Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pot Holders for Joyce

My friend, Joyce, showed me her favorite pot holder which was quickly wearing out. She had looked for replacements, but was unable to find anything made like this one, which was just perfect for her. It fit her hand well and was flexible enough to easily grasp pots. She wondered if I could possibly make her a new one...? I decided to try.

The back of her pot holder was a single layer of a terrycloth-type fabric; the front was a twill.

Finding the right fabrics to use proved harder than I had expected. After weeks of procrastination, I finally decided to buy some cheap washcloths to use for the back and just use quilting cotton for the front.

I was concerned about what to use for the inside. I had heard of Insul-Bright, but didn't have any. But knowing that people have been making pot holders for a long time before that was invented, I decided it wasn't a requirement. So--- I used one layer of cotton batting sandwiched between two layers of cotton flannel. I put all this between two layers of green mottled fabric and did a bit of free-motion quilting to hold all the layers together. I didn't want it to get too stiff, as Joyce had been very clear about the reasons why she liked the old pot holders, and the flexibility of the fabric was way up there on the list!

I cut two wash cloths in half, then attached a folded strip of bias-cut fabric to each cut edge.

Then I folded the bias binding over the edge and stitched it down by machine to conpletely enclose the cut edge of the washcloth.

Next, I drew a free-form design on the now-quilted fabric layer and cut it out.

I put the washcloth over the quilted piece with the bound edge at the center...sort of! I added about .5" ease to this edge; it would extend beyond the center if smoothed flat, or would stick up above the surface. I wanted this back layer to be larger than the front (quilted) layer so it would be large enough to go over the hand without causing the front layer to bend backwards (toward the hand). Likewise, as I pinned around the edge of the quilted layer, I scooted the washcloth to add ease to this outer edge, too.

When turned over, you can see the washcloth appears to have 'ease' around the outer edge of the piece. Then I repeated with the second half of the washcloth...pinning it in place.

When both sides were pinned, I took it to the sewing machine to sew around the outside edge.

Here, you see the piece after sewing, but before trimming. Hopefully, you can see what I mean about the washcloth side being larger than the quilted side!

I flipped it over and trimmed away the excess wash cloth.

Now for the binding: I sewed the folded bias strip to the BACK side along the outer edge of the pot holder, leaving a 4" tail at the end.

Then I folded the bias binding over and stitched again from the front side, creating a loop at the end.
THe front and back sides:

Here is a close-up of the loop...I turned the raw edge to the inside before I stitched the binding to the front side (when I continued the stitching onto the loop part)...then I just stitched across the loop to hold it down.

As a side note: Since finishing these, I have purchased some Insul-Bright but have yet to use it. Apparently, one is supposed to use cotton batting along with it...cotton on each side for a total of 3 layers...which would make the pot holders quite stiff, I think. But I'll let you know after I try it!
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