Our Retro hot pads not only feature a nostalgic fabric combo, they also have the perfect retro slip-on style. It's a Sew4Home original pattern, and we offer it as a free download. The Simply Sweet fabrics on the two mitts are so bright and cheery, it made me want to slip them on and wear them around the kitchen, just waiting for something hot to pull out of the oven. After awhile, when no one showed up with a tray of cookies, I reluctantly took them off.
This project is a bit more advanced than many we offer here at Sew4Home, mainly because of all the layers and the mitered bias binding. However, don't let that scare you away. Remember, it's only fabric, and the only way you get better is with practice. Somewhere, someone told me once how practicing and being perfect work together. So give them a try... then bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies. And, send a couple to me... please.
Our thanks to Barbara Jones, the designer of the beautiful fabric collection we used: Simply Sweet for Henry Glass & Company. This is an older collection, but some cuts are still available on Barbara's site, QuiltSoup along with other many other similarly vintage choices.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 6600P)
Fabric and Other Supplies
Supplies listed are for TWO pot holders
NOTE: Our pot holders feature quilting detail in a diamond pattern on the front and a vertical line pattern on the back. We chose fabrics that worked well with these patterns - a dot for the front where we could weave the quilting between the rows, and a vertical stripe for the back.
Pot Holder #1 Feature Fabric:
- ¼ yard of 44-45" fabric for the front: we used Barbara Jones' Simply Sweet in #5120-82 Jumbo Pink Dot on Red for Henry Glass & Co. Fabric
- ¼ yard of 44-45" fabric for the back: we used Barbara Jones' Simply Sweet in #5123-1 Narrow Blue Stripe for Henry Glass & Co. Fabric
Pot Holder #2 Feature Fabric:
- ¼ yard 44-45" fabric for the front: we used Barbara Jones' Simply Sweet in #5120-42 Jumbo Pink Dot on Yellow for Henry Glass & Co. Fabric
- ¼ yard 44-45" fabric for the back: we used Barbara Jones' Simply Sweet in #5117-1 Blue Floral Stripe for Henry Glass & Co. Fabric
NOTE: You could also use Fat Quarters for your feature fabrics.
- ¼ yard insulated fleece: we used Insul-Bright by The Warm Company
- One 3-yard package of extra wide double fold bias tape: we used bright blue
- All purpose thread to match bias tape
- All purpose thread in contrasting colors for quilting emphasis: we used red on pot holder #1 and yellow on pot holder #2
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Rotary cutter and mat (optional)
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From each fabric, cut two 9" squares. From the insulated fleece, cut four 9" squares.
- From the bias tape, cut two 8" lengths for the hanging loops.
- Download and print our pattern sheet: Retro Fun Pot Holder Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheets. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out the two pattern pieces (front and back) along the solid lines.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Layering and quilting
- Layer the insulated fleece between the two pieces of front feature fabric. The fabric should be wrong sides together. Pin at the corners.
- Quilt through all the layers with diagonal lines, using the rows of dots as your guide, stitching in between the rows. We made our lines 1½" apart to fit between the rows of dots.
NOTE: We used a Janome Memory Craft 6600P with its awesome AcuGuide foot. It is specially designed to work with multiple layers, keeping them all moving together without slipping for sliding. Your machine may have something similar, such as a Walking foot or an Even Feed foot. These are all optional; they simply make the process quicker and more accurate. You can certainly use your regular pressure foot. Simply go slowly and carefully, and use a few more pins.
- Remove the quilted layers from the machine, rotate 90˚ and quilt in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern.
- Layer the back fabric squares and insulated fleece in the same manner.
- Quilt with parallel vertical lines. For Pot Holder #2, our lines of quilting were ⅞" apart to fit exactly within a narrow white stripe. On Pot Holder #2, with the Blue Floral Stripe on the back, we increased the quilting to 1¼" apart to fall within the blue stripes.
- When the quilting is completed, find the two pattern pieces.
- Pin the Pot Holder Front pattern to the front feature fabric and the Pot Holder Back pattern to the back feature fabric. In both cases, center the ‘fold line' mark in the exact center of your quilted square.
- Cut out one half of the pattern. Stop. Flip over the pattern so it is a mirror image of where it started. Cut the other half.
Bias tape binding
- The upper edge of the Pot Holder Front is finished with bias tape. Open the end of the bias tape so it lays flat. Sew the bias tape to the upper edge of the potholder along the tape's fold line, lining up the raw edge of the bias tape with the raw edged layers of the fabric. Leave an extra ½" at the start.
- Stop at the center point of the Pot Holder Front. Turn the hand wheel of the machine to make sure the needle is down in the fabric.
- Pivot the potholder and gently pull up the bias tape so it matches the edge of the fabric. Continue sewing along the fold line of the bias tape.
- When stitching is complete, fold the bias tape around to the back, covering the line of stitching. Place a pin at the pivot point. Then, continue pinning in place along the stitching line. The bias tape will create a natural tuck at the pivot point. Adjust this tuck to create a uniform miter on both sides of the Pot Holder Front.
- Flip over, and from the right side of the Pot Holder Front, edgestitch the bias tape in place. Press.
- Trim the ends of the bias tape flush with the edges of the Pot Holder Front.
- Repeat steps 1 - 6 to create the front of the Pot Holder #2.
- Find the 8" strips of bias tape you cut for the loops. You cut two, one for each pot holder.
- Edgestitch each length of bias tape closed. Trim to 6".
- Layer the bound Pot Holder Front on top of the Pot Holder Back. Pin in place. Center the edgestitched loop at the top of the potholder, and pin in place.
NOTE: Yes... I did switch pot holders on you in the photos. Just seeing if you're really paying attention.
- Starting at the loop, sew the bias tape to pot holder, aligning the raw edge of the tape with the raw edges of the pot holder and stitching in the fold line of the tape. Sew all the way around and end with a ½" overlap. Trim the tape.
NOTE: If you're new to working with bias tape, the number one rule is 'slow and steady wins the race.' You're sewing around a curve, which is trickier than a straight line and are binding several layers. Don't fear the pin! Use plenty, removing them as you go. For more hints, check out our tutorial: Bias Tape: How To Make It & Attach It.
- Fold the bias tape around to the back and pin in place.
- Lift the bias tape loop up from the front, fold it in half towards the back, then tuck the very end under the bias tape binding at the back and pin in place.
- Flip the hot pad over to stitch along the edge of the bias tape on the front side (just as you did when binding the edge of the front in step 6 above. You'll secure the loop as you sew.
NOTE: You'll see in our photo above the we pinned our bias tape in place on the back, but we're telling you to flip over and stitch on the other side. 'Hey,' you say. 'What about those pins?' Good question. You have several options: a) once you have all the pins in place and the bias is secure, you can carefully re-pin one at a time to the other side, b) you can hand baste the bias in place and remove all the pins, c) you can flip and sew over the pins. Yikes! Sew over pins!! The majority of the time, this should not be your first choice, because hitting a pin with your needle can damage the needle and jar the machine. However, in this case, our pins are positioned perpendicular to the line of stitching, and there are many layers, so the risk of a problem is low. Michele, our very experienced seamstress who made these beautiful pot holders, sews nearly every day and admits to being a bad girl about sewing over pins. However, she says she very seldom has any problem, maybe hitting a pin once a month at most.
- Sew across the loop a second time, for extra security at this tug point.
NOTE: The loop adds many layers to the seam, so it may be necessary to ‘walk' the machine through these layers by taking your foot off the pedal and just turning the hand wheel.
- Straight stitch across the base of the loop to hold the loop together.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 7300 and the Brother QC-1000.