Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pot Holders

I just discovered Spoonflower, which is a magical place where you can custom order your own fabrics!  You can get your designs printed on high-quality quilting cotton, poplin, voile, silk, canvas, knit, and other fibers.  If you're a bit challenged at digital arts like myself, you can purchase prints of other artists' designs, and they get a nice kickback on your order!  Pretty cool, in my opinion.

While shopping for fabrics for clothing, I decided to order a few swatches to get a feel for what kind of textiles would best suit my projects.  The swatches are generous (8x8 inches), and I ordered two: a cotton voile (left) and quilting cotton (right).
I didn't want these beautiful fabrics to go to waste, but I didn't have any patchwork projects in need of additional prints.  I decided the quilting fabric was the perfect size for a pot holder, and decided to use up some spare quilt batting in the process.  

If you haven't quilted before and you're looking for a small-scale project to practice machine quilting and/or sewing a binding, this is a perfect task for you.

Materials Needed:

  • 8x8 inch fabric swatch (quilting cotton weight)
  • 2 - 8x8 inch light weight quilt batting (I used a cotton-bamboo blend)
  • 8x8 inch contrasting color (for the backing)
  • 4x36 inch additional color (for the binding)
For the binding, fold the 4x36 strip in half lenghtwise and iron.
Layer your "quilt sandwich": bottom, backing, top.
Leave a 1/4" seam around your edges.  I trimmed my print accordingly.
Pin together, and machine quilt.  If you wanted to get fancy, you could do some freeform shapes or squiggles, but I decided to keep things simple with a diagonal pattern.
Here comes the most difficult part: the binding.  It's tricky to explain in words, and I'd point you to where I learned this technique: the quilting blog, "Oh Fransson."

With the fold facing inward (open edges match the edge of the pot holder), pin the binding around the edges.  When you reach a corner, fold the binding away from the pot holder at a 90 degree angle:
...then fold back in the opposite direction.
Pin in place.
Continue this around the pot holder.  When you reach the edge you started with, give yourself 1/2-1 inch of extra binding.  Fold them where they meet, and press.
Unfold the binding at this point, match the edges, and machine sew along the pressed crease.  
When you are finished, it should look like this:
And when you fold it back, the matched edges will be tucked in.
Now you can begin sewing the binding to the pot holder.  Begin in the middle of a side, and stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance from the edge.  When you reach a corner, stop before sewing the folded fabric:
Undo the pin, fold the triangle flap towards your stitches, and resume sewing:
When you have completed this all the way around, you can now turn the binding outwards.  You should have nice, crisp, lines in your corners.
Flip your pot holder over.  While holding your binding in place, use binder clips to secure.
Use a ladder stitch or other invisible stitch to secure the binding to the back, and sew along the entire perimeter.

Done!  Your new pot holder is ready!

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