Potholder Tutorial

Hello friends! I was cutting out pieces to make a set of pot holders and decided to share how I am making mine with you. I know there are tons of tutorials out there but you never know when someone new to sewing will find your blog and appreciate an easy, quick and fun tutorial! I like the style of my current pot holders, the kind you can stick your hand in so there's less chance of getting burnt. So I measured them the best I could. When I stopped to actually look at them...yikes...they are a bit scary and ratty looking, yuck!
Ok folks, this is what you will need for one potholder, double this to make two (2 Coordinating fat quarters will make 2 potholders).

  • (2) 9.5" x 8" pieces of cotton fabric, one will show as the backing and one will peek out the top above your pocket. I am using a dark gray Chicopee print for my back and Puppy Park crosshatch green for the front.
  • (1) 9.5" x 8" piece of Insul-Bright ( I recommend using this because the shiny side deflects heat away) You could also use a couple pieces of cotton batting, although I haven't tried that method yet. Never use polyester batting, it could melt and your potholder will not be pretty anymore!
  • (1) 9.5" x 8" piece of cotton batting, You could also use another piece of Insul-Bright instead of this if you choose. The manufacturer recommends a piece of cotton batting to absorb any moisture that may arise from the heat. That's why I am using batting along with the Insul-Bright.
  • (2) 8" x 8" pieces of cotton fabric, These are your pocket pieces. One will show to the inside and one will be the main part of what you're going to see on the front of your pot holder. I'm using the dark gray print on the outside and the green inside. 
  • (1) 8" x 8" piece of Insul-Bright
  • (1) 8" x 8" piece of cotton batting
  • (1) package of 1/2" double fold bias binding, (1 package will make 2 pot holders) I chose black. Packaged binding stretches much easier around corners that are rounded. Here's what I'm using (I forgot to add it in the 1st photo)

Layer your 9.5" x 8" pieces as follows:
Backing piece, right side facing down
Insul-Bright, shiny side facing down
Cotton Batting
Front fabric piece, right side facing up
I'm using basting spray to hold all my layers together. 

Now layer your 8" squares:
Pocket piece that you want to show to the inside, right side facing down
Cotton batting
Insul-Bright, shiny side facing up
Front pocket piece, right side facing up
Again, I'm using basting spray to hold my layers. You could pin or do a basting stitch as well to hold your layers all together.
Here are the layers, in order, ready to be basted together.

Next you will quilt your two layered sandwiches. I'm using my walking foot and quilting simple straight lines about 1/2" apart (ignore the guide bar, it's being held in place with a glue dot and I just didn't remove it). This would be a great time to practice free motion skills, since I'm doing a tutorial I will not be doing that. I still need lots of practice :)

After you're done with the quilting, take your sandwiches to your cutting mat and square them up. Mine got a bit off so I squared my 8" pieces to 7.5" and the 9.5" x 8" squared to 9" x 7.5" When you lay them together you should have something similar to this.

Next you need to add a piece of your bias binding to the top of your pocket piece to finish off the top of this section. I cut a piece of my packaged binding 7.5" long. Take your pocket piece and place the side you want facing to the inside of your potholder so that it is right side up facing you. One side of your binding will be a little wider, this is the side we will attach first. Open up that wider half of the binding and lay it even with the top of your pocket piece, pin in place. 

Using matching thread, sew right down that crease line, the one closest to your top edge. Sorry, this picture is upside down.

 Next, fold your binding back over to the front, it should now look like this:

Sew close to the edge to attach the front down.
Since you put the slighter wide section on the back side, your front stitches should have ended up nicely onto the binding on the back side. If it strayed off your binding, don't worry too much, it will be facing inside and won't be seen too much.

Now we will sew the pocket piece onto the main piece. Sew near the edge, maybe around 1/8th of an inch seam allowance (no need for extreme accuracy here). This will be hidden under your final outside binding when you attach it. We are simply getting the two pieces attached together. Lay your pocket piece on top of the main piece, making sure you have the sides you want showing properly placed. Stitch across the bottom first to hold things in place. For the sides, I like to start at the bottom and go up. I always have problems if I try to start where there's a lot of bulk. Since there is binding across the top of your pocket, there's more bulk than the bottom will have. Back stitch when you reach the top of your binding strip for added strength.

Time to round the corners, or leave them square, whatever you prefer.
 I like the look of rounded corners on a potholder. I'm using a candle lid to make my corners, you can use anything round you can find laying around. Place it where you would like it, mark it and cut.

The final step is to add your binding. I cut a piece roughly 36". I have some, but not a lot of experience with packaged bias binding. This is a helpful tutorial that will give better instruction than I could. Many people pin it down, but I just like to sew slowly and adjust it in place as I go and manipulate it into place around the corners.

I started near one end on the back side using the same method as we did on the top of the pocket. The wider side unfolded, lined up with the edge and stitched down along the closest crease mark.
I saw this trick somewhere, I can't link because I don't remember where I seen it. At the start point, fold it down like this.
Start sewing at the very beginning of the binding, where the first crease mark would be if it went all the way to the end, right over the top of that fold. Continue all the way around and when you get back to this point, continue past the folded down line a bit and back stitch. Trim off any excess past your back stitching. When you fold your binding over to the front (again like we did on the pocket top), you will end up with this.
Just make sure it's tucked under there good, smooth that wrinkle out and line up the edges well before you sew over it. It creates a nice finished end without a lot of binding fuss. I started attaching the front here, sew all the way around and back stitch at the end. Your binding is complete!
If you want to add a loop, just cut a binding piece to a size that looks pleasing to you when made into a loop. Center it on the top, in the back, lining it up with your binding edge and take a few stitches. Back stitch to secure in place. There are also other ways to do loops if you do a quick online search. You don't have to make a loop, I often wonder what the need is because I never hang mine anyway.

Repeat for a 2nd potholder and you now have a pretty set of new potholders!

I would love for you to share photos with me if you make a set! Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up to Needle And Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and
Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and
Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio


  1. I am going to try this Christine. I am in need of some new pot holders. Love the fabric choice too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Remona! They really are sturdy and a great size! Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial, it's great and the pot holder looks really smart :-)

  3. This is just fabulous! I'm not new to sewing, but I've never seen a tutorial for pot holders. Can't wait to have a go, but will need to find a supply of insul bright first, or whatever equivalent we have in England... Thank you :-)

  4. Super cute! I love rounded corners which means I've had to cut bias binding more than once. It's not quick as straight cuts, but not too hard either. :)

    Thanks for the product name too, I always wondered what people put in pot holders. :)

  5. great tutorial! your instructions are so clear and I like that you included lots of detailed photos!

    Thanks so much for linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  6. Um, Chicopee potholders - I cannot say no to these. I love them so much! And I especially like your V formation quilting. Looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great tutorial, Christine -even for me a 60 years seamstress. Should come in handy.

  8. Thanks for the tutorial Christine! You did a great job! I really need to make some of these--thanks for the inspiration! Thanks for sharing this at Fabric Frenzy Friday! :)


  9. Nice tutorial! Love those fabrics....I really need to make some of these too. Mine look a little crazy:)

  10. Great tutorial! I can see these made about half the width so you can slide them over frying pan handles that sometimes get hot.

  11. These are pretty. Lovely color combo and great tut.

  12. Very snazzy looking and highly practical to boot! Wonderful tutorial Chris! I love insul-Bright and use if for many things - even bags. I'm going to have to make some new pot holders - ours are very burned, stained, and ratty looking too. Oh the Perils of Pot Holders. :)


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