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).

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To begin, you need:

Insul-bright
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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