Saturday, November 26, 2016

Basic Potholder Tutorial

Pretty Potholders can be yours to give or yours to keep! This easy pattern can be adapted to use stray blocks you may have laying around. It's a great way to clean out those pretties that you know you will never finish into a quilt. This is a suitable project for a beginner.

To make two pot holders as shown you will need the following:

8 - 5" squares of 100% cotton fabric
2 - 9" squares of Insulbrite insulated batting (keeps you from burning fingers)
2 - 9" squares of regular 100% cotton batting (thin)
2 - 9" squares of backing fabric
2 - 2.5" x 44" or WOF (width of fabric) strips for binding

Thread, pins, scissors, rotary cutter, cutting mat, 6 x 12" ruler,  12" square up ruler (optional), Sewing Machine

Pick out your 5" fabric squares. For this project, I have selected Moda's Basic Mixologie. You want a little contrast in color or design.  You don't have to run out and buy a charm pack, this is a a great project for using up your scraps too. Just cut your scraps to 5" squares.

Pick two of your squares and put them right sides together, do the same with the remaining two, draw a line using a pencil and a ruler that runs diagonally as shown below (removable marker, chalk, what ever you have that will not bleed into your fabric.) You could also use your iron to press a crease but I find for beginners, marking is easier with less chance of stretching the bias.

Take these to your machine and stitch 1/4 inch from the center line going down one side and then turning and going down the other.  It should look like the example below.  

Once you have stitched both, then cut them on the line as shown below.

Now press these pieces open.  I like to finger press my fabric first, to make sure that the piece is open all the way before I press with my iron.  Your pieces should look like below once they are pressed.

Now take two of your half square triangle pieces placing them right sides together, and match up the seams. You will draw another line running diagonally as shown below.

Same as you did before, stitch 1/4 inch away from that line and turn your fabric and stitch 1/4 inch away from that line on the other side. Again, cut them along your solid drawn line as shown below.

Take to your iron and press open...Take four of your pieces and arrangement to suite your fancy. These are just some of the options.

Pick the arrangement that you like and sew this together, just like a four patch.  Stitch 2 top pieces together and then the 2 bottom pieces together, using a 1/4" seam allowance, press open. Check your design and make sure that it is still lining up properly.

Here is a close up of what your blocks should look like for the center match up. Take a pin and poke it through from the backside of one half into the intersection of the pieces. Then poke that same pin through the right side of the other half, into the intersection of the pieces. Keep this pin perpendicular  and while you hold it, place a pin on either side.  To see this in more detail, I will refer you to another tutorial here: Matching your seam intersection Photo included for your reference below.

Once you have matched up and pinned your intersection, stitch your remaining seam. Press.

Make a quilt sandwich of the follow in this order, backing, then your Insulbrite, then your batting and finally your quilt block.

You will notice that the block measure about 8 inches and your other materials measure 9 inches.  This is purposeful. Center your block on your batting and backing, pin in place and we are ready to begin quilting.

Start from the center of your block and needle down, stitch in the ditch to the outside edge and clip your threads. Do the same in the opposite direction, starting again from the center, needle down and stitch to the edge.  This will keep your fabric from bunching up in the middle like it would if  you try to stitch from one side to the other. Continue to stitch from the middle out until you have anchored all of your seams. If you want you can then go back and stitch in the ditch around the block in the center. Here is the back of my potholder and you can see the stitching. Notice, there is no bunching.  I also stitch very close to the edge of the block all the way around the outside, this helps hold everything together when you are binding.

Cut away the excess batting and backing, this is easily done with your rotary cutter and this is a good time to use your square up ruler, if you don't have one, no worries, just trim off the excess.
It should look like below when you are finished. All ready for binding!

Take your 2.5" strips and fold them in half and press to create your binding. Starting on the TOP corner of your potholder on the face side, lay your binding raw edges matching the raw edge of your potholder as shown below and stitch 1/4 inch mitering the corners as you go. You will either start this edge flush or trim it flush when you are done. 

Before you sew off the end...stop your sewing, fold out your beginning binding and end your stitching just before the edge as shown below. Leave a long tail hanging on this end.

Take to your iron and press you binding away from the top to open the seams before you finish... see below.

Fold your binding to the wrong side and carefully miter your corners, pin them in place. The tail of your binding will fold in on itself. Starting in the same corner as you started your binding, stitch in the ditch catching your binding fabric on the backside as you go. 
Continue to stitch the tail of your binding as this will create the loop for the top.  Five inches is plenty to work with.  Turn and tack into place, clipping off your excess binding tail. Here is a link to give you a closer picture of this process: Binding your potholder and creating the loop

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