English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: Finishing

English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: Finishing

Hello! This is Kitty from Night Quilter, back to show you how to finish the Rose Star mug rug we began back in late September. With full bellies from yesterday's feast, today is the perfect day for some slow hand stitching. When last we met, I left you headed for the beach, thread basting a pile of Rose Star English Paper Piecing (EPP) pieces. You should now have a collection of basted pieces, beautifully arranged to look something like the photo above.

If you are following this project for the first time, check out my "Getting Started" post here, which includes tips and tricks on how to meticulously cut using the Fabi, cut EPP templates and fabrics using the BigZ L Rose Star die, and thread baste your pieces to prepare for this next step--finishing!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingToday I will be sharing how to finish this Rose Star EPP project, creating a gorgeous oversized mug rug, perfect for a cup of joe and a plate of treats.

With all of your pieces already basted and ready to go, we will begin by stitching them together.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingLet's begin in the center and work our way out.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingWith your center hexagon arranged the way you want it, flip the first piece over one edge of the center hexagon, right sides together, aligning the edge to be sewn. The corners should line up. Some people like to clip their pieces together using Clover clips, but I prefer to just hold them together as I sew. (Are you wondering why my EPP template is hole punched? Keep reading to see how that simple little hole punch will make removing papers extra quick and easy once we're finished!)English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingWith a needle threaded with coordinating or neutral thread and knotted at the end, begin in one corner and carefully stitch the pieces together. Most people seem to prefer whip stitch, but you can also use a ladder stitch as long as you keep your stitches close together. I explain how to do each stitch in my coordinating coaster tutorial here.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingThere’s no need to knot your thread after each side; simply fold out the attached piece and add the next one, continuing to stitch the pieces together until you either run out of thread or you get to a point where no other piece can be directly joined.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingStitch all of your outer pieces onto the center hexagon, and then begin to sew the seams that radiate outward. I like to make a game out of trying to find the most efficient stitching path where I have to tie off the least amount of times. When you do need to tie off, either because you're at the end of your strand of thread or you've sewn the last consecutive piece, do an extra whip stitch at the end but don't pull it all the way through. Allow a little loop to form and pass your needle and thread through the loop in the same direction twice, then pull tight. Your thread is knotted and ready to be trimmed.

Keep stitching, working your way generally from the center outward. You may need to fold the paper templates in some cases to securely align the edges to be sewn; no worries! Stitch away until all seams have been sewn. This is another great portable project, easily worked on in small bits here and there--or binge sewn while watching your favorite show!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingOnce your entire Rose Star is stitched together, it's time to remove the templates. The back of your piece should look something like this (above). Note that some of my card stock templates came out during stitching; that's fine! Now, grab a chop stick or crochet hook and get ready to get popping with the rest of them!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingHere is where those holes come in. To remove the card stock templates once your entire Rose Star is sewn together, simply insert the end of a chopstick or crochet hook into the hole in the template.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingGently pull the edge of the chopstick up and the card stock template will pop right out. This chopstick removal method works fabulously with thread-basted EPP pieces, but also will work if you glue baste as long as all of the glue spots have been unstuck before popping.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingYou can save the templates and use them again!

Now it's time to stitch this rose star to the background fabric! First, give the rose star a good press with a hot iron, making sure the little seam allowance ears are pressed inward and that the outer edges are all still where they should be.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingCut your background fabric of choice to 17"x13". Position your rose star and bonus hexi the way you like it and baste in place. I offset mine, since I wanted the additional large hexagon EPP shape popping up on the other side for interest and a bit of fun. It actually works out perfectly, since this mega mug rug is for my sister, who has one bunny and is getting another one in a few weeks!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingBasting time! For a project like this, where I want the EPP shape to stay perfectly in position, I like to glue baste the outer edge of my shape to the background fabric. I also used a few pins to baste the center in place. Do what works for you!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingBe sure to place your line of glue on the inside edge of the seam allowance, and not too close to the edge. This way, your shape will stay in position, but you will still have flexibility in discretely stitching the EPP to the background. Heat set with a hot dry iron, and then it's time to stitch it down.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingThread and knot a needle with coordinating or neutral thread (I use Aurifil 50wt 2600 - Dove), then using ladder stitch, which is explained in more detail here, sew down the edge of your rose star. I like using the ladder stitch since it is a blind stitch that securely holds the EPP in place without being visible. Sew your bonus hexi in place, too, if you're including one.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingNext, it's time to cut the excess background fabric from behind the rose star EPP to help reduce bulk. Being careful to ensure the EPP is separated and far from the background fabric, carefully cut a small hole in the center of the background fabric.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingUsing that hole to allow your scissors in, carefully cut away the excess background fabric, leaving around 3/8" - 1/2" seam allowance.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingAfter your excess background fabric is removed, the back of your mug rug should look like this (above).

It's quilting time! Layer your mug rug top, batting, and backing, baste and quilt as desired. We will be using the backing fabric as binding, so be sure to cut your backing fabric so that it extends at least 1 1/2" from the outer edges of your mug rug top (2" if you plan to quilt densely), and do not quilt beyond the edge of the mug rug top. Keeping your quilting 1/4" away from the edge of the top works even better!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingAfter quilting, trim the batting flush to the mug rug top, being careful not to cut the backing fabric. If your quilting extends all the way to the edge of the top, cut the batting 1/8" from the top to ensure your backing isn't cut. You can do this by folding the backing fabric taught behind the mug rug and using a rotary cutter, or with scissors. Take your time.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingNext, trim the backing fabric so that it extends 1" beyond the cut edge of the mug rug top and batting.

Now it's time to bind! This mega mug rug is nearly complete!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingFold the raw edge of the backing fabric in to meet the edge of your top, and finger press.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingFold in again, over the edge of your quilt top, and pin in place.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingWhen you get to a corner, you will fold it in just like you are wrapping a present. You'll begin with the double folded edge.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingThen fold the corner in, flush with the bottom edge of the quilt top.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingThen continue as you did on the sides; fold the raw edge of backing fabric in to the edge of the quilt top.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingThen fold over again, creating a perfectly mitered corner. Pin or clip in place.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingClover clips work well to hold the binding in place, too.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingTop stitch around the binding using thread of a coordinating color (I used Aurifil 50wt 2886-Light Avocado since it matches the light lime green) and you're finished!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingPull out some treats, grab a cuppa, and enjoy your snack on your roomy and awesomely EPP-ed mega mug rug! This is a great gift idea for those of you who love to do EPP but don't feel up to hand stitching an entire quilt.English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingThere's even a tutorial for making matching coasters here!English Paper Piecing - Mug Rug, Part 2: FinishingEnjoy!

(See Part 1 of this tutorial for more info!)


Other Materials Used:

Background fabric (17"x13") - I used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Charcoal by Robert Kaufman.

Backing fabric (approx. 21"x17")

Batting (approx. 18"x14")

Thread (I love Aurifil 50wt, especially 2600-Dove, which is my panacea thread. It is a great neutral that goes with everything!)

Sewing needle

Washable glue and Fine Line glue applicator tips (optional, but awesome. I got mine at Pile O Fabric)

Fabric scissors

Pins or clips



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