Every 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:
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.
Once 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.
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.
I 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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