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Quick-Sew Potholders

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If you’re like me, you have a stash of fabric just waiting for inspiration to strike. Here’s a project that’ll unearth some of those treasured prints you’ve been saving to make something purposeful and beautiful. This quick and easy potholder set (one square, and one circular with a pocket) will add a dash of colorful flair to your kitchen — and they also make great gifts for any occasion.

Square Potholder

Potholders add cheer and utility to any kitchen, especially when you choose bright fabrics and kitchen-themed prints. Search on www.Spoonflower.com for fabric with prints of your favorite foods, your kitchen’s colors, or just a fabric that speaks to you. For this project, we used Spoonflower’s Basic Cotton fabric in “bouillabaisse plates,” “bouillabaisse,” and yellow “bouillabaisse dots,” by designer zesti.

One fat quarter — a quarter-yard of fabric that usually measures 18 by 22 inches — can easily yield 2 to 3 square or round potholders, and you can add even more fun by mixing and matching designs.

Tools & Materials                                                                                        

  • Hot iron                                                                                         
  • Basic sewing kit
  • Fat quarter of basic cotton or cotton twill fabric
  • 9-inch square of fusible cotton quilt batting
  • 9-inch square of Insul-Bright
  • Basting spray
  • 1/2-inch-wide masking tape or washi tape
  • Thread that matches the dominant color of your fabric
  • Pencil
  • Coordinating 1/2-inch or 1-inch double-fold bias binding (1 yard)
  • Thread to match binding
  • Ribbon for hanging loop (4 inches)

NOTE: Use a 54-inch-wide 1/4-yard to make three square potholders, and triple the other materials listed above.

Instructions

1. Cut two 9-inch squares of fabric and one 9-inch square of batting. Sandwich the batting between the wrong sides of one square of fabric and one square of Insul-Bright, and press with a hot iron to adhere it.

NOTE: The Insul-Bright acts as a barrier that keeps the batting from adhering to the ironing surface. 

2. Remove Insul-Bright and spray baste adhesive onto the cotton batting, then place the Insul-Bright back on top of it. Spray the wrong side of the second fabric square with basting spray, and place it right-side up on the Insul-Bright. Smooth the square with your hands until everything is pretty well stuck together.

3. Using masking or washi tape and a ruler to guide you, tape diagonally in one direction across the square at 1-inch intervals.

4. Line up the edge of your sewing machine’s presser foot with one consistent side of the tape, and straight stitch along one side of each diagonal. A 3-millimeter stitch length is fine. Use a thread color that matches the background of your fabric design if you want the stitching to be less visible. Remove the tape.

5. A: Tape new lines perpendicular to the lines you’ve just stitched. Again, sew along one side of the tape guides. Remove the tape. If necessary, trim the edges of the fabric so everything is the same size.

B: Use scissors to round all four corners. You may want to trace around something curved, such as a spool of thread.

6. Unfold the bias binding, and (with the right side down against the fabric) line up the raw edge of the bias binding with the quilted square’s raw edge. Backstitch, then straight stitch in the fold of the binding.

7. When you reach the next rounded corner, tuck a loop of ribbon between the fabric and the bias binding. This will create a loop for hanging up the finished potholder later.

NOTE: I used a 4-inch length of ribbon folded in half to create a 2-inch-long loop.

8. When you get all the way around the potholder, overlap the bias binding about 1 to 2 inches, backstitch, and cut off excess.

9. Flip the square over, and refold the bias binding around the raw edge, making sure to cover the visible stitch line. Pin, and then topstitch with a straight or zigzag stitch around the bias binding, backstitching when you reach the end.

Circle Potholder with Pocket

These instructions are similar to those for making the square potholder, but with a few different steps, as well as a few additional steps for making the pocket.

Tools & Materials                                                  

  • Compass to create a 9-inch circle                  
  • Hot Iron                                                                     
  • Basic sewing kit                                      
  • Fat quarter of cotton twill fabric
  • 9-inch square of fusible cotton quilt batting
  • 9-inch square of Insul-Bright
  • Basting spray
  • 1/2-inch-wide masking tape or washi tape
  • Thread that matches the dominant color of your fabric
  • Coordinating 1/2-inch or 1-inch double-fold bias binding (1 yard)
  • Thread that matches your binding
  • Ribbon for loop to hang (4 inches)

NOTE: Use a 54-inch-wide 1/4-yard to make two circle potholders with pockets, and double the other materials above.

Instructions

1. Using a compass, draw a 9-inch circle on paper, and cut it out.

2. Using the paper pattern you’ve just created, cut out three 9-inch circles of fabric. If you have more than one fat quarter on hand, try a contrasting fabric for the pocket (one circle) or reverse side of the potholder.

3. Cut a 9-inch circle of the fusible batting and a 9-inch circle of Insul-Bright. Sandwich the batting between the wrong sides of one circle of fabric and the circle of Insul-Bright, and press with a hot iron until it’s adhered.                                                                      

NOTE: The Insul-Bright acts as a barrier that keeps the batting from adhering to the ironing surface.

4. Remove Insul-Bright and spray basting adhesive onto the cotton batting, then place the Insul-Bright back on top of it. Spray the wrong side of the second fabric circle with adhesive, and place it right-side up on the Insul-Bright. Smooth it down with your hands until everything is stuck together.

5. Using masking or washi tape and a ruler to guide you, tape diagonally across the circle at 1-inch intervals. Line up the edge of your sewing machine’s presser foot with one consistent side of the tape, and straight stitch along one side of each diagonal. A 3-millimeter stitch length is fine. Use a thread color that matches the background of your fabric design if you want the stitching to be less visible. Remove the tape. Tape new lines perpendicular to the stitched lines. Again, sew along one side of the tape guides. Remove the tape.

6. Unfold the bias binding, and (with the right side down against the fabric) line up the raw edge of the bias binding with the raw edge of the circle. Backstitch, then straight stitch in the fold of the binding. Tuck a loop of ribbon in where you want your potholder to hang.

7. Fold the circle pattern in half, using it to cut out a half-circle of batting. With right side out, fold the pocket fabric in half, tuck the batting in like a taco, and press it with a hot iron. Sew an 8-inch length of bias binding along the straight side of the folded pocket.

8. Flip the project over, and line up the pocket’s raw edges to the circle’s raw edges, directly opposite the ribbon loop. Refold the bias binding around the raw edges and the pocket piece, and pin. Topstitch around the entire circle, being careful that the pocket sides don’t slip out as you stitch around them.

Photo by Courtesy Abrams Publishing


is a Berlin-based designer, illustrator, and motivational speaker. This is excerpted with permission from her book (Abrams).

The Spoonflower Quick-sew Project Book

Stitch up a storm with more than 30 new stash-friendly projects from quilt and fabric lovers’ favorite creative force: Spoonflower. Discover all that you can make with just a yard or two! Spoonflower (a design-your-own/print-on-demand fabric company known for its unique, clever, and must-have designs) presents simple step-by-step instructions that are accompanied by templates and pattern pieces. Here are dozens of brand-new projects designed to be completed in just a few hours. Get inspired and turn your favorite fabric into a lovely garland, stylish tote, children’s tent, and all sorts of other accessories for home and fashion. With easy-to-follow tutorials and projects that span a wide spectrum of skills, this book is perfect for both new and experienced sewists. Designing fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap used to be the stuff of dreams. Today, Spoonflower’s technology allows anyone to affordably create, print, and purchase one-of-a-kind fabric or paper.

  • Updated on Nov 28, 2020
  • Originally Published on Dec 31, 2019
Tagged with: potholders, sewing, Winter 2020