Advent Calendar 2023 – the 13th door

With my article, the 13th door of the Blog Advent calendar, I would like to sew a cup warmer with you and decorate it with free-motion embroidery thread. If you want, you can even sew a small pocket on the front and put a message inside.

BERNINA has declared 2023 the Year of Embroidery. Many of my projects this year have followed this motto, alternating between free motion and machine embroidery. In my tutorial today I’m going to show you how I decorated and stitched this mug cuff using different embroidery threads. During the Advent season, there’s nothing wrong with a little sparkle, which is why we’ve used metallic embroidery floss here. I’ll explain how to get the best results with threading later in this article. Embroidering with metal is not difficult if you pay attention to a few points.

Cup warmer nähen

Cup warmer – Cup cuff – Cup sleeve

This project goes by many names and the great thing is that sewing these mug warmers is perfect for beginners.

Decorating in freestyle, that is to say with the free motion technique, is an excellent opportunity to practice free patterns on a sewing project and to draw from the stock of collected buttons.

Cup warmer nähen

This sewing project is perfect for recycling jeans and beautiful fabric scraps. You can design the front fabric in one complete cut or create a patchwork.

Cup warmer nähen

Cup warmer nähen

I used leftover printed fabrics for three of my mug sleeves. I painted the designs in acrylic on canvas and then had them printed on the fabric by Spoonflower. You can use denim or other fabric from your existing supplies as the backing fabric for the mug warmers. Decorations with metallic thread make the cuffs shine. After all, Christmas is coming, so some glitter is just perfect.

Cup warmer nähen

Sewing Mug Warmer – Hardware Supplies

  • Fabric scraps or fabrics of your choice
  • Stabilizer: Soluvlies Or Stabilizer Or Solufix,
  • Fleece volume: Freudenberg thermolam
  • Sewing thread
  • Glittery embroidery thread; I used Metallic by Mettler
  • Thread lubrication unit
  • Standard embroidery thread, here POLY SHEEN by Mettler
  • Universal sewing needles 70 -90
  • Embroidery needle
  • Metallic embroidery needle
  • Marker pen
  • Model paper if necessary
  • Pencil
  • Paper scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat
  • Button
  • Elastic 2mm wide, 17cm long

Cutting pattern for the cup warmer

My mug has a capacity of 330 ml, is 95 mm high and has a diameter of 80 mm. This is a common mug that is ideal for me when I want to create my own designs.

I created the die-cut pattern based on these measurements so that I would still have a narrow blank edge at the top of the mug. I noticed that the drink is easier to drink this way. If your cup is larger or smaller, you will need to adjust the cutting pattern accordingly.

You can easily create your own template as a cutting pattern for this mug warmer by cutting out a rectangle of paper measuring 25cm x 9cm – or you can print my template, which I have made available for you to download here:

Cup warmer model

When printing, make sure your printer is set to 100% without scaling!

How to sew the mug warmer

Either prepare a template measuring 25 cm x 9 cm or use a ruler to measure. Here I cut out a larger piece of Thermolam and placed my piece of fabric on top of it.

Then I sewed the fabric to the interfacing all around using a 3.0 straight stitch.

Decorate with metallic thread

Next came the preparation to decorate the front of the mug warmer with the wire. After having constant thread breaks on my test piece, I realized that I had this great accessory designed specifically for this type of thread. This is the thread lubrication unit. And there you have it: there were no more wire breaks thanks to this support!

The spool net that is placed on the spool is also very important so that the line can unwind without friction.

On my machine you can see how the metal wire passes through a felt soaked in silicone liquid. The silicone fluid actually improves the gliding properties of the wire. Just make sure the felt doesn’t dry out, so add a few drops every now and then.

Preparing for embroidery

For the first cup warmer, I tried Solufix from Freudenberg, which I didn’t know before, as an embroidery base. Please read the manufacturer’s information on this excellent product.

To do this, I ironed the adhesive part of the Solufix onto the back of my front fabric, then I scraped the paper layer twice with a pin and removed the backing paper from the interfacing.

Thus prepared, I went to the sewing machine and the fun of free motion embroidery was about to begin.

Using the Free-motion embroidery foot #24, I intuitively embellished a design with metallic thread on the fabric in front. It is important here to significantly reduce the pressure of the presser foot! This is why I always recommend sewing a small test piece first. You can use it to try out the appropriate settings and only then start sewing your project.

Image of free-motion embroidery foot #24.

Free-motion embroidery foot #24

For precise and creative free-motion sewing ✓ For embroidery and thread painting of monograms, silk ribbons and Richelieu ✓ For outline quilting, free-motion quilting and microstippling ✓ Unobstructed view of the embroidery area ✓ For 5.5mm and 9mm machines ✓

Learn more

Cup warmer nähen

Embellishment with free-motion embroidery foot 24

Rear side of the cup warmer

For the back, I cut a piece of discarded denim to about the right size, placed it right sides together on the front, and secured it in place with a few pins.

Cup warmer nähen

On one of the narrow sides, an opening for turning inside out should be marked; It is important to first consider on which side the elastic should be attached and on which side the button should be placed.

You can see what I mean in the photo. But don’t worry, if you swapped the button and the elastic, it’s not bad, it’s just different. 😉

But now back to the back. After sewing it, cut the corners at an angle and cut off the excess in the same way.

Button and elastic

Prepare everything you need for closing. In this case, it is the elastic and the button. If you have the foot to sew #18 buttons, it will be a great help to you.

Cup warmer nähen

First, the button is sewn onto the closed narrow edge of the front, centered at a distance of approx. 1 cm.

Cup warmer nähen

To precisely adjust the length of the elastic, I put the cuff back around the mug, place the looped elastic in the opening, and secure it with two fabric clips.

If everything fits, I detach the cuff from the cup again and sew the elastic in place. In the same step, I sew once across the entire front.

When sewing over the elastic loop, be sure to use a thicker needle and, if necessary, use the height compensation tool on the thicker corners.

Finally, I always sew the elastic area two or three times with a zigzag stitch to make sure everything is held in place.

Cup warmer nähen


The first cup warmer is finished and I love its subtle embroidery decoration.

For the next mug warmer I used a normal tear away stabilizer and a sleek black embroidery floss. For the third cup warmer, I tested standard solutions as embroidery support.

All three stabilizers did an excellent job. I will definitely work with Solufix more often as I really like the free-motion embroidery attachment.

Do you have a favorite embroidery stabilizer?

Cup warmer nähen

Of course, you can also decorate the back of the mug with an embroidered or written message or a patch. Let your imagination run wild, because the important thing in this sewing project is to have fun!

I hope you like my sewing idea for decorating mug warmers and maybe you found some nice gift inspiration for Christmas.

It is in this spirit that I wish you all a pleasant Advent season. Stay safe and have fun sewing and being creative!

Yours, Katharina

by RaabArt

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