Friday September 29, 2006

I have fiddled around with making pot holders to go with the aprons I was making for myself and for Corin.  I thought some cute fall pot holders would be nice in our kitchens!!  I didn’t want to make pot holders that were useless, though! I’ve been given far too many cute, homemade pot holders that caused me to get burned the first time I used them.  These directions will give you a useful pot holder (we’ve tried them out!) and you can make them for all the different seasons, or make them to match your kitchen decor.

Those of you crafty-bloggy types may just want to pass this post by.   I’m sure that there are probably dozens of really GOOD tutorials out there for making a quilted pot holder.  However, if you’re not too picky and just want to make some easy and useful pot holders for your kitchen, this might a good place to start.  I have never quilted, though I’m hoping to learn in 2007.  My quilting instructions may not be quite “kosher”, but they seem to work just fine for this project.

Here’s what you’ll need for each pot holder:

1)  Cardstock to make a template
2)  Fabric, all the same or two complimentary pieces (such as a print and a matching solid) (Be sure to use fabric that can handle the heat – cotton blends, calicos, denim, etc.)
3)  Thread (one color that matches or contrasts with your fabric, one color that matches your bias tape)
4)  *Cotton batting (I have been using 80% cotton, 20% polyester with no problems
5)  * Insul-Bright (available at most fabric stores)
6)  1 package of extra-wide double fold bias tape, to match or contrast with fabric

The first thing you need to do is to determine the size of the pot holder you want. The ones I have been making are small, around 6 ½ inches by 7 ¼ inches.  It’s a nice size for me, but make the size that you like best.  For ease of construction, square corners are better than rounded ones.  Cut your template to your desired size from the cardstock.

Using the cardstock template, trace and then cut out (or just cut if you’re very steady-handed) two pieces of fabric.  I like to use one piece of print fabric, and one piece of a coordinating solid.

Using the template again, you will need to cut two pieces of cotton batting and one piece of *Insul-Bright.

Make a sandwich of your five pieces this way – fabric, cotton batting, Insul-Bright, cotton batting, fabric.  Layer the pieces as carefully as you can so that the edges are as even as possible.

Pin the fabric sandwich in about four places to secure the layers, being careful not to pucker any of the layers in the process.





At the sewing machine, beginning at one corner, stitch across the entire sandwich diagonally to the opposite corner.  Place your hands carefully on either side of the presser foot to keep the fabric smooth and to keep the edges from pulling in too much.  Then do the same thing stitching the other diagonal.  You should have what looks like a large “X” on your pot holder.


Next, I simply used the metal plate over the feed dogs on my machine as a guide, and began stitching lines diagonally parallel to one of the diagonals originally made.  The measurement is approximately 1 ¼ inches between lines of stitching.  If you wanted to be really precise, you could measure your lines in advance with a ruler and mark them on your fabric.  However, I was just wanting to make some functional pot holders that matched my aprons and “eyeballing” it with the metal  plate was close enough for me!  Again, you will want to keep your hands on either side of the needle to keep the fabric smoothed and to help hold the layers in place.  The layers will slip a little bit, but don’t worry about that now.



Keep stitching at the same distance from each preceding row until you run out of room to make another row.  The last row of stitching, in the corner, will be really short.  Do the other side of the diagonal the same way, and then turn to stitch the lines the same distance apart on the other diagonal.  You will have a diamond pattern on your pot holder when you are done.


Next, use your zig zag stitch and zig zag around all four sides of the  potholder.  This will catch in all the edges of all of the layers of your sandwich, and will bind them all together.  The zig zag stitching will not show on the finished pot holder.

We’re almost done!


Begin pinning your bias tape around the edges of your pot holder.  You MUST use the extra wide double fold bias tape so that it will cover and contain all of your edges.  If applying bias tape is new to you, be sure to visit the Wright’s web site for instructions here.




For the pot holders I have made, I just finished off the bias tape by cutting it a bit past the starting point, turning under the raw edge, and overlapping the end of the tape with the beginning just a bit.





However, if you want to make these to hang up and display in your kitchen, you can make a loop with the bias tape at the top of your potholder like this.  You would want to stitch the open side of the bias tape closed as well, and then press the loop flat.



At the ironing board, press the pot holder with a very hot iron and lots of steam!!  This will help shrink up any little bits of fullness in the fabric and will finish the pot holder off nicely.





There you have it!!  Quick, easy.  Not “professional”, but not too bad for homemade!!

*Please do not substitute here.  It is IMPORTANT that you use cotton batting (at least 80% cotton, but 100% cotton would be better) and Insul-Bright brand Insulation.  Polyester batting will not withstand the heat and you will get burned. Using any product other than Insul-Bright could also cause burns.  I’ve used my pot holders made with the 80% cotton batting and Insul-Bright over and over and they have performed very well.  My 12 year old even tested one of the pot holders by holding the edge of a very hot cookie sheet with one the other day for several seconds.  I have also washed my pot holders, twice, and they are just as good as new!

(These instructions and pictures are posted for the sole, private use of the readers of the Copper’s Wife blog. You may not publish these instructions or pictures anywhere else. While I hope that lots and lots of pot holders will be made for private use and/or personal gift giving, these instructions are not to be used in making quilted pot holders for resale. Thanks!)

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1 comment to Friday September 29, 2006

  • Thank you so much for the wonderful instructions for making potholders.  This is another thing I would love to try making, and now instead of blundering through trying to figure it out on my own, I will know exactly what to do.  How wonderful they would be as Christmas gifts!    Debbie