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Fast Fridays: Upcycle a Dollar Store Hot Pad and Mitt

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Start with an off-the-shelf hot pad and mitt set – we found ours for $2 – add some simple fabric and trim details and voila, stye on a shoestring. This fun project fits not only in the Fast Fridays category, but is also an excellent ScrapBusters project since you need just a bit o’ fabric and trim and a couple wooden buttons. 

We recommend starting with a base pad and mitt in a solid color. This lets your quilting cotton accents really stand out. We chose both a celery green and a deep black and also spotted red, yellow, gray at the store we visited. Cotton twill tape adds the a perfect dividing line along the top of the mitt ruffle and the hot pad pocket.

The button accent on each is decorative and optional. Since you’ll be coming in contact with hot surfaces, just a wooden button. Also for heat consideration, the fabric and trim should be cotton. We used an all purpose poly/cotton thread, which is fine unless you plan on using your set for glass blowing. But if you want to keep everything in the same heat-resistant family, you can opt for cotton thread.

Your cuts will be sized to fit the hot pad and mitt you find, so we haven’t listed a finished size here. In general, most hot pads are around 7” square and most mitts are about 12” x 6”. Read through the steps in our Getting Started section below to see how easy it each to measure, size, and cut for your best fit.

We show you two ruffle strip options: double layer and single layer. Both look great when done and for the single layer option, you need a strip just 2¾”… although you could even make the ruffle just a tiny be narrower and get away using a leftover 2½” jelly roll strip.

S4H Fast Fridays projects are all about whipping up something wonderful in no time at all. The supplies shown below are for just one hot pad and mitt set sleeve, but it would be easy to collect everything you need from materials on hand, set up an assembly line, and whip up several sets in a single afternoon.

They make great gifts and the solid pad and mitt you’ll use as the base are very inexpensive. As mentioned, we got one mitt and two hot pads for just $2.00!

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: The items listed below are for one Hot Pad and one Mitt. You’ll notice we don’t give specific fabric cut requirements as it will be determined by the mitt and hot pad you purchase. Look at the items needed and then jump to the Getting Started section below to see how to measure in order to know the exact size of scraps you’ll need to fit your set.

  • Scrap of quilting weight cotton (approximately ¼ yard) for the ruffle and pocket accent
  • 1 yard of ½” - ⅝” cotton twill tape
  • Scrap (approximately 5” x 7”) of mid-weight fusible interfacing for the hot pad pocket; we used Pellon Décor Bond
  • TWO ½” - ¾” wooden buttons
  • All purpose or cotton thread to match fabric and twill tape
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

Measuring the mitt

  1. Below is a look at the “before” mitts we found at a local dollar discount store.
  2. Measure the circumference of your mitt just below its top binding. Our circumference was about 13¾”.
  3. Multiply this circumference by 1.5 to account for the extra needed to create a soft ruffle. Then add 1” to finish the raw ends and another 1” for the final overlap behind the button. Your formula is: circumference x 1.5” + 2”. You can round slightly up or down to make it a simple cut. Our equation was 13¾ x 1.5 + 2 = 22.625” – we rounded to 22”.
  4. You want a reveal below the twill tape of about 1¾”. Add ½” to stitch the ruffle to the tape and then multiply by 2 for the double layer option. In our sample, this meant a width of 4½”.
  5. For the double layer ruffle option, we cut a strip 4½” x 22”.
  6. You can also make a single layer ruffle, which will require a narrow hem at both ends and along the bottom. The hems at the ends of the strip are already accounted for with the 1” finished ends figured into the formula above. For the bottom hem, you need ½” for a double-turn narrow hem (¼” + ¼”). In this case, the formula would be the reveal (1¾”) + ½” to seam to the twill tape + ½” for the bottom hem, which in our sample would be a total of 2¾”. This strip would be cut at 2¾” x 22”.

Measuring the hot pad

  1. Below is a look at the “before” hot pads we found at a local dollar discount store.
  2. Measure the width of the hot pad from binding to binding.
  3. Then measure for the depth of the pocket, you want an approximate finished pocket depth of 4½” - 5”.
  4. Cut a piece of fusible interfacing to fit your measurements. Place it into position on the hot pad and trace the rounded corners.
  5. Trim to round the bottom corners plus trim/even up any other needed edges along the sides and across the bottom.
  6. Find a scrap of the main fabric (remember, you need about 7” in width and 10” in depth) and fold it right sides together.
  7. Place the fusible interfacing on the folded scrap. The top straight edge of the interfacing should be flush with the raw edges of the folded scrap. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  8. Trim around the fused interfacing by ½” along the sides and across the bottom. You can “eyeball it” as we did or draw in a ½” seam allowance line with a fabric pen or pencil. Pin the layers together, leaving an approximate 3” opening along the top straight edge for turning.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Gathering the mitt ruffle and attaching the twill tape

  1. For the double layer ruffle, find the cut strip and fold it in half, wrong sides together.
  2. Along each end, tuck in the raw edges ½” to create a clean finish.
  3. Along the top raw edges run two lines of gathering stitches. If you are new to machine gathering, we have a step-by-step tutorial you can review prior to starting.
  4. Pull up the stitching to to gather the strip to about 16”.
  5. Cut an approximate 18” length of twill tape.
  6. Center the twill tape over the top ruffled edge. On the left end, the twill tape should extend beyond the ruffle about ½”. On the right end, the twill tape should extend beyond the ruffle about 1½”. Pin the twill tape in place.
  7. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the twill tape in the top and bobbin. Edgestitch the twill tape to the fabric along the lower edge of the tape.
  8. For the single layer ruffle, first hem both ends and the bottom raw edge with a narrow double turn hem. To do this, fold back the raw end ¼” and press, the fold an additional ¼” and press again, concealing the raw edge within the two folds. Edgestitch along the fold to secure.
  9. The single layer ruffle is ruffled in the same manner as the double layer ruffle. First run the two lines of gathering stitches along the top raw edge.
  10. Place the twill tape along the top of the ruffle and edgestitch in place.
  11. You can see in the photo below how the twill tape extends beyond the left end about ½” and beyond the right end about 1½”.
  12. Trim back the ruffle about ¼” behind the twill tape.
    NOTE: This trimming should be done on either the double layer or the single layer ruffle options.
  13. Wrap and pin the ruffle in place. The left edge with the shorter tape extension is the underlap, the opposite end is the overlap.
  14. The exact distance below the mitt’s binding will vary based on the item you purchase. Ours sat about ¼” below the binding. The key measurement is to make sure it clears any hanging loop at the side seam.
  15. Pin the ruffle securely all around, making sure the overlap is even.
  16. If your machine has a free arm, now is the time to use it. Slip the mitt over the arm.
  17. Start with the underlap (remember, that’s the side with the shorter twill tape extension) positioned on what will be the “front” of the mitt above the thumb. Center the needle over the previous line of stitching that secured the tape to the ruffle.
  18. If needed, re-thread the machine. You want thread to match the twill tape in the top and thread to best match the inside of the mitt in the bobbin. The inside of our mitt was a natural, so we left there threading as it was.
  19. Edgestitch in place through all the layers, running this new seam directly on top of the existing seam. If you can adjust your machine’s needle position, it can help to move the needle all the way to the left.
  20. Reposition, and edgestitch around again, this time along the top edge of the twill tape through all the layers.
  21. Hand sew a wooden button in place through all the layers at the overlap. We used a pretty “X” stitch.

Create and attach the pocket on the hot pad

  1. Find the pinned layers for the front pocket.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all around. Remember to lock the seam at the 3” opening for turning along the top straight side. Also remember to pivot at the upper corners and to go slowly and evenly around the bottom curves.
  3. Generously clip the curves.
  4. Turn the pocket right side out through the top opening.
  5. Gently push out the upper corners and smooth out the bottom curves. A long, blunt tool works well for this, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner.
  6. Press flap, pressing in the raw edges at the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  7. Cut another length of twill tape approximately 1” wider than the finished pocket.
  8. Center the twill tape along the top seamed edge of the pocket. The top edge of the twill tape should be flush with the top seamed edge of the pocket. Wrap the raw ends around to the back of the pocket. Pin in place.
  9. Edgestitch along the top and bottom of the twill tape, making sure your are catching those folded back ends in the seams.
  10. Set the pocket into position on the hot pad. Pin the pocket in place on the hot pad along both sides and across the bottom.
  11. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and to best match the hot pad in the bobbin.
  12. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  13. Hand sew a wooden button in place through all the layers of just the pocket. As above, we used a pretty “X” stitch.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas   
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever

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