Round Pot Holder Tutorial

pot-holder-2.jpg This is a tutorial for making the round pot holders I used to make and sell in my store.  They are easy to make once you’ve gotten the hang of stitching the bias binding in place.  I cannot stress the importance of not skipping the basting and pressing steps.  Your bias binding will look much nicer and the end product will look more professional if you take these steps.  Pot holders might not be the most glamorous item to sew but they can add instant cheer to a kitchen and the truth is that everyone who cooks needs them.  Because cooking is hard on them, you will always need more.  They make great gifts and don’t use a lot of materials.  (Please see the asterisk for information about total yield you can expect from the materials list I’ve given.)

Materials needed for potholder:

Piece of paper

1/4 yard main fabric

1/4 yard contrasting fabric

1/4 yard Insul-brite (insulated batting)

1 yard double width folded bias tape

Method:

1.  Draw a 9″ circle on the piece of paper to use as your pattern.  Cut it out.

2.  Cut one circle out of the main fabric and one circle out of the contrasting fabric.*

3.  Cut 2 circles of the Insul-brite (you need the double layer to protect your hands from the heat properly.)

4.  Cut a 5″ length off of the yard of bias binding and stitch it shut along the open end and then trim the ends with pinking sheers.
 basting-2.jpg
5.  Sandwich the Insul-brite between the front and back fabrics.  Baste all the layers together.  This is important: you must not skip the basting because the layers will certainly shift while you baste the bias binding onto the edge if you don’t do this step.
 bias-binding-2.jpg
6.  Baste the bias binding around the edge of the pot holder pulling gently as you stitch to reduce puckers.  Do the best you can to keep the tape even on both the front and back.
 turned-under-2.jpg
7.  When you get to the end, tuck the raw edge under.  (You may need to trim it if there’s too much left over.  You should only tuck about 1/2″ under.)

 unpressed-3.jpg

8.  Your pot holder should now look like the above picture.  Do you notice that the binding is a little puckered?  At this point you need to iron your potholder making sure to press the binding as smooth as you can.  You need steam to do an effective job.  Do not skip this step.  This will make a big difference in the quality of your finished product.
 pressed-3.jpg

See how much smoother this looks once it’s been pressed?

looped-2.jpg 9.  Carefully stitch the bias binding down.

10.  Remove the basting stitches.

11.  Take your 5″ length of bias binding and put one end on the top front (covering the folded under part of the binding) and one end in the back.  This is easy, but difficult to explain so refer to the picture above to see how to place it.  Stitch it in place.

*1/4 yard of your main fabric will yield 4 potholder fronts, or 2 complete pot holders with the same front and back.  I like doing all my sewing in bulk so my recommendation is to make four pot holders at the same time.  The 1/4 yard of Insul-brite is just enough for four pot holders.  If you decide to make 4 of them at a time you will need 1 yard of bias binding for each additional pot holder.

Fabric note: Because you will be using pot holders to protect your hands from very hot pots and pans, you should only make pot holders from 100% natural fibers.  The best choices are cotton or wool.  Synthetic fibers have a tendency to melt when they come in contact with high heat which, if they melted close to your skin, could cause you some serious injury.
You may also enjoy doing these projects:
Make a mushroom smock
Create a gift larder (includes a different pot holder tutorial)

10 thoughts on “Round Pot Holder Tutorial

  1. stitchy1

    Thank you Pam! You know it nearly always comes down to basting and pressing to get good results with sewing. The pressing helps to mold the bias into the curve and flatten the puckers. It’s tricky the first time you do it but gets easier with practice.

  2. Diane

    Excellent details! None of the women in our sewing superstore could explain how to construct rounded edges on a pot holder. Not one. Your tips were more than helpful, though it’s going to take a while for our work to look as professional as yours! Nicely done. Great pix, too.
    P.S.-Which fabrics work best for pot holders? At the superstore, they told us we could use any type. Not sure that’s the case. Some fabrics seem less durable than others. Thanks very much for your help with this.

  3. stitchy1

    That is an excellent question! (And thank you for the compliments). For pot holders I recommend that you use 100% cotton, 100% wool, Wool or cotton blends. No synthetic fibers. The reason for that is that you’re putting the fabric directly against the high heat of pots and pans- synthetics melt at high temperatures. Wool has a decent heat resistance of its own and cotton won’t melt. As soon as I get a chance I will amend my tutorial to include fabric choice information. Thank you for bringing that up!

  4. Vanessa

    Great tutorial! I really love the fabric you used, it’s so unusual – I don’t suppose you know who makes it or where it can be bought? My brother wants this as a house-warming present, in the exact same fabric, but I don’t know how to find it.

  5. stitchy1

    Hi Vanessa- the company that makes this fabric is Michael Miller. Both the yellow and the red fabric. They may be out of production by now but you could certainly see if any online sources have some yardage left. I myself had wanted to order an extra bolt of this while I still had my store but at the time I couldn’t get it.

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