How to make quilted potholders

Sewing crafts may just be my favorite pastime. Creating projects like this is like working on a puzzle, only I have to create the puzzle pieces as well as figure out how to piece them together. I get to apply my creativity and logic all at once.

Although I’ve never quilted before, making these quilted potholders was a snap! The trickiest part came in trimming the puzzle pieces for the chosen layouts. I went with simple patterns this time, but I have plans for creating images like sunflowers in upcoming creations (be assured I’ll share how I do it once I figure it out myself).


To begin, you need:

Cotton quilting fabric
Bias tape
Twill tape
Buttons (one per potholder)
Sewing machine

I bought one yard of the Insul-Bright at Joann Fabrics for $7.99, and I estimate I can make about 25 potholders or so. An average potholder is around 8 square inches, and you need front and back for the fabric. I used jelly rolls (bundles of pre-cut, color-coordinated fabric for you non-quilters out there) for the front and a single piece of plain fabric for the back. The jelly rolls I picked up at yard sales and got them for fifty cents each (be jealous!).

To help make sure I made the squares big enough, I used an old potholder as a template on which I organized my pattern. I kept my patterns simple, choosing to work with triangles and rectangles.


Once I figured out the basic layout, it was time to sew the pieces together. For the triangle-based pattern: starting with the inner most pieces, I built up the square triangle by triangle. My rectangle piece I built up around the square focal piece in the corner (see picture below: the purple piece).

Either way, working off in squares simplifies your work. You’ll want to make sure you iron in-between additions to make sure your square squares up.


Now it’s time for the Insul-Bright and the backing. I don’t cut these until I have the fronts finished (primarily because I don’t trust my ability to make a uniform square). Layer your pieces together, making sure the patterns face out, and then baste them together.


Use the bias tape to cover the raw edges of your potholders, and twist a length (I did about 2-2.5 inches, but it depends on how big of a loop you want. Play with the lengths and find what works for you). Sew the loop in place (I put mine over a corner I botched to hide it!), then sew down the button over top of the loop ends.


Victorious drumroll, please! These potholders took me about two and a half hours to make, but as I get more skilled with pattern placement, I should be able to pare that down quite a bit.

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