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 (not included in the above photo)

*a 1/4 inch foot and a walking foot

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

*rotary cutter, a functioning iron (I like steam, lots of it) 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 makes you happy!

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 (a loop at the top is nice too) 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 handstitched

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!


  1. Sarah Z says:

    These are so cute! I will definitely be using your tutorial very soon! Thank you!

  2. Love these Sis! I want a couple of them since you know I will not be making them anytime soon. Love ya

  3. What a great idea! I have soooooo many scraps…these would make good Christmas presents…house warming!!

  4. Lynn Walker says:

    I make my hot pads just like you–I like the scrappy, charming look, and no way I’m gonna mess with a binding for a hot pad haha. I really like that first one with no topstitching and the hand quilting…hmm, the brain gears are turning…I may need to make some ‘fresh’ ones. Thanks for the ideas! You always give such good inspiration:)

    • Karen says:

      I love I can just skip to the quilting part and not worry about binding! :-) And yes, they are so quick and easy that you can easily “fressen” your supply regularly.

  5. julie says:

    What a fun little project! Thanks for the tutorial.

  6. julie says:

    This morning after making my first potholder from this tutorial, I immediately made a grilled cheese sandwich in the toaster oven, and it felt very wrong to use my freshly made “tiny quilt” to remove the hot pan. What kind of way is that to treat a handmade quilt?? lol.

    • Karen says:

      Ha!! I felt that way too when I first started using these. I gave one to my MIL and she put it in a frame in her kitchen instead of using them- LOL! I kind of love the idea of something beautiful and handmade being used for nurturing, everyday necessities…… like grilled cheese sandwiches for instance!!!

  7. Love, love, love these! Thanks for the tutorial. Can’t wait to make some. :>

  8. VB says:

    Wondering about sewing the edges closed, with the batting directly on the feed-dogs… doesn’t it shred the batting or leave lots of lint?

  9. Karen says:

    Great question VB!! I wondered the same thing when I was about to start, but it did not turn out to be a problem at all. Happy sewing…..

  10. Adrienne Pilon says:

    Went back and looked at this post a couple of weeks ago. Made three pot holders with some scraps straight away. Love them!