pot holder tutorial

Every year, I make pot holders to give away to my friends. It’s become a seasonal ritual that started with my grandmother’s version. She used to sew a curtain ring in a corner, to hang them up with. I’ve had one of her’s in my kitchen drawer until last week, when I finally threw it out.  And she died over 20 years ago! Over the years, I’ve adapted the design, which I’ll show you here.

Pot holders are so simple to make and it’s a good way to use up scraps of loud fabric that don’t match anything. I first pick out some fabric from my stash–this time some shop keepers, with a line of paper-doll chain style shoppers. I’ve had this fabric sample for years and can’t remember where it came from. I also included some checked batik fabric and some favorite 40-year-old blue Mari Mekko scraps.

I cut the batik fabric on the bias and sewed several lengths together  to make tape for the edging.

An old cotton mattress pad is the secret ingredient to making pot holders like my grandmother’s. I had used up my old supply and recently found a cotton pad when cleaning out a relative’s house. Yipee! Polyester filled pot holders just don’t insulate well enough!

I cut out pieces and sandwiched together 3 layers, a front, a cotton pad middle and a back. 

I then outlined the figures by stitching through the 3 layers.

Then I stitched the bias tape around the outside edge of the back side.

I then turned the bias tape over to the front side and pinned it in place.

This is the most fussy part—-stitching the tape on the top side. The tape usually puckers a bit as you turn the corner. I had previously stitched on a Wee Folk Studio label that was left over from the days of selling felt purse kits.

I saved some extra length of bias tape to flip over for a loop.

Now, they’re all in my friends’ kitchens. I like to make pot holders because they are not too precious—they will be used and enjoyed daily and can be thrown into the washing machine.

18 thoughts on “pot holder tutorial

  1. Oh this is a wonderful idea Sally. I look for crafting ideas for Christmas gifts I can work on during the year. My grown kids have about enough of my felted hand made ornaments now I need to move on. One year I made napkin sets and those were nice two layered ones I had found a tutorial on line for them. By chance I received two purchased pot holders from a relative this year from the dollar store type which put me in mind of making some nice ones for gifts like you do. Thanks for this and I would love to see you post more ideas this new year for hand made gifts. Nan

  2. These are adorable and such a great idea for gifts! Thank you so much for sharing. Can’t wait to make some for my friends and family!!!!

  3. My mom made these but hers weren’t as cute as yours. Very cute gift idea and who doesn’t need fresh new pot holders? The best gem you included for the construction, though, was the mattress bad innards. Great idea!

  4. I will join Carolyn C. in saying that I also am cold sober (exhausted, perhaps, but cold sober) and can spell….just can’t type. bed not bad mattress innards. Ha!

  5. I like the idea of new potholders in the New Year tradition! I could certainly use some new ones and yours is the second potholder tutorial I’ve read this morning! Must be a sign 😉

  6. Dear Salley, You have very lucky friends…these are wonderful gifts! They are lovely to look at and so very functional too. I know that I would keep mine for as long as it lasted, and that could be forever since I probably would not want to even use it. But that would be silly too, as I have learned along the way. By using such gifts, one honors the maker AND our Creator. Blessings to you and gratitude too, for your many gifts that you share with others…and Happy New Year as well!

  7. When this post opened in my browser, my heart just lept. The market stall fabric is one that my mother used to make me a wonderful tote bag when I was very young. I love the colors and the marvelous graphic design for the stall keepers and their wares. I still have that tote bag and it is one of my dearest possessions. I have never seen the fabric anywhere else so it was just delightful to see it here!

    • Thanks, Linda. I haven’t seen it, but then again, I haven’t looked for it. I like using the old cotton mattress pad because it reminds me of my grandmother. Some materials bring memories.

      • I know what you mean, Salley. Just the ‘old feel’ of the cotton batting makes your fingers fly through the process! Thanks for the last years’ post:-)

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