Hot pads provide a great small surface to experiment with some embellishment. Obviously, since they will be around a heat source, you can’t go wild, but subtle touches are a nice way to inject a little style into these kitchen necessities. We used ribbon and decorative stitching. Remember, natural fibers are best as you don’t want to mix in any substrates that could easily melt. We selected linen and cotton for our fabrics and cotton twill tapes for the ribbon.
Your stitching will be seen from both the front and the back, so make sure you choose a stitch that looks “pretty” from both sides. We used a 9mm width on our Janome Skyline machine and looked for stitch options that were simple patterns we knew would stand out nicely against both the fabric and ribbon. We used a heavyweight thread to further emphasize the bold look.
Yardage recommendations are given below to make a matching pair, but this is also an excellent ScrapBusters project. We chose linen for our main fabric with a standard quilting weight cotton for the binding and grommet accent. Lightweight canvas or denim would also be good options. Stick with neutral tones to allow the embellishment to pop.
We used one layer of Insul-Bright insulted fleece between our fabric layers. This is great for normal use. You can use a double layer for added heat protection, but you might need to increase the width of the binding to accommodate the additional thickness.There’s a cute triangle accent behind the grommet. A free downloadable pattern is offered below to make it fast and easy to cut all the triangles. And, we show you two different ways to stitch the triangles in place to give you a precise match front to back.
A knotted ribbon/tape loop through the grommet makes the hot pads easy to hang by the stove so they’re always handy. We simply stitched down the center of a scrap of one of the twill tapes in a matching decorative stitch.
Use the grommets to clip together two or more mitts. Add in some kitchen tools or a cookbook, and you have a lovely gift bundle.
We suggest creating your own binding to get the best color match, cutting it on the bias. You can opt for packaged binding, but if you add more than one layer of insulating fleece, the packaged option may not be wide enough.
The hot pads finish at approximately 7″ x 9″.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Satin Stitch foot or similar for the decorative stitching
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but helpful for the thicker layers – of engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we use on many of our Janome studio machines
- Ditch Quilting foot; optional, but helpful for machine-stitching the binding and grommet accent
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional, we used it for the perimeter binding
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Quantities shown are for TWO matching hot pads with binding cut on the bias.
- Scrap or ⅝ yard of 44″+ wide linen, lightweight canvas, denim or similar in a solid color for the main panels and the pocket panels; we used a solid linen from our S4H stash
- Scrap or ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton for the binding and grommet accent; we used a solid quilting cotton from our S4H stash
- Scrap or ½ yard of 22″+ wide thermal batting; we used Insul-Bright by The Warm Company
- 1 yard EACH of THREE ⅜” wide twill tapes or similar for the ribbon accents; we used three different colors; you could certainly use more or fewer – if you want the hanging loops to be an exact match, get at least 1¼ yards of that ribbon/tape
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- Heavyweight thread in three contrasting colors for decorative stitching; we used black, red, and white; as above with the ribbon choices, you can use more or fewer colors
- TWO Extra Large (7/16″) metal eyelets (also called small grommets); we used Dritz eyelets and setting tools
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hammer for setting grommets
- Seam sealant; optional for grommet holes
Getting Started and Pattern Download
NOTE: Remember, cuts are for a set of two matching hot pads.
- Download and print the Triangle Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page to confirm your printout is to scale.
- Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
- From the main solid fabric, cut the following:
FOUR 8” wide x 9” high rectangles for main panels
FOUR 8” wide x 6½” high rectangles for the pocket panels
NOTE: The finished size of the main panels will be 7″ x 9″ and the finished pocket panels are 7″ x 6″. The cut sizes above (and of course below for the batting) are what we used. If you are new to decorative stitching or not as confident about your skill level, you can cut the panels even larger — up to 2″ in both directions. In the steps below, we show you how to slice off the ragged side edges of the stitched panels to get the 7″ width, but you can also trim the top and bottom to fit the final 9″ if you start with larger panels.
- From the thermal batting, cut the following:
TWO 8” wide x 9” high rectangles for main panels
TWO 8” wide x 6½” high rectangles for the pocket panels
- From the solid cotton fabric, cut the following:
Using the triangle pattern, cut EIGHT
Enough 1½” wide strips, on the bias, to equal at least 90” when sewn end to end (apx. 45″ per hot pad)
NOTE: Bias strips are cut at 45˚. Cut the strips in as long a continuous length as you can based on the amount of fabric you are working with. The goal is to have as few joining seams as possible. Or, check out our tutorial on Continuous Bias Binding.
- From the accent tapes/ribbons, cut 8” lengths, following our design or creating your own. We cut four lengths of the red (two per hot pad), four lengths of the tan (two per hot pad), and two lengths of the white/gray (one per hot pad).
- From one of the tapes/ribbons, cut ONE additional 12” length for the two hangers.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Make the binding
- Stitch together the bias strips end to end to make one continuous length.
- Set aside the binding.
NOTE: If you are new to working with bias binding, check out our tutorial on Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making and Attaching.
Marking for ribbon and stitch embellishment
- Our lines of decorative stitching are 1” apart on the main body panels and the ribbons are 1” apart on center on the pocket panels.
- Starting with the body panels, pull one panel for each hot pad. Along the side of this panel, mark the 1” increments with pins.
- Press a horizontal fold at each pin point.
- You now have eight guide lines for your decorative stitching.
- Repeat the process on the pocket panels. Again, pull one panel for each hot pad. Find the center point first, then mark two 1” increments to the right of center and two to the left of center.
- You’ll have approximately 1¼” borders at the top and bottom.
- Since you are laying ribbon/tape along these lines, insure they are a perfect match end to end.
- As above, press in folds at each marked point.
- Create two main panel sandwiches and two pocket panel sandwiches. Each sandwich should be made up of two layers of the solid fabric with one layer of thermal batting in between. Place the marked and folded panel on top and the plain panel on the bottom of each sandwich. Pin around the outer edges.
- The fabrics should be wrong sides together with the batting in between.
Create the ribbon and stitch embellishment
- Select your first decorative stitch. Thread the machine with the first color in the top and bobbin. Remember, this stitching will be seen from both the front and the back, so make sure you choose a stitch that looks “pretty” from both sides.
- Starting at the center and working out to either side, stitch along every other guide line in this first color with your first stitch.
- As shown in the photo below, you can add some pins along the guide line to minimize shifting of the layers.
- When the first four lines of stitching are complete, re-thread and re-set for your next decorative stitch.
- Stitch along the remaining four guide lines.
- When done, trim away the ragged edges along each side so the panel is its final 7” width.
- Set aside the body panels.
- Find the pocket panel sandwiches and your ribbons/tape.
- Again, start at the center and work out to either side. We had one gray/white accent tape in the center. Thread the machine with the appropriate thread color in the top and bobbin and re-set for the chosen decorative stitch. Lightly pin the ribbon/tape in place, then stitch in place with the decorative stitch through all layers.
- When done, re-set and re-thread for the next ribbon/tape, repeating the process.
- Repeat again for the third ribbon/tape.
- When all the ribbons are in place, re-thread and re-set the stitch as necessary, and run six lines of evenly spaced decorative stitching from the top to the bottom of the panel. There is one line of stitching top and bottom and the other four lines of stitching are centered between the ribbons.
- We used our presser foot to center our decorative stitching, but you could also draw in guide lines with a fabric pen or pencil.
- As you did above with the main panels, trim away the ragged edges along each side of each pocket panel to match the 7” finished width.
The optional hanging loops
- Find the 12” length of ribbon/tape for the hanging loops. Select a decorative stitch and thread color and stitch directly down the center of the ribbon/tape.
- Cut the 12” length into two 6” lengths and run a line of seam sealant along each end to help prevent fraying.
- Set aside.
Bind the top edge of the pocket
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding and re-set the stitch length to normal.
- From the length of binding, cut approximately 8”.
- Place the binding right sides together along along the top edge of the pocket panel. Pin in place through all the layers. There will be a bit of excess binding at either edge. This is okay and will be trimmed flush later.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the binding in place.
- Press the binding up and away from the pocket panel.
- Flip over the pocket panel. Fold in the raw edge of the binding to meet the top raw edges of the pocket panel. Press the fold in place.
- Bring the folded edge of the binding down against the back of the pocket panel, making sure the folded edge covers the previous seam line. Pin the folded edge in place at the back.
- Flip the pocket panel so it is once again right side up and stitch the binding in place, removing the pins as you go. You are “stitching in the ditch” of the original seam line. We used our Ditch Quilting foot. Go slowly and carefully to insure you are catching the back with your seam.
- Trim any excess so the binding is flush with the raw edges of the layered pocket panel.
Create and attach the grommet accent triangles
- Find all the triangles cut from the pattern. There should be four (two front and two back) for each hot pad.
- Pin two triangles right sides together.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance stitch together along each angled edge, pivoting at the point.
- Trim away the seam allowance at the point of each sewn pair.
- Turn each sewn triangle right side out. Gently push out the point so it is nice and sharp. A chopstick, knitting needle or point turn works well for this. Press flat.
- The triangles are centered along the top edge of the main body panel at both the front and back.
- We attached our triangles with two different methods. You can choose your favorite based on how comfortable you feel about your edgestitching precision.
- For option one, which is a bit easier and more forgiving, first topstitch ¼” from the sewn angled edges of each triangle. This provides you with a stitch line to follow.
- Center one triangle on the front and one on the back of the main panel, taking the time to make sure they are aligned front to back. Pin well.
- Following along the previous topstitching, stitch the triangles in place through all the layers. Go slowly to minimize shifting.
- Thread a hand sewing needle with matching thread and slip stitch the edges of the triangles so they don’t flip up. Stitch one side and then the other; don’t try to hand stitch both at once.
- For option two, first pin just one triangle to one side of the panel, and edgestitch in place.
- Flip over the panel, and use the stitching from that first triangle to position the second triangle. As you see in the photo below, you will be stitching in the ditch from the opposite side, so position this second triangle about ⅛” lower than the first triangle.
- Flip over the panel again, and using a Ditch Quilting foot, stitch right along the edge of the triangle, hiding the seam along the edge of the front triangle while catching and attaching the back triangle.
- Press well.
Bind the layers together
- Place the main panel right side up on your cutting mat. In theory, both sides of the main panel should be identical, but if you have one that looks better than the other, this can be the “right side.”
- Place the pocket panel over the main panel, also right side up. Match the side and bottom edges of the two panels and lightly pin in place through all the layers.
- Find the remaining length of binding. Cut a length to fit around the perimeter of the hot pad plus about 2”.
- Pin the binding, right sides together, around the entire perimeter of the panel, aligning the raw edge of the binding with the raw edges of the layered panels.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance (we’re using our Quarter Inch Seam foot), stitch the binding in place all around.
- At each corner, stop ¼” in. Fold up the binding along the diagonal to create a miter.
- Fold back down, again aligning the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the panel.
- Drop the needle back into position and continue down the next side.
- When you get back to the beginning, finish the ends with your chosen method. We joined our ends on the bias, trimming the excess and finishing the seam.
- Bring the binding up and over to the opposite side.
- As you did above with the pocket panel binding, press in the raw edge of the binding towards the raw edges of the main panels. The binding folds in about ⅛” shy of the raw edges of the panel. You can measure from the front to be sure. There should be a ⅜” binding reveal at the front, you then need enough binding to wrap around all the layers, and finally the folded edge should cover the previous seam.
- Make a neat fold at each corner and press well as you go around the hot pad.
- Pin in place at the back.
- Flip over to stitch in the ditch from the front. You’ll remove the pins as you go.
- As above with the pocket binding, stitch in the ditch all the way around the perimeter of the hot pad.
NOTE: Remember, if you are new to working with bias binding, take a look at our tutorial on Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making, and Attaching Bias Binding as well as our second tutorial: A Complete Step-by-Step for Binding Quilts & Throws.
Grommet, hanging loop, and label
- Center the grommet within the triangle accent. Mark this insertion point. Then, following the manufacturer’s instructions or our own great tutorial (How To Insert Metal Grommets), insert the grommet through all the layers.
NOTE: After cutting each hole, you can add a drop of seam sealant, such as Fray Check to prevent raveling. Then finish the grommet installation.
- Find one of the 6” hanger loops.
- Thread the stitched twill ribbon/tape through the grommet and knot the ends.
- As shown in the photos above, we added one of our Sew4Home labels to the upper left of the back of the hot pad, placing it vertically across the decorative stitching. It is simply hand stitched in place with a tiny slip stitch so nothing shows through on the front.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever