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I know they say creativity is about learning to “color outside of the lines,” but sometimes, the line is our friend. This happy pair of hot pads is all about the beauty of a perfect connection from point A to point B. We selected a wide stripe for the front, which we then highlighted with parallel rows of bright decorative stitching. The back has just the decorative stitching against a neutral background. We used our Janome Skyline S7 for precise and beautiful stitching row after row after row.

There are 240 stitches built-in to the Skyline S7. We selected three (Decorative #35, #42, #55) and stitched them in three different colors. You could certainly use more stitches and colors or fewer. Each stitch was set for a 9mm width. On the front stripe, this allows a nice wide swing so the stitch could straddle the two colors. Simply use the edge of the stripe as the center guide line for your stitching.

For the best and most consistent result, always stitch your rows in the same direction. We also recommend using a Start/Stop button control rather than your foot pedal if you have this feature on your machine. This guides the fabric evenly and at a steady pace, which gives you a beautiful finish. Although you may think you are delivering even pressure with your foot pedal, it’s very easy to drift into a sporadic slow-to-fast-to-slow pace, which can put stress on the fabric and thread and cause the stitches to form less perfectly.

A large metal grommet in the corner of each hot pad makes them easy to hang by the stove so they’re always handy. You can also use the grommets to clip together two or more pads. Add in some cooking tools, and you have a very pretty gift.

We selected a pre-packaged binding but you could also make your own if you can’t find a perfect match from the off-the-shelf selection. Check out our step-by-step tutorial if you’re new to this technique. We recommend keeping the binding in a neutral color so as not to detract from all your pretty decorative stitching.

Our layers of canvas weight fabric plus both regular and thermal batting had enough inherent “grippyness” to stick to each other so we added no quilting stitches, relying only on the binding to hold the layers together. If you want additional security, you could add straight lines of quilting within the plain stripes between the lines of decorative stitching. Pick a thread that blends well with the fabric so this stitching is as unobtrusive as possible.

The hot pads finish at approximately 9″ x 9″. There’s more information on sizing below as it will be determined by the stripe you choose.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Quantities shown are for TWO hot pads

  • Scrap or ⅓ yard EACH of TWO 44″+ wide mid-weight wide cotton stripes in coordinating colors (or similar) for the front panels; we used two stripes from the Wave Runner Home Décor collection – a 100% cotton mid-weight, 54″ home décor fabric
  • Scrap or ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide mid-weight solid cotton or similar for the back panels; we used 7 oz Duck Canvas Cloth in White for both 
  • Scrap or ⅓ yard of 22″+ wide thermal batting; we used 22″ Insul-Bright by Warm Company
  • Scrap or ⅓ yard of 22″+ wide low loft batting; we used Warm Bond by Warm Company
  • ONE package (3 yards) of double fold bias quilt binding; we used Wrights binding in ivory
    NOTE: You could also make your own binding, which should finish at ½”.
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Bobbin thread
  • All purpose thread in THREE coordinating colors for the decorative stitching; we used Bright Orange,Teal, and Forest Green
  • 1½ yards of 12″+ wide tear-away stabilizer or similar, as recommended for your machine, for the decorative stitching; we used 15″ Stitch-n-Tear by Pellon
  • TWO Extra Large (7/16″) eyelets; also called small grommets
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pressing cloth
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. From EACH striped fabric, fussy cut ONE 11″ x 11″ square, carefully centering the stripes to contain as many full stripes within the 11″ x 11″ square as possible.
    NOTE: This size was based on our fabric, which has 1½” stripes. If you have a different width stripe you can go slightly larger or smaller with your square. The final panels will all be cut down to approximately 9″ x 9″. 
  2. From the solid fabric, cut TWO 11″ x 11″ squares (or whatever size you cut above, cut a matching square).
  3. From the tearaway stabilizer, cut FOUR 11″ x 11″ squares (again – or whatever size you cut above).
  4. The regular and thermal batting will be cut to size during construction.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Decorative stitching

  1. If your back panel has some transparency to it, place each back panel on top of a stripe panel and trace the stripe lines onto the back panel.
  2. If you have trouble seeing-through the back panel fabric, you can measure the stripes and transfer guide marks onto the back panel. Then simply connect your guide marks to create complete lines to follow.
  3. Decorative stitching forms best when it has some backing to help stabilize the fabric. We used a traditional tear-away. Find these 11″ x 11″ squares and place one under each of the front and back panels.
  4. Set up your machine for decorative stitching and attach a standard presser foot or a Satin Stitch foot.
  5. Before stitching onto the panel, do some test stitching to determine your stitch pattern, width, and thread color. All our stitches were formed at a 9mm width. We used three thread colors, repeating each color twice for a mirror image of the stitching top and bottom. The stitch patterns, colors, and position are exactly the same on the front and back of the hot pad.
    NOTE: On the Janome Skyline S7, we used the following decorative stitches: #35 (the teal), #42 (the bright orange), and #55 (the forest green). 
  6. Place a front panel, layered with a square of tearaway stabilizer, under the presser foot. Use the edge of the stripe as your guide line and stitch from edge to edge.
  7. As mentioned above, for the best and most consistent stitching, always stitch in the same direction on the panel. We also recommend using a Start/Stop button control rather than your foot pedal if you have this feature on your machine. This guides the fabric evenly and at a steady pace, which gives you a beautiful finish. Although you may think you are delivering even pressure with your foot pedal, it’s very easy to drift into a sporadic slow-to-fast-to-slow pace, which can put stress on the fabric and thread and cause the stitches to form less perfectly.
  8. Repeat to stitch the remaining front panel. Then, repeat to stitch each of the back panels, using your previously drawn lines as a stitching guide.
  9. The number of times you need to re-thread and change the stitch pattern will depend on your customized design.
  10. Gently tear away the stabilizer from all the panels.
  11. Using a pressing cloth, press the final panels flat.

Cutting to size, layering, and binding

  1. The hot pads are designed to finish at approximately 9″ x 9″ but your exact square will vary slightly based on the width of your stripe pattern.
  2. You want at least ¾” from the edge of your outermost decorative stitch pattern to the raw edge of the fabric so the stitch will nicely clear the binding. We cut at 9⅜” x 9⅜” to get the best look. Measure and cut each front panel.
  3. Then repeat to cut each back panel for an exact match.
  4. Place the regular batting flat on your work surface. Place the thermal batting on top of it.
  5. Pin a top panel to the batting layers to use a pattern.
  6. Cut through both layers. Repeat to cut a matching pair of batting layers for the second hot pad.
  7. Find a back panel. Place it wrong side up on your work surface. Place a regular batting square batting square on top of the back panel. Then, add the thermal batting. And finally, place the top panel on the stack, right side up. Repeat with the remaining layers for the second hot pad.
  8. Find the binding. We used double fold bias quilt binding, but wanted to use it as single fold to get a narrower ½” finish. This meant we unfolded the binding and repressed it in half, wrong sides together.
  9. Press under the raw edge of one end of the binding ¼”.
  10. Starting in the middle of one side, and working against the front panel, pin the binding around the entire perimeter of one layered set of panels. The raw edges of the binding should be flush with the raw edges of the hot pad layers.
  11. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the binding in the top and bobbin. If possible, activate the machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as Janome’s AcuFeed™ Flex system, or attach a Walking or Even Feed foot.
  12. Using a ¼” seam allowance stitch the binding in place through all the layers.
  13. This is a standard quilt binding method, which means you’ll stop sewing ¼” from the corner to create a miter, bringing the binding up and making a neat diagonal fold. Keeping that diagonal fold in place, you then bring the binding back down so the raw edges of the binding are even with the raw edges on the next side of the hot pad. Pin in place and continue to the next corner where you’ll do it again.

    NOTE: If you are new to working with bias binding, we have two very thorough and helpful tutorials: Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making, Attaching as well as A Complete Step-by-Step for Binding Quilts & Throws.
  14. Finish the ends with your favorite method (also covered in the tutorials linked above). We used a simple overlap to finish.
  15. Starting along one side, wrap the folded edge of the binding around to the back of the project, making sure to go beyond the previous stitching line. Pin in place.
  16. Hand stitch in place against the back panel. Repeat to bind the second hot pad.

Optional grommets

  1. We suggest adding a grommet in the corner of each hot pad. It allows them clip together for storage or to give as a gift.
  2. Mark the grommet hole in the corner of each front panel (we suggest the upper left corner). Make sure the grommet is in the same corner on each hot pad. We positioned ours so the outer ring of the grommet would be approximately ¼” from the inside edge of the binding.
  3. Cut out the hole and insert the grommet from the front to the back. Then, place the washer over the grommet
  4. Hammer in place. If you are new to inserting grommets (or in this case an extra large eyelet), check out our step-by-step tutorial.

    NOTE: You are setting this grommet through a lot of layers. Make sure you are working on a very solid surface to be able to get solid pressure when you hammer. We actually used a concrete patio. Just make sure the surface is clean or protect the hot pad with a thin layer of cotton fabric. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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