A freshly warmed tortilla or flatbread is a wonderful accompaniment to dozens of different meals. However, keeping things warm from the oven or stove to the table is a challenge. You could wrap them in paper towels and then foil, but that’s quite wasteful. Time to put your DIY skills to work to create a reusable warmer. Just slip in the tortilla or flatbread, close the flap, and zap.
Because this warmer is meant for the microwave, all natural cotton was used for the fabric, batting, and thread. This is important to avoid any melting or sparking issues in your microwave. We used Pellon Wrap-N-Zap for the batting since it is made specifically for the microwave from 100% natural cotton batting. Not only is this microwave safe, it also helps trap moisture to create an evenly warmed tortilla or flatbread.
As with anything you heat repeatedly in the microwave, take precautions. We suggest cooking in 2 minute intervals for a maximum of 8 minutes. Never leave the microwave unattended, and do not use in a convection/microwave oven. Also, as with anything in the microwave, don’t put it in without food inside.
Our adorable warmer is designed to have the look of a fresh red tomato. We show you how to add the cute free-appliqué leaves at the top along with a handy hanging loop. This extra finishing touch is optional, but makes the warmer so much cuter to have on the table.
The construction method to create the warmer is quite simple, but we do recommend reading through once or twice to “make it in your head.” The front and back quilted circles are bound with a clever snip-fold-wrap-and-stitch method. You just need to pay attention to when you’re binding one quilted layer and when you’re binding both quilted layers.
A round warmer deserves some matching circular quilting. We used the Janome Circular Sewing Attachment, which is a great way to make perfect concentric circles. If you do not have this accessory, you can draw in concentric circles, using the drawn lines on our downloadable circle templates as your guide
The warmer can be machine washed and dried, but don’t forget to pre-wash your fabric prior to starting. For the batting, Pellon reminds us that cotton battings can shrink up to 3-5%. They recommend that to avoid shrinkage prior to use, first soak the batting in hot water for 20 minutes. Just soak; do not agitate when wet. Then, gently wring out the water and dry in the dryer on a low setting or lay flat to dry.
As mentioned, we chose special fabric that reminded us of a pretty red tomato. The green gingham gave us a petite print that worked well for the small surface areas of the binding, leaves, and hanging loop. And, a plain cotton in a white or very light color is the best choice for the inside. You might have appropriate scraps just waiting in your stash.
Downloadable patterns are offered below for 8”, 10” and 12” circles. We used the 10” option for our sample. There is also a template for the optional leaves.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but helpful for the thicker layers - we used the AcuFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feeding system on the Janome MC9400
- Satin Stitch foot; optional for appliqué
- Circular Sewing Attachment; optional, but the easiest way to create the perfectly spaced circles – if you do not have this accessory, you can draw in concentric circles, using the drawn lines on our templates as your guide
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¼ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a print motif for the exterior; we used Season’s Best Spring in Tomato and Orange by Andover Fabrics
- ¼ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a solid for the lining – we recommend a light color; we used Kona Cotton in Snow White
- ¼ yard of 44"+ wide 100% cotton batting; we used Pellon Wrap-N-Zap, which is specifically made for microwave use
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a print motif for the bias binding, the leaves, and the hanging loop – we recommend a green palette for the best look to the leaves; we used Beautiful Basics in Grass Green Gingham by Maywood Studios
NOTE: Extra yardage allows you to cut the bias binding strips as one continuous length. You could get away with less fabric by cutting shorter strips and seaming them together to get the final finished lengths.
- 100% cotton thread for construction as well as the appliqué; you need three colors to match the exterior, the lining, and the binding/leaves
- Iron and ironing board
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Downloads
- Download and print out TWO copies of the Circle template and ONE copy of the leaves template. As mentioned above, we have included three sizes of pattern: 8”, 10” and 12”. These three templates and the leaves template are bundled into one PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: This pattern is FOUR 8½" x 11" sheets. 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 two circle templates along the solid line.
- Using the outer “dot halves” as your guide, match up the two halves to create a full circle pattern. Butt together and tape; do not overlap.
- Trim out the leaves pattern along the solid line.
- From the fabric for the exterior, use the assembled circle pattern to cut TWO circles.
- From the fabric for the lining, cut the following:
Using the assembled circle pattern, cut TWO circles
ONE apx. 8” x 4” rectangle for the leaves, just slightly larger than the leaves pattern itself
- From the fabric for the binding, leaves, and hanging loop, cut the following:
TWO apx. 8” x 4” rectangles for the leaves, just slightly larger than the leaves pattern itself
ONE 1¼” x 4½” strip for the hanging loop
Cut enough 2” wide strips, on the bias, to equal one length at least 17” when sewn end to end and one length at least 34” when sewn end to end.
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.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Layer and quilt the front and back circles
- Find the pairs of exterior circles, lining circles, and batting circles. Make two “sandwiches” with the exterior and the lining circles wrong sides together and the batting circle in between the layers. Fold the layered circle in half, and then in half again in the opposite direction to find the exact center. Mark this center point.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and to best match the lining fabric in the bobbin. Set for a slightly lengthened straight stitch.
- Attach the Circular Sewing Attachment if possible and a clear-view foot; we used the Satin Stitch foot on our Janome machine.
- There is a special hole in the bed of the machine into which the Circular Sewing Attachment is placed.
NOTE: As mentioned above, the Circular Sewing Attachment is a great optional accessory for our Janome machine. If you own a Janome too, we recommend visiting your local authorized Janome retailer to inquire about one for your machine. Be sure to know your model as there is more than one variation for this accessory. If you do not own a Janome, you can draw in concentric circles, using the drawn lines on our templates as your guide
- As always with any kind of specialty stitching, we recommend testing first on scraps to master the techique.
- Set the circle attachment for the innermost circle. There are markings in both inches and centimeters as set points.
- On the 10” pattern that we used for our sample, the inner circle is approximately 2½” in diameter. The outermost circle is approximately 8” in diameter. The four circles are 1” apart.
- Stitch the circles from the center outwards.
- Remember to re-set the guide for each 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 warmer. The concentric circles can slightly distort the shape.
Prepare the appliquéd leaves
- Find the three 8” x 4” rectangles: two in the binding fabric and one in the lining fabric. Sandwich these fabrics similarly to how you did above: binding fabric wrong sides together with the lining fabric in between the layers.
- Pin the leaves template on top of the sandwiched layers.
- Trace around the outside of the leaves.
- Remove the template but keep the layers pinned together.
- Set up the machine for an appliqué stitch. We used a tight satin stitch. Re-thread the machine with cotton thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Stitch around the drawn perimeter of the leaves.
NOTE: If you are new to appliqué, take a look at our full tutorial: How to Appliqué like a Pro.
- Place the leaves template back into position. Fold along the “vein” in one leaf and trace along this line.
- Trim the leaves template along the center vertical line. Replace the template on the second leaf, tracing the center vertical vein and the vein in the second leaf.
- You should now have three interior drawn lines to follow.
- Maintaining the same machine settings for appliqué, stitch along these three drawn lines.
- Your accent leaves are “drawn with stitching” and finished front and back
- Trim close to the stitching.
Prepare the binding and the hanging loop
- Find your lengths of 2” bias strips.
- 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 at each length (17” and 34”), you can skip this step.
- With each length of binding, fold the strip in half wrong sides together and press to set a center crease.
- Fold back each long raw edge to meet at the center crease line.
- Fold in half again so the long folded edges are flush. Press well.
- Find the 1¼” x 4½” strip for the hanging loop. It is folded in the same manner as the bias binding.
- Re-set the machine for a slightly lengthened straight stitch. Since you just finished the leaves appliqué, It should still be threaded with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Edgestitch along the flush folded edges of the loop to secure. The ends remain raw.
Attach the binding, along with the leaves and loop
- Find the shorter length of binding and ONE quilted circle.
- Slip the binding over the raw edge of this ONE circle. It should cover just a bit over one half of the circle. If you have a directional motif as we did, make sure your motif remains straight when placing the half circle. Pin in place through all the layers.
- We recommend a Walking foot or similar for the remainder of the project steps. We’re using the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system on our Janome MC9400.
- The machine should still be threaded with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Stitch the half circle of binding in place.
- Fold the circle in half to find the exact side center points. Remember, this first length of binding is just a bit longer than half. Place a pin at each exact center point.
- Measure up 1” from each side center point and place a second pin. This represents the binding overlap that will happen at each side “hinge.”
- Find the remaining quilted circle.
- Place the two circles lining sides together. If you have a directional motif, know that the pre-bound end will become the bottom of the warmer front when finished.
- Pin together the layers along the unbound edges. Remember, you are now working with BOTH circles layered together.
- Machine baste the layers together, staying close to the outer edge.
- Start and end at the upper pin point (the overlap point).
- Find the leaves and the loop.
- Place the circles front side up, which means that pre-bound half is on top and at the bottom.
- Place the leaves into position along the unbound edge at the center top.
- Fold the loop in half so the raw ends align and pin over the leaves. It should sit across the center stitched vein of the leaves. Pin the leaves and loop into position.
- Machine baste the leaves and loop to secure, following along in the original machine basting seam.
- Find the remaining length of binding. Starting at the top center point (the top with the leaves and loop), give yourself about 1” at the head and then slip the binding over the raw edges of the layered circles. Pin in place as you move along the curve of the circle.
- When you get to the original binding joint, overlap this binding by 1”. At this 1” point, snip into the binding, cutting it just halfway, stopping at the center fold of the bias binding.
- Tuck under the raw edge at this snip, making a diagonal fold. Pin in place.
- Using the regular slightly lengthened stitch, sew from the starting point at the center point to this diagonal fold at the overlap. Stop and lock stitch (or back tack) to secure.
- Lift up the top circle (the pre bound circle) and continue wrapping the binding around the edge of the bottom circle. This means you are now just wrapping a single layer.
- Stitch from “hinge” to “hinge” along this bottom circle.
- Stop and repeat the snip-to-the-center-fold at the opposite hinge. It is the same as above except you are wrapping from bottom to top.
- Pin from the point of the hinge overlap back up to the center top starting point. Remember, you are now once again wrapping the binding around both layered circles.
- To join the binding ends at the top, the front and back are treated differently.
- At the top back, trim away the excess fabric from just the back half of the binding so there is just enough to allow a narrow overlap. Simply tuck under the overlapping raw edge at a diagonal (to match the overlaps at the sides) and pin in place.
- At the top front, trim the excess fabric from just the front half of the binding so it butts together raw edge to raw edge. This is to allow for the flattest finish under the loop. Pin in place.
- Stitch from the hinge back up to the starting point at the center top.
- Stitch along that diagonal fold binding finishing point at the top center at the back.
- Fold the loop up into its final position, covering the raw ends of the binding. Pin in place.
- Stitch a short horizontal seam through all the layers across the loop to hold it into its upright position.
- At each side “hinge” if you open up the warmer wide, you can see how the bias binding wraps and glimpse a bit of raw edge. To seal this, on each side, stitch a short horizontal seam through the binding as the base of the overlap. We also stitched along the diagonal folds for a bit of extra security. This is optional.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild