Winning with Cork Fabric! Personalized Football Mug Rugs


Football is in the air!  Today, we have a fun machine embroidery project created by our very own Project Manager, Joy Ercanbrack. With football season underway, now is the time to show off your team spirit by making these fun mug rugs that can be personalized with your favorite teams colors!  Thanks for sharing with us Joy!

Ask my son Robert what his favorite season is and he will answer, “Football!” without hesitation. Watching him play under the Friday night lights was exciting and excruciating all in the same moment. This week I’ve been stitching mug rugs in his favorite team colors and decided to try using cork for the football with fabulous results.

Trim Cork around the entire outline stitches.

Applique white fabric for the stripes directly right on top of the cork


Cork fabric feels soft to the touch, but it’s durable like leather. It’s really ideal for the large football centered on the mug rug because it’s waterproof, stain resistant, and easy to clean. If you want to try using cork, here are a few tips I learned while stitching.

1. Start with a new needle. I found success with an 85/12 topstitch needle.

2. Slow your machine down a bit. No need to hustle through the stitches.

3. With fabric applique, our instructions show trimming around all three sections of the football after the tack-down stitch. Because cork fabric has a thicker gauge than cotton, I chose not to cut the cork under the stripes away, but trimmed the football as if it were just one piece; then appliqued the white fabric right over the cork. I loved the dimension this created.

The football mug rug is one of eleven in-the-hoop designs on Kimberbell’s Mug Rugs Volume 2 (KD517). Do you have any tips to share with us for stitching with cork fabric?  We would love to hear them? Please comment below!

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About the Author : Abby Nelson


  1. Joyce Fike September 1, 2017 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    I love Kimberbell designs. I want to try the Halloween designs!

  2. Pauline September 1, 2017 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Who makes Cork fabric? Also is there a sewing book just for sewing machines?

    • Jayme Shepherd September 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Pauline – If you do a google search you will find several sellers that carry the cork fabric. Currently we only have the mug rugs for machine embroidery. Have a great day!

  3. Shari Adams September 2, 2017 at 1:11 am - Reply

    Where do you find cork fabric? They are all sew cute

    • Jayme Shepherd September 5, 2017 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      Hi Shari – If you do a google search you can find several sellers that carry the cork fabric. Good luck!

  4. Gladys Bradfield September 2, 2017 at 4:17 am - Reply

    Love the foot ball mug rug, and this is the first time I have ever heard of cork fabric. Where do you buy it? I am curious as to what holds the cork together. Is there a special backing to it because it seems like the outline stitching would shred it. Thanks much. BTW I sure wish we had a shop here in Rapid City, SD that carried more Kimberbell products. I have found a few things, but not any machine embroidery, mostly the books and bench pillows kits with sewing patterns. I have to order what I want which sometimes takes a while.

    • Jayme Shepherd September 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      Hi Gladys! You can do a google search and find several sellers who carry the cork fabric. We are so happy to hear you love Kimberbell! Keep working with your shop to see if they might bring in more of the machine embroidery items. We would love to support them in any way that we can!

  5. Susan September 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I make these for all NFC and AFC teams. I have had a few orders for college teams too. I sell them on

  6. Patti Gillette September 3, 2017 at 11:22 am - Reply

    love the new mug rug set 2 will be buying it real soon…love the way they turn out make great teachers gifts.

  7. Diane I September 16, 2017 at 2:00 am - Reply

    perfect for my cubicle at work.

  8. Alex Kuter October 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Great idea for all creative machine embroiderers. What is your recommended machine speed with cork and especially in this case? Moreover, what if, 85/12 needle is not available? what are other possible alternatives while using cork in machine embroidery digitizing?

    • Jayme Shepherd October 18, 2017 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Alex – you will want to keep your machine speed slow and another alternative to the needle would be a Sharps brand needle. We hope you enjoy these designs!

  9. Karen October 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I have a Singer futuro emb. Machine that I have to download all cds laptop to work. Will your cds download so I can use my singer older embroidery ma nine? Thank you

    • Jayme Shepherd October 18, 2017 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Karen – Yes, you download to your computer and then load to a USB. 🙂

  10. Diane March 13, 2018 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Please share where the black and white word print fabric can be found. Thank you.

    • Tonya Diaz March 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your question, we actually just purchased that fabric at a local quilt shop. We are sorry that we don’t have the brand for you.

  11. Nicole November 9, 2018 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Hello! These are adorable! Did you use interfacing or stabilizer behind the white fabric that was appliqued to the football to eliminate the brown cork showing through the white?

    Thanks for the advice!

    • Abby Nelson November 21, 2018 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      Hi Nicole, If you are worried about fabric shadowing you can iron shapeflex to the back and that will reduce the effect. It depends on the white fabric you are using! Happy Sewing!

  12. Here February 18, 2019 at 9:10 pm - Reply

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