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Nature Brights Kitchen: Quilted Hot Pads

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I ♥ hot pads! I have tons of them. In fact, I'm zany enough that when I throw a dinner party, I actually coordinate my hot pads with my table setting. Yes... I need professional help. These awesome quilted hot pads are super simple, and each one uses just a 10" x 10" square for the front and back. You might have some scraps laying around that would be perfect. Our design is reversible, which is a two-for-one deal, and the insulating batting between the layers makes them functional as well as fabulous.

For more information about thermal fabrics, check out our Hot-Hot-Hot buying guide.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies and instructions are for making TWO hot pads. Multiply accordingly to make more.

  • Fabric for hot pad front: 10" x 10" square of two different cotton fabrics: we used Patty Young's Flora & Fauna Hive in Lime and Humming Birds in Lime
  • Fabric for hot pad back: 10" x 10" square of two different cotton fabrics: we used Patty Young's Flora & Fauna Daisy Dot in Stone and Dandelion in Raspberry
    NOTE ABOUT YARDAGE: If you are going to be purchasing fabric for this project, we recommend purchasing ⅓ yard of each fabric. This will give you more fabric than you need for two hot pads, but maybe you want to make more than two hot pads. If you want to watch your budget, we recommend buying fat quarters to cut your squares. Also, if you are making any of our other Nature Brights Kitchen projects with the Flora & Fauna fabric, you may just have enough left over from scraps to make some hot pads!
  • Fabric for binding and hanging loop: 1/8 yard of 45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Flora & Fauna Ta Dot in Ebony
  • ⅓ yard insulating batting: we used Insul-Bright from The Warm Company
  • All purpose thread in colors to match fabric
  • Contrasting thread (optional)
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Cut four 10" x 10" squares from your four fabrics (two fronts, two backs)
  2. Cut two 10" x 10" squares from the insulating batting.
  3. Cut two strips 2" x WOF (width of fabric) from the binding fabric. One strip per hot pad.
  4. Fold the two 10" x 10" hot pad fronts in half, wrong sides together. Press well. Unfold. You should still be able to see the crease line.
  5. Mark guidelines for quilting on the hot pad fronts (mark on the right sides). Use your see-through ruler to measure and mark evenly spaced lines 1½" from the middle crease line, ending ½" from each side.
  6. Layer your hot pads into what quilters refer to as a 'quilt sandwich'. Place your hot pad back flat on your work surface WRONG side up. Place the insulating batting on top of the hot pad back. Place the hot pad front on top of the insulating batting, RIGHT side up. Use plenty of pins to keep your ‘sandwich' together. Just like they do with the toothpicks at the deli!

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Quilting the body of the hot pads

  1. Set your machine for an extra-long or basting stitch. If need be, see our article on Selecting Machine Stitch Length for more information.
  2. Attach your walking foot, and sew around all four sides ¼" from the raw edge.
    NOTE: A walking foot is optional ... in fact, you'll see from our photo that we didn't use one. But this is a case of 'Do as I say, not as I do' because a walking foot is extremely useful for beginners to keep your layers from shifting. If you don't have one, that's okay; make sure you've pinned the heck out of your 'quilt sandwich', hold your fabric firmly, and sew slowly.
  3. Still using your walking foot, stitch along your marked lines.
    NOTE: If you are going for a dramatic look, place two different color threads in the needle and bobbin that contrast with the top and bottom fabrics of your hot pad.

Attaching binding

  1. Fold and press the binding strip in half lengthwise. Open and press each raw edge to the center crease.
  2. Bring the folded edges together and press again.
  3. Position the binding around the hot pad, starting at one corner, so you stitch in a clockwise direction. For accurate sewing, be sure the edge of the hot pad is tight up inside the fold of the binding and the raw edges are flush at your starting point. Pin in place.
    NOTE: If your fabric is directional, like a couple of ours, make sure to start your binding on the correct side so the loop will be in the best position for hanging. Upside-down birds are unnerving and could make you drop a hot pan.
  4. Using matching thread, stitch the binding to the hot pad. I've made a few notes below, but if you're brand new to binding, check out our tutorial, How to Make Faux Mitered Corners; this is the technique we used for the hot pads.
  5. To go around each corner, stitch to the edge, then backstitch about 1" and stop with the needle in the down position.
  6. Open the binding strip and fold it around the corner to form little triangle ‘ears'. When you make something sound cute, it seems easier ... dontcha think??
  7. Tuck one 'ear' underneath and one 'ear' on top of the hot pad.
  8. Wrap the binding around the raw edge perpendicular to your corner. Stitch and pivot around the corner, then continue sewing to the next corner. Holding the ‘ears' with a pin helps with the corner. Repeat for the next two corners.
  9. When you get to the last corner (back to where you started), you should still have about 5" of binding left. That's good ... you need that for the hanging hook.
  10. Sew past your final corner and straight off the hot pad, continuing to stitch on the binding, which closes the binding's folded edge. Tuck in the last ¼" for a clean finish.
  11. Fold the finished edge back towards the hot pad. Position the fold just beyond the binding edge of the hot pad. Pin. Stitch a box in the corner to secure the hanging hook in place and help reinforce it.
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    Click to Enlarge

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



Comments (14)

Khats said:
Khats's picture

Tried to access the article on stitch length but was told access denied.  I just joined the site. Is there a way to get to it?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Khats - My -- this is an oldie but goodie. We confirmed the link goes to the newest article on stitch length. When you refresh the page, all should be well. Thanks - and, welcome to the site!


Thank you so much for posting the pictures of the project as you complete it! 

apelk said:
Haha Jennyleigh, I'm in the same boat. The only problem is I just got my first sewing machine... :-P
Jennyleigh said:
Jennyleigh's picture
Found your site 1 week before Christmas, but I will be making some as last minute gifts. Your fabric choices are beautiful and have inspired me to think outside the box.
Karleen said:
This was my kind of project. Quick, easy and using materials I have around the house already. The back of my corners are not very attractive but hopefully they will get better with practice. I didn't have any of the insulating batting so used 3 layers of cotton. I'll find out if that was a mistake shortly! Thank you for the great photography and easy to understand instructions.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi kulerful - no, each hot pad is just three layer: front, batting, back. The ingredients list gives you how much you need for two hot pads - - maybe that\'s where you got confused. I suppose you could do a double layer; it kind of depends on the thickness of the fabric you are working with. The thicker it gets, the harder it will be to do the binding all around.

Hope that helps.
kulerful said:
kulerful's picture
Is the front and back folded over making it a double layer of fabric for each front and back, with the Insul brite in between. 5 layers, correct, Thanks
T Halverson said:
T Halverson's picture
Hi, i am not a sewer, but my granddaughter 11 is, and this would be a fun project to do with her. Love the pictures, great step by step, Thank you
Allison said:
Allison's picture
I made one of the potholders today too. They were very simple and didn't take long. Next time I would just watch the back side of the potholder because I went off track a few times.

Thank you for these great and easy projects!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi edna41 .... I'm not sure if I understand your question. Are you not seeing the pictures? If so, it may be a browser issue with your computer. Try re-freshing or restarting. All the pictures and illustrations are showing as usual.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi sunrise11 -- so glad you found our instructions easy to follow .... that's our goal. And, certainly, size up or down to best fit what you like. Thanks for the visit and the comment!
zoomyr@yahoo.com said:
zoomyr@yahoo.com's picture
Loved making these pot holders. I've been sewing for a while, but still consider myself a beginner, because I've not had the time to improve my skills. I found the instructions very easy to follow. The finished pot holder was a little larger than I normally use. Next time I make a set, I will probably make them a little smaller.