I was so touched last week to receive such kind words of support and love.  Sharing such personal aspects of my life with you all was both difficult and healing.  Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, advice, well wishes and such.  I realize that although I have some pretty severe pain issues that make daily life quite challenging at times, I am thoroughly blessed and filled with gratitude to have the relatively good health that I do.  My journey to finding whole wellness and being pain-free is likely to be a long one and having support along the way is helpful.   I appreciate you all!!

That said, I wrote another post a couple of weeks back about some hot pads/pot holders that I made as teacher gifts.  I promised a tutorial on it, so here it is…..

I’m happy to share a quick and easy tutorial for making a very useful kitchen item.

handstitched version scrappy hot pad

I have such a hard time paying $10 or $20 for the factory made type, when I can use up scraps of my favorite fabric and some of my leftover batting (unless I choose Insulbrite) to create my own.

The following tutorial is for a super simple and sweet 9.5 inch pot holder with a loop for hanging.  I realize that for those who sew often, this tutorial is likely unnecessary.  If however, you are a beginner who knows nothing to very little about sewing, you will hopefully find this helpful.  I know that even the simplest of projects can seem challenging if you’re just starting out, so you’ll see I added lots of detail!

finished scrappy handmade hot pad

Please know that I created this sample as a 9.5 inch square, however there is no “Hot Pad Police” that says what size they must be.  So if all your favorite scraps happen to be only say 6.5 inches long, that could make for a smaller hot pad!!  I have made them in several different sizes and shapes, as long as they are still big enough to do the job, that works!   Okay, so here goes…..

Materials Needed:

main materials needed for scrappy hot pads

*strips of your favorite scraps cut cleanly but not necessarily straight, to about 1.5/2.5 inches by around 10 or 11 inches long

*cotton batting or Insulbrite batting (cotton is soft yet won’t stand up to the heat where as Insulbrite is heat resistant for more on this option scroll to the end of this page)

*a piece of 9.5 inch fabric for the back of hot pad (forgot to include in above photo)

*a 1/4 inch foot and a walking foot

*good thread (I’m currently using Aurafil for my projects)

*rotary cutter, a functioning iron (I like steam) and pins

*twill tape or any cloth ribbon (I like to recycle high quality ribbon that comes on gift packages)

Step 1:

layout option#1

Layout your strips in the way that looks good, is balanced or just plain fun to you.

layout option #2 scrappy potholders

You could color coordinate your scraps or just close your eyes and pick strips.  Again, there is no right or wrong, just whatever works for you!

Step 2:

sew strips together 1/4 inch seam

Once you have a layout you like, place two strips, right sides together and sew together using a 1/4 inch seam.  Continue this step until you have enough to cut to the desired size, in this case 9.5 inches. I don’t press until I have sewn them all together but you could press after each seam if you like.

strips sewn and pressed  Press all seams to the side or open whichever you prefer- I generally try to press to the darker side.  You should have a rough square that looks something like this.

Step 3:

hot pad top squared up

Using a quilting ruler or a 9.5 inch square template ruler, square up your piece to make a clean 9.5 inch square.

Step 4:

making your "sandwich"

Now take your top strip pieced square and your 9.5 inch backing piece (in this case, the gray DS Flea Market Fancy print)  and place them right sides together on top of your batting square/s.  I use two pieces when using  the cotton batting and one piece if I’m using the Insulbrite.

Step 5: (optional step)

inserting the hanging loop

If you wish to add a hanging loop, take your 5 inch piece of twill tape or  other appropriate material and create a loop.  Then pin this loop to any corner (I have recently started putting my loop at the top), paying attention to how you want your strips to orient when your hot pad is finished- vertical or horizontal.  Make sure it’s inside the hot pad.  You should only see the two ends peeping out at the corner.

pinning the loop in place

 Pin in place (sorry for the blurry photo).    Be careful when sewing around your hot pad, that you don’t catch the sides of your loop….. I speak from experience on this one :-)!!  After Step 6 you can do a little diagonal stitch in this corner to secure the loop before turning right side out!

Step 6:

leave an opening for turning

Pin your pieces in place leaving about a 4 inch opening on the side that runs parallel to the strips.   I use about a 5/8 inch seam allowance here.

Step 7:

sewing it together

Using your walking foot and starting from the bottom part of your opening, sew the pieces together.  I use a 5/8 inch seam allowance here.

an opening for turning your work

 Be sure to stop at the top of your opening.  I usually do a backstitch here.

Step 8:

snipping corners

Snip your corners with your rotary cutter,  leaving a 1/4 inch.  Then turn right side out.

Step 9:

pinning your opening shut

Fold in the fabric at the opening and pin, being sure to catch the pin in both the bottom and top fabric.  At this point, you can either hand sew your opening shut, add a topstitch along just that side at about 1/8 inch, or topstitch around the entire pad.

top stitching vs. no topstitching

Here is a sample of one with no topstitching and one with topstitching!  If you like the way this looks and the feel of it at this point, you can stop here and do a little happy dance because you completed your first Scrappy Handmade Hot Pad!  Congratulations!  If you wish to add some quilting, go on to the next and last step.

Step 10: (Optional step)

scrappy pot holder #3

scrappy pot holder #1


Here you can decide how you want to “quilt” your hot pad.  Lots of quilting lines will create a stiffer hot pad and less lines will make it more “bendy” and soft.  I chose to make several slightly slanting lines across the strips and on others, I did a simple stitch in the ditch and lastly I tried a little hand stitching.

handmade pot holders

Enjoy your new hot pad/s.  I hope you find this tutorial helpful.  I’m happy to answer any questions about anything that’s unclear here.

To see my original post about the ones I made as gifts for teachers, go here!