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Retro-Style Bound & Quilted Oven Mitts

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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

Fabric and Other Supplies

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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
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter and mat (optional)
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From each fabric, cut two 9" squares. From the insulated fleece, cut four 9" squares.
  2. From the bias tape, cut two 8" lengths for the hanging loops.
  3. 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.
  4. Cut out the two pattern pieces (front and back) along the solid lines.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Layering and quilting

  1. Layer the insulated fleece between the two pieces of front feature fabric. The fabric should be wrong sides together. Pin at the corners.
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  2. 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.
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    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.
  3. Remove the quilted layers from the machine, rotate 90˚ and quilt in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern.
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  4. Layer the back fabric squares and insulated fleece in the same manner.
  5. 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.
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  6. When the quilting is completed, find the two pattern pieces.
  7. 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.
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  8. 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.
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Bias tape binding

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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  3. 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.
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  4. 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.
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  5. Flip over, and from the right side of the Pot Holder Front, edgestitch the bias tape in place. Press.
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  6. Trim the ends of the bias tape flush with the edges of the Pot Holder Front.
  7. Repeat steps 1 - 6 to create the front of the Pot Holder #2.
  8. Find the 8" strips of bias tape you cut for the loops. You cut two, one for each pot holder.
  9. Edgestitch each length of bias tape closed. Trim to 6".
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  10. 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.
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  11. 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.
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    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.
  12. Fold the bias tape around to the back and pin in place.
  13. 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.
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  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Straight stitch across the base of the loop to hold the loop together.
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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.


Comments (22)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Roberta - Thanks! Let us know how they turn out for you. If you follow-up in social media, we'd love to see a picture. We are sew4home on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and sew4home_diy on Instagram.

Suzie Tull said:
Suzie Tull's picture

Do you cut four of the insulated fleece for two potholders or for each potholder? I am confused about that part.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Suzie Tull - as we mention above, the supplies and cut instructions are for a set of two potholders. You need two pieces of insulated fleece for each potholder because both the front and the back are quilted. So for two potholders, you need four pieces. Have fun. 

Stephanie Fuller said:
Stephanie Fuller's picture

Hello! Thanks for the lovely pattern - I really need these! Mine are in terrible shape but I've refused to buy more when I can make them :) Just had to finish Halloween costumes first. Whew.

I have a question. I've read about making pot holders and everything said to use all cotton to prevent any issues with synthetics melting, etc. Does that also apply to binding and thread? Because all-purpose thread and Wright's bias binding both have polyester. I can make my own bias binding - I use the continuous bias binding method by Missouri Quilts on YouTube, but I would have to go hunt down all-cotton thread. Also, I was hoping to machine embroider some of them for gifts. What about the embroidery thread? I think most of my emb thread is either polyester or rayon.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Stephanie Fuller - For the binding and construction thread - you will be fine with the poly -- unless you're planning on trying to lift out something at about 400˚ F - but really, no hot pads are going to help you there . As with any hot pads, these are meant for ordinary circumstances. Regarding the embroidery - you might want to go poly or the rayon. It really depends on where you put the design(s) - if it will be anywhere that might come in direct contact with high heat, there might be a little problem with the shiny rayon. 

Steph Fuller said:
Steph Fuller's picture

Thank you! In case I haven't said it before, you all are so great to respond even to questions on old posts. I made 4 of your Preppy wave purses earlier in the year, and you answered a few questions on that as well. I appreciate you!

cathymeyer said:
cathymeyer's picture

love the potholder been looking for something to make my freid as a thank you gift....love it....

Irene Aguirre said:
Irene Aguirre's picture

I lov eyour totorial but I have had a problem downloading your pattern I get an error message has anyone has had this problem ? how do I get the pattern please help

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Irene Aguirre - we have tested the PDF download on our end and everything is operating correctly. Please make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (it's free) and that your browser is set to allow downloads and allow additional windows to open. There are so many variables in computer system and software set ups, it is hard to know exactly what might be causing the error message on your end. But the pattern is working from our end. Also -- please be patient when waiting for the pattern to load. If traffic is high and the servers are particularly busy, sometimes it can take up to a minute for the pattern to appear in the window.

Dee79 said:
Dee79's picture

I absolutely love your kitchen projects given me the inspiration to beautify my kitchen. I came across your project after looking for the fabric but I just can't seem to find them in the UK. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Dee79 - Do you ever shop for Fabric online? We did a tutorial about the benfits and fun of shopping this way.  And, it opens up a world of choices for you from online stores who ship internationally. Check out the stores in our Marketplace, they ship to the UK. 

Here's a link to Marketplace: http://sew4home.com/marketplace

Here's a link to the tutorial I mentioned: http://sew4home.com/tips-resources/buying-guide/s4h-summer-school-shop

Linda J Smith said:
Linda J Smith's picture
These are so adorable. I love the style and I am mentaly going through my stash to come up with some fabric combinations. Great for any season.
Samina said:
Samina's picture
Thank you for the post. Your tutorial is inspiring me to get started on re-vamping my kitchen accessories. The potholders are great & so colorful! I see myself making a bunch of them.
mpistey said:
mpistey's picture
I made many of these after you published this the first time. They are fun to make, and very quick!
eamylove@aol.com said:
eamylove@aol.com's picture
I really love the look of these! They could never really go out of style forever!