Potholders with pockets – QAYG fun for fall

potholdersEvery now and again an older project needs a facelift.  (Don't we all!) My kitchen accessories are no exception.  I've made plenty of potholders in the past, but I'm a messy cook and they get dirty, then stained, maybe even a little burned on the stove and of course washed over and over again.


Time to make some new ones! This time, pocket potholders. I wanted these new ones to have some new features:

  • Bigger so they cover my wrists and full spread out hand
  • A pocket in the back for my hand so they are easier to use
  • Large enough to use on the table or counter tops to put hot plates or pans on
  • Scrap-happy so they can use up smaller pieces of fabrics
  • Easy to make with no-fuss binding 🙂
  • Quilt-as-you-go piecing (QAYG)

Materials needed for  9 inch pocket potholders: potholders

  • Backing fabric 11 x 20 inches
  • Fabric scraps and smaller pieces for the front
  • Insulating material such as Insul-Bright, cotton batting or fleece
  • Ready-made binding or make your own (40 inches)

Watch me make one

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Step by step for how to make your potholders with pocket

For a finished potholder that measures 9×9 inches, cut two pieces of your fleece, Insul-Bright or cotton batting about 11 inches square. Fuse, baste or spray baste your layers together, two layers of your insulating material and one of the backing fabric, facing out.  This is now your ‘canvas' on which to create the pieced side of the potholder.


Now go to town with your scrappy design.  For this one in the photos I used several pieces at 5 x 2.5 inches and added them slightly off center.  For the one in the video, mine were 5 inches by 2 inches and I added them all at an angle to each other. Audition all of your pieces to see what order looks best to you.


Add the central piece first, match the next one to it right sides together and join them with a 1/4 inch seam. Press the seam open.  Add the next piece of fabric, sew with a 1/4 inch seam, press open.  Repeat working out from the central piece towards the top and bottom until you are at or near the edge of your batting.


Measure the areas to be covered on the sides and cut pieces accordingly.  Add those face down over the pieced section and stitch in place with the 1/4 inch seam again.  Press open.


Repeat for both sides.  You can use your own design of course, use whatever scraps work for you.


With these larger pieces, you may decide to add extra quilting.  I'm not much of a quilter so I just used the edge of my presser foot as a guide and sewed some straight lines on these ones.  Nice and easy, but it looks nice I think.

In the video example, I used a serpentine decorative stitch set to maximum for a more organic look.  This can be easier too if you aren't very accurate with your stitching.

potholdersOnce you are happy with your design and any quilting, time to trim your piece to the finished size.  I trimmed mine to 9 inches square.PicMonkey Collage2

You can see how the quilt as you go leaves lines on the reverse where you stitched the fabrics together.  If you don't want to make the lines so noticeable, use a bobbin thread that matches your fabric and more of a busy print.


Time now to make that back pocket.  Make the fabric as wide as the potholder and give yourself enough to make a pocket that will come up a little over half way. I cut my pocket piece 9 inches wide by 11 inches tall. Fold the pocket in half and top stitch. Use a decorative stitch if you like.


Now baste the pocket to the back of the potholder along the sides and bottom.  This will hold it neatly in place while we add the binding.  I used a zig zag to baste along the edges.


Time for our binding.  I like a nice chunky binding so I cut mine 2.25 inches wide.  Prefer something narrower – that's fine too, use your own measurements.  Cut enough strips and join them together to create a long enough piece to go all the way around plus 4 inches or so extra.  I cut mine 40 inches long.  We don't have any curves so it doesn't need to be cut on the bias, straight cut is fine.


Sew your binding around the outside of the potholders, starting on the front side.  Check out the directions in the video for how to sew on the binding and turn the corners, or check out this previous article too.  Sometimes it just a lot easier to show you and talk it through than it is to try to explain in words and I think binding is one of those areas, so watch the video if you need binding tips – fast forward to about 14:15 in the video where I start to talk about binding.

How to turn sharp corners with bias bindingI used a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Use a seam allowance to suit your binding width, I suggest just less than a 1/4 of the width to allow the back to fold a little further than the front.


Now turn the binding to the back, fold it in neatly and pin or clip.  Try to get nicely folded corners and make sure that the fold of the binding on the back is just covering the line of stitching already in place from sewing on the front.  That will make sure that you can catch the back of your binding.


Either stitch in the ditch from the front to catch the back of the binding edge, or make it easy on yourself and use a wider stitch such as a zig zag, three-step zig zag or one of your machine's decorative stitches. I used a decorative stitch that looks like a leaf because that fitted nicely with the Fall theme of my fabrics.  Using a wider stitch makes it certain that you will catch the back of your binding all the way around – and it looks good too, so why not!

That's it, your pocket potholder is now completed.  Enjoy and maybe make another matching one.


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22 Responses to Potholders with pockets – QAYG fun for fall

  1. Sheril E Green says:

    This is a great tutorial! Plan to use these for Christmas gifts. Especially liked the binding. I never seem to get it right. You showed so clearly how it should be folded up then down and how to line it up that I think I can do it right now.

  2. Dorothy says:

    I really enjoyed your demonstration. I have not yet made pot holders, but I certainly will now. Thank you for the easy explanation! 🙂

  3. Lisa says:

    Love your tutorials and patterns!! This is on my list of “to-do”!

  4. Jennifer Wright says:

    I have made 2 or 3 of these and I love them, next time though I will double up on the Insul-Bright and a layer of batting. I found that if I am using two of them, one on each hand it was okay, but if I am using one and had to grip a pot I have burnt myself a couple of times. The other thing is I am going to round off the corners to make it easier to bind because of the bulk.

  5. I have so many scraps and I need a new set of potholders. Yours look great, Deby. Featured today…

  6. Jennifer says:

    Pot holders here I come. Never thought to us them to protect your surface tops. I have lots in mind. Thank you

  7. Brenda says:

    If using Insulbrite which side does it need to be on and which side of the Insulbrite faces which way? I know it has a shiny side but I haven’t ever used it.
    Thanks so much!

    • Taken from their website – “It consists of polyester fibers, needle-punched through a reflective metalized polyester film. The polyester fibers resist conduction while the reflective metalized polyester film reflects radiant energy, hot or cold, back to its source.” I’ve never been able to tell one side from the other and I think the stuff is reversible. If in doubt, the shiniest/metallic side should go towards the heat source.

  8. Jacque says:

    Loved your video, I made one tonight and it turned out beautiful. Thank You for the step by step instructions.
    I have never quilted anything before and this was very easy to follow.
    Even my binding turned out great!

  9. Erin says:

    Loved your video & now I believe I can do binding. I dreaded doing binding it never turned out right but now with this video it’s possible to do binding. Will definitely make some potholders.

    Thank you

  10. Vernagrace says:

    Really liked this, Deby! Thank you so much. Potholders are on my to do list and this makes it look easier than the pattern I usually use. Thank you!! Loved the video.

  11. Kathryn Griffith says:

    This is the best quilting video I have ever used. It is so clear with lots of directions to help make a finished pot holder. Also, I can’t wait to use binding technique on my next baby quilt.

  12. Loved it and have everything to start mine right away. 🙂 If I use the Insul-bright do I still need to put the extra piece of fusible batting in, as well?

    • Depends on how much insulation you want and how thick you would like it to be. If you have a long way from oven to table, you might need more insulation than if you just take the pot right out of the oven and onto the countertop.

      • Deby, thanks it was a great tutorial and the clarity of the video was very good. I think I am going to like it thicker, now that I think about it. The Insul-bright is not very thick and I like a plushier pot holder. I love the QAYG idea! Wonky looks cool! Thanks again for the great tute. 🙂

  13. Jane says:

    Very nice video, thank you for sharing with us. Think I will give it a try.

  14. Sheryl says:

    You are the best! Love all your videos!!!

  15. Pat Heath says:

    Very Clever — Good way to use my SCRAPES I will be making some for gifts

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