In the things-I never-think-to-buy-for-myself category are new kitchen towels and oven mitts. “I can wash that one more time,” I say. “Oh, it doesn’t look that bad if I fold under the stained part,” I think. Truth be told, we all could likely benefit from some new kitchen linens – especially some lovingly handmade items, like our linen and cotton oven mitt and towel. We designed this mitt and towel as a great gift set idea, but don’t forget to put yourself on the gift list!
Our goal here at S4H is to put together projects at which anyone can succeed. Both of these pieces are beginner friendly, and we’ve included links to additional tutorials on hemming, fussy cutting, and seam finishing.
One of our other secrets to success is the amazing Janome studio machines we are lucky to use. You’ll see within the steps below when we switched presser feet, adjusted stitch settings, and varied seam allowance widths. From their top-of-the-line combination sewing and embroidery powerhouses to the hard working entry level models, Janome machines are always intuitive to use, with the strength and precision to tackle any job. For this set, we went from quilting multiple layers of fabric and batting to creating a flawless narrow hem on a single layer of linen. Smooth and perfect through it all.
The combination of a homespun linen blend with gorgeous quilting cotton is what gives our gift set instant appeal. The lush printed cotton designs are from the Our Fair Home collection by Anna Maria Horner for FreeSpirit Fabrics. The main fabric choices feature fairly bold motifs; it’s always fun to fussy cut a dramatic motif, and this mitt and towel both offer nice large areas to showcase your look.
Our free downloadable pattern and the steps below show how to create a single right-handed oven mitt. If you want a left-handed mitt (instead or in addition to), simply work with the paper pattern facing right side down throughout the cutting steps.
We indicate a single layer of thermal batting against the front and back of the oven mitt. This is our traditional choice, but you could certainly add another layer. Just remember you might need to adjust the size of the cuff binding loop and could have a challenge maneuvering the tight curve in the mitt’s thumb area.
The towel is created with a single layer for the main panel, a linen blend in our sample, that is then wrapped with a double layer of the pretty quilting cotton as a combination accent band and accent panel. Our easy-to-follow steps show how to stitch it all together with no raw edges or exposed seams – lovely front and back.
Wrap up a gift set for your friends and family. Adding in some kitchen tools or a favorite family recipe or two makes it an even more special bundle. And, don’t forget to whip up a couple new sets for yourself. I think I can hear your rag bin calling for those sad, old towels and mitts.
The Oven Mitt finishes at approximately 13” high x 5½” wide at the cuff and the Towel finishes at approximately 30” high x 20” wide.
Our thanks to Janome America for their support of this project and many of the other most popular projects across the S4H site. To understand first-hand why we are a Janome Exclusive studio, we invite you to visit a local Janome dealer for an in-person test stitch on the machines we consider to be the best in the industry. To find out more before you go, visit the Janome website and follow them on social media.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Even Feed or Walking foot; or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system – we used our Janome AcuFeed™ Flex system with its Narrow VD foot for the quilting lines
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Since we designed these as a Set, the yardage shown below is for ONE towel and ONE mitt and includes extra for precise fussy cutting.
- ¾ yard of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the front of the mitt and the border of the towel; we used two selections from the Our Fair Home Collection by Anna Maria Horner for FreeSpirit Fabrics: Aphrodite in Sugar (the light lilac set) and Housewarming in Shocker (the deep pink set)
- ⅝ yard 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the lining of the of the mitt, the binding on the mitt’s cuff, and the accent strip on the towel; we used one selection from the Our Fair Home Collection by Anna Maria Horner for FreeSpirit Fabrics: Checkers in Saturday – because this was a vibrant stripe motif, we were able to fussy cut the strips at different places on the fabric to give the accent a slightly different look on each set
- ¾ yard of 44”+ linen or linen blend for the back of the mitt and the main panel of the towel; we used Yarn Dyed Homespun Linen Blend in Taupe from the Essex collection for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
- ½ yard of 45”+ thermal batting; we used Insul-Bright from The Warm Company
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the Oven Mitt Top and Oven Mitt Bottom Patterns.
IMPORTANT: This pattern bundle consists of TWO 8½” x 11″ sheets, which have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE OR SHRINK to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each sheet to confirm your printout is to scale.
- Cut out each piece along the solid line. Using the three vertical quilting lines shown on each pattern, align these dashed lines and butt together the pattern pieces to make one pattern piece. Do NOT overlap. Tape together to create the full mitt pattern.
NOTE: Because the front and back of the mitt are quilted, we recommend a bit of a “wild” cut at this point. As shown in the photos below, follow the cut line of the pattern along the top, sides, and bottom, but across the thumb area, do a rounded-off or blunt cut – do not cut down into the curve of the thumb. You will re-cut this section after the quilting is complete. This allows for a more accurate cut within the narrow section of the curve.
- From the fabric for the mitt front, use the pattern to “wild cut” ONE. Take the time to center a prominent motif for the best finished look.
- From the fabric for the mitt back, use the pattern to “wild cut” ONE.
NOTE: You can layer the mitt front and mitt back WRONG sides together, place the paper pattern on top, also right side up, and wild cut both layers at once. With the fabric layers wrong sides together, you insure your “thumbs” will match up to the lining front and back. Don’t forget to center a pretty motif for the mitt front.
- From the fabric for the lining, loop, and cuff binding, cut the following:
Use the pattern to “wild cut” TWO. Take the time to center a prominent motif for the best finished look. Our full tutorial on fussy cutting could be helpful to review prior to starting if you are brand new.
NOTE: As above, you can fold your fabric wrong sides together and use the paper pattern right side up to cut the two lining panels.
ONE 3½” long x 2” wide strip for the hanging loop
ONE 12” long x 2” wide strip for the cuff binding
- From the thermal batting, use the pattern to “wild cut” TWO.
NOTE: Again as above, because thermal batting does have a right side and a wrong side, you can fold the fabric wrong sides together and use the pattern right side up to cut the two batting layers. A little repetitive, we know, but nothing is sadder than mis-matched thumbs. As mentioned in the introduction, if you want a left-handed mitt (instead of or in addition to), work with the paper pattern facing right side down throughout all the steps above.
- From the fabric for the wide bottom band, fussy cut ONE 21” wide x 16½” wide rectangle. When fussy cutting, remember it is the top half of this panel that will show on the front of the towel.
- From the fabric for the main panel of the towel, cut ONE 21” wide x 23” high rectangle.
- From the accent fabric cut ONE 21” long x 1½” wide strip for front accent strip.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Layer and quilt
- Create TWO “quilt sandwiches” from your quilting cotton, linen, lining, and thermal batting. The exterior quilting cotton panel and exterior linen panel should each be placed wrong sides together with a lining panel. In between these layers is the thermal batting with the “metallic” side of the batting facing the exterior panel as shown in the photo below.
- Place the paper pattern over the front sandwich and mark the position of the three quilting lines at the top and bottom of the mitt.
- Repeat to mark the position of the quilting lines of the back sandwich.
- Remove the paper pattern and use a ruler to draw in full guide lines to follow.
NOTE: Remember, anytime you are working on the right side of your fabric, be sure to use a marking tool that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- Lightly pin together each sandwich.
- Set up your machine for quilting. We started with our front sandwich. Thread with a color to best match the front exterior panel in the top and best match the lining panel in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Attach an Even Feed/Walking foot or – as we did with our Janome AcuFeed™ Flex system – engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system. We used the AcuFeed Narrow VD foot.
- Stitch along each drawn guide line. We like to stitch the middle line first, then the left, then the right.
- Re-thread as necessary and repeat to stitch the back sandwich.
Add the hanging loop, re-cut, and finish the edges
- Find the 3½” x 2” hanging loop strip.
- Fold the strip in half wrong sides together so it is now 1” and press to set a center crease line.
- Unfold so the crease line is visible, then fold in each raw edge to align with the center crease line.
- Fold again along the original crease line, concealing the raw edges between the layers. Press again.
- Re-set for a standard straight stitch and re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Edgestitch the length of the strip. The ends remain raw.
- Fold the strip in half, aligning the raw ends.
- With the seamed edge facing down towards the cuff of the mitt, pin the loop on the back quilted mitt sandwich. It should sit 2” up from the raw bottom edge of the mitt on the straight outer side of the back sandwich (not the thumb side). The raw ends of the loop should be flush with the raw edge of the mitt.
- Find the paper pattern and place it back into position on each quilted sandwich. Lightly pin in place.
- Cut the inner thumb curve of each quilted sandwich.
- Using your favorite machine finishing stitch, edgestitch around the entire perimeter of both the front and back sandwiches. We used a simple zig zag. This insures there is a nice, finished edge on the seam allowance inside the mitt when complete.
Sew front to back and add the cuff binding
- Place the front and back quilted sandwiches right sides together and pin all around, leaving the bottom cuff edge open… yep, that’s where your hand goes; don’t want to sew that closed!
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch around the mitt. As shown in the photo below, we are still using our Janome AcuFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feeding system with the Narrow VD foot.
- When done, clip the inner curve of the thumb. Then, slightly reduce your stitch length, and re-stitch just that inner curve for extra stability and a smoother finish.
NOTE: For more about the best practices for sewing curves, take a look at our full tutorial.
- Turn the mitt right side out through the open cuff end. Use a long, blunt tool to smooth out the seam all around. A chopstick, knitting needle or point turner are all good options.
- Press flat.
- Find the 12” x 2” binding strip.
- Place the raw 2” ends right sides together, forming a loop.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the short seam.
- As you did above with the strip for the hanging loop, fold this binding loop in half, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease. Unfold and press the raw edges into the center, then re-fold along the original crease line to form your final binding loop.
- Slip the binding loop over the raw bottom edge of the mitt and pin in place, aligning the seam of the binding loop with one the of side seams of the mitt.
- If your machine has a free arm, as nearly all Janome machines do, now is a great time to use it. Slip the end of the mitt over the free arm.
- Re-thread the machine as necessary with a thread color that best blends with all three of your fabrics: front, back, and lining/binding. We used a pale yellow. Set up the machine for a tiny center position zig zag. We used 1.8mm width and 1.0mm length.
- Slide the cuff under the presser foot and test the needle drop to insure the back and forth swing of the needle will catch the edge of the binding front/back and fall just barely into the fabric of the mitt itself. Stitch all the way around to secure the binding to the mitt.
Hem the top and sides
- Press in and stitch a double ¼” hem along each side and across the upper edge of the main linen panel, creating a neat diagonal point at each upper corner. The bottom edge remains raw. Remember to re-thread your machine if necessary with thread to best match your linen in the top and bobbin and to re-set for a slightly lengthened straight stitch. We switched back to a standard presser foot.
NOTE: If you are new to this handy hemming technique, we have a full tutorial you can review prior to starting.
- With the main linen panel hemmed, draw a horizontal line on the right side of the panel 7½” up from its bottom raw edge.
Attach the accent band and panel
- Find the 21” x 1½” accent band and the 21” x 16½” bottom accent panel. If your accent panel has a directional motif, as ours did, place the fabric right side up on your work surface so the motif is running right side up. As you can see in the photo, our pretty birds are standing on their little feet.
- Place the accent band right sides together along the top raw edge of the accent panel. Pin in place.
- Re-thread the machine as necessary with thread to best match your accent fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set for a standard stitch length.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together across the 21” width.
- Press the band away from the panel, pressing the seam allowance down toward the band.
- On the opposite raw edge of the accent panel, fold back the raw edge a skant ½” and press well (skant means just a bit smaller than a full ½” – you can see that tiny difference on the seam gauge in the photo below).
- Place the hemmed linen panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Center the accent panel right sides together with the linen panel. There should be about ½” of accent panel extending beyond the linen panel on either side edge. The raw edge of the accent band should be placed along the drawn line on the linen panel. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance (½” from that drawn line), stitch all the way across.
- Press the accent panel down, away from the main linen panel. Press well – all along the seam. Your accent band should now be a ½” reveal.
- Fold up the accent panel so it is now right sides together with itself and align the raw side edges extending beyond the hemmed linen panel. Pin those side edges in place.
- It’s okay to pin through the linen panel to help keep the side edges secure, but you will not be stitching on the linen.
- Stitch along each side of the accent panel. Each seam should run right next to but not on the main body of the linen panel.
- Trim back each seam allowance to about ¼”.
- Turn the accent panel right side out, which will bring the pre-folded edge of the accent panel around to the back of the linen panel. It forms a little pocket into which the bottom of the linen panel is sitting. The folded edge of the accent panel should just cover the original line of accent band stitching. Press well and pin in place.
- Flip over the towel so it is now right side up.
- Slightly lengthen your stitch. Re-thread if necessary so you have thread to best match your accent band in the top and thread to best match the main accent panel in the bobbin.
- Topstitch across the horizontal width of the towel, staying close to the upper edge of the accent band. For the photo below, we actually did the topstitching and then replaced the project back under the presser foot so you could see the position of the foot as well as where the topstitching should fall; this stitching should catch and secure the accent panel across the back of the towel.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever