Sunday, August 7, 2011

Too Hot to Handle

In my last post, I mentioned getting acquainted with a new-to-me sewing machine.  I even posed a challenge to myself to attempt seven projects in seven days to get me more familiar with it and push myself to try some new techniques.  Well, after drooling over some new fabrics I wanted to order and realizing I had run out of room to store them, I accepted my self-imposed challenge. I now had another, more pressing reason to accept it -- using up my current fabric stash to make room for more.
Yes, the sides are bulging -- no time to waste!
I chose to start with a simple project to get the momentum rolling and keep me motivated for the challenge to come. In my stash of fabrics, I had several scraps which had already been quilted and used for various lunchboxes.
After much debate with myself, I decided they would best be used as pot holders. They are fun and colorful which is perfect for a kitchen, they are already quilted which saves me some work, and I currently own only one oven mit and 'Ove' Glove.  Not only would this be fun and simple, it would also be practical for me.

I started by cutting squares -- approximately 8”x8” -- out of the larger pieces of fabric. Then there were the longer, thinner ones I had to work with.  I decided to go with a quilted effect to make the most out of what I had. I started piecing together 4”x4” squares or 4”x8” rectangles -- sizes vary based on what was available -- until I had used up as much of the scraps as I had left.
After I had cut enough material for 5 pot holders, I decided this was plenty and saved my last and largest leftover lunchbox scrap for another project. 
Since my scraps were already quilted, all that was left after cutting was to join the pieces together and finish the edges.  I was unsure of how to join them initially, so I started by binding my one, whole square.  I used some left over double bias tape and got to work finishing the first pot holder.
I am by no means a pro at using or even making bias tape, but this is the process I went with and it seemed to work really well.
1. open up the tape and lay on pot holder, lining up the edges with right sides together. I started in the middle of a side so I could camouflage the two ends meeting as much as possible. Pin until you get to a corner.
2. Start stitching your first side about an inch from the start of your bias tape and stop when you’re reached the corner.
3. Remove from the machine.  Pivot the outer edge of your bias tape so you can continue lining up with the edge of the adjoining side -- make sure that no inner edge is trapped under and at risk for being stitched down.

*do not pin like this*
4. Continue each side in this manner until you reach your starting point.  Fold the beginning of your bias tape in about a ¼ of an inch -- I forgot this part so the photo does not show this! Make sure your ending piece overlaps the beginning and stitch.
5. Fold the unstitched edge in towards the center of the bias tape and then over the edge of the potholder onto the other side. There should now be no raw edges exposed. Adjust the corners and pin in place.
6. Topstitch all around staying as close to the inner edge as possible but making sure to stitch though the bias tape on the backside as well.
You’re done -- and with perfectly mitered corners, I might add! I did not add any loops to mine -- I just stash them in a cabinet so there's no real need -- but you could definitely add pockets on one side for your hand to fit in or a hanging loop to the outer edge.
Now, for my quilted potholders. I decided to experiment with some decorative stitches to join each piece together. This allowed me to try something new and not have to worry about hiding seems -- which was not possible since I was using already quilted scraps. I chose a couple different patterns and just started sending two pieces at a time trough the machine.

All that was left, was to bind them and I’d have 5 new pot holders to use that were just scraps an hour earlier!

Bring on Day 2!


  1. Kiki your blog looks soooo good!! Love your photos and how up close they are!! Your sewing projects are always so cute!