project // semi-patriotic patchwork pot holder
It's nearly July 4th, which means it's time to see lots of red, white, and blue on all the blogs, right? Not wanting to feel left, out, here I am with my own post. But I'm really only sharing a semi-patriotic project, because this pot holder is a birthday gift for my mom, and it's made in colors that match the kitchen and dining room. So yes, it's red, white, and blue...and blue, but the flowers and different blues make it work for all year round. At least at my house!
The real reason that I chose to make this and another more basic pot holder (not quite finished yet!) instead of some other gift for mom was to practice using my new walking foot. If I had known that a $25 attachment would have made such a difference, I would have ordered one sooner. Suddenly, a whole new world of sewing has presented itself to me.
This project isn't anything special. I'm sure that many of you have made things like this, and things much nicer than this, time and time again. But if quilting is new to you, consider a project like this to be an introduction to quilting. Because essentially, this is a very mini quilt.
Here's what you need:
Fabric in 2-3 prints/colors
Insulbright batting (optional, but safer for a pot holder!)
Sewing machine & thread
Walking foot (optional, but awesomely helpful!)
Rotary cutter/cutting mat/ruler (optional, but helpful!)
Cut nine 3.5-inch squares of fabric. I cut four solids and five florals.
Sew the squares together in rows of three, alternating the fabrics. Seam allowance isn't too important for this, so long as they are all the same. Aim for .25 inches. Press the seams open.
Join those three strips together so you end up with a tic tac toe board of sorts. Again, press the seams open.
The goal is to have your corners match up like the top photo. But if they are a little off like the second picture, don't fret. I mean, you could fret and you could rip your seams and do whatever you need to do to fix them. But I say, try to be fret-free.
You've just made a nine-patch block, and it should measure about 9.5 inches, depending on your seam allowance. Whatever size you have, cut one piece of backing fabric, two pieces of cotton batting, and one piece of Insulbright batting all to the same size as your block.
Layer the pieces as shown in the photo: block (right side out), cotton batting, Insulbright batting, cotton batting, and backing fabric (right side out).
Use safety pins to hold the layers together. Regular pins work too, but since I mentioned that this is like a very mini quilt, I thought this type of pin would be more like the full size method. You see, with a large quilt, you never know when you might get stuck by a straight pin while moving things around. These are safer. Which is probably how they got their name...
Quilt the layers together by sewing along the sides of the seams, or however you'd like. This is where the walking foot makes all the difference. Sewing through all of these layers would have been a nightmare with the regular presser foot, but this way, they didn't shift at all, and the sewing was easy.
The simpler version I made isn't patchwork, and I quilted it with diagonal lines. It was my practice one, and it came out so great that I decided to finish it off with binding. Which brings us to that part.
Cut a strip of fabric that is 3.5 inches wide by the width of your fabric. This is wider binding that is standard...a 2.5 inch strip will suffice. Iron one end toward the wrong side by about .5 inches, then iron the entire strip in half the long way.
Normally you sew the binding piece to the right side of the quilt, or in this case, pot holder. However, sometimes I do mine backwards for a different look. So, grab the end of the strip that is folded down and lay it along one edge on the back of the pot holder so that all of the raw edges match up.
Starting an inch or so from the folded end of the binding strip, begin sewing the binding to the pot holder.
When you get about .25 inches (or whatever seam allowance you're using) from the first corner, stop. Put your needle down, pivot the pot holder at at 45-degree angle and sew off the edge. This angled line isn't absolutely necessary, but it helps me make pretty corners.
Fold the binding strip up as shown...
...then fold it down so it now matches up along the next side. Sew this edge, and repeat this process at each corner.
When you reach the folded end of your binding, trim off the non-folded end so that the two ends overlap by about an inch. Tuck the cut end into the folded end, then continue sewing until it is completely sewn down.
Fold the binding around to the front of the pot holder and stitch the binding down using running stitch and perle cotton. The knot is secured under the binding, going through all the layers of fabric and batting.
On the front, you'll have these cute little stitches on the binding, and on the back you'll see them just inside the binding.
Once you've made it all the way around, sewing the binding down, you have a pot holder, or your very own very mini quilt. That wasn't scary at all, was it?
If I can do this, so can you. And believe it or not, making something like this that's small and extra thick (we gotta protect those hands!) can be more difficult that a whole quilt. The only real difference is the amount of sewing. So give it a try!