Decorative patchwork mug wrap tutorial – handmade gifts.

Decorative patchwork mug wrap tutorial.

I always like to try and make as many Christmas gifts as I can, especially when it comes to small tokens of appreciation for people like my kids school teachers. This year I was inspired by watching the school teachers in the playground with their hot drinks in the morning before the school begins. I thought a simple fun mug wrap would be a useful, practical gift as well as something that we could personalise for each teacher and teacher assistant.

My kids are always very thoughtful and include a whole list of special teachers that they want to give a gift to, which could get quite expensive if I’m not careful. This idea is very inexpensive and I think has worked out quite well.

Materials and supplies:

I found plain white mugs in Wilko for £1 each. I was specifically looking for mugs with straight sides as this is an easier shape to create a wrap for. If you prefer to shop online and want to make several as gifts I found these mugs which look ideal.

Medium weight sew on interfacing.

Scraps of cotton or similar weight woven fabric.

Selection of buttons.

Narrow flat elastic

I didn’t add any additional interfacing to my mug wraps but you could add a thermal interfacing or compressed fleece so that the wrap helps retain the drinks heat longer.


The starting point for the mug wrap is to create a rectangle pattern. Measure the height of the mug in this example 9.5cm. Measure from one side of the handle to the other (not under the handle) in this example 25cm. Now reduce both measurements by 1cm. This is the finished size of the mug wrap. 24cm x 8.5cm. Draw this rectangle on a piece of paper and then add 1.5cm for a seam allowance around all edges.

Template for Stars and hearts

How to make:

1. Cut a piece of interfacing a few cm’s larger than your pattern. Cut several strips of fabric deeper than the mug wrap. The long edge needs to be straight but it doesn’t matter about the shorter edges. Draw around the pattern on to the interfacing.

2. You might like to map out roughly how you want your fabrics to cover the area before you start. I deliberately wanted to have different random widths and angles. Lay the first fabric (wrong side down) so it covers the upper and lower line that you have drawn. Lay a second piece right sides together over the first piece, stitch a narrow 5mm seam along this edge.

3. Flip the second piece to the front and press flat, repeat this with the next piece of fabric.

4. I chose to change the angles as I placed each piece. If you do just make sure each piece is fully covering the edge of the last and trim away any excess before pressing and stitching the next piece on.

5. Keep adding pieces until the shape you drew at the start is completely covered.

6. Press the whole piece before placing the pattern back on top. It doesn’t matter if its not placed over the original line you drew. The original line was there to make sure you covered enough area with your pieces. Draw around the pattern using chalk or a fabric marker.

7. To add a little extra detail you might like to use the heart and stars template for free motion reverse applique. Download the stars and hearts template, carefully cut out the shapes you would like to use. Draw around the edge of the shape in the position you would like to embroider on the mug wrap. It is always difficult to find markers that will show up fine detail for this sort of embroidery preparation. I chose to use a fine liner marker in a colour that matched the colour I planned to use for the embroidery so that any marks wouldn’t show up very obviously. Another alternative would be Frixion pens which come in an array of colours and the marks disappear when ironed.

8. Choose a piece of fabric to use as the relief. Place it in position. Pin from the back and check at the front, transfer the pins to the front for embroidering.

9. To stitch the reverse applique drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine. Most modern machines have a switch behind the foot for dropping the feed dogs, refer to your machine manual if you’re not sure. Attach a darning foot or free motion embroidery foot if you have one, if not just remove the foot altogether. You can then sew around the lines you have drawn. ‘Draw’ with the machine moving the fabric so the stitches follow the design outline. I find it easier to sew quite quickly forming small stitches. It is part of the charm of free motion embroidery when the lines are not perfect. I stitched around the shapes three times to make a good solid line.

10. At the back of the work trim away the excess fabric from the applique.

11. On the front of the work carefully cut away the upper layer of fabric inside the stars and hearts, (feeling with the blade of the scissors). You will need to cut away the interfacing as well to reveal your backing fabric.

12. Press the work again and place the pattern on to check before cutting. Cut around the chalk line or pattern. Cut a plain piece for the backing and a piece of elastic 15cm long. Place the elastic folded in the centre of one of the short sides, with the raw edges matched with the raw edge of the mug wrap. Pin this in place and stitch to secure the position.

13. With right sides together and raw edges matched pin the the mug wrap patchwork piece to the backing piece. Stitch around the edge starting along the lower edge leaving a gap in the middle of this edge for turning through. Trim bulk away from the corners and edges before turning through to the right side and pressing.

14. Stitch around the outer edge of the mug wrap closing the opening as you go.

15. Place the wrap around the mug and pull the elastic slightly so the wrap is snuggly in place. Measure this point for sewing the button on.

We filled cellophane bags with Quality street and tied with a large satin ribbon for a festive treat for the school teachers.

We customised the wraps for some of the teachers like the sports teacher.

And the teachers assistant that we know is a sewing enthusiast!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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