Recently, we were looking at all our pretty spools of Aurifil Thread and thinking, “There are so many lovely possibilities, it’s making our heads spin.” Hmmmm. Spin means to go ‘round and ‘round. What if we spun these thread colors with circular decorative stitching? That would be round-tastic, which isn’t a word but is an excellent vision. We used our Janome Circular Sewing attachment and Aurifil 40wt cotton thread to create multiple rings of decorative stitching on a set of round hot pads. Interspersed between the decorative stitching are three circles of quilting stitches to hold all the layers together. The quilting was done in Aurifil thread that matched our fabric so as not to detract from the feature circles, 40wt in the top and 50wt in the bobbin.
Yardage recommendations are given below to make a matching pair. We combined a lightweight solid canvas with a bold quilting cotton for the back and binding. By matching the back and binding, you create an unbroken transition – with the binding itself becoming the outermost ring.
Aurifil Thread in 40wt comes in 270 breathtaking colors. We selected four of them to create our decorative stitching rings, picking colors that brought out the motif of the backing/binding fabric.
Our friends at Fat Quarter Shop have an excellent selection of Aurifil Thread online.
We used one layer of Insul-Bright insulated fleece between our fabric layers. This is fine for normal use. You could use a double layer for added heat protection, and with similar weight fabric for your exterior layers, the binding width as specified should be fine. If you go much thicker, you may need to increase the width of your binding.
The Janome Circular Sewing Attachment in an amazing tool for stitching in the round. If you do not have access to this attachment (although it is super cool and you just might want to consider one of your very own!), you can use a compass or create your own circle templates and draw four circles on the trivet to follow with your stitching. Since you are working on the right side of the fabric, make sure you use a fabric pen or pencil that will easily wipe/wash away or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
Below, we list the stitches we chose on our Janome Skyline S7 for the five concentric circles so you can create the exact look. Of course, you could also select your own favorites. We recommend a simple stitch with a closely repeating pattern, this helps blends the start/stop point for each circle. As always when planning decorative stitching, test first on fabric scraps to confirm the stitch length and width as well as the spacing between the circles (we used ½” spacing).
The knotted leather loop through the grommet makes the hot pads easy to hang so they’re always handy.
The holidays will be creeping up before you know it. A set of these pretty hot pads would be roundly appreciated by one and all. Add in a special recipe or a unique spice or seasoning for an excellent gourmet gift.
Each hot pad finishes at approximately 8” in diameter
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Quantities shown are for TWO matching hot pads with binding cut on the bias.
- Pattern pieces, use the links below in the Getting Started section to download
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide lightweight solid canvas or similar; we used lightweight canvas in steel gray from our stash
- 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a petite print; we used Gumdrops in Black from the Ducks in a Row collection by American Jane for Moda from our stash
NOTE: Extra yardage allows you to cut the bias binding strips as one continuous length. You could get away with less fabric (apx. ⅝ yard for example) by cutting shorter strips and seaming them together to get the final finished lengths.
- ½ yard of 22"+ wide thermal batting; we used Insul-Bright by The Warm Company
- ¾ yard of thin leather thong or similar for the hanging loops (optional)
- ⅝ of 12”+ wide tear-away stabilizer; we used Fuse ’n’ Tear by Pellon
- FOUR colors of Aurifil 40wt 100% cotton thread to pick up colors in your chosen backing/binding fabric; we used the following: #1114 Grass Green, #4242 Very Dark Grey, #2260 Red Wine, and #2720 Light Delft Blue
- ONE color of Aurifil 40wt 100% cotton thread to match solid top fabric for quilting stitching; we used #2610 Light Blue Grey
- ONE color of Aurifil 50wt 100% cotton thread to match backing/binding fabric for the bobbin as well as for hand stitching the binding; we used #2692 Black
- 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
- Seam sealant; we used Dritz Fray Check
- Download and print out the Pot Holder Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern is 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 so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each half of the pattern along the solid line.
- Using the printed arrows as your guide, match up the two halves to create the full circle pattern. Butt together and tape; do not overlap.
- Layer the solid fabric and thermal batting. Pin the assembled pattern through both layers. Cut ONE circle of each for each hot pad.
- Using the assembled pattern, cut ONE circle from the print fabric for each hot pad.
- Also from the patterned fabric, cut enough 2” wide strips, on the bias, to equal at least 26” when sewn end to end. You need 26” for each 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. We cut ONE continuous 2” x 26” bias strip for each hot pad. The amount of print fabric listed above allows for this continuous bias strip.
- From the leather thong (or similar); cut TWO 13” lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find the solid exterior circle and the tear-away stabilizer.
- Fuse the tearaway stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric.
NOTE: When sewing decorative stitches, a stabilizer is often needed to provide stability to the area that you are stitching. Otherwise, the density or complexity of the stitch can distort the fabric.
- Fold the circle in half, and then in half again in the opposite direction to find the exact center. Mark this center point with a pin.
- Attach the Circular Sewing Attachment and Satin Stitch foot to the machine. There is a special hole in the bed of the machine into which the Circular Sewing Attachment is placed.
NOTE: The Circular Sewing Attachment is a great optional accessory for Janome machines. If you own a Janome too, we recommend visiting your local authorized Janome retailer to inquire about one. Be sure to know your model as there is more than one variation of this accessory. If you do not own a Janome, you could try to draw concentric circles to use as your guide.
- As always with decorative stitching, test on a scrap to determine the best stitch width and length as well as the spacing. The final look is up to you and will vary based on the stitches you choose. On our Janome Skyline S7, we used the following stitches (listed from inner circle out): 05, 40, 42, 05, 41.
- Set the circle attachment for the innermost circle. There are markings in both inches and centimeters as set points.
- Our inner circle is approximately 2” in diameter. The outermost circle is approximately 5¾” in diameter. The circles are about ½” apart.
- Stitch the circles from the center outwards.
- Remember to re-set the guide for each circle.
- You’ll also need to re-thread for each color. To do this, loosen the attachment screw on the Circular Sewing Attachment and gently rotate the attachment to the back of the machine so you can change the bobbin to the next thread color. Do not remove the fabric from the attachment. It's a good idea to pre-wind a bobbin in each color to make switching out the bobbin fast and easy. You don't need a full bobbin for each.
- Carefully watch how your selected decorative stitch is formed. Understanding the stitch formation pattern will aid you in knowing where to stop stitching as you meet the beginning point of your circle.
- Don’t try to over-control the feed of the fabric. You need to let the machine do the work for you as it creates the stitches.
- When the stitching is complete, steam lightly to flatten the trivet. The concentric circles can slightly distort the shape.
- Remove the project from the machine. Tear away the stabilizer.
- Find the backing circle and the thermal batting circle.
- Layer the top panel and the backing panel wrong sides together with the thermal batting in between. Pin through all the layers.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the main fabric in the top and with thread to best match the backing fabric in the bobbin. Select a straight stitch and lengthen the stitch.
- Using the same center point, replace the project onto the machine with the circular sewing attachment still in position. Re-calibrate the guide to set the stitching line between the rows of decorative stitching.
- We added three circles of quilting stitches between rows 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4.
Make and place the binding
- If necessary, stitch together the bias strips end to end to make one continuous length. As with all binding, criss-cross the angled ends of the strips. Then, draw a diagonal line across the intersection. Pin together. Stitch along the drawn line. Then, trim back the excess fabric to approximately ¼" and press open the seam.
- If you were able to cut one continuous binding strip for each hot pad (what we did), you can skip this step.
- Press in one long side ½". We used our Clover Hot Hemmer.
- Place the un-folded edge along the outer raw edge of the layered circle. Pin in place through all the layers. The right side of the binding should be against the right side of the top panel (the decorative stitched panel).
- Finish the ends with your chosen method. We joined our ends on the bias, making sure the binding laid flat against the panel prior to seaming. We then trimmed away the excess binding.
- With the ends finished and the binding completely pinned in place, use a ½” seam allowance to sew all the way around through all the layers.
- Bring the binding up and over to the back side.
- Press the binding in place and pin well all around.
- Hand stitch the binding in place at the back
NOTE: 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 and hanging loop
- Mark the position for the grommet. It should be centered over the outermost ring of decorative stitching.
- Cut out the hole for the grommet. After cutting the hole, you can add a drop of seam sealant, such as Fray Check to prevent raveling.
- Following the manufacturer's instructions or our own great tutorial (How To Insert Metal Grommets), insert the top half of the grommet from the front through to the back.
- Place the back half into position.
- Use the base and anvil tools to hammer the halves together.
- Find the length of leather thong. Slip it through the grommet. Tie a simple knot towards the end to leave a generous loop for hanging.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild