Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug – Embroidery Pattern & Tutorial!

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

YAY! I’m so excited to be taking part in Laura’s Christmas Craft Link-Up today! If you’ve never stopped by Bugs & Fishes, definitely check it out – Laura does such adorable things with felt and is an all-around crafty whiz, her blog is definitely worth adding to your reader!

Today I’m sharing a free embroidery pattern for a retro Christmas tree design. This tree is 100% based on a project from a 1965 issue of Stitchcraft magazine:

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

I’ve always loved this design, it’s just so very 1950s/60s and I’ve always wanted to do something with it. I can’t take credit for its ridiculous cuteness at all – I just wanted to recreate it in a modern way. The embroidery pattern is what I wanted to share with you all, and it can be used in a zillion projects. I quite like how the original pattern repeated the motif on a table runner, so cute for a vintage-y Christmas dinner, and I have plans to stitch one up for a tree ornament. But today I’ll show you how to turn it into a mug rug – perfect for snuggling up with Christmas treats and a hot chocolate!

RETRO CHRISTMAS TREE MUG RUG TUTORIAL

Finished size: 8.5″ square
1/4″ seams throughout
Press all seams outward (away from embroidery)
Click through to make any photo bigger if needed!

Here’s what you’ll need:

My Retro Chrismtas Tree Pattern, which you can download here.
– Embroidery floss (I used DMC colors Ecru, 353, 955 and 604).
– The standard embroidery tools: hoop, needle, scissors.
– 4 different fabrics – one to stitch on, two to match, and one for the back. This is a good use for scraps – see below for exact sizes needed. (I used prints from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence line, one by Denyse Schmidt for Joann’s and my backing piece is from Bonnie & Camille’s Bliss.)
– Quilt batting, a piece 9-10″ square.
– The standard sewing tools: machine, pins, thread to match your fabrics.
– Curved basting pins and binding clips (optional)

First up, embroidery!

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

Download the pattern and trace on a piece of fabric at least 6″ square. Use my colors listed above or your own to match the fabric you’ve chosen, and using 4 strands, embroider your tree! I used chain stitch for the tree itself, french knots for the ornaments, satin stitch for the tree’s base and straight stitches for the stars. Now you’re ready to make your mug rug!

Here’s what to cut from your fabrics, starting from the middle and working outward:

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

– Your finished embroidery, trimmed to 5″ square (take care to make sure your embroidery is nicely centered before cutting!)
– Inner frame: 2 pieces 5″ x 1″ and 2 pieces 6″ x 1″
– Outer frame: 2 pieces 6″ x 1.75″ and 2 pieces 8.5″ x 1.75″
– 2″ strips for binding, totaling about 40″ long. (Not pictured, whoopsy!) – if using a fat quarter, simply cut 2 strips along longer side.
– A square about 9-10″ of backing fabric.

With your first frame pieces, sew the shorter pieces to the top and bottom of your embroidery, press seams away from embroidery, then sew the longer pieces to the sides. Repeat for the outer frame pieces.

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!
Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

Now your mug rug top is finished! Wasn’t that easy?! If you’ve ever made a quilt or even another mug rug, the rest is all just standard quilting assembly: quilt sandwich, baste, quilt, bind, done! If not, here’s how to put your mug rug together:

Make yourself a quilt sandwich by laying your backing (right side down) on a flat surface, then the batting piece over that (smoothing everything as needed) and then your embroidered top on, well, top (right side up). Secure the layers with curved basting pins every couple of inches (or just long sewing pins or you can even baste by hand) and quilt as desired.

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!
Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

As you can see in the finished photos, I used a longer stitch and quilted a line just inside the embroidered area, then on either side of the outer frame seam. Trim the excess backing and batting away so that your edges are nice and neat.

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

Now we’ll make binding. Sew your binding strips all together, end to end to make up at least 38″ total, in one long strip. Press seams open. Press in half along length with right sides together so you now have a long folded strip. Pin around edges of front of mug rug with raw edges aligned. When you reach corners, fold the binding strip away from the mug rug, then back over itself to continue along next side:

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!
Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

Continue around all four sides. If one of your binding seams lands on a corner, unpin and start over. It’s a pain in the bottom, but I promise it’ll be worse later if you don’t. When you reach the beginning, fold both ends so that they meet at folds and finger-press.

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

Sew together at this crease, press seams open, then trim excess to a 1/4″ seam. Binding is sewn each side separately; starting in the middle of one side, sew to 1/4″ from end (i.e., not over fold), then remove from machine. Backstitch at beginning and end of each line to secure.

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

To start the remaining sides, fold corner flap out of the way (shown above) and sew from top of side to 1/4″ from bottom. Repeat all the way around until you get back to where you started. Now fold binding around to the back of your mug rug (secure with binding clips or hair clips or bobby pins or just regular sewing pins!) and ladder stitch in place by hand, folding corners one side over the other to make neat points. (I’m sorry, I hand-stitched my binding on autopilot and forgot a photo! It’ll be obvious what to do, I swear.)

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

And that’s it! Now just make some Christmas cookies and wait for Santa to arrive!

(And a big thank you to Laura for organizing this Crafty Christmas Link-up Day!)

19 Comments on Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug – Embroidery Pattern & Tutorial!

  1. Karen
    November 18, 2013 at 21:58 (3 years ago)

    Scrummy! Love the embroidery – super cute! xxx

    Reply
  2. Chrissie
    November 19, 2013 at 08:41 (3 years ago)

    A very lovely make, the embroidered tree is fab! Thanks for a great tutorial, too – I’m adding this to my Christmas workshop list…cx

    Reply
    • julie
      November 20, 2013 at 10:38 (3 years ago)

      Thank you, Christine! I’d love to see your version! :)

      Reply
  3. Manu
    November 19, 2013 at 10:49 (3 years ago)

    This is soooo beautiful!! *_*

    Reply
  4. Debbie Seton
    November 20, 2013 at 10:33 (3 years ago)

    Lovely tutorial and I agree with you about the pattern – fabulous. I too enjoy a good rummage in the vintage books and mags and re-making things in a modern way. Couldn’t stand to put my mug on this though! :o)

    Reply
    • julie
      November 20, 2013 at 10:38 (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much, Debbie! I will be showing this pattern used as a simple tree ornament in a couple of weeks – if you couldn’t bear to use it as a mug rug, keep your eye out for the ornament! :)

      Reply
  5. pam
    November 20, 2013 at 17:23 (3 years ago)

    My eyes love this!! But at first i passed it by as a project because it is a quilt project and….. This morning i saw it as the perfect little tree to be hanging among the others in my collection of embroideries framed with small hoops – which includes, it just so happens, Carina’s Dala!! I may not get it done this year, but it will be done in January!!! Those hoops stay up til ten end of February!! Thank you for sharing the tutorial.

    Reply
    • julie
      November 20, 2013 at 18:49 (3 years ago)

      Hurrah!! Your Christmas spirit is so infectious, Pam! Can’t wait to see your version – and as I mentioned above, I’m planning in turning it into an ornament as well – I’ll show you guys in a couple of weeks!

      Reply
  6. Alex - Hydrangea Girl
    November 21, 2013 at 10:10 (3 years ago)

    Oh man, Julie. This piece is amazing. I don’t think I’d be able to put a mug on it though! I’d totally frame it.

    Such beautiful details. I’ve only recently gotten back into sewing so I can only imagine how intricate this was. Mad props.

    Reply
    • julie
      November 22, 2013 at 09:35 (3 years ago)

      What an awesome comment – thank you so much! I promise it’s actually a really easy project though – and please stick around if you like the design, I’m going to be using the pattern for an ornament in a week or two and will show how I did that as well! :)

      Reply
  7. jumbleberries
    November 23, 2013 at 07:59 (3 years ago)

    I love the little retro Xmas Tree, really effective. thanks for sharing. Jumbleberries. Xx

    Reply
  8. wendy
    November 27, 2013 at 16:24 (3 years ago)

    this is so cute! Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  9. Tabatha
    December 13, 2013 at 07:44 (3 years ago)

    I love the detail in your Christmas tree, so intricate and beautiful end result!

    Reply

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