19 March 2012

MOO a Cute Potholder from Scrap Fabrics

Potholders are a great beginning sewing project that can be made from scrap material or unwanted clothing and a bit of bias binding.  In fact a pot holder was the very first sewing project I made in high school sewing. It was very simple - two pieces of felt, a piece of wadding for the filling and blanket stitched around the edges.

I've since moved on, both in my sewing and my cooking, and these days pot holders need to be a little sturdier to withstand the constant handing and washing they get.

Here are the simple instructions you can use to make your own cute pot holder. Because you are making it out of scraps or recycled a fabrics it won't cost a thing!

First cut two 21cm squares of fabric to be the front and back of the potholder.  Choose coordinating fabrics that match your kitchen for these pieces.  To make it easier, you can make an 21cm square pattern from a piece of cardboard to use as a template.  Cut more 21cm squares of any old fabric to stack for the filling.  You want the stack of fabric squares to be thick enough to protect you from a hot pot, but thin enough to be flexible and able to be sewn through.

I've used layers of fabric, old towels and quilt wadding for the filling in pot holders over the years. At the moment I have some old woollen blankets, very moth eaten and not of any use as bedding, but cut into squares they will make excellent batting for pot holders. Think outside the square - use what you have on hand. Just remember to keep it to a natural or heat resistant fabric - no synthetics that are likely to melt when they get hot!

Stack all layers so that the outer layers are facing to the outside and the filler layers are inside.  You can put a couple of large straight pins through all layers to keep them together.  Now sew right across the middle of the stack.  Sew across the middle again, perpendicular to the first stitching.  You will have divided the square into 4 squares.  Sew across the stack again from corner to corner, and again from the other corner to corner.  The layers should be joined and sturdy now.

To bind off the raw edges of your pot holder, trim with scissors so that all the layers are again even at the edges.  Open out one folded edge of the  bias tape.  The wider bias tape might seem to be easier to use, but the narrow type makes a neater finished product.  Starting at one corner, line up the edges of the tape with the edges of the potholder, and start stitching through all layers along the first fold line, which will be about 6mm from the edge.  Stitch neatly and slowly, attaching the opened tape all around the edge until you reach the beginning corner.  Cut the bias tape off, leaving 8cm to make into a hanging loop. 

Fold the bias tape over the raw edge so that the middle fold lines up with the outside of the potholder and the other fold is hiding the raw edge of the bias tape.  Now, for best results, hand sew the binding down, forming a loop on your pot holder when you get to the end.  If hand sewing isn't your favourite thing, you can use your sewing machine. Ditch stitch (stitch in the "ditch" created on the right side when you fold the tape over) around the pot holder, forming a loop when you reach the end.

This potholder is just one example of what you can create if you have a sewing machine.  When it is finished, you will have a useful item made from almost all recycled materials, I am supposing you'll use new thread!

These pot holders make lovely gifts and because they are virtually free, you don't need to feel guilty when the become scorched or faded - just make a nice new one for your kitchen.

2 comments:

  1. Have you used cotton t-shirt fabric for this in the past? I have some old t-shirts that I am looking for a use for

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  2. Can't say that I have. I tend to use thicker fabrics (towelling, denim, gabardine, wool etc) for their insulating properties and because they are thick! I would imagine you'd need a good many layers of t-shirt fabric to get the thickness you need to insulate the pot holder properly.

    I have used old t-shirts to make bags (see How to Make a Groovy Library Bag in the MOO category, they are so easy and very handy. Great for library books and shopping, they hold a surprisingly large amount of stuff.

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