Making Quilted Potholders

The next stop on my patchwork and quilting journey was: The Potholder. A simple potholder, how hard can that be? Well, let me tell you- Suddenly you have an appreciation for things you’ve never thought twice about before! There are 3 reason I think a potholder was worth the time and effort to master:

  1. Quilting: You get to practice quilting which is a fantastic way to do a lot of sewing on small, easily controlled pieces of material. This will greatly increase your confidence operating your machine if you are new to sewing or getting acquainted with a new machine.

  2. Binding: The tutorial I watched teaches you how to do binding (how you close up the raw edges on potholders AND quilts and create a nice flat border). I assume this is an extremely important skill to have leading up to making a full-size quilt. It is not overly difficult, it is not easy!

  3. I actually needed potholders! As does most everyone. Scott and I even took a pair of potholders to his grandma’s house as a gift when she hosted us for dinner. Everyone needs a potholder, always.  

This Tutorial I followed by Melanie Ham on YouTube is well done with lots of explanation and great camera work. She is also very reassuring when it comes to things not being perfect. If you’ve never done anything like this before, your first lines when quilting will probably be crooked. Your binding will probably come apart in at least one corner when you first do it. But just keep working on it until you’ve got it! Take a break and come back to it fresh if you get frustrated. I guarantee when you make your second or more potholders it will be easier and your finished work will look more and more polished.

Here are a couple tips I picked up while working through this project:

  • You want to use 100% cotton fabric, nothing synthetic, as some polyester and other synthetic materials will melt under high heat. Also, you will want to seek out “Insul-Bright.” It is batting sold by the yard which has a heat barrier in it. It does make a big difference.

  • Don’t waste a ton of time going back and redoing things that aren’t perfect. There are some projects that are worth the fuss, a potholder is not one of them. This is supposed to be fun, not stressful! Get it finished, take notes of what worked and what didn’t, then try another!

  • There are many other video tutorials about how to make a potholder. I liked Melanie’s best but I actually watched several and that allowed me to pick and choose techniques I thought would work best for me.

  • Lastly, once you have the hang of it, potholders are a great way to experiment with fabric combinations, thread colors, quilting patterns, embroidery, etc. The tutorial is awesome but let your imagination go and put your own stamp on it!

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