The classic oven mitt presents an excellent surface for embellishment. As our embellishment option, we chose a Flourish Alphabet Monogram – one of the built-in designs on our favorite Janome embroidery-only model: the Memory Craft 500E. And, we’ve done this beautiful embroidery with three colors of Aurifil 50wt cotton thread. The result may just be the most stylish set of oven mitts ever! As a gift or for yourself, this is a fun project with a stunning result. We joked about embroidering a “L” on one hand and a “R” on the other — just in case you get your left and right confused when baking!
The embroidered letter is, of course, optional, but this bit of embroidery against the solid color fabric is really a wonderful way to customize the look. If you don’t have this exact alphabet, take the MC500E for a test drive at your local Janome dealer. You can also choose a different design or even substitute appliqué for embroidery.
We loved how well the Aurifil 50wt performed in both the top and bobbin when embroidering. As a cotton thread, it has a soft, matte finish that looked great against the natural colors we chose. We went with the slightly heavier Aurifil 40wt for the construction and quilting. Cotton thread is also your best choice when working on projects that can be exposed to high heat.
The pretty Aurifil thread colors were coordinated with the floral fabric selected for the palm and lining of the mitts. A solid cotton is the perfect base to showcase the Flourish Alphabet letter, then combining this solid with a print is a great way to inject some fresh color and design.
We also added a cute ruffle along the top edge of each mitt. The ends of the ruffle are finished, so the two ruffle strips can be inserted and stitched into place while the panels are flat, making their addition much easier than stitching around at the very end.
After spending about an hour at our local kitchen store, turning oven mitts inside out, we determined that the most common construction option was to stitch the pre-quilted panels together then finish the interior raw edges. So, that’s what we chose to do as well. Check out our four-part series on Machine Sewn Seam Finishes for all kinds of options: from a simple zig zag to a full bound seam.
We used one layer of thermal batting on the top and one on the palm. This should be sufficient for most hot dishes and general baking. However, if you think the mitts might be exposed to higher heat, you could use two layers and adjust your seam allowance accordingly.
The free mitt pattern downloads are included below in the Getting Started section. Make sure to read through all the details about how many copies to print and how to cut out and assemble the various pieces.
Each mitt finishes at approximately 12½” long, excluding the ruffle, and 7½” wide at the widest point from the tip of the thumb to the opposite side.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Embroidery Machine; we used the Janome Memory Craft 500E
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot for the constructions
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful for the quilting and keeping all the layers from shifting – or use your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system
Fabric and Other Supplies
Supplies listed below are for TWO matching mitts; you could make just one, but then your other hand would be sad you chose not to protect it.
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide solid quilting weight cotton for the mitt tops, ruffle strip, and hanging loop
- ⅝ yard of 44"+ wide print quilting weight cotton or similar for the mitt palms and lining
- ½ yard of 45”+ wide insulating fleece; we used Insul-Bright by the Warm Company
- 1 yard of 20”+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used 20” Pellon Shape Flex
- Stabilizer for the optional embroidery as recommended for your embroidery machine; we used Pellon Stitch ’n’ Tear
- Aurifil 50wt in contrasting colors appropriate for your embroidery design; we used 2900 Light Khaki Green for the main letter fill, 2140 Orange Mustard for the letter highlight lines, and 4173 Dark Olive for the leaf flourish
- Aurifil 40wt in a matching color for construction and quilting; we used 2324 Stone
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Downloads
As above, cutting instructions below are for TWO matching mitts.
- DOWNLOAD AND PRINT: THREE copies of the Oven Mitt Center and TWO copies of the Oven Mitt Finger-Wrist patterns.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern download is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on each page to confirm your printout is to scale.
- Cut out each piece along the solid line.
- One set will be used as three individual pattern pieces.
- The extra Center piece will be used as a “window template” for the embroidery placement.
- The final set should be taped together at the points indicated by the diamonds. Overlap the pieces so the diamonds are right on top of one another. When taped together correctly, the mitt should be 13” from tip to cuff.
- From the solid fabric for mitt top, cut the following:
TWO 3½" x 1¼" strips for the hangers
FOUR 2” x 12” strips for the ruffles
Using the extra Center pattern piece, cut out the inside square to use as a “window template” for the optional embroidery.
Place the template on the fabric to judge the size you’ll need to cut to fit your embroidery hoop. We cut an approximate 10” x 12” rectangle to hoop in our 5.5” x 5.5” SQ14b Hoop on our MC500E.
This is known as “hooping wild,” meaning you hoop plenty of fabric to embroider so you can cut down the piece to match the pattern when done. The photo below shows us confirming our piece with the template window cut out.
From the remaining fabric, use the Finger and Wrist patterns to cut TWO each.
NOTE: We folded our fabric wrong sides together so we would have TWO pieces of each for the LEFT mitt and TWO pieces of each for RIGHT mitt. If you’d prefer, you can cut all the pieces as single layers, but remember to flip over the pattern pieces so you will end up with an assembled set with the thumb facing left, and one set with the thumb facing right.
- From the print fabric for mitt palm and lining, cut the following:
Use the individual pattern pieces to cut TWO each of the Finger, Center, and Wrist sections.
Use the assembled pattern piece to cut FOUR for the lining.
NOTE: As above, for both the palm pieces as well as the lining pieces, make sure to cut mirror images so you end up with left and right sets.
- From the Insul-Bright, use the assembled pattern to cut FOUR. Like the fabric above, cut two with the thumb facing left, and two with the thumb facing right.
- From the fusible interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 3½” x ⅜” strips for the hangers
Use the assembled pattern to cut FOUR. And, just like all the other pieces, cut two with the thumb facing left, and two with the thumb facing right.
- When done, for EACH mitt, you should have: two lining pieces, two Insul-Bright pieces, two fusible interfacing pieces, one set of three pieces for the exterior palm, one set of three pieces for the exterior top (we show ours below already embroidered and cut to size), two ruffle strips, and one hanger strip.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Select the embroidery of your choice, adjusting it as needed to best fit the dimensions of the “window template.” We used the built-in Flourish Alphabet on our Janome MC500E, reducing it 20%.
- Hoop the solid fabric and stabilizer as directed by your machine’s instructions.
- Thread the machine with the first color of Aurifil 50wt in the top and bobbin.
- Attach the hoop to the machine.
- Set-up the machine for embroidery.
- Start the embroidery.
- Change the thread as necessary.
- Although the Flourish Alphabet design called for six different thread colors, we reduced the selection to three Aurifil colors. Changing and condensing colors is easy to do on the MC500E.
- Find the Center pattern piece with the window template cut out. Center the finished embroidery within the window. When centered, pin in place and cut out the pattern piece.
- NOTE: Remember to flip the pattern to cut the Center section for the second mitt. Position the BASE of your letter facing the finger section and the TOP of the letter facing the wrist section. This is the standard direction for all mitt monograms. The letters will then be right side up when the mitts are hanging.
Construct the exterior panels
- Find the three pieces that make up the exterior top panel. If you chose to do embroidery on the center section, it should be complete and cut into the pattern shape.
- Place the wrist section and the finger section right sides together with the center section. Pin in place.
- Re-thread the machine with the Aurifil 40wt construction thread in the top and bobbin.
- Re-set the machine for normal sewing.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch together.
- Press the seam allowances open
- Find one of the fusible interfacing pieces. Place it against the wrong side of the assembled exterior mitt. The raw edges of the two layers should be flush all around. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Repeat to assemble and fuse the three pieces that make up the exterior palm.
Make the hanging loops and ruffles
- Find the 3½” x 1¼” fabric strips and the 3½” x ⅜” interfacing strips.
- Fold the fabric strip in half and press well to set a crease.
- Slip the interfacing into position so it rests against the crease. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Press back the two long raw edges ¼” then fold the entire strip in half so the two folded edges are flush and press again.
- Edgestitch along the folded edges.
- Repeat for the second strip.
- Find 2” x 12” ruffle strips.
- Fold each strip in half lengthwise, right sides together. Pin along the short ends.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the short ends only.
- Trim the corners.
- Turn each strip right side out through the open bottom end.
- Use a long blunt tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner to push out the upper corners so they are nice and square. Press flat.
- Run one or two lines of gathering stitches along the raw edges.
- Pull the gathering stitches so the ruffle fits the top edge of the mitt with about ¼” to either side to keep the ruffle out of the final seam allowance.
Layer and quilt
- Find the Insul-Bright layers, trim ¼” from the top edge (the wrist edge) of each piece. This will allow you to more easily fold down the top edge of the fabric to insert the ruffle.
- Make a “quilt sandwich” by layering a lining piece with each exterior piece, wrong sides together and with the layer of Insul-Bright in between.
- Fold down the top edge of the lining and the exterior ¼” on both the top and palm sets. Remember, you trimmed back the thermal batting ¼” so now you can easily fold the lining over the batting. Fold down and press each layer.
- Insert a ruffle strip between the folded layers on both the top and palm. The raw edges of the ruffle should be flush with the folded-back edge of the fabric.
- Pin the ruffle in place between the folded layers.
- Don’t forget to adjust as necessary to insure the ends of each ruffle strip are sitting ¼” in from the outer perimeter of the mitt.
- If you are worried about your ruffle strip staying in place, you can baste it in place prior to the final layering.
- We also pinned all around to make sure the rest of the layers didn’t shift.
- Lengthen the stitch.
- Make one final check while still just pinned to insure the top folded edges are flush to either side of the ruffle.
- Edgestitch through all the layers. This seam should be approximately ⅛” from the flush folded edges; this seam secures the ruffle strip in place.
- Using the lines on the pattern pieces as your guide, draw in quilting lines for the two ends of each mitt. The lines are vertical at the finger end and horizontal at the wrist end. Our quilting lines are ½” apart.
NOTE: You can draw in lines to follow with a fabric pen or pencil, or you can use a Quilting Guide Bar or your presser foot to set spacing, or if you have fancy guide lines on your needle plate and up onto the throat of the machine as we do on our Janome machines, you can also use these to keep your spacing precise. We simply used our Walking foot as our spacing guide.
- Keeping a lengthened stitch, sew all the quilting lines. We recommend starting with the cuff, first stitching in the ditch of the center/cuff seam. We started with the palm exterior set.
- Stitch an additional five lines of parallel stitching along the cuff. The photo below shows our cuff stitching on the top exterior set.
- Remove the layers from the machine and reset to stitch the one horizontal line and 10 vertical lines for the finger ends. We recommend stitching the one line of horizontal stitching in the ditch of the seam first, and then moving to the vertical seams, stitching from the center out to each side.
- Repeat to stitch the palm set. Stitching the cuff first (as shown above), and then stitching the fingertip from the center out toward each side.
- Find the hanger strip. Fold this sewn strip in half and pin together the raw ends to create a loop.
- Place the hanging loop at the wrist end of the exterior top, aligning the raw ends of the strip with the raw edges of the mitt. We centered ours between the top two lines of quilting. Pin or baste the loop in place.
Stitch front to back and finish the seam allowance
- With the quilting done for both your top set and palm set, you’re ready for final assembly.
- Place the quilted top and palm exterior sides together (lining sides facing out). Pin in place all around.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance stitch all around the outer perimeter of the mitt. Remember to be very careful at the wrist end to insure the ends of the ruffle strips are not caught in the seam.
- To give yourself a little extra turning space at the inside thumb curve, consider pivoting and double-stitching straight across this point. Then, clip deep into each corner of the pivot.
NOTE: You may also want to shorten your stitch length to keep a tighter, smoother curve to your seam. For more information, see our tutorial on Sewing Smooth Curves.
- Remember, this final seam is visible on the inside. Using your favorite method, finish the seam allowance all around. We used a simple tight zig zag
NOTE: If you are new to machine sewn seam finishes, check out our four-part series.
- Turn the mitt right side out through the open wrist end. Smooth out the curves all around and press flat.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever