is straight and centered.

You will have about 1/4" of fabric that is unglued below the hinge. 


Included with your frame is paper raffia or "string". This helps assure that the fabric stays in place by creating a super tight fit. Again, working from the inside, apply the raffia between the frame and your glued fabric. I find it easiest to start just above one hinge and work my way around to the other hinge. Hint: this is a tight fit so a good sharp awl is important to get the paper string poked into place. You will need to cut the string down a bit (they give you plenty) but you will not need to apply more glue - just insert the string while the glue is still tacky and not yet dry. Complete one side before starting the second side. I try to let the first side set a few minutes before starting on the second side.



You may be able to see the paper string just a little, but it's on the inside of the pouch and you really have to look for it.

Once side one is complete do the same to the second side.




I am completely in love with this adorable fabric from ADORNit! You probably know how much I love to add inspirational words to my projects and this is so perfect! I just sewed the word or motif, face down to a piece of fusible interfacing all the way around, split the interfacing, then turned and appliqued them in place. 

Here's the back side.


Buttons and a cute ribbon add just the right amount of adorableness.


 What a fun gift idea for a sewing sista!


Here are a few photos of pouches that I made several years ago. (These fabrics are old and probably no longer available).

The frames come in three sizes and there are six colors in each size. The five pictured below are the smallest ones and measure 4" across (10cm). All other pouches in this post are 5.5" (14cm). I personally don't care for the largest size (7") and haven't worked with that one. You can find the small and medium sizes here. 



I hope that you found this tutorial helpful and please let me know if you have questions. I know some of you have a few Jelly Clips in your stash and I hope this encourages you to get them out and try this fun project. For those of you that need to purchase them I hope that you'll visit my friends Etsy shop or ask your local quilt shop to order them for you.

Until next time,

Encourage one another



Tutorial Tuesday #2 - Embellished Towels, Napkins and Burp Cloths

Today I thought I'd fulfill my promise for a tutorial on my embellished babies burp cloths. I know a lot of you probably don't have a need for decorated burp cloths so I'm also showing the technique on kitchen towels. We can all use a cute towel, right?

Be you

I found this towel at HomeGoods. It's so me and my ADORNit Flamingo Fever fabric complements it perfectly. The technique is the same whether you're trimming a towel, napkin or diaper and is a fun way to add a bit of personality to an everyday item without adding the bulk of a ruffle. What I love about this technique is that there are no raw edges - the back looks as neat as the front!   

The first thing you'll want to do is prewash and dry everything - you want to get rid of the possibility of any shrinkage before you sew.

For the towel or napkin, cut off all the hems all the way around (diapers don't have hems so if you're decorating a diaper you can skip this step).


This is a good time to straighten any edges that are a bit wonky.

Cut hems

I cut the two side strips of fabric three inches wide by the length of the towel plus a few inches and the two end pieces four inches wide by the width of the towel plus a few inches. This can certainly vary depending on your project and if you have a towel that has a design on it you will need to take that into consideration since you won't want the strip to be so wide that it covers up the design.

Press each strip in half length wise, wrong sides together - pretty, right sides out.

Sew side strips - raw edges of the strips to the wrong side of the towel, raw edges even, using a 1/4" seam. 

Quarter inch

Once sewn, trim excess from ends of the side strips.


Press seams of side strips toward towel.


Then wrap the strip to the front of the towel, press and pin. Your seams will be hidden inside the strip. Smileyface


Top stitch in place. I used my number ten Edge Stitch foot on my Bernina with my needle position one click to the right of center. (I stitched all the way around - outer edge too).


Place one folded end strip across the bottom on the wrong side of the towel and tuck in the raw ends as shown below. Pin, press and sew using 1/4" seam allowance.  


Press the 1/4" seam allowance toward the towel, flip to right side of the towel, press, pin and top stitch all around as I showed above on the side strips. Repeat with the last top strip.


That's all there is to it. So quick and easy.

Here's the same technique done on a colored diaper. I found plain colored diapers years ago at K Mart (do we still have K Mart?) but you can also find them here. I usually buy extra when I see them because they can sometimes be a bit hard to find.

As you can see I like to add a label or cute saying cut from fabric. (The photos below show the top stitching on the fabric strips and also shows how neat the back looks - be sure to match your bobbin thread with the towel or diaper so your stitching doesn't show on the back).



What I love about this technique is that it's a great way to not only add a little something to a diaper burp cloth but it's also a great way to square up a less than perfectly square diaper.


I used this ADORNit fabric for the HAPPY label by fusing Steam a Seam Lite to the back of the fabric, then cutting out the saying, fusing it to other fabrics and appliqueing it all to the diaper using and open zigzag stitch and clear thread.


Here's another strictly decorative towel that I made years ago, but this time I used fabric to make the body of the towel. Wouldn't this be cute in a guest bath or as a decorative towel in a kitchen? Not at all absorbent but  stink'n cute none the less. (I sewed the lace in the seam between the towel fabric and the top and bottom bands).


I hope you found this tutorial inspiring and helpful. It's such a great project for someone just learning to sew and a great way for us more experienced makers to get a quick fabric fix. Please let me know if you have questions.

Be you1

Remember to Be You - you are perfect just the way you are!

Until next time,

Suzanne Hearts