Christmas Tree Mug Mat Pattern

Our free December mug rug pattern is a festive, fun, free-motion quilted Christmas tree mug rug. Not only is this a great way to practice your free motion quilting skills, but it's also the perfect gift!

It’s time for some festive makeup!!! Tis the season to decorate the halls, trim the tree, and bask in the warmth of holiday cheer.

What better way to bring the Christmas spirit into your home than by adding a touch of handmade magic? This joyous season of giving, we bring you a delightful gift: a free-motion quilted Christmas mug rug pattern that will not only adorn your table but hopefully brighten your day too!

gray and red mug mat on wooden table with coffee cup and Christmas decorations
Contents

This mug rug pattern is part of our year-long series of free quilted mug rug patterns here on our quilting blog! Amy Ball designed the model along with the others featured this year.

This month's skill focus is free motion quilting.

Monthly Cup Mat Patterns and Skill Focus

  1. January: Fabric Flash Mug Mat – Use of selvedges
  2. February: First edition Mug Rug – Difficult cut
  3. March: English Bloom Mug Rug – English Paper Piecing (EPP)
  4. April: Coffee Booth Cup Mat – Binder with Quilt Backing
  5. May: Street Party Garland – Raw Edge Applique
  6. June: Big Stitch mug rug – Hand quilting
  7. July: Summer Sun Cup Mat – Improv Piecing
  8. August: Heart Mug Rug – Patchwork Piecing
  9. September: Pumpkin Face Mug Mat – Reverse Applique
  10. October: Cozy Cup Mug Rug – Big Stitch Binding
gray and red mug mat on wooden table with coffee cup and Christmas decorations

What is free-motion quilting?

Free-motion quilting is a technique in which the quilter moves fabric freely under the needle of a sewing machine, creating intricate, detailed designs. Unlike traditional quilting, where the machine's feed dogs guide the fabric, free-motion quilting allows the quilter to have complete control over the movement of the fabric.

In free-motion quilting, the feed dogs are lowered or covered, and the quilter uses their hands to move the fabric in any direction. This freedom of movement allows for the creation of varied designs, such as swirls, curls, flowers and intricate patterns, giving a unique and personalized touch to the quilt.

Tips for Free Motion Quilting

If you've never tried FMQ, starting with a small project like a mug mat is the perfect way to get started. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Before putting the needle to the fabric, it is essential to draw and scribble free-motion quilting designs. This will help with your hand-eye coordination and create muscle memory for patterns.
  • For free-motion quilting, you need to drop your feed dogs (the small teeth on the plate of your sewing machine that help guide the fabric under the machine foot) because you need to be able to move the fabric around YOU.
  • Always check and adjust, if necessary, the tension on your machine each time you sit down for a free-motion quilting. Make quilt sandwiches to test your tension before you start working on a project.

Note that not all sewing machines can free-motion quilt. Check your machine's manual to see if you can lower the feed dogs to complete this project.

If you experience stitch problems at any time during free-motion quilting, you should

  1. Rewire your machine,
  2. Replace with a new needle (and check that it is the right size for quilting; I use 90/14),
  3. Clean your machine.

Always follow these simple steps before trying anything else, as there is a good chance that one of them will fix the problem.

Supply list

  • Red, green, yellow and brown thread
  • Main fabric; 1 large eighth
  • Backing fabric; 1 large eighth
  • Binding cloth; 1 large eighth
  • 9 inch stick square

Instructions

gray and red mug mat on wooden table with coffee cup and Christmas decorations

Christmas tree mug mat

Melissa Mortenson

Create a festive Christmas tree mug rug. Not only is this a great way to practice your free motion quilting skills, but it's also the perfect gift!

Preparation time ten minutes

Active time 1 hour 30 minutes

Total time 1 hour 40 minutes

supplies

  • 1 Big eighth Main fabric
  • 1 Big eighth Backing fabric
  • 1 Big eighth Binding fabric
  • 1 piece 9 inch stick square

Instructions

Cut:

  • From the main fabric, cut a 9″ square (1). From the backing fabric, cut a 9″ square (1).From the binding fabric, cut WOF x 2¼” (2).

Construction:

  • Use a ¼” seam allowance, unless otherwise noted.

  • Take the 9-inch square of backing fabric and place it right side down. Add the batting square on top, then place the main 9-inch fabric square on top with the right side facing you. Make sure all layers are smooth and flat, then brush together using your preferred method. I highly recommend a spray basting method, as it is more difficult to remove pins during free motion quilting.
  • Mark the front of the quilt sandwich square with a 7½” square. You will use this line as a cutting guide when you are finished quilting, so you must be careful not to keep the seams within ¼” of this marked square .

  • Now you need to mark some guides for the Christmas tree shape. You can use a fabric pen or an indentation tool like a Hera marker, but I prefer to use a few strips of washi tape (a paper tape with only a slight amount of stick) because no mark is left once that you are finished. Glue the ribbon (or mark lines) in two diagonal lines that overlap in the center and lie ¼” below the top edge of the marked square from step 2. Then add another piece on top (or mark a third line) horizontally, 1¼” from the bottom edge of the marked square. Use the photo as a guide to help you.
  • To create the Christmas tree shape, use green thread and free-stitch a spaced ribbon candy design, starting at the top of the marked triangle from step 3 and working down, going from left to right, creating a loop near the edge and weaving back and forth, filling the space of the triangle. A photo guide as the direction to move the needle marked by arrows.
  • Remove the washi tape.

  • Now you need to mark some guides for the tree trunk. Glue the ribbon (or mark lines) in two vertical lines 1″ on either side of the center of the bottom edge of the marked square from step 2. Use the photo as a guide to help you.

  • To create the tree trunk, use brown thread and free-motion stitch a square spiral, starting ¼” from the bottom edge, next to the tape/marked line on the left. Quilt a straight (ish!) line vertically until you get close to the bottom of the Christmas tree, then continue horizontally until you reach the other piece of tape/marked line, then move down vertically as you stopping at about ¼” because you are level with where the spiral started.
  • Continue with this pattern, working toward the center. A photo guide as the direction to move the needle marked by arrows. Remove the tape when you're done.

  • To create the star, use gold or yellow thread and loosely stitch a five-pointed star to the top of the Christmas tree. Start at the center of the star and draw a short line vertically up, then back down to where you started.
  • Next, stitch a line of similar length diagonally (about a northeast angle), then return to the center. Repeat to quilt three more diagonal lines to complete the star. A guide photo is the direction in which to move the needle marked by arrows.

  • To create the tree decorations, use a selection of thread colors (I used gold, pink, orange, purple and teal) and free motion stitch a small set of three loops on tree branches. Start just above a quilted line of a tree branch and stitch a small loop, ending where you started.
  • Next, create a slightly larger loop in the same way, then another slightly larger one. Repeat this on other tree branches; I put almost all the branches, but you add as many as you want. A guide photo is the direction in which to move the needle marked by arrows.

  • Press the quilted mat to smooth any uneven fabric.

  • Cut the mug mat down to a 7½-inch square.

TO PRINT

About the designer

photo of Amy

Amy lives in the north of England with her husband and son. When she's not sewing or quilting, Amy can usually be found cooking or reading. You can find her on Instagram @amyatthegate




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