Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Go-To Gift

It's kind of become a tradition that I make a set of potholders for our family's Christmas gift swap, at least if three years in a row counts as tradition. 

So this year I chose some fat-quarters from a bundle of Bound fabrics I'd recently won and took inspiration from the Pretty Potholders tutorial from Pretty Prudent.

To speed things up a bit, rather than quilting the two main sections separately, for each pot holder I cut 2 pieces of fabric, 10" x 18", as well as 1 piece each of cotton batting and Insul-Bright. Then I layered them: fabric right side down, Insul-Bright white side down, cotton batting, fabric right side up. I really like using a layer of both materials in my pot-holders, providing plenty of insulation and a supple sturdiness. Anyway, I spray-basted the layers together, then quilted the entire piece using a zig-zagging specialty stitch on my machine.

From the quilted piece, I cut one 9" square and one 6 1/2" x 9" rectangle, a little larger than the tutorial, which makes an 8" potholder. Then on to the binding, and here's where you can learn from my mistake. I cut my binding fabric 2" wide, thinking I'd like it good and tight, but I failed to take into account the thickness of those 8 layers. So next time, I'd cut it at 2 1/4", and I think that would work well and be easier to handle. You'll need about 55" of binding.

I used the method of sewing the binding on the wrong side of the 'pocket' top, pressed it back onto the seam allowance, then wrapped it to the front side, and zig-zagged it down. Pin the finished pocket piece onto the main section, lining up bottom and sides. Pin and baste in place on those three sides.

Stitch binding around the perimeter of the potholder on the back side, finishing binding ends as you would a quilt. For the hanging tab, I cut a rectangle 2" x 5", pressing it as double-fold binding and stitching along both sides close to the edges. Fold in half and baste 1" from left top edge of potholder, with raw edges even. Then go ahead and press and fold binding to the front, and zig-zag down, mitering those corners as you go. The final step is to fold the hanging tab up and secure with straight stitches, forward and back.

This year's set of potholders wasn't traded away in the gift-exchange, so that's a good sign, and I did hear a previous potholder recipient say, "oh those are really good ones," so I trust that means the ones he got last year have served him well. Whatever, it felt good to gift hand-made.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.


  1. great idea, like your tips. Thanks

  2. those are so pretty! Lucky recipient!

  3. Thanks for all the tips! They are lovely.

  4. Great potholders! And yes, three years in a row is definitely a tradition. I have noticed with the grandkids that even TWO years in a row qualifies as a tradition...