How to Make {Pot holders} : 5 different techniques to sew them

A pot holder is one indispensable thing in any kitchen that works ;even for those kitchen that do not see much action other than making the occasional coffee on the coffee maker or the heating of readymade meals on the microwave a potholder makes for a pretty decoration-  not the readymade, dull or otherwise maroon colored boring ones that you get in the supermarket near you. I am talking about the pretty kind – ones you can whip up in half an hour or less and will make handling dishes a delight

how to make pot holders

Pot holders – How to make them

Basically, a potholder is one of the easiest things to sew. Just keep two small 8 or9-inch fabric pieces with a thick inner piece like batting or flannel piece inside for insulation; bind the edges and you have just the thing you need to protect your hands from heat when holding pans/pots or whatever.

If needed you can also add a loop to hang it and keep it safe between holding pans and pots.

But there are many different ways to finish it – which is what I am trying to explain here. Each of the potholder tutorials given below explains a different technique of sewing the pot holder

Maybe you need just one, maybe you need all of these.

Note : Typically a pot holder is an 8-inch square. But then it is your convenience.

1 Bias bound potholder

make pot holder

This is the most common type – quilted pot holder with bound edges. Here I will explain how to bind the edges of the pot holder with a double folded bias tape – that too with mitered corners

If you do not know how to make a bias tape check out this tutorial – 3 ways to make bias tape. The bias tape should be long enough to go around the 4 edges and then 1.5  inch extra for overlap and turning under.

Once you have cut the bias tape,  join to the required length, fold it by the middle and then bring the edges to the center – you have a double folded bias tape

How to make the potholder. 

Step 1. Layer your fabric pieces; the top fabric inner pieces /batting and the back piece should be layered and then quilted together 

make a pan holder

Step 2. Take your bias tape and keep the edge ( any edge) of the potholder inside the bias tape and stitch from the top. I usually start from the middle of an edge.

The stitching should catch the back edge of the bias tape as well. Stitch till the very end

mitered corner

Step 3. Now turn the bias tape to the other edge ; manipulate the corner so that it looks like a mitered corner .

You will have to adjust the fold at the corner with your hand

mitered corner with bias tape

Step 4. Stitch in place. Continue for all corners. When you reach the end you will have to overlap the starting bias tape end; turn under the bias tape end, overlap and continue stitching

You may want to keep a loop for hanging; insert it inside the bias tape edge.

2 Hand sewn pot holder

pot holder tutorial

Just as easily as you can machine sew a pot holder you can hand sew it. I have done some sashiko embroidery to jazz up my hand sewn pot holder. You can use ribbons or elastic tape as loop for convenience

Sashiko embroidery is a Japanese stitch which is basically running stitches. These stitches can be used to hold fabric layers together in your pot holder and this beautiful and easy to do embroidery brings a lot of hand sewn charm to your kitchen.

I have worked the sashiko stitches with the batting and top piece ; you can alternatively do the sashiko after the potholder is made and then these tiny running stitches will join the full layers of the potholder together

The loop is three yarns braided together. You can use ribbons or even elastic piece as the loop, other than fabric tubes

This is what I have done to make this potholder

Step 1. Do the sashiko work with the top fabric piece and batting.( keep the inner batting piece basted to the front piece and treat as one).

Step 2. Keep the top and back pieces right sides together. Sandwich the loop inside. Make back stitches along the edges. Leave 2 inches unstitched for turning the potholder inside out.

Do not forget to clip the corner of your seam allowance before turning inside out – otherwise, your corners will not look as good.

Step 3. Turn the thing right side out and stitch the opening closed with ladder stitches

Step 4. Add some more sashiko stitches to join the whole sandwich together. 

sew sashiko potholders

3 Pieced fabric scrap pot holder

Piecing is an art as well as a science- some people have perfected it. As I have not, this is not the most perfect way but an easy way to piece fabric scrap pieces. With even small pieces of fabric, you can piece fabric that looks beautiful.A square in a square is one of the easiest piece work you can do.

 Simply cut 3 numbers 4-inch squares; one square piece of 4 inch for the middle square and two square pieces of 4 inches for the outside square. (If you want a bigger pot holder cut 5 inch squares)

Cut the outer squares ( the fabric you want as the border – the square outside) into two by the diagonal so that you get 4 triangles.

make a pot holder

Stitch the triangle pieces along the edges of the square piece one by one so that it ends up looking like this. You have the top piece of your potholder

Now to make the pot holder.

I will make this without binding the edge – this is an easier way of making pot holders – the same way the hand-stitched pot holder was made.

Simply keep the inner and outer pieces righsides together and stitch together the edges. Clip the corners. Keep the loop sandwiched betweeen the layers . Leave a 2 inch gap  unstitched- turn the potholder  right side out through this gap. Poke the corners neatly out with a sharp tool. Now quilt stitch -ie  stitch the fabric layers together any way you want. 

4 Mitt shaped pot holder

This is a pot holder which will comfortably fit your hands – very good to take out dishes from the oven etc. but you need two of these to hold the dishes/pans with it

Cut out 4 pieces of fabric in the shape of a mitt ( outline your hand); two pieces should be shorter than the other two – this comes to the inside of the hand.

Stitch 2 shaped pot holders with these (do not forget to add the fleece/batting inside for heat insulation).After the piece is stitched and turned inside out , finish the lower edge – turn under the edge to the inside and top stitch together.

Join these two pieces together at the top edge. The lower end is kept open  for you to insert your hand and hold dishes.

5 Recycled  denim pot holder

I never do more than I absolutely do not have to – which is why an old jeans is a blessing in my sewing. All parts of the jeans can be used in so many projects – it has beautiful topstitching and embellishments which can be used in your projects – here the pocket brings an extra layer of protection for your hands and  it sure does look pretty

How to make this potholder

Step 1 To make this one, Cut out the jeans pockets with enough fabric on the outer edge to stitch – it should preferably be with minimum bulk so that you can stitch the denim easily

Step 2. Keep the jeans piece on a fabric which is bigger 1″ along all edges.Cut it out. This bigger piece is your back piece and binding all in one.

Turn under the edges of the fabric piece once and stitch. Keep the denim and batting/fleece on this fabric piece correctly centered.

mitered corner for potholder making

Turn the corners as in the picture above. ( If you are confused about this step for making mitered corner you can check out the post on making a mitered corner)

Now turn the edges to the top of the denim piece. The mitered corner will automatically be formed. Adjust the corner nicely and pin in place.My potholder turned a little wonky because I used a bias fabric scrap piece, which stretched with every edge

make pot holders

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